BOSTON — Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington), Representative Richard M. Haggerty (D-Woburn), and Representative Michelle Ciccolo (D-Lexington) will be hosting an Ice Cream Social at the Woburn Senior Center Thursday, November 21st.

WHO: State Senator Cindy F. Friedman, Representative Richard M. Haggerty, Representative Michelle Ciccolo

WHAT: Ice Cream Social with the Woburn State House Delegation

WHERE: Woburn Senior Center, 144 School Street, Woburn, MA 01801

WHEN: Thursday, November 21st from 1:00pm–2:30pm.

For questions please contact Anthony Langone, Legislative Aide to Representative Richard M. Haggerty, at (617) 722-2090 or Anthony.Langone@mahouse.gov.

House Passes Legislation to Support and Honor Veterans

BOSTON – Yesterday, days before the nation celebrates Veterans Day on November 11, Representative Richard M. Haggerty (D-Woburn) and Representative Michelle Ciccolo (D-Lexington),along with their colleagues in the House of Representatives, voted to unanimously pass two pieces of legislation, which would improve mental health care for student veterans and honor the military service contributions of a female American Revolutionary War soldier.

The first bill establishes a continuing education program – administered by the University of Massachusetts Medical School – to train public higher education counselors to recognize the symptoms of conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and to familiarize them with available resources for treatment for veterans attending state colleges and universities. The legislation aims to provide the necessary training for both clinical and non-clinical counselors working to support the unique needs of the more than 2,500 veteran students attending the commonwealth’s 29 public institutions of higher learning.

The second bill provides for a 15 member commission to design a memorial in honor of Deborah Sampson, who disguised herself as a man in order to serve in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. The commission will consist of legislators, the Secretary of the Department of Veterans’ Services, the Adjutant General of the Commonwealth, and representatives of veteran organizations.

“As our veterans transition from military to civilian life, it important that counselors are familiar and prepared to meet the challenges they face every single day. This bill will improve mental health care at our state institutions and ensure counselors are properly trained to aid those affected by conditions such as PTSD, providing the necessary care our Commonwealth’s veterans both need and deserve,” said Representative Haggerty. “We also honor our female service members past and present through the commissioning of this memorial, recognizing the service of one of our nation’s great patriots, Deborah Sampson.”

In 1782, Sampson used the name Robert Shurtleff to join the elite Fourth Massachusetts Infantry Regiment led by Captain George Webb at West Point, NY. Over the following year and a half, she participated in dangerous scouting missions, led a raid that brought about the capture of 15 Tory men, and stormed a British fort during the Siege of Yorktown.

Over the course of her service, Sampson sustained injuries including a forehead gash from a sword and a gunshot wound to the thigh. For the latter, she removed the bullet herself to avoid detection as a woman. When she later fell seriously ill and was hospitalized, her identity was discovered. On October 23, 1783, she received an honorable discharge and was the only woman to receive a full military pension for her service in the Continental Army. John Hancock and Paul Revere assisted her in obtaining her military pension, and General John Patterson selected her as his aide de camp due to her bravery and leadership. Sampson is the official state heroine of Massachusetts.

“When Deborah Sampson bravely donned her disguise and enlisted to serve her country seven years after the ‘Shot Heard Round the World’ at the Battle of Lexington and Concord, she could hardly have imagined that even 236 years later, women would still struggle for their voices to be heard in the nation she fought for,” said Representative Ciccolo.  “Deborah was the first of many brave Americans who, due to their gender, their race, their sexual orientation, or their gender identity, had to inexplicably fight for the privilege and honor of serving the country we all love.  She set an example, and it is up to us to continue honoring those who serve by pushing to allow everyone to do so openly and with pride, and providing them with the quality education and mental health care services they need and deserve when they come home.”

The two bills build on the House’s longstanding support for veterans, with Massachusetts’ benefits and services often ranked as first in the nation. Most recently, the General Court passed the BRAVE Act as well as legislation to assist veterans with funeral and burial expenses and property taxes.  The bills will now go to the Senate.

