Rep. Haggerty pleased to see Workplace Safety Grants of Over $8,000 Awarded to Woburn

WOBURNState Representative Richard Haggerty (D-Woburn) is pleased to see the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (EOLWD) award safety training grants through the Department of Industrial Accidents Workplace Safety Training Grant program to Columbia Construction Company and Kiwi Technologies Inc.

“I’m delighted that two organizations right here in Woburn will receive funding for workplace safety training,” said Representative Haggerty. “These grants help empower companies to proactively train their employees on crucial safety measures through preventative training and educational programs. The safety and well-being of workers in Woburn and across our Commonwealth is critically important. ”

As part of EOLWD, the Department of Industrial Accidents administers this initiative to provide Massachusetts companies with financial assistance to promote safe and healthy conditions in the workplace by funding preventative safety training and education programs.

Columbia Construction Company was awarded $2,800 to train 85 workers while Kiwi Technologies Inc. received $5,400 to train 40 workers by June 2024.

The Workplace Safety Grant Program applications are reviewed and awarded on a rolling basis each fiscal year. Approximately $800,000 was allocated for FY24. The program encourages organizations to have a proactive approach to safety.

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Representative Haggerty presents Citation to Woburn Memorial High School DECA Club Students

BOSTONRepresentative Richard Haggerty (D-Woburn) and Senator Cindy Friedman were happy to present citations to Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) students from Woburn Memorial High School at the State House during the DECA Day on the Hill. Representative Haggerty met with the students after the DECA event for an informal discussion about the legislative process and daily workings of the State House. The students were accompanied by their advisor Ms. Jennifer Keenan. Pictured are (l-r) Representative Haggerty, Students Noah Sheldon, Ronan Flavin, Michael Nicolas, Alexa Dhaliwal, Paris Michaud, Amia-Ann Gocking, Fabyana Maitre, and representing Senator Friedman’s office is Legislative Aide Thomas Pelkey.

Reading Fire Department awarded $14,110 state grant to purchase firefighter safety equipment

BOSTON – House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading), State Representative Richard M. Haggerty (D-Woburn), State Senator Jason Lewis (D-Winchester) and Reading Fire Chief Gregory Burns joined with the Healey-Driscoll Administration to announce that the Reading Fire Department has been awarded a $14,110.76 Firefighter Safety Equipment Grant through the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security and the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services.

According to Secretary of Public Safety and Security Terrence Reidy and State Fire Marshal Jon Davine, a total of $5 million in grant funding is being distributed to 321 fire departments across Massachusetts as reimbursement for the purchase of critical safety gear and equipment. Reading’s grant award will be used to support the fire department’s purchase of portable radio support equipment, firefighter gear and individual SCBA facepieces.

“We are pleased to have been awarded the grant funding,” said Chief Burns. “Our request was for funding to equip four replacement firefighters. We need to equip our new personnel with protective clothing that meets N.F.P.A. 1971 standards and properly fits. Specifically, we requested to purchase 4 structural helmets with shields, 4 SCBA facepieces, 3 structural turnout coats, 3 structural turnout pants and suspenders, 4 leather structural boots, 4 nomex hoods, and 4 leather structural gloves.”

“Reading’s firefighters play a critical role in protecting the public while working under what are often very stressful and hazardous conditions,” said Representative Jones. “These grants fill an essential need by ensuring our first responders have access to the proper turnout gear, tools and equipment to help make their jobs safer and allow them to better serve the public.”

“As the grandson of a firefighter, I understand the vital role Reading’s firefighters play in keeping our community safe while working in dangerous situations,” said Representative Haggerty. “The Firefighter Safety Equipment Grants will provide our first responders with the necessary tools, gear, and equipment they need to do their jobs safely and effectively, ensuring our community is well-protected.”

“Our brave firefighters risk the health hazards posed by smoke and other fire byproducts to keep us safe. We owe it to our first responders to provide them the equipment they need to stay safe and healthy,” said Senator Lewis. “I’m pleased that this state grant will support the Reading Fire Department and help keep our community and firefighters protected.”

