Around the District
June was a busy month in the district, with my staff and I attending numerous events and meetings in the area, including a tour of Acton’s Life Care Center, the Devens Robotica Exposition, the groundbreaking of Phase 2A of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail, and the Lunenburg Boys and Girls Club’s 10th Birthday celebration.
I also had the pleasure of attending the Boxborough Fifer’s Day parade and ceremonies. Along with Senator Jamie Eldridge, I presented a citation honoring Ernie Fournier, the parade’s Grand Marshal. I also presented a citation to George Krusen II, the Golden Fife winner. Additionally, at a forum sponsored by the Harvard League of Women Voters, I heard from Harvard residents about their views on the warrants considered by the Devens Super Town Meeting.
The Nashoba Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Public Policy Committee held a meeting on June 2 that I attended to provide a legislative update and discuss their policy goals and concerns. We had productive discussions about the state’s Film Tax Credit, prison mitigation funding for Shirley in the FY 2016 budget, and other legislative topics.
At a Farm to School Roundtable event in Devens, I spoke with the Massachusetts Teachers’ Association, emphasizing the critical role that educators play in making sure every student can access quality food while at school. Ensuring that cafeterias throughout the district and commonwealth serve healthy meals remains one of my priorities of the 2016-2017 Legislative Session.
On June 19, I toured the Healing Garden, located in Harvard, with Senator Eldridge. The Garden is a nonprofit that provides holistic care and alternative therapies for people affected by cancer.
I also presented citations at several Eagle Scout Ceremonies in Acton, and was a guest on WPKZ Fitchburg’s The Daily Pulse morning radio program.
At the State House
Sadly, on June 28, State Senator Thomas P. Kennedy of Brockton passed away. He served more than 30 years as a Massachusetts legislator, pledging his life and career to representing and aiding the people of his district. During my short time working with him as co-chairs of the Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure, I gained an appreciation for the dedication and purpose Senator Kennedy brought to his work. He was a man with an exceptionally strong character and true pride in this state—he will be deeply missed.
Early this month, I chaired a hearing of the Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure. The committee considered several bills, including legislation regarding licensing standards for drain-cleaners, and regulation of telecommunications systems contractors and technicians.
On June 9, I co-hosted a screening of The Hunting Ground and spoke on a panel discussing sexual assault on college campuses, and the need for better protections for our college students.
I also met with students from Acton’s Conant Elementary School at the State House, and congratulated them for winning the Massachusetts Elementary School of the Year award from the National Energy Education Development (NEED) project.
I closely followed several bills that I sponsored as they progressed through committees this month, including An Act Relative to Eating Healthy in School Cafeterias (H. 3221), An Act Relative to Campus Safety (H. 3249), An Act Regarding Spouses as Caregivers (H. 70), and multiple special education bills (H. 308, H. 309, H. 310).
Additionally, the Home Rule Petition Senator Eldridge and I filed on behalf of the Town of Acton, An Act Exempting Certain Positions in the Police Department of the Town of Acton from the Civil Service Law (H. 2202), was signed into law by Governor Baker on June 30, 2015. The law went into effect immediately.
As always, I would like to encourage you to keep in touch by contacting my office at (617) 722-2014, or by emailing me at Jennifer.Benson@mahouse.com.