Representative Haggerty to Host Senior Charlie Card Event in Reading

Part of his ongoing effort to deliver increased public transportation options and assist seniors with living independently in their community, State Representative Richard M. Haggerty is partnering with the MBTA in sponsoring a “Senior Charlie Card” registration event at the Pleasant Street Center. The event will provide local seniors the opportunity to receive a discounted Senior Charlie Card pass for use on MBTA bus, rail, and subway systems. All Reading residents who are 65 years or older are highly encouraged to attend. 

The event will take place at the Pleasant Street Center, 49 Pleasant Street in Reading starting at 10 a.m. on Friday, November 8th, with members of Representative Haggerty’s staff and volunteers from the Center on hand to assist with applications. Eligible seniors must be new to the Senior Charlie Card program and present a government-issued photo ID, where they will then fill out a registration form along with having their photos taken.

“I would like to thank the MBTA and the staff at the Pleasant Street Center for making such an event possible, bringing the program and transportation benefits it provides directly to our seniors”, said Representative Haggerty. “I encourage eligible residents of Reading and the surrounding communities to join me at the Senior Center to take advantage of this important opportunity.”

A Senior Charlie Card provides the holder with discounted rates to ride buses for 85 cents, subways for $1.10, inner express buses for $2.10, and outer express buses for $2.60. Seniors can also travel on commuter rail or ferry services for 50 percent off the regular full fare. In addition, seniors can purchase a monthly pass, which is good for unlimited travel on local buses and subways for $30. No discounts apply to express bus passes, commuter rail passes, or boat passes.

Representative Bradley Jones will also be in attendance for the event alongside Representative Haggerty to meet with residents and answer any questions they may have. Those with questions are also encouraged to contact Rep. Haggerty’s Legislative Aide at Anthony.Langone@mahouse.gov and (617) 722-2090, or the Pleasant Street Center at (781) 942-6796.

Haggerty, Jones vote for Student Opportunity Act as it passes House

BOSTON – On October 23, Minority Leader Bradley Jones (R-North Reading) and Representative Richard Haggerty (D-Woburn), a member of the Joint Committee on Education, joined their House colleagues in unanimously passing the Student Opportunity Act, which would invest an unprecedented $1.5 billion in Massachusetts K-12 public education. The bill significantly helps school districts that serve high percentages of low-income students by increasing the low-income increment to 100% for them.

Passed unanimously by the Senate on October 3rd, the Student Opportunity Act fully implements the four recommendations of the Foundation Budget Review Commission (FBRC), which revolved around low-income students, English language learners (ELL), special education/circuit breaker, and employee health costs.  It is also estimated to provide $1.4 billion in new Chapter 70 aid when fully implemented over the next seven years.

“The bill represents the culmination of years of work and many months of legislative consideration,” said Representative Jones.  “The resources it directs towards school districts throughout the Commonwealth will, over time, reduce the gaps in achievement between districts, enhancing the long term opportunities for success for all our youth.”

“This historic investment in education will provide Reading and rest of the Commonwealth with the additional resources it needs to make sure every child receives a terrific education,” said Representative Haggerty. “As a member of the Joint Committee on Education and former local official, I can tell you this bill will deliver the kind of support municipalities need and our school districts deserve.”

The needs of districts educating high numbers of students from low-income households are addressed in this legislation by providing additional funding based on the share of low-income students.  Returning the definition of low-income to 185% of the Federal Poverty Level, as opposed to the 133% level that has been used in recent years, will allow districts educating the largest percentage of low-income students to receive an additional funding while bringing their increment equal to 100% of the base foundation.

In addition to money for low-income students, the bill increases foundation rates for guidance and psychological services that will support expanded social–emotional supports and mental health services.  It also expands the special education circuit breaker, which reimburses districts for extraordinary special education costs, to include transportation costs in addition to instructional costs, phased in over four years.

