Legislative Update | Bill Spotlight: Prescription Drug Prices |
Domestic Violence Education | In the News
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Like many of us, I was unsettled by events of 2016 and am now struggling to fight back against the decisions being made in Washington, D.C. But one powerful thing has emerