Dear Friends,
 
I hope you are all enjoying this beautiful, late summer weather and time together with family and friends in a more relaxing setting before the flurry of fall activities start once again!

July 31st marked the end of formal legislative sessions on Beacon Hill.  Stretching into the early morning hour of August 1st, the last day of the 189th formal legislative session was truly a memorable way to close out my first legislative session representing the 11th Worcester District! 

While formal sessions have ended, my work on Beacon Hill and in the district representing Shrewsbury and Westborough is going strong. I am honored each day to represent two amazing towns composed of civic-minded residents. The last few months have been quite busy and I am excited to share some of my work at the State House and local events. 

Appointed to MA Food Policy Council

I am honored to have been appointed by Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr for a three year term as his designee to the Massachusetts Food Policy Council.  Established in 2010, the Council is tasked with promoting the increased production, sale and consumption of Massachusetts grown foods. I am looking forward to addressing the challenges associated with increasing the availability and accessibility of food produced in Massachusetts, which will help promote healthier lifestyles, stimulate economic development and encourage sustainable agricultural practices.

As a founding sponsor of the Shrewsbury Farmers Market, I deeply believe in working to support our local farmers. This past July Commissioner of Agricultural Resources John Lebeaux and I visited Nourse Farm in Westborough, the 10th oldest continuously operating family business in the country, to see how Jon Nourse used the $75k APR Infrastructure Improvement Program grant he had been awarded in December from the Baker-Polito Administration.  


Hannah Kane Charity Classic

Last week I hosted the 2nd Annual Hannah Kane Charity Classic Golf Tournament at the Haven Country Club in Boylston. The charity tournament raised $51,000 to donate to three human service organizations that provide critical resources for members of our communities. The Westborough Food Pantry, Shrewsbury Youth and Family Services and St. Anne's Human Services, with the generous support of our tournament sponsors, golfers, raffle donors and volunteers, will each receive a donation of $17,000 to help provide services to residents of Shrewsbury and Westborough during times of great need. Please click here to see pictures from our terrific golf outing on a gorgeous summer day and click here to watch the "Conversations with Hannah" episode we recorded from the tournament!


495/95 Interchange Project

As a member of the Joint Committee on Transportation, I sought to prioritize the 495/95 Interchange project as I believe it will have long-term economic, environmental and safety impacts on our region. Working together with my colleague Representative Carolyn Dykema and with joint efforts from both the MetroWest and the Central MA caucuses, close conversations with the Baker-Polito Administration and MassDOT, and the tireless advocacy of the 495/MetroWest Partnership, the 495/90 Interchange was successfully included on the MassDOT 2017-2021 Capital Investment Plan (CIP). This is a great step forward towards addressing this transportation challenge, but as with most things is merely just the first step of many. 

Women in Government - Mental Health Substance Use Task Force

As a member of the Women in Government Mental Health and Substance Use Task Force, I had the distinguished honor of being a part of a working group that met to discuss the crisis that we are facing as a nation and on state and local levels. With the opportunity to hear from mental health professionals and to discuss openly and honestly the factors that contribute to, relate to and are products of mental health and substance use, our group worked to provide practices and policy recommendations to address mental health and substance use.  

Armed Forces Day

On May 21st I hosted our 2nd Annual local Armed Forces Day celebration honoring all branches of the United States military and the active and retired military members in our communities who have served our great nation. Co-hosting the event were my legislative colleagues representing the Central Massachusetts Veterans Service District, which includes Grafton, Northborough, Shrewsbury and Westborough.
 
We were joined by Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, Congressman Jim McGovern and First Lieutenant Brenda Heller, U.S. Army, currently working at Veteran's Inc., as special guest speakers. Grafton Job Corps presented the colors, students from the district, along with members of Boy Scout Troop 114, area Girl Scouts and the Westborough Young Republicans Club all participated in our celebration of service and sacrifice.  Click here  and scroll down  to see more pictures from the event. 