The Student Opportunity Act benefits the students of the Commonwealth in several other ways by:

  • Fully funding charter tuition reimbursements, which provide transitional aid to help districts when students leave to attend charter schools, within a three-year timetable.
  • Lifting the annual cap on Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) spending for school building construction and renovation by $150 million (from $600 million to $750 million), enabling more projects across the state to be accepted into the MSBA funding pipeline.
  • Establishes the “21st Century Education Trust Fund” to provide flexible funding to districts and schools pursuing creative approaches to student learning and district improvement.

Given the differences between the versions of the Student Opportunity Act that passed the House Wednesday and the Senate two weeks ago, the legislation will now go to a Conference Committee for deliberation. fffffffffffff


Representative Richard M. Haggerty (D-Woburn) and his colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives unanimously passed historic legislation to invest $1.5 billion in the Commonwealth’s public education system. Known as The Student Opportunity Act, the legislation invests funding to support the needs of English learners and school districts that serve high concentrations of low-income students in order to help address persistent disparities in student achievement.

In addition, school districts across the Commonwealth will benefit from updates to the existing funding formula, along with increased state investment in other vital education aid programs such as transportation, guidance and psychological services, school buildings and special education. 

This update that will ensure the children of Woburn and Reading, along with the rest of the Commonwealth, are given the much-needed resources for them to receive a top-tier education. Being a member of the Joint Standing Committee on Education along with campaigning strongly on updating the Education Funding Formula, Rep. Haggerty strongly believes this bill will deliver the necessary support that school districts and our municipalities rightly deserve. The Representative gave his passionate maiden speech in front of the House Chamber yesterday on the importance of passing this landmark piece of legislation, which can be read below:

 “Thank you Mr. Speaker, and to the Honorable Members of the House for allowing me to speak on the pressing issue of education funding reform in our Commonwealth. I rise today to strongly support H.4137 – The Student Opportunity Act.

Today I would like to thank The Speaker, Chairwoman Peisch, the Education Committee, and all those who have championed the cause of updating our education funding formula. I am proud to join you on this historic day and send the message to every corner of our state, that we recommit ourselves to making sure Massachusetts remains a national leader in educating our youth!

As I begin, I ask everyone to reflect on how your education brought you to where you are today.

The hard work of teachers, the coach who was a little tough on you, the mentor who spent a little extra time with you, and the school counselors who have all made significant impacts on our lives. You see, we are privileged to have received the opportunities that arose from our productive educational backgrounds. As a state our commitment to academic achievement is unmatched, and we are proud that our students are ranked among the highest in the nation for math and reading test scores year after year after year.

The Student Opportunity Act does just that. It tells parents, it tells teachers, and most importantly it tells a young generation of leaders that we see them – we hear them – and education-funding reform will not wait another year.

I’m a Woburn public school kid and proud of it. I have three Aunts who were public school teachers, and I’m proud of them. I’m also proud to live in a state that evaluates how well we are educating our kids and looks to find areas where we can do better. We recognize that achievement gaps exist, across a variety of demographics.

But today we have the opportunity to say once and for all, “We are going to better educate you. Whether you are an English language learner or on an IEP – we are going to support you. Whether you are black or white – we are going to empower you. Whether you are rich or poor we are going to help you reach your full potential.

Because that is what we do in Massachusetts. We invest in every young person regardless of gender, race, ability, creed, sexual orientation or anything else.

You see – today there is a second grade kid in my district of Woburn and Reading learning about odd and even numbers or is learning about using capital letters correctly. This young person has no idea what lies ahead for them, no idea what the world holds for them. They have no idea a bunch of legislators are sitting on Beacon Hill debating a piece of legislation that will impact them for the next 10 years of their lives, maybe the next 50 years of their lives. A piece of legislation that could help decide so many other important parts of this young person’s life – where or even if they go to college, what kind of job they have, how well they’re paid,  whether they can support their family, whether they feel intellectually and personally fulfilled. In some ways it sounds so grandiose and then I pause think about and realize – it is.

Now to be fair there are some who ask the question, why now? Why should we make this kind of investment at this moment. Well the answer is simple – the world has changed and the responsibility we have to educate our youth must change with it. We are no longer preparing our students for the jobs of 30 years ago. We are no longer preparing our kids for the jobs of yesterday or even tomorrow. Now our teachers are preparing our kids for jobs that don’t event exist yet. That’s how fast our world is moving today – the world has changed and we must change with it.

