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Keep kids out of detention
The Boston Globe
A budget priority of mine: The detention diversion program run by the Robert F. Kennedy Children's Action Corps is an initiative to prevent young people from re-entering the juvenile justice system.  Its community-based support includes 24/7 case management -- coordination with probation staff, face-to-face communication and curfew checks and weekly family check-ins.
Workers and employers win with paid leave
The Boston Globe
The Globe editorial board endorses paid leave for serious health events.
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State House Office
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Boston, MA 02133

Phone: 617-722-1572
Fax:  617-626-0898
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Dear Friend,

People with disabilities should not be excluded from a proposed new Massachusetts Office of Health Equity.  That's the case I made at a State House hearing last week, where I was joined by citizen advocates and medical researchers.

The Office is directed explicitly to work in tandem with the existing Massachusetts Health Disparities Council, already tasked with a three-part focus on race, ethnicity and disability.  Yet recent legislative action, little noticed, seeks to exclude people with disabilities from the scope of the proposed agency, de-aligning its mission from that of the Council.

Health care disparities are gaps in access to care or in actual outcomes that confront certain groups disproportionately.  As they relate to disabilities, health care disparities include inaccessible doctors' offices, ill-equipped examination rooms, frustrating communications barriers and much more. 
Example: A few years back, researchers at Baystate Medical Center created a fictional patient who needed a specialized medical evaluation and could not get out of a wheelchair without assistance due to a stroke.

The researchers then called doctors in four major cities to book a visit for the made-up patient.  20% of the doctors' offices refused to make an appointment.  Fewer than 10% of offices that booked an appointment reported having appropriate equipment or trained employees.

Dr. Monika Mitra, Dr. Lisa Iezzoni and Dr. Susan Abend testify on the latest research on health care disparities and people with disabilities

New research on disabilities and health care disparities is emerging every year.  Given what we now know, exclusion from the new Office is not an option.

Sen. Mike Barrett
Taking on big money and environmental harm
The League of Women Voters does terrific work, pushing back against global warming and unlimited money in politics.  Local chapters came to the State House recently to advance these causes.  Above, with team Concord-Carlisle; below, with the group from Waltham. 
Small businesses lead on climate fight

These entrepreneurs are finding ways take their own businesses green.  At the same time, they're pushing for strong statewide action on global warming.  Here, speaking at Climate Action Business Association's annual meeting on the need to price carbon in Massachusetts.  Learn more about my carbon pricing proposal.
Librarians educate legislators
Each year, Massachusetts residents borrow 6.5 million items that happen to be unavailable at their local libraries.  This, thanks to resource sharing among communities.  I recently chatted about funding for this initiative and others with Sudbury librarians Megan Statza Warren, Esme Green and Marie Royea.