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Senate Passes Bill to Protect Access to Confidential Health Care

February 14, 2018

Today the Massachusetts State Senate passed legislation to protect patients’ access to confidential health care. In an effort to maintain the confidentiality of patients covered as dependents on another person’s insurance policy, the “PATCH Act” requires insurance carriers to issue common summary of payment forms directly to the patient.

“Patient confidentiality is a foundational element of the patient-provider relationship,” said Senator Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland), lead sponsor of the bill. “Unfortunately, young adults, minors or victims of abuse are often reluctant to seek certain types of treatment, fearing that their personal health information will be disclosed to a parent or spouse. This bill is a crucial step to ensure all Massachusetts residents can safely access the health care services they need.”

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Senate Passes Bill Funding Capital Facility Repairs and Improvements in MetroWest

February 8, 2018


The Massachusetts Senate today voted to authorize up to $3.65 billion in bonds for repairs and improvements of capital facilities across the Commonwealth. Spending authorizations in the bill include bonds for state university and community college campus improvements, public safety and security facilities and clean energy and efficiency programs. The bill also authorizes funding for several capital projects across the MetroWest region, including the development of a new regional justice center in Framingham.

“This bill invests in capital projects across the state, to ensure our state facilities are well-maintained and well-equipped to best serve our residents and communities,” said Senator Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland), Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “These bonds are a strong step in our continued work with the Governor and the House to support projects in a range of areas, including health, safety and education, that are critical for our cities and towns.”

The bill authorizes $20 million in bonds for renovations to the existing Framingham district court and a feasibility study, design and construction of a new regional justice center in Framingham, improving access to justice for MetroWest residents.

The bill also authorizes $59 million for a new academic facility for the Massachusetts Bay Community College Allied Health program, keeping MassBay in Framingham.

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Tech Hub Caucus Innovation Day

January 23, 2018

Please Join the TechHUB Caucus
Megatrends & the Future of #TechinMA
Monday, January 29, 2018
Hall of Flags, Massachusetts State House
Featuring demos, companies and organizations from Bedford, Boston, Billerica, Boxborough, Burlington, Cambridge, Falmouth, Haverhill, Somerville, Waltham, Woburn…and more to come!
Did you know the tech sector accounts for 34% of the state’s workforce and 44% of the state’s payroll ? Or that 1 in every 17 jobs in Massachusetts is a tech job?
Please join the Massachusetts Legislative Tech Hub Caucus on January 29th in the State House for a showcase of innovative people, companies and technologies from across Massachusetts. The program will focus on megatrends and the future of tech in Massachusetts and will feature technology demos in areas including Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and more.



 Tech Demos active throughout the entire program


TechHUB Caucus Co-Chairs Senator Karen Spilka and Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante


Tom Hopcroft, President & CEO, MassTLC & Tim Connolly, Executive Director, MassTech Collaborative


Andy Ory, CEO, 128 Technology

11:45 AM: TechHUB Caucus NextGEN AWARDS

Recognizing tech companies leading and innovating in their field

Hosted by:
Senator Karen E. Spilka & Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante
Co-Chairs of the Legislative TechHUB Caucus
The TechHUB Caucus was launched in 2013 to bring thought leaders from within the technology sector together with state legislators and other public officials to better inform and support policymaking in Massachusetts. Senator Karen Spilka and Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante lead the Caucus as the Senate and House legislative chairs.

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Heffernan, Spilka, Sánchez Announce Consensus Revenue Forecast of $27.594B for Fiscal Year 2019

January 17, 2018

Senator Spilka leads FY2019 Consensus Revenue Hearing with Senate and House Ways and Means and Executive Office for Administration and Finance.

Projected state tax revenue growth set at 3.5%

Secretary of Administration and Finance Michael J. Heffernan, Senate Ways and Means Chair Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland), and House Ways and Means Chair Jeffrey Sánchez (D-Jamaica Plain) today announced a consensus revenue forecast for Fiscal Year 2019 (FY19) of $27.594 billion, representing 3.5% growth in state tax revenue over adjusted Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) projected revenue of $26.661 billion.