All of our kids need to be ready to compete in a global world against kids from all corners of the globe and we need to give them the tools to do it. Not only do they need to compete against competitors half a world away but they need to compete against machines, automation, and a rapidly changing economy.

Investing in education also sends a clear message to educators. To our current teachers it says we value your work, we support you, and we are ready to put our money where our mouth is. To future teachers is says Massachusetts isn’t going anywhere – we are playing the short and the long game when it comes to properly funding education, and we are ready to show you how serious we are.

As a member on the Joint Committee of Education I can tell you this bill will deliver the kind of support municipalities need, and our school districts deserve. Each year there are School Committees across the state making the hard decisions of where to invest money and how to ring another dollar out of a tight budget. School officials are talking to a parent of a young student whose first language isn’t English, or an older student who’s acting out and needs more behavioral support.

The resources in this bill will provide these local officials and these districts more tools to close budget gaps, invest in a community’s priority areas, and better support the social and emotional needs of students.

The proposed legislation would address the main recommendations of the foundation budget review commission including stronger support for English-language learners and low-income students, additional funding for special education and associated transportation costs, along with more support for school employee health care costs.

So today is a big win for Massachusetts, a big win for communities, a big win for parents, a big win for teachers, and most importantly a big win for students.

I would like to thank the people of the 30th Middlesex District Woburn and Reading for the honor to represent them in this chamber. I would also like to thank my supporters, my family, and my wife Haley for their love and support.

Our Commonwealth has a long, storied history of educational activism, and today we reaffirm the words of Horace Mann:

‘Let us not be content to wait and see what will happen, but give us the determination to make the right things happen.’ 

Today we take a big step forward to making great things happen for our students. Thank you.”

House Passes Fiscal Year 2019 Supplemental Budget with Targeted Investments in Infrastructure, the Environment, Wellness and Education

BOSTON –  State Representative Richard Haggerty has joined his colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives to pass a supplemental budget allowing the Commonwealth to increase the balance of its “Rainy Day Fund” to $3.2 billion, invest in local infrastructure projects, fight the opioid crisis while providing emergency funding for towns affected by the tornados on Cape Cod this past summer.

“This budget improves the Commonwealth’s long-range financial position by placing $400 million in our reserve account and recommits us to investing in education and transportation,” said Haggerty, “I am also pleased to support additional critical resources for mental and behavioral health as well as our Clean Water Trust Fund.”

In order to further fortify Massachusetts’ financial resiliency, the Legislature dedicated $400 million to the Commonwealth’s stabilization fund, bringing the Rainy Day Fund’s total balance to an unprecedented $3.2 billion, the first time the fund has reached that amount in its history.

“This budget makes critical investments that the Commonwealth needs in order to continue to provide the services that our constituents so dearly rely upon,” said Representative Aaron Michlewitz (D – Boston), Chair House Ways & Means Committee. “The funds that we are putting into Education, Transportation, Housing, and into the stabilization fund will go a long way to improve the lives of all the residents of the Commonwealth.”

As part of the House’s priority to protect the environment, the supplemental budget makes a $24 million investment for the testing of potential per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination of water supplies and for grants to support treatment and remediation of affected public drinking water systems, and $35 million for the Clean Water Trust Fund.

In addition, the supplemental budget reaffirms the House’s strong partnership with cities and towns by providing $60 million to invest in local roads and bridges projects. Furthering the House’s commitment to clean energy, the budget also features a $32 million investment in the state’s electric vehicle rebate program.

