Senator Spilka is looking for motivated individuals to work as interns in her State House office for Spring 2014.
An unpaid internship at the State House is a great opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge of Beacon Hill and the legislative process. Some of your responsibilities may include:
- Attending committee hearings and Formal Senate Sessions
- Researching legislation and policy
- Assisting staff with drafting letters and correspondence
- General office work
Ideal candidates are professional and responsible and enjoy working in a fast-paced environment. All are welcome to apply. Knowledge of or connection to Ashland, Framingham, Franklin, Holliston, Hopkinton, Medway or Natick is a plus.
The Massachusetts Senate on Tuesday passed a bill that will restore the value of the minimum wage in Massachusetts by increasing the minimum wage to $11 by 2016 and tying future increases to the Consumer Price Index for the Northeast region. The bill also increases wages for tipped workers to 50 percent of the minimum wage.
“Raising the minimum wage helps so many working individuals and families across the Commonwealth who are struggling to make a living and support their families,” Senator Karen Spilka said. “We are responding to the needs of a rapidly changing economy, demonstrating our continued commitment to the state’s most vulnerable and also supporting local businesses, restaurants and shops. When people earn more money, they have more money to spend and to help the local economy continue to grow.”
Notes and reflections from Senator Spilka’s experience at the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council (MassTLC)’s 2013 Innovation unConference, held on Nov. 1st at the Hynes Convention Center:
Earlier this month I had the exciting opportunity to participate in the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council (MassTLC)’s annual Innovation “unConference,” a Boston gathering of entrepreneurs, technology sector professionals and students. As co-chair of the legislature’s Tech Hub Caucus, I facilitated a session that focused on ways for government and the tech community to collaborate, innovate, and work together to advance the innovation economy in Massachusetts.
I was thrilled to speak with such a diverse audience, share my perspective on ways for the tech sector to engage with legislators, and learn about the real challenges that entrepreneurs and start-ups face in Massachusetts. It was terrific to hear so many wonderful ideas and to learn from a community of people that are really interested in and committed to engaging with government and having a say in the policies that impact their businesses and lives.
We kicked off the session with many essential questions: How can we create better connections between tech companies and state policy makers? How can state government help to nurture a business climate that is friendly to start-ups and tech companies? How can we further promote and encourage innovation and entrepreneurship?
In the latest effort to support veterans, military members and their families in Massachusetts, the Senate unanimously passed legislation on October 10th to expand benefits, increase access to services and strengthen the recognition and honor given to our service men and women, Senator Karen Spilka announced.
“The veterans who serve our country deserve our deep recognition and gratitude, as well as the assistance and support services they need when they return from their service,” Spilka said. “This bill provides so many important services for our military communities, and I am a proud supporter of this legislation.”
The legislation, known as the VALOR Act II, was presented by Senator Michael Rush (D-West Roxbury), Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs. “This omnibus veterans’ bill integrates common-sense proposals from my colleagues and the veterans community as a whole,” said Rush. “The reforms we have enacted and studies we have undertaken will make a meaningful difference in the lives of Massachusetts service members. Without question, the Legislature and Administration have done more for our veterans in the past few years than during any other period in the last half-century. This is a legacy we should be proud of and strive to emulate in the future.”
Senator Spilka worked with Brett Walker, an Ashland veteran, to advocate for a provision that would create a two-year veterans’ court pilot program to handle minor offense cases involving military veterans.
The Massachusetts Senate on Thursday unanimously passed legislation to enhance protections for victims of domestic violence, strengthen penalties for strangulation and establish new employment rights that will help victims keep their jobs and increase long-term economic productivity. October is recognized nationally as Domestic Violence Awareness Month.
“Too many people in our communities are victims of terrible acts of domestic violence. This bill takes very important steps to improve protections for victims and increase penalties for perpetrators,” Senator Karen Spilka (D-Ashland) said. “Victims of domestic violence need our support and protection, and I am so proud to support this necessary legislation.”
In the current Senate session, Senator Spilka has filed several other pieces of domestic violence legislation, including legislation to increase penalties for domestic violence by repeat offenders and a bill to better ensure the safety of victims of domestic violence who are awaiting trial. These two major provisions are included as amendments to this bill.
Among victims of intimate partner violence, about 1 in 4 women (24.3%) and 1 in 7 men (13.8%) have previously experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner at some point in their lives. One amendment to this bill increases penalties for repeat domestic violence offenders by updating current law to define domestic assault and battery as a first offense. Current law imposes penalties for “subsequent domestic violence offenses,” but fails to clearly define a first offense, making the statute unenforceable.
The bill also includes an amendment proposed by Senator Spilka that allows judges to set both cash bail and pretrial conditions in cases of domestic violence, to further ensure that victims of domestic violence are protected while awaiting trial. Currently in domestic violence cases, a judge must choose between imposing a cash bail or establishing pretrial conditions of release. This change will allow a judge to address a defendant’s flight risk and also set conditions to better ensure the safety of the victim, witnesses and the community.
The Massachusetts Senate today passed legislation that would further advance the safety of Massachusetts citizens during disasters or emergencies by requiring emergency evacuation plans to include household pets and service animals. Senate Bill 1172, filed by State Senator Karen Spilka (D-Ashland), would improve public safety by ensuring that the needs of people with household pets are addressed in the case of an emergency.
During a disaster or emergency requiring the evacuation of homes, the failure to evacuate becomes a critical public safety and public health issue. Without emergency evacuation plans specifically addressing their pets and service animals, many citizens refuse to evacuate, endangering themselves and first responders.
“In the case of a natural disaster or other emergency, many people are reluctant to leave their pets and service animals behind. The animals that do get left behind often suffer tragic consequences,” Spilka said. “Victims of a disaster should not have to suffer the additional emotional stress of having to abandon their household pets as well.”
Spilka’s legislation would allow Massachusetts to join several other states as a leader in the area of pet evacuation and emergency preparedness planning. At the federal level, the Pets Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act requires states accepting federal funding for homeland security preparedness to provide for animals in their state-level disaster planning. However, state level legislation is needed so that local civil defense agencies in cities and towns also include provisions for animals.
The bill will now be considered by the House.
Great news for MetroWest: The MBTA plans to expand service on the Framingham/Worcester Commuter Rail Line to better serve residents, communities, employers and employees in the MetroWest region. On Wednesday, October 2nd, the 495/MetroWest Partnership hosted a meeting with Charles Planck, Assistant General Manager of Policy Performance and Strategy, and Acting Chief of Staff at the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) to discuss these proposed changes. The improvements to the Framingham/Worcester line include schedule changes, as well as upgrades to tracks, stations, coaches and locomotives. The MBTA is still accepting comments and recommendations from commuters and stakeholders on the new schedule, including changes to departure times, recommended express stops and potential weekend schedules.
This is a wonderful opportunity to share your thoughts and recommendations on how the Commuter Rail can best serve you and your families! You can view the slides from last week’s meeting, and review the MBTA’s letter soliciting comments. Suggestions are welcome and should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org