The adjusted FY18 revenue collections estimate incorporates a $157 million upgrade of projected state tax revenues announced by Secretary Heffernan today, which is based upon current year-to-date revenues and economic data.

The consensus revenue forecast represents the basis on which the Baker-Polito Administration, the House, and the Senate will build their respective FY19 budget recommendations.

Pursuant to Section 5B of Chapter 29 of the General Laws, the three officials above convene every year to establish a joint revenue forecast by January 15th. In addition to meeting with each other, the Secretary and Chairs held a public hearing in December 2017 to receive testimony from the Department of Revenue, the State Treasurer’s Office, the Public Employment Retirement Administration Commission, and independent, local economists from area foundations and universities on tax revenue.

“We must always be cautious when predicting revenue growth, especially given recent volatility and increased uncertainty for the coming year,” said Senate Committee on Ways and Means Chair Senator Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). “This projection of modest growth reflects these uncertainties, along with a recent upswing in economic trends. Moving forward in the FY19 budget process, we will continue to monitor revenue as we work to build a balanced budget, mindful of our mission to provide critical services and programs for the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable.”

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Senate Passes Sweeping Healthcare Reform and Cost Containment Bill

November 15, 2017

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Result of yearlong effort to address rising costs and consumer protections

Last week the Massachusetts Senate passed sweeping healthcare reform legislation S.2022, An Act Furthering Health Empowerment and Affordability by Leveraging Transformative Health Care. The HEALTH act, passed by a vote of 33-6, focuses on both short and long terms goals on how to fix our healthcare system to lower costs, improve outcomes, and maintain access. The legislation is the result of effort by a group of Senators, The Special Senate Committee on Health Care Cost Containment and Reform, addressing the healthcare system by analyzing the best practices in other states and engaging stakeholders in a series of meetings over the last year.

“Everyone deserves access to high quality health care at a fair price,” said Senator Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland), Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “Massachusetts has always been a leader when it comes to healthcare, and this legislation is the next step in our efforts to protect and empower consumers, encourage innovative healthcare and ensure access and affordability. Our goal is long-term cost savings for the state, without sacrificing our unwavering commitment to high quality coverage for all.”

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Senate Passes Sweeping Criminal Justice Reform Bill

October 27, 2017

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Legislation repeals archaic mandatory minimums, repeals punitive fees, updates sentencing guidelines

Last night, the Massachusetts Senate passed by a vote of 27-10 a comprehensive criminal justice reform package that updates decades old criminal sentencing laws to improve outcomes of our criminal justice system.  Among the provisions included in the bill are repealing ineffective mandatory minimum sentences for low level drug offenders, reducing and eliminating over burdensome fees and fines, reforming the bail system, allowing for compassionate release for infirmed inmates, and reforms to the juvenile justice system.

“These long overdue reforms reflect best practices in criminal justice to divert people from the system, encourage rehabilitation and reduce crime,” said Senate Committee on Ways and Means Chair Senator Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). “In particular, the juvenile justice reforms, like raising the age of juvenile jurisdiction and creating a process for expungement of misdemeanor records, ensure young people are treated fairly and appropriately. All young people deserve a second chance.  This bill provides them with access to the resources they need to get back on track and live successful, productive lives.”

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Senate Restores Funding for Education, Public Health, Other Statewide Services

September 28, 2017

The Senate today restored $24.9M to the Fiscal Year 2018 budget, overriding 26 of Governor Baker’s line item vetoes, which totaled $320.6M. These veto overrides bolster valuable programs for children, families and vulnerable residents across the Commonwealth.

“These programs and services provide critical resources for people across the state – from housing support for young people and families, to mental health services for children to basic education and skills training for low income adults,” said Senator Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland), Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “The Senate has carefully reviewed vetoes in the context of our difficult fiscal situation and ongoing efforts on health care cost containment. I am confident that the budget remains in balance and cautiously optimistic about revenue collections and potential savings moving forward.”

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