Around the District
I attended several events around the 37th Middlesex District in September, including a forum on single-payer health care in Ayer hosted by the Ayer, Lunenburg, and Shirley Democratic Town Committees. Senator Eldridge and I discussed our single-payer legislation, and Jackie Wolf of Mass-Care talked about the movement for single-payer in the state. I’ve spoken at several of these forums in the district, and it’s great to see so much enthusiasm for improving our health care system.
Later that month, I appeared before the Harvard Board of Selectmen to provide an update about legislative and budget items, including the home rule petitions Harvard has pending. I had a productive discussion with the selectmen about the petitions and other legislation.
Later in the week, I went to the Massachusetts Municipal Association legislative breakfast, where I discussed my carbon pricing legislation and my support for increased infrastructure investments. On September 28, I was in Acton celebrating the groundbreaking of the new Insulet manufacturing facility, which will support hundreds of new jobs. The next day, I attended the Minuteman High School legislative breakfast. I and other area legislators received an update from administration, faculty, and students about the construction of the new high school building.
At the State House
Last month, I was sworn in as a member of the board of directors of the nonpartisan nonprofit Women in Government. I have served as a Massachusetts state director for the organization since 2015, and I am honored to be joining the board of directors to help further their mission of supporting women in public office.
On September 26, I participated in a legislative briefing on maternal health organized by the Caucus of Women Legislators and the March of Dimes. We learned about legislation related to aiding preterm infants and infants born with exposure to substance abuse
I also attended the 31st annual Massachusetts Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony at the State House. We honored law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty, and commemorated eight officers who were added to the permanent memorial in Ashburton Park this year.
At a press conference last month, Attorney General Maura Healey announced her support for legislation I filed to better protect consumers from data breaches like the recent Equifax hack. This legislation was also filed by Senator Barbara L’Italien, and is currently pending before the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure. The day after the press conference, I joined the Attorney General and Senator L’Italien in testifying in favor of the bill at its September 26th hearing.
An Act Removing Fees for Security Freezes and Disclosures of Consumer Credit Reports was originally filed in January, and in light of the Equifax hack, I have worked in conjunction with Senator L’Italien and the Attorney General’s office to draft and propose updated language. The new language strengthens the bill by eliminating fees, establishing a procedure for placing credit freezes, mandating encryption of personal information in credit reports, and requiring that companies obtain consent before accessing or using consumer credit reports and credit scores.
The Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure is now examining the legislation and the proposed new language.
In September, the House of Representatives voted to restore $320 million in spending vetoed by Governor Baker from the FY2018 budget. I voted with my colleagues in the House to restore funding to the Massachusetts Cultural Council, housing for homeless youth, the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) program, and many other vital accounts.
In October, the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight will hold several hearings. I will also be touring businesses in the district, meeting with local nonprofits, and attending a Shirley Board of Selectmen meeting.
I always enjoy hearing from constituents, and I welcome you to reach out to me via email or phone at Jennifer.Benson@MAHouse.gov or (617) 722-2140.
37th Middlesex District