The Firefighter Safety Equipment Grants are part of a five-year, $25 million state bond authorization designed to improve fire safety across the state. This marks the fourth year funding has been awarded to the Commonwealth’s fire departments under this competitive grant program.

“The Firefighter Safety Equipment Grants are an investment in the health and safety of Massachusetts firefighters,” said Davine. “The flexibility of the program is especially valuable because it allows each department to make purchases based on their specific needs and resources. It has become a vital part of the way the Massachusetts fire service prepares for the constantly evolving threats in the world around us.”

The maximum amount of the grants made available to local fire departments under this program is capped based on the size of the population the department serves. Many of the equipment purchases funded through this grant program enable local fire departments to achieve compliance with Occupational Safety Health Administration or National Fire Protection Association safety standards.

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Rep. Haggerty urges seniors to inquire about Circuit Breaker and Property Tax Volunteer Program for Tax Relief

BOSTONState Representative Richard Haggerty (D-Woburn) is urging Commonwealth residents who are 65 or older to inquire about their eligibility for the Senior Circuit Breaker Tax Credit when filing their 2023 state tax returns. In addition, the Representative is encouraging seniors to take advantage of the Senior Property Tax Volunteer Program in their municipality, a provision he sponsored.

Established by the State Legislature in 1999, the Circuit Breaker provides financial relief to seniors by offering a refundable tax credit to help offset rent and property taxes associated with their primary residence in Massachusetts. The recent legislative changes have significantly expanded the tax credit, doubling the maximum credit from $1,200 to $2,590 for the 2023 tax year. The recent changes were approved by the House and Senate and signed into law by Governor Maura Healey in October 2023. This increase will provide substantial savings for nearly 100,000 qualifying seniors across the state when they file their taxes over the next couple of months.

Furthermore, another important update was made to the Senior Property Tax Volunteer Program, increasing from $1,500 to $2,000, which allows municipalities to reduce certain seniors’ property tax if they participate in the senior work-off program.

“Programs like the Circuit Breaker Tax Credit and the Senior Property Tax Volunteer Program are critical for offering financial assistance to seniors who are on fixed incomes facing rising housing costs,” said Representative Haggerty. “These programs provide real, impactful relief putting money back into the pockets of our senior residents. I’m proud to have supported these very important tax relief measures.”

To qualify for the Circuit Breaker tax credit, Massachusetts residents must be 65 or older by December 31, 2023, and own or rent a home in Massachusetts that serves as their primary residence, explains Rep. Haggerty. For married couples filing a joint tax return, only one spouse needs to meet the age requirement. Additionally, the credit applies to homes assessed at $1,025,000 (before residential exemptions but after abatements) or less in value as of January 1, 2023.

Applicants must satisfy income limits to be eligible. For single filers, the total 2023 income threshold is $69,000. For heads of households, the cap is $86,000, and for joint-married filers, $103,000.

Homeowners can qualify if their 2023 Massachusetts property tax payments plus half their water and sewer costs exceed 10% of their total Massachusetts income for the tax year. For renters, 25% of their annual Massachusetts rent must surpass 10% of their total 2023 Massachusetts income for the tax year. One caveat – the credit is not available for seniors residing in public or subsidized housing.

To receive the Circuit Breaker Tax Credit, eligible seniors must complete Schedule CB (Circuit Breaker Credit) and submit it along with their standard Massachusetts Form 1 or Form 1-NR/PY income tax form. Rep. Haggerty stresses that applicants must file a Massachusetts state tax return to claim the credit, even if they do not owe any taxes.

For more information about the Senior Circuit seniors can visit https://www.mass.gov/info-details/massachusetts-senior-circuit-breaker-tax-credit. Additional assistance is available by contacting the Massachusetts Department of Revenue’s Customer Service Bureau at 617-887-6367 (toll-free at 1-800-392-6089) from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m, Monday through Friday. As for the Senior Property Tax Volunteer Program, contact your local municipality for further information.