In addition, the supplemental budget:

·      Recognizes the need for increased investment in the MBTA by providing $50 million for additional staffing and contract costs to support capital project delivery, inspection and maintenance activities, and service diversions necessary to accelerate capital projects;

·      Works to support the Commonwealth’s public higher education institutions by investing $20 million in a program that encourages private fundraising with matching state dollars; 

·      Keeps with the House’s priority to promote gun safety by including $10 million for gun violence prevention programs;

·      Supports low-income households at the risk of eviction or facing foreclosure by investing $7 million for a rental and mortgage arrearage assistance pilot program;

·      Continues the House’s leadership on the Commonwealth’s early education efforts by including $3 million for grants for early educator scholarships for school paraprofessionals;

·      Provides $3 million in disaster relief funding to Cape Cod communities affected by the tornados on July 23, 2019;   

·      Designates the presidential primary date for Sept. 1, 2020 and invests funding to establish early voting for the 2020 presidential election;

·      Support the House’s priority of supporting Massachusetts’ most vulnerable youth by investing $5 million in a program to expand access for students to community-based mental and behavioral health services in schools; and

·      Includes $10 million reserve for salary increases for home health aides and personnel providing homemaker and personal care homemaker services.

The supplemental budget will now go to the Senate.

Representative Haggerty to Host Senior Charlie Card Event

Part of his ongoing effort to deliver increased public transportation options and assist seniors with living independently in their community, State Representative Richard M. Haggerty is partnering with the MBTA and the Woburn Council on Aging in sponsoring a “Senior Charlie Card” registration event at the Woburn Senior Center. The event will provide local seniors the opportunity to receive a discounted Senior Charlie Card pass for use on MBTA bus, rail, and subway systems. All Woburn residents who are 65 years or older are highly encouraged to attend.

The event will take place at the Woburn Senior Center, 144 School Street in Woburn starting at 9 a.m. on Friday, September 13th, with members of Representative Haggerty’s staff and volunteers from the Center on hand to assist with applications. Held in conjunction with the annual Fall Fest event, eligible seniors must be new to the Senior Charlie Card program and present a government-issued photo ID at the Center’s Transportation Office, where they will fill out a registration form along with having their photos taken.

“I would like to thank the MBTA and the staff at the Woburn Council on Aging for making such an event possible, bringing the program and transportation benefits it provides directly to our seniors”, said Representative Haggerty. “I encourage eligible residents of Woburn and the surrounding communities to join me at the Senior Center to take advantage of this important opportunity.”

A Senior Charlie Card provides the holder with discounted rates to ride buses for 85 cents, subways for $1.10, inner express buses for $2.10, and outer express buses for $2.60. Seniors can also travel on commuter rail or ferry services for 50 percent off the regular full fare. In addition, seniors can purchase a monthly pass, which is good for unlimited travel on local buses and subways for $30. No discounts apply to express bus passes, commuter rail passes, or boat passes.

Representative Haggerty will be also be in attendance to assist with this event and answer any questions residents may have. Those with questions are also encouraged to contact Rep. Haggerty’s Legislative Aide at Anthony.Langone@mahouse.gov and (617) 722-2090, or the Woburn Council on Aging’s Transportation desk at (781) 897-5964.

April – July Legislative Update

I hope this legislative update finds you well.

I would like to take a few minutes to apprise you all on the efforts I have made as your State Representative these last several months. It continues to be an honor to serve the 30th Middlesex District and I look forward to updating you as the year continues on the efforts I am making on your behalf on Beacon Hill.

Since my last legislative update, I have focused my energy on constituent services, participating in numerous committee hearings, co-sponsoring legislation, and have taken several House Chamber votes.

FY2020 Budget
The governor recently signed the Fiscal Year 2020 budget that reached his desk after passing through the House and Senate, where I was able to vote in favor of increased education funding and other measures.

My work on the FY20 budget was important for securing local aid for Reading and Woburn. We were able to increase Unrestricted General Government Aid (UGGA) by almost $30 million. Of this aid, we have allocated $6,357,286 for Woburn and $3,442,525 for Reading to help offset the rising costs of running a municipality.

Both communities will also see a much-needed increase in Chapter 70 education funding with the passing of this year’s budget. Funded at the highest level ever with $5.17 billion dedicated to education, this is over a $268 million increase over FY19. This influx of necessary education funding means Reading is set to receive $10,834,809 with Woburn receiving $9,422,229.

Working with my colleagues, below are some of the budget earmarks I was proud to advocate for and secure for the two communities:

• $25,000 to begin the design work for a pedestrian footbridge over the tracks at Anderson Regional Transportation Center in Woburn
• $25,000 for the Woburn Council on Aging transportation van
• $25,000 for shuttle bus transit feasibility study to connect Anderson Regional Transportation Center in Woburn and Hanscom Air Force Base to key regional hubs
• $75,000 for safety improvements at Reading Memorial High School
• $60,000 for a new Elder & Human Services van for Reading
• $50,000 towards pedestrian crosswalk lights on Lowell Street in Reading

I would like to thank Senator Cindy Friedman (D-Arlington), Senator Jason Lewis (D-Winchester), Minority Leader Bradley Jones, and Representative Michelle Ciccolo (D-Lexington) for their help in passing necessary earmarks for our communities.

One major aspect of this year’s budget was MassHealth Drug Pricing Reform. This key measure will allow MassHealth the ability to negotiate directly with drug manufacturers, helping to drive down the costs of prescription drugs and saving taxpayers $28 million in FY20.

The House also called for over $282 million in spending for environmental programs. I recently cosponsored an adopted budget amendment issued by House Minority Leader Bradley Jones (R-North Reading) regarding the Conservation Land Tax Credit. Raising the Credit’s annual cap from $2 million to $5 million, this amendment provides necessary funding to preserve more open space in the Commonwealth by helping to clear the almost $4.7 million in requested projects which would protect thousands of additional acres of land.

Committee Hearings
With the legislative session now in full swing, these last few months have seen many different pieces of legislation pass through the various committee hearings. As a member of the Joint Standing Committees for Education, Financial Services, and Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture (ENRA), I have participated in dozens of hearings so far this year. During this time, I have been able to witness the spirited testimonies of those advocating for legislation relating to updating the education funding formula, banning retail locations from issuing plastic bags, to establishing a student loan Bill of Rights. I was also able to testify in support of several common sense pieces of legislation I believed in.

In April, I testified in front of the Joint Committee on Children, Families, and Persons with Disabilities to advocate for my bill H.127, An Act to establish a registry of caretakers found to have substantiated abuse against persons with intellectual disability or developmental disability. The purpose of creating this registry is simple – to protect one of our most vulnerable populations while effectively punishing those who wrongfully commit abuse against them.

In June I joined Senator Cindy Friedman alongside Woburn constituent and advocate Angela Freitas Ortiz in front of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing to support bills related to children with complex medical needs and other special populations.

In July, with District Attorney Marian Ryan and a Reading constituent who is a domestic violence survivor, I testified in support of bill H.1437, An Act relative to visitation and family court matters in domestic violence cases. This piece of legislation would effectively close the loophole regarding visitation rights after a domestic violence crime was committed, protecting both the children of the affected family and victim of the abuse.

With the legislative session well underway, I have signed on to cosponsor several seasonably filed pieces of legislation. To name a few:

In April, I cosponsored H. 3655, an act that will require universities to provide students with written notice of the processes available for addressing sexual assault, both legally and at the university level.

In May, I cosponsored several bills:
• H. 3785, which amends legislation regarding how the state retirement system treats individuals afflicted with PTSD-related injuries;
• H. 3771, an act which updates and streamlines the process for obtaining criminal offender record information checks in the Commonwealth; and
• H. 3835, an act which seeks to meet the growing human services workforce demand by updating the base wages of entry-level and support staff

In June, I signed onto H. 3999, which removes the religious exemption for vaccinations and immunizations in our schools. Removing this exemption will protect our community members most vulnerable to vaccine-combatable illnesses- infants and those who cannot receive vaccinations due to medical conditions- through the well-researched concept of herd immunity.

In July, I cosponsored three important pieces of legislation:
• HD. 4366, which increases the operational safety of keyless ignition vehicles by requiring models for sale or lease in Massachusetts to be equipped with automatic shut-off technology;
• HD.4389, a bill that would impose a 5% fee on digital streaming providers marketing their services on public rights of way, treating them the same as cable providers. This money would then be distributed to municipalities as local aid and community media centers such as Woburn Public Media Center and RCTV; and
• HD.4398, an act establishing a hate crimes grant program, which will provide grants to primary and secondary schools with an identified need for the purpose of education, professional development, prevention, and community outreach programs aimed at combatting hate crimes.

