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Advocates cheer deaf citizens being added to jury pool
Lowell Sun
A positive step forward: Many deaf Mass. residents haven't been able to serve on juries...until now.
It's time to stop employer credit checks
Tip of the hat to Sen. Warren for leading the charge on the federal level.  I've filed similar legislation for Massachusetts. 

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Dear Friend,

New transit options like Uber and Lyft fill a public need and already feature a devoted customer base in Greater Boston. They're big enough factors in transportation to merit a few "rules of the road" in the areas of driver credentialing and auto insurance.  At a recent State House hearing, I asked that any new regulations take proper account of the needs of customers with disabilities.

Chatting with Uber drivers (left) and taxi drivers (right)

In one instance,  I said, I was contacted by someone turned down by a ride-hailing service after the driver noticed her seeing-eye dog.  People elsewhere complain of having been denied rides due to their wheelchairs.  In one case in another state, a driver reportedly packed a blind individual's service dog into the trunk of his car.  

It is hardly enough to claim, as Uber has, that the federal Americans with Disabilities Act doesn't apply to it.  Maybe, maybe not.  My proposal is that the state should sidestep the federal question by adopting parallel state requirements of its own. 

While we're at it, let's take a comprehensive approach to making wheelchair-accessible vehicles more available.  I'm pushing for the formation of a special commission -- composed of disability advocates, state officials, regional transit authority services such as the Ride, transportation management associations like the 128 Business Council, vans operated by councils on aging and other municipal bodies, and innovative new firms like Uber and Lyft.

Tweaks and improvements to all these services should be on the table.  And the tech community should be challenged to apply its best thinking to the problem.  Then we'll get somewhere.

Sen. Mike Barrett
Honoring Chelmsford's Carol Cleven
My friend, former State Rep. Carol Cleven, submitted the original legislation to create the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail.  Carol passed away recently, and the Chelmsford legislative delegation made a donation in her name to help maintain the rail trail.
MIT works on safe nuclear fusion
The engineering wizards at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology want to reduce fossil fuel use and lay the groundwork for safe nuclear fusion.  The science of getting this right is tricky but, if anyone can do it, the talent at MIT can.  On the left, I meet with MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center Director Dennis Whyte (center) and inventor and entrepreneur Reiner Beeuwkes of Concord.  On the right, with "Wiyj Alcator C-Mod Project" Head Earl Marmar.  Photos thanks to Paul Rivenberg.
21st Century manufacturing, headquartered in Waltham
In Waltham I visited with Eric Hudson and Sonia DeMarta, visionary executives at Preserve, the nation's leading producer of stylish dishware and drinkingware made from 100%-recycled materials.  Preserve is a pioneer in low-carbon manufacturing, crucial to creating a future in which the making of beautiful and useful things respects the planet and mitigates climate change. 
Building America one playground at a time
Each year, Build America sets out on a nationwide trip to make playgrounds accessible for kids with disabilities.  All summer this team of college students hopped from city to city doing construction.  This time, their trip kicked off with a workshop in Concord, where I presented the group with an official citation marking their efforts.  On the left, chatting with Bedford native and former intern Nick Julian, who plays a major role with Build America.  On the right, speaking with the team.