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Rep. Haggerty delighted to see Apprenticeship Grant of Over $44,000 Awarded to Woburn

WOBURNState Representative Richard Haggerty (D-Woburn) is delighted to see the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (EOLWD) award an apprenticeship training and services grant to Associated Building Contractors of Massachusetts (ABC). The goal of EOLWD’s apprenticeship grant program is to expand Registered Apprenticeship into priority industries, further diversify the existing apprenticeship workforce, and enhance existing apprenticeships and programs statewide.

“I’m thrilled that an organization right here in Woburn will receive funding to expand apprenticeship and job training opportunities for our residents with diverse backgrounds,” said Representative Haggerty. “These programs set participants up for success with the skills and experience they need to secure good-paying jobs. Also, this will strengthen economic opportunities in our community.”

ABC was awarded $44,064 to provide Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) focused apprenticeship opportunities in various construction trades for 12 individuals from the Woburn area. This grant is part of the Apprenticeship Expansion and Opportunity Grant program administered by EOLWD’s Division of Apprentice Standards.

So far in Fiscal Year 2024, EOLWD has awarded approximately $5 million in grants to 25 organizations across Massachusetts as part of the Commonwealth’s Apprenticeship Expansion Plan to increase access to this earn-as-you-learn model. Apprenticeships provide a combination of classroom instruction and on-the-job training under the supervision of experienced professionals.

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Rep. Haggerty pleased to see Woburn Awarded Over $18,000 in Cultural Grants

WOBURN – The Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) through the Woburn Cultural Council has awarded over $18,000 in cultural grant funding to 11 Woburn-based individuals and organizations from the Fiscal Year 2024 Cultural District Investment Grant Program. The grant recipients include local artists, schools, nonprofits, and the Woburn Public Library.

“I was proud to support the Commonwealth’s continued investment in Woburn’s vibrant arts and cultural community,” said Representative Haggerty. “This funding will support important programming right here in our city that educates students, engages residents, and celebrates our local talent.”

The organizations to receive monies are Philip Alexander Bereaud ($900), Sean Fullerton ($350), Know Your Neighbor Woburn ($1,000), Karina Liendo ($1,320), Malcolm White Elementary School ($950), Mary D. Altavesta School ($1,430), Massachusetts Educational Theater Guild, Inc. ($1,000), David Polatin ($500), Social Capital, Inc. ($5,000), The Delvena Theatre Company ($650), and Woburn Public Library ($7,085).

The grants are part of $810,000 awarded statewide to 54 state-designated cultural districts by the MCC to support cultural districts and activities. The funding aims to bolster the creative and cultural sector, thereby advancing economic vitality, supporting transformational change, and celebrating, preserving, and inspiring creativity across all Massachusetts communities. The Agency pursues this mission through a broad range of programs, services, advocacy, and the equitable investment of public resources.

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House and Senate approve Reading’s request to update its Affordable Housing Trust Fund

BOSTON – Legislation allowing the Town of Reading to replace its existing Affordable Housing Trust Fund with a more streamlined program has been approved by the Massachusetts House of Representatives and Senate and is now before Governor Maura Healey for her review and signature.

House Bill 1341, An Act authorizing the town of Reading to dissolve its Affordable Housing Trust Fund, was enacted in both legislative branches on January 22. Filed on the town’s behalf by House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading), State Representative Richard M. Haggerty (D-Woburn), and State Senator Jason M. Lewis (D-Winchester), the home rule petition was previously engrossed in the House on December 7, 2023, and in the Senate on January 18.

Governor Healey now has until February 1 to sign the bill into law.

Reading established its Affordable Housing Trust Fund in 2001, making it one of the first Massachusetts communities to do so. Although this fund has helped the Town pursue its affordable housing goals for more than two decades, the current structure is cumbersome and is not working as effectively as it could be to promote more affordable housing production.