Community Forum on the Opioid Epidemic

On April 11th, the Shrewsbury Coalition for Addiction Prevention and Education (SCAPE), District Attorney Joseph Early's Central MA Opioid Task Force, Senator Moore and I hosted a forum on the Opioid Epidemic that plagues so many communities across the Commonwealth. The event, moderated by Shrewsbury High School Principal Todd Bazydlo, consisted of a panel of local officials, mental health professionals, individuals in recovery and a parent of a recovering addict, and also offered resources and information tables prior to the beginning of the panel discussion. The forum aired on Shrewsbury Media Connection. You can  click here and scroll down  to watch. While one forum is not a panacea, it was an opportunity for our community to hear what is being done on the local and state level, how to confront drug misuse at home and most importantly, that you are not alone if this is affecting you or your family, and that help is here. 

Inaugural HeartToHub Ride

After nearly two decades without any schedule changes the MBTA, earlier this year, unveiled and implemented new schedules for all commuter rail lines. The "HeartToHub" commuter train was introduced as an express train traveling from Worcester to South Station in just over one hour, providing an alternative and quicker way to reach Boston and commute home compared to the usual hour and a half commute. I was lucky enough to be on the inaugural journey from Worcester to Boston on May 23rd with many local leaders, state transportation officials and elected officials from the Central MA region. Additional work done this summer to de-stress the line should result in significantly decreased heat restrictions, and this October all electronic tolling will commence, with toll payments captured by the overhead gantries along the Mass Pike rather than at toll booths at exits. There is still plenty of work to be done to our transportation system in MA, but I am pleased that the Baker-Polito Administration has prioritized and devoted necessary resources to our critical infrastructure.


Question 4 - Legalization and Commercialization of Recreational Marijuana

Earlier this year, I joined a bipartisan steering committee, led by Governor Charlie Baker, Speaker of the House Robert Deleo and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, to defeat Question 4, the legalization and commercialization of recreational marijuana. I do not object to the question on philosophical grounds, rather I do not believe that the 24-page ballot question which was written solely by and for the benefit of the marijuana industry is the right step, at the right time and in the right way for Massachusetts. 


Over the course of the last few months, I have taken a very public role in helping to build the broad coalition of organizations opposed, as well as 120 members of the legislature, and in informing voters on what the ballot question would legalize in Massachusetts, including marijuana without any potency limits, edible products such as candy, cookies and soda that are highly attractive to young children and make up nearly 50% of the sales in Colorado, enormous amounts of homegrown marijuana allowed - enough for over 500 joints in a home at a time, very limited local controls, and tax revenue projections that will be insignificant as compared to the cost of setting up a regulatory environment at the state level.
 
Finally, I think it is the wrong time and sends the wrong message to legalize a new drug when we are spending enormous financial and human resources fighting the opioid epidemic. Massachusetts voters decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana in 2008 and authorized medical marijuana use in 2012, which required significant work to roll out. Colorado, a state that has already legalized, has seen their black market thrive, doubling of traffic fatalities caused by people high on marijuana, significant loss of convention and business conferences in Denver due to attendees reporting unfavorable reviews, and youth use of marijuana among the very top states in the nation. I am hopeful that MA voters will see this ballot initiative as the complete give-away it is to the marijuana industry - an industry that deliberately picked MA as an east coast state they felt they could easily flip to begin building a stronghold. 

For more information please visit www.safeandhealthyma.com or follow us on twitter @safehealthyma.


N.E.A.D.S Dogs at the State House

I was honored to join my colleague Representative Kim Ferguson and other legislators, to co-host a presentation at the State House by N.E.A.D.S., located in Princeton, MA. It was a wonderful opportunity to discuss the role of service dogs, share what it takes to train a service dog and acknowledge the incredible changes that service dogs can make in the lives of individuals, especially veterans struggling with PTSD.  


2016 Legislative Update

1.     Shrewsbury Land Transfer Approved - In 2015, Shrewsbury Town
Meeting Members voted to authorize the Board of Selectmen topetition the House of Representatives and the Senate for legislation authorizing the transfer of land in Shrewsbury, owned by the Commonwealth at that time, to the town. The land, situated on Green Street, is part of the former Grafton State Hospital. The legislation authorized the transfer of the land for a $1 (yes, $1) and the land will remain undeveloped and enjoyed as open space available for passive recreation. Senator Moore and I worked together to get this legislation through the committee process and brought before the House and Senate for a vote before the close of the legislative session. I am happy to report that upon passage in both chambers, the Governor signed the bill into law.