Votes Taken
Since the last update, the House has been busy holding numerous formal sessions to vote on many different important pieces of legislation. Below are some of the bills I have been proud to vote in favor of:

• H.69, which finances improvements to municipal roads and bridges
• H.3819, an act making appropriations for the fiscal year 2019 to provide for supplementing certain existing appropriations and for certain other activities and project
• H.3904, an act creating a state-level board of real estate appraisers
• H.3535, an act which expands agriculture preservation restrictions for hemp cultivation
• H.3987, an act establishing a Green Works infrastructure program in an effort to promote climate change resiliency and provide grants for local communities in dealing with this issue
• H.3854, an act relative to collective bargaining dues, which would protect workers’ right to form and join unions
• H.4000, an Act making appropriations for the fiscal year 2020 for the maintenance of the departments, boards, commissions, institutions and other activities of the commonwealth, while encouraging nondiscrimination and equality of opportunity in hiring
• H.3793, an act requiring the use of mobile telephones while driving to be completely hands-free

Please feel free to reach out to my office or legislative aide via email at Anthony.Langone@mahouse.gov or call the office at (617) 722-2090. To stay up to date on everything I’m doing up at the State House and out in the district follow me on Facebook @Rich.M.Haggerty and on Twitter @richhaggerty.

House Unanimously Passes $1.3 Billion for Community Climate Resiliency Projects

Significant investments in local microgrid, electric vehicle, energy storage projects

BOSTON – House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) and Representative Richard M. Haggerty (D-Woburn) worked with their colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives to vote 158 to 0 to pass legislation investing $1.3 billion to help cities and towns across Massachusetts fund infrastructure projects aimed at fighting climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The legislation establishes a $1 billion, 10-year grant program – known as GreenWorks – to fund clean energy, energy efficiency, and climate change resiliency measures that cut greenhouse gas emissions, fortify infrastructure and reduce municipal costs. The legislation also invests $325 million in other municipal green projects.

“This plan, which closely resembles the proposal Governor Baker filed in January, commits significant state resources to help cities and towns adapt to the challenges posed by climate change,” said Representative Jones. “By making investments now to reduce carbon emissions, promote energy efficiency, and reinforce local infrastructure, communities like Reading can become more resilient in mitigating the negative impacts of climate change.”
“As a former local official I know how important it is to provide cities and towns with the tools they need to move towards a more sustainable future. I also know first hand how much communities have benefited, and saved taxpayer dollars, from similar state-grant programs,” said Representative Haggerty. “ Whether its more electric vehicles, Green Works projects, or support for the creation of Sustainability Coordinators – leading on this important issue will help our planet and save money.”

Modeled after the state’s MassWorks program, GreenWorks funds projects that improve climate preparedness and resiliency, promote or produce clean energy or energy efficiency, build energy storage facilities, implement measures included in Massachusetts’ statewide climate adaptation strategy or otherwise help mitigate the impacts of climate change or reduce carbon emissions.

“GreenWorks builds on a long-standing House approach to provide concrete tools directly to cities and towns that result in both immediate and long-lasting positive effects,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, (D – Winthrop). “This forward-looking investment helps Massachusetts cities and towns build resilient communities, lower long-term operating costs and cut greenhouse gases while creating jobs for workers across the Commonwealth.”

The Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs will accept applications annually and administer the program, which is funded through the issuance of bonds. In addition, the legislation makes targeted investments of $325 million in energy infrastructure, including:

• $100 million for investments in municipal microgrid energy systems
• $125 million for electric vehicles in municipal or regional transit authority fleets
• $20 million for the hiring of sustainability coordinators to develop and manage municipal projects resulting for the GreenWorks program
• $50 million to establish the Green Resiliency Fund to offer low-interest loans for municipalities when pursuing GreenWorks projects
• $30 million for the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources’ MOR-EV electric vehicle rebate program

The bill will now go to the Senate.