Initially approved at Reading’s November 14, 2022, Town Meeting, House Bill 1341 authorizes Reading to replace its Affordable Housing Trust Fund with a new fund established under the Municipal Affordable Housing Trust Fund Law, which is outlined in Section 55C of Chapter 44 of the Massachusetts General Laws. Once the current trust fund is dissolved, approximately $400,000 will be transferred from it and deposited into the new fund.

“Reading has long been at the forefront of efforts to create more affordable housing for its residents,” said Representative Jones. “The streamlined trust fund structure offered under Chapter 44 will enable Reading officials to more easily and effectively pursue these housing goals and will encourage more affordable housing production in the community.”

“This important legislation provides Reading officials with a valuable tool in their efforts to pursue affordable housing opportunities for residents in this current climate of rising housing costs,” said Representative Haggerty. “Furthermore, it will help promote more affordable housing production in the community, through a streamlined trust fund structure enabled under Chapter 44.”

“Housing access and affordability is one of my top priorities in the legislature this session,” said Senator Lewis. “I am glad to see Reading doing its part to promote more affordable housing production in the community through this restructuring, and I’m ready to continue lending my support to fight the housing crisis in Massachusetts.”

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Representative Haggerty applauds House passage of Legislation to Prevent Abuse and Exploitation, Enhance Protections for Survivors

BOSTON – Wednesday, January 10, 2024 – State Representative Richard M. Haggerty (D-Woburn) was pleased to join his colleagues in the House of Representatives to unanimously pass House Bill 4241, ‘An Act to prevent abuse and exploitation,’ an important piece of legislation that aims to prevent abuse and exploitation, while also enhancing protections for survivors. Representative Haggerty was proud to be a lead sponsor of the Coercive Control section of this legislation and applauded its passage as a critical step forward in supporting victims and bringing abusers to justice.

“Protecting victims is the driving force behind these efforts and I am pleased we are giving prosecutors more tools to deal with these disturbing and dangerous situations. Thank you to Speaker Mariano, Chair Michlewitz, Chair Day, and the advocacy groups who recognize how important it is that we further protect victims by updating our criminal laws,” said Representative Haggerty.

Key provisions of the bill include:

· Teen Sexting: Minors involved in sexting will now be diverted to an educational program in lieu of criminal punishment. A district attorney, however, is allowed to petition the court to bring criminal charges in extreme cases;

· Image-Based Sexual Assault: Nonconsensual distribution of explicit images by adults will be penalized in the existing criminal harassment statute, including up to two and a half years of prison time and/or a monetary fine of up to $10,000. There will be an increase in the upper limit of the fine for criminal harassment from $1,000 to $5,000. In addition, a victim may also petition the court for a harassment prevention order against a person who has violated this statute;

· Coercive Control: The definition of abuse will now encompass coercive control. Coercive control is a nonphysical form of abuse that includes a pattern of behavior, or a single act intended to threaten, intimidate, harass, isolate, control, coerce, or compel compliance of a family or household member that causes the family or household member to fear physical harm or to have a reduced sense of physical safety or autonomy; and

· Extends Statute of Limitation: Extends the statute of limitations for assault and battery on a family or household member or against someone with an active protective order from 6 years to 15 years bringing it in line with the statute of limitations for rape, assault with intent to commit rape and sex trafficking.

“By defining coercive control as abuse and closing revenge porn consent loopholes, this law protects against the severe emotional harm too often inflicted through non-physical tactics, sending a clear message that revenge porn, coercive control, and criminal harassment have no place in Massachusetts,” said Representative Haggerty. “As technology changes, we must modernize our approach to keeping people safe and have laws on the books that reflect the rapidly changing times in which we all live.”

“The House has heard the urgent call of survivors to enhance protections and ensure that our laws keep up with technology. But the House doesn’t just listen, we act,” said Representative Michael S. Day (D-Stoneham), House Chair of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary. “It’s critical that these reforms pass into law quickly so that victims of coercive control, adolescent sexting and revenge porn aren’t left without relief.”