2.     Westborough Liquor License Approved - The Westborough
delegation  worked together to get an additional liquor license passed for the onsite sale and consumption of alcohol at the location of the historic Nathan Fisher House, which is being redeveloped into a multi-use facility. The bill was signed by the Governor in early August. 

3.    Economic Development Bill - The Governor filed a bill entitled,
"Opportunities for All" in January of this year, and by July, the legislature approved a comprehensive economic development bill, that authorized over $1 billion in borrowing to be invested in economic development, job creation and workforce development over the course of the next 5 years.  
 
4.     Energy Diversification Bill - The signing of this bill signifies a great
step  forward by the legislature and the Baker-Polito Administration towards investing in renewable and clean energy resources and reducing the reliance of the state on fossil fuels.  The legislation requires the state to enter in to long-term contracts to procure 2,800 megawatts of offshore wind and hydroelectric power within the next 15-20 years. To ensure that hydroelectricity and offshore wind resources are reliable and cost effective for state's ratepayers, the Department of Energy Resources will review the proposals that are made during the procurement process.  
 
5.     Net Metering Bill - In April the House and the Senate agreed to a
compromise bill that would increase the state's net metering cap by 3% of a utilities' peak load for both public and private projects, bringing the cap for private projects to 7% and the cap for public projects to 8%. The bill also allows utilities to offset the cost associated with maintaining solar infrastructure by establishing a contribution from customers who receive net metering credits, thus ensuring that ratepayers who are using the infrastructure and benefiting from the credits are helping to pay for the maintenance, reliability and safety of the electrical grid.  
 
6.     Municipal Modernization Bill and Financing of Municipal Roads
and Bridges - Two bills were filed by Governor Baker this session that focus on reforming municipal government practices and investing in municipal transportation infrastructure.  The Municipal Modernization bill, a legislative package that touches upon all aspects of municipal government updates or eliminates outdated practices and aims to streamline operations to ensure that municipalities are able to operate with greater ease and flexibility. An Act providing for the financing of certain improvements to municipal roads and bridges authorizes the borrowing and investment of $750 million in new highway spending and invests an additional $50 million in a new small bridge program to invest in structurally-deficient bridges located on municipal roads that are not eligible for federal funding assistance and are no longer than 20 feet.  
 
7.     Ride 4 Hire - In April 2015, Governor Baker filed a bill to establish a
regulatory structure for ride-for- hire companies, like Uber and Lyft, in the Commonwealth and a compromise between House and Senate differences in the legislation was reached and accepted in both branches prior to the close of the formal legislative session on July 31st. The final bill will require a regulatory division to be established with in the Department of Public Utilities to regulate the ride-for-hire industry. The law will be implemented gradually over the course of the next year. Overall this legislation aims to enhance public safety while appreciating the changing field of the ride-for-hire industry. 
 
8.     Pay Equity - A bill filed to ensure that equal work receives equal
compensation, the legislature worked diligently to make sure that the final legislation had the support of the business community while addressing the concerns of the Commonwealth's workforce. The final bill, signed by Governor Baker on August 1st, prohibits wage discrimination on the basis of gender, but does allow for consideration of other circumstances in determining wage, such as cost of living in an area and education or experience of the employee. The new law will take effect on July 1, 2018.
 
9.     Real ID Law - The Real ID Act, a post 2001 anti-terrorism initiative,
requires states to begin issuing secure and compliant forms of identification. The legislation was approved as part of the FY17 budget and subsequently amended to be absolutely clear that MA licenses can only be obtained by people who are lawfully present in the country. The first Real ID compliant licenses will be issued this fall, and only with this license will you be able to access federal buildings or air travel.
 
