Last week, the Massachusetts Senate wrapped up formal legislative sessions for 2015. Continue reading to learn about Senate accomplishments this year in the following key priority areas:
- Shared Prosperity & Income Inequality
- Climate Change & Energy
- Criminal Justice Reform
- Shared Leadership & Transparency
- Combating the Opioid Crisis
- Protecting Taxpayers
- Protecting Our Children & Families
- Intergovernmental Affairs
Last week, the Massachusetts Senate passed a variety of pieces of legislation covering veterans, public education, and social media privacy. The late-night session wrapped up formal legislative sessions for the legislature until January.
“These bills provide meaningful protections and support to our veterans, establish guidelines for fostering healthy and informed children in our schools, promote the implementation and expansion of clean energy, and create important online privacy guards for students and workers,” said Senator Karen Spilka (D-Ashland), Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “Perhaps most importantly, we passed stiffer penalties for the trafficking of fentanyl, an extremely harmful additive to heroin that has contributed to the spike in opioid deaths in Massachusetts in the past year.”
Senator Spilka will host her annual Senior Health and Wellness Fair next month. All MetroWest seniors are invited to learn new health and wellness information, ask questions and enjoy a fun day out.
9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Joseph P. Keefe Technical School
750 Winter Street, Framingham
The Legislature today took final action on the Fiscal Year 2016 budget, Senate Committee on Ways and Means Chair Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland) announced. These veto overrides will enhance support for Massachusetts residents and municipalities, and ensure that local programs, education funding and economic development initiatives are well funded by the legislature.
“This final budget reflects a modest spending increase over last year that is within revenue projections,” said Senator Spilka. “Over the past two days, we restored funding to critical programs and services, especially in areas related to education, homelessness, substance abuse and our innovation economy. This is a balanced budget that covers expected costs for the coming year and makes strategic investments to lift families across the Commonwealth.”
The Massachusetts Senate today voted in favor of legislation to create a new Innovative Communities program to serve as a common place of access, education and point of connection for startups and municipalities seeking innovative technology solutions. Senator Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland), founder and co-chair of the legislative Tech Hub Caucus, filed the legislation in collaboration with many stakeholders in the startup community.
“We have an incredibly strong innovation economy here in Massachusetts. It’s time for our government to be innovative too,” said Senator Spilka. “This first-of-its-kind program is the product of a collaborative, interactive process, and it will foster stronger connections and opportunities for startups and local governments.”
“Today is an important milestone for startups, government and the residents of Massachusetts,” said Cole Boskey, a Boston entrepreneur who spearheaded grassroots efforts for the bill. “We’re one step closer to making it easier for startups to pilot their products and services with municipalities throughout the state, and in turn we’re showing why Massachusetts is the best place to start a business.”
Senator Spilka filed the bill after a Tech Hub Caucus “Idea-a-thon” in November 2014, where attendees pitched ideas to help technology companies start, grow and thrive in Massachusetts. After the event, Senator Spilka met with stakeholders in government and the tech community to develop the winning idea into the Innovative Communities program.
The Senate today voted in favor of S1007, a resolution to encourage equitable and diverse gender representation on boards of companies in the Commonwealth. Senator Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland) and lead co-sponsor Representative Pat Haddad (D-Somerset) filed the resolution in recognition of consistent research showing positive business impacts of greater diversity on boards of directors.
“This is not just a women’s issue or a family issue. This is a business issue,” said Senator Spilka. “Businesses with greater gender diversity at the top have a competitive advantage in the global economy. With this resolution, we are making a strong statement of public policy that Massachusetts values equality, justice and diversity.”
On Tuesday, July 21st, Senator Karen E. Spilka testified at the State House in support of three important pieces of legislation to ensure equality and justice for women in Massachusetts.
The Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development heard testimony on Senator Spilka’s Women on Boards Resolution and the Equal Pay Bill, bills to encourage equitable and diverse gender representation on boards of directors in Massachusetts and to help bridge the gender wage gap. The Joint Committee on Financial Services heard testimony on Senator Spilka’s bill to protect access to confidential health care, the PATCH Act.
Massachusetts is a beacon of equality and justice. It’s time that we live up to those values by taking action on equal pay, women in leadership and women’s health.
Continue reading for details on Women on Boards, Equal Pay and the Patch Act.