Having passed the House of Representatives, “An Act to prevent abuse and exploitation” now goes to the Senate for their consideration.

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Representative Haggerty pleased to announce $532,380 in additional transportation infrastructure grants for Woburn

BOSTON – State Representative Richard M. Haggerty (D-Woburn) is pleased to announce that Woburn will receive $532,380 in additional funding in Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24) as part of a state plan to allocate $100 million in grants to assist cities and towns with their transportation infrastructure needs.

“I’m pleased that Woburn will receive over $530,000 in additional infrastructure monies, enabling the town to make critical investments in local transportation projects,” said Representative Haggerty. “The maintenance and improvements to our local roads, sidewalks, and transportation safety measures are crucial. Each of these efforts plays a significant role in enhancing public safety, fostering economic growth, and improving the quality of life in our community.”

This latest round of funding supplements the annual Chapter 90 appropriation for municipalities, which was finalized by the House and Senate on July 27 and signed into law on August 3. That legislation provided Woburn with $1,256,310.83 for road and bridge repairs in FY24.

Representative Haggerty noted that the Legislature authorized the new round of transportation infrastructure funding through a line item inserted into the Fiscal Year 2024 state budget that was signed into law on August 9. The funding is being dispersed using a two-prong formula, with $50 million being awarded using the traditional Chapter 90 formula, which factors in a community’s local road mileage (58.33%), population (20.83%), and employment (20.83%). The remaining $50 million will be allocated based on each community’s share of road mileage.

Woburn will receive $218,302 for its road mileage and $ 314,078 based on the Chapter 90 formula, for a total apportionment of $532,380.

Cities and towns can use the new grant funding to pay for a variety of projects including sidewalks, bicycle lanes, crossing signals, and other transportation infrastructure needs.

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Jones, Haggerty and Lewis announce $100 million in state transportation infrastructure grants for cities and towns

BOSTON – House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading), State Representative Richard M. Haggerty (D-Woburn), and State Senator Jason M. Lewis (D-Winchester) are pleased to announce that Reading will receive $302,615 in additional funding in Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24) as part of a state plan to distribute $100 million in grants to assist cities and towns with their transportation infrastructure needs.

The latest round of funding supplements the annual Chapter 90 appropriation for municipalities, which was finalized by the House and Senate on July 27 and signed into law on August 3. That legislation provided Reading with $594,466.76 for road and bridge repairs in FY24.

“This new infusion of grant funding will allow Reading to carry out critical infrastructure improvements to address the town’s local transportation priorities,” said Jones. “This program is a perfect example of the Legislature’s ongoing commitment to fostering stronger state and municipal partnerships that will benefit all residents of the Commonwealth.”

“I’m pleased that Reading will receive over $300,000 in additional infrastructure monies, allowing the town to make critical investments in local transportation initiatives,” said Representative Haggerty. “Maintaining and improving local roads, sidewalks, and transportation safety enhancements are vital, as each one of these can improve public safety, expand economic development, and enhance the quality of life in our community.”

“I’m very pleased that Reading will be receiving these funds from the state to improve roads, sidewalks, intersections, and other critical local infrastructure,” said Senator Lewis. “I was proud to help lead the effort to pass the Fair Share Amendment and it is gratifying to see this new revenue being put to such good use for our communities.”

The Reading legislative delegation noted that the new round of transportation infrastructure funding was authorized by the Legislature through a line item inserted into the Fiscal Year 2024 state budget, which was signed into law on August 9. The funding is being distributed using a two-prong formula, with $50 million being awarded using the traditional Chapter 90 formula, which factors in a community’s local road mileage (58.33%), population (20.83%), and employment (20.83%). The remaining $50 million will be distributed based on each community’s share of road mileage.

Reading will receive $153,998 for its road mileage and $148,617 based on the Chapter 90 formula, for a total apportionment of $302,615.

Cities and towns can use the new grant funding to pay for a variety of construction, preservation, and improvement projects. This includes installing sidewalks, bicycle lanes, crossing signals, and other transportation infrastructure work.

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