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The carbon tax, an idea with appeal
The Boston Globe
The Boston Globe's Scot Lehigh writes, "Although carbon dioxide emissions are the primary contributor to manmade global warming, the price of carbon-based energy doesn't reflect the environmental harm it causes."  His favored solution: "put a price on carbon."  My bill, S.1747, would do just that.  I want us to lead the way on an approach that other states -- and eventually the entire country -- can adopt.
Paris Agreement -- A Good Foundation for Meaningful Progress
Robert Stavins' Blog
In-depth commentary on the Paris agreement from Harvard's Robert Stavins.
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Dear Friend,

Here's the good news: the employment picture is brightening for many of us, at least marginally.  Here's the bad news: one group of job-seekers continues to struggle.  A  nationwide study finds that otherwise-qualified candidates who disclose a disability draw interest from employers 26% less often than other applicants.  Such bias helps explain why only 34% of working-age adults with disabilities are employed.

Last month, to shed light on the problem in Massachusetts, the Legislature's Disabilities Caucus, which I co-chair, convened an expert panel to explore ways of moving forward.  

Disabilities Caucus Co-Chairs Rep. Provost and Sen. Barrett welcome guests. 

The panel's suggested options for combating the problem include a pending bill to make corporate "back offices" (the areas where most employees actually work) subject to the same accessibility requirements imposed today on "front offices" (areas open to the public).   A second bill would nudge contractors and subcontractors to do more inclusive hiring, requiring them to set standards for identifying and recruiting qualified job applicants with disabilities.  Finally, panelists pointed to the emergence of a new Boston-based networking group for young professionals with disabilities, reachable at [email protected].

I hope you and your loved ones are having the happiest of holidays. 

Sen. Mike Barrett
Climate activists worldwide call for collective action
Taking a message to the streets: On the eve of the Paris talks, MA climate advocates marched to demand major progress.  To realize the promise of Paris, we need to put a price on carbon
Volunteers spruce up area rivers
The Concord, Assabet and Sudbury Rivers are regional treasures -- hot spots for local recreation and storied settings in the history of Massachusetts.  In 1999 the federal government designated parts of these waterways as "wild and scenic" for their ecological features and cultural importance.  Of all the wild and scenic rivers in the U.S., these three are located closest to a major metropolitan center.  Who knew?

Recently I dropped by OARS' annual cleanup.  200 people chipped in to help spruce up the Assabet, the Sudbury and the Concord.  Here we see members of a Girl Scout troop, employees of Concord-Littleton Lumber, members of the Environmental Law Club at BU Law School, members of the Concord-Carlisle High School Fishing Club and me.  I'm the, um, somewhat older guy....
Chelmsford respite care earns much-deserved praise
Full-time caretakers for the elderly and people with disabilities often don't have the support they need.   That's where the Chelmsford Companion Respite Care program comes in.   Run by the Council on Aging, the service lends a hand by providing temporary supervisory work so that caretakers can take time for themselves.  The initiative recently won praise from the Mass. Office on Elder Affairs for its distinguished work.  From left to right: Annie Smith, Council on Aging Board Member, Companion Coordinator Betty Chaput and Colleen Normandy, Supportive Day Program Manager.