Woburn delegation secures funding to support education, community services and programs in FY20 budget

Budget includes funds to support English language tutoring, provide Council on Aging transportation, and fight food insecurity

BOSTON – Senator Cindy Friedman (D-Arlington), Representative Rich Haggerty (D-Woburn), and Representative Michelle Ciccolo (D-Lexington) recently joined their colleagues in passing a Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) conference committee budget, making substantial investments in education, health care, mental health and substance use disorder services, housing, and local aid. This $43.1 billion budget includes several key investments to support programs and services in the city of Woburn.

A six-member conference committee, which Senator Friedman served on, was established to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate versions of the FY20 budget. The committee reached consensus this week on a compromise spending plan for the new fiscal year that began on July 1, and it was approved by both legislative chambers on July 22.

Consistent with the General Court’s long-standing commitment to supporting increased investments in education, this budget makes a significant down payment on the work of the Foundation Budget Review Commission (FBRC), and funds Chapter 70 at its highest level ever, providing $5.17 billion in education funding, a $268 million increase for investments in schools over FY19. Woburn school districts will receive $9,422,229 under this budget, an increase over FY19. The budget also includes a $10.5 million reserve for low-income students while the Joint Committee on Education continues its work on this issue.

In addition, the budget increases Unrestricted General Government Aid (UGGA) by nearly $30 million, allocating $6,357,286 to support community investments in education, health care, public safety, and roads and bridges for the city of Woburn.

Senator Friedman, Representative Haggerty, and Representative Ciccolo worked hard to ensure that the FY20 budget also includes the following critical funding for Woburn:

• $100,000 to support English language instruction for immigrants and refugees at English At Large in Woburn, which provides voluntary English language tutoring and instruction to adult learners;
• $95,000 to provide on-site English language tutoring and technical skills training to parents at Woburn Creative Start, an organization that provides high quality, licensed educational programs and child care in Woburn;
• $85,000 for Food Link MA, an organization that helps to fight food insecurity in Woburn and surrounding communities by delivering nutritious food, including fresh fruits and vegetables, milk, and eggs, to over 30 social services that serve low-income individuals in need;
• $25,000 for a transit access feasibility study for first mile/last mile shuttle buses. This study will analyze potential shuttle bus routes with an eye toward connecting Anderson Regional Transportation Center and Hanscom Air Force Base to key hubs throughout the region;
• $25,000 for design for a pedestrian footbridge over the tracks at Anderson; and
• $25,000 for the Woburn Council on Aging to procure a transportation van.

“The budget reflects the legislature’s strong commitment to increasing access to quality, affordable health care, ensuring that every student has the opportunity to receive a quality education, and expanding access to behavioral health services,” said Senator Cindy F. Friedman, Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “Moreover, as our state continues to grapple with the opioid crisis, I’m especially proud that this budget makes strong investments in mental health treatment and harm reduction initiatives to ensure more resources for families and their loved ones.”
“I know how important it is to make sure Woburn has the tools it needs to educate children, support seniors, and improve public transit,” said Representative Rich Haggerty. “This budget reflects my priorities well by making the largest investment ever in Chapter 70 education funds. We have also empowered MassHealth to directly negotiate with drug manufacturers so that we can help drive down the costs of prescription drugs, and we have made a substantial contribution to the state’s rainy day fund.”

“While our region is home to a growing number of 21st century biotech companies, many of our job centers and transit hubs, including Anderson Regional Transportation Center, are surrounded by inadequate transportation infrastructure,” said Representative Michelle Ciccolo. “The transportation sector is one of the primary drivers of carbon emissions, posing a daunting threat to our health and the environment. Immediate action is required to avoid the impending environmental crisis while preparing our economy for the jobs of the future, and this budget is a solid step in the right direction.”

Having passed the House and Senate, the legislation now moves to the Governor’s desk. He has 10 days to review the budget and issue any vetoes.

To view the FY20 conference committee budget report, please visit https://malegislature.gov/Budget/ConferenceCommittee.