10.   Anti-discrimination Bill - Earlier this session the House of
Representatives and the Senate passed legislation that would prohibit discrimination based on gender identification in public places, such as libraries, malls, restaurants and bathrooms. A continuation of the 2011 legislation that prohibited discrimination against individuals based on gender identification in the workplace and housing, this bill expanded the protection against discrimination for transgender individuals in public accommodations.

Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Update

The FY17 budget represented a real challenge as the FY17 revenue forecast was consistently downgraded over the course of the budget preparation season, ending at $629 million below previously estimated and agreed upon levels. In light of the shortfall, efforts were made to trim spending where possible, while still making key investments in local aid and education funding, battling the opioid epidemic, services to children in the care of Department of Children and Families (DCF), and public safety.
 
Despite the revenue challenges, Shrewsbury is scheduled to receive $19,524,868 in Chapter 70 education funding, an increase of $329,230 and Westborough is scheduled to receive $5,881,737 in Chapter 70 funding, an increase of $768,659 over last year. Additional funding in the form of unrestricted aid to help fund a variety of essential municipal services increased by 4.3%, with Shrewsbury set to receive $2,678,416, an increase of $110,424 and Westborough will also receive $1,114,216, an increase of $45,936.

Additionally, I was pleased that several budget amendments I sponsored were included in the final budget, including $250,000 in funding for Out of District Vocational Pupil Transportation, which the town of Shrewsbury relies on for the partial reimbursement of costs expended on transporting students to Assabet Valley Regional Vocational Technical School; $50,000 in funding for the town of Westborough's 300th Anniversary Celebration that the Westborough delegation worked together to advocate for, which will be used for the planning and celebratory activities that will take place throughout 2017; Senator Mike Moore and I worked together to garner bipartisan and bicameral support for funding for the establishment of Clinical Stabilization Services program to help veterans battling substance misuse, to be operated by Veterans Inc.; and finally, I was the lead sponsor on a successful budget amendment in the House to continue to fund the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) Investment Fund. The Investment Fund administers a range of funding that includes working capital for promising early stage companies, workforce development, and scientific discovery, encouraging the growth of the Life Sciences Industry in Massachusetts

Local Events and Initiatives

Spending time in Shrewsbury and Westborough supporting local initiatives, attending events and speaking on issues important to our community are the most rewarding aspects of being State Representative. Here is a sampling of initiatives and events from the last few months.
  • Earlier this summer, I attended and spoke at the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife's 150th Anniversary Celebration, commemorating the commitment by the Commonwealth to conserve - restore, protect and manage - our fish and wildlife resources. MassWildlife has their beautiful new headquarters in Westborough.
  • One of my favorite activities is speaking to youth and over the last few months I have had several opportunities. At Floral Street School in Shrewsbury, Mrs. Poppalardo's 2nd grade class studied what it means to be a leader and I was honored to be one of the local community leaders they invited to get to know. At Sherwood Middle School, I participated in Shrewsbury citizens telling "HER Story/ HIS Story" by speaking to Mr. Donahue's 5th grade class (picture below) on what drove my interest in public service. 
  • Shrewsbury Youth and Family Services invited me to be a guest speaker at their summer You Go Girl program (picture below), where girls ages 11-14 were participating in a 4-week program aimed to help strengthen a positive self-image and expand their confidence.  Finally, in May I was honored to be the guest speaker at Shrewsbury High School's National Honor Society Induction Ceremony, 28 short years after my own induction. What an amazing group of young people we have in our community!
  • Attended the Westborough Spring Festival, coordinated by the Rotary Club of Westborough and the Westborough Lion's Club Italian Dinner.
  • The Rotary Club of Shrewsbury hosted its annual Installation in June, where I had the opportunity to give a legislative update and present retiring Co-Presidents Judy Merriman and Julie Parent (unable to attend) with citations for their outstanding service to the residents and business members of Shrewsbury.  Both have done a terrific job as Co-President and I am confident that Frank Jelinch will carry on the great tradition of excellence, service and leadership that the Rotary represents. I also enjoyed being a sponsor and attending the Rotary Club's successful and yummy Taste of Shrewsbury: Food & Brew Festival.
  • In May, I had the opportunity to join Representative David Muradian in meeting with teachers representing the Massachusetts Teachers Association in Central MA to discuss education policy and legislative issues.
  • The Corridor Nine Chamber of Commerce asked me to be a part of a panel for the Business Forward Females discussion on the importance of work/life balance and how exactly to achieve it...which is sort of humorous, as I find it a constant work in progress!
  • In early May, I spoke to Habitat for Humanity MetroWest/Greater Worcester's Women Build week participants, who were volunteering at building a two-family home in Auburn, on Empowering Women.
  • Honored to speak at Grossman Development Group's Lakeway Commons groundbreaking in June. The project to transform the old Spag's plaza and adjacent parcels into a vibrant commercial development will bring much needed commercial tax revenue and Shrewsbury is extremely fortunate to have a developer so committed to our community as well!  
  • Sponsored the 9th Annual Shrewsbury Road Scholars 5k/1 mile Fun Run that helped raised funds for the Shrewsbury Public Schools Colonial Fund and I also sponsored the 2nd Annual Duck Dash 5k Run/Walk for Camp Wonder that is organized by Patricia Egan, SHS Class of 2016.
  • Spoke at Worcester County Food Bank Advocacy Training Day to discuss how to best engage legislative leaders to advocate for legislation and funding they need to fulfill their mission.
  • Honored to lead the opening parade and speak at the India Society of Worcester's India Day '16
  • Stopped in to support Martin Davis and fellow Shrewsbury High School students and recent graduates holding a voter registration drive on the Shrewsbury Common.
  • The Southgate Women's Circle invited me to speak at their April meeting. I spoke to the delightful group of women on the legacy of women in public service and forging the path forward.
  • Participated in the Town of Westborough's Memorial Day Program and spoke of the death of one of my father's closest friends, Robert Boyd, in Vietnam, and how the loss of someone I never met, made a profound impact on my own life.  
  • Spent the afternoon today showing Travis McCready, President and CEO of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, the Centech North property on South Street in Shrewsbury that the town seeks to commercially develop, and we touring the re-opened Charles River Labs facility where MLSC recently awarded a $1.2M job creation tax incentive award for the creation of 80 new jobs. Assistant Town Manager Kristen Las and SELCO GM Michael Hale joined me as we discussed the advantages of life science companies locating in Shrewsbury.
  • Shrewsbury Fire Department had three recruits graduate from the Department of Fire Services Call/Volunteer Firefighter Recruit Training Program recruit class #058. Congratulations to Kenneth Massaro, Michael Penney and Salvatore Sassone!


Summer at the State House

 

With opportunities to attend legislative session, hear from guest speakers, and contribute to the daily responsibilities of a legislative office, an internship it is a great way to learn about state government and everything that goes in to representing the people of the 11th Worcester District!  I was pleased to welcome rising high school senior Aishwarya Khanna of Shrewsbury (seated in the following picture) for an internship this summer, and host Nicole Vandal, also of Shrewsbury, for a day of on the job shadowing!  I wish Aishwarya and Nicole the best of luck in their future endeavors and am certain that their great personalities and commitment to excellence will carry them wherever they wish to go in life!

 


Events Coming Up!
  • Let Your Spirit Love!  Save the date of Thursday, Sept. 22nd at 7pm at Ski Ward! Join me, members of the Binkeez for Comfort Board, members of the Shrewsbury Firefighters Association and Shrewsbury Patrolman's Association, as we raise funds for a local non-profit who provide specially made blankets to children suffering life-threatening health issues. Details available here.
  • I host monthly office hours in Shrewsbury and Westborough for residents to stop in and discuss an issue or problem they need help with in a quieter environment. The upcoming times and locations can be found on my home page on RepHannahKane.com. I hope you can join me!  
Thank you for all of your support.  As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to me or my Legislative Aide Erin Ryan. Our email addresses are Hannah.Kane@mahouse.gov and   Erin.Ryan@mahouse.gov and our office number is 617-722-2430. I welcome your thoughts, perspectives and questions and please know that it an amazing honor to serve as your State Representative.

With sincere gratitude,                  
 
Hannah Kane
State Representative
11th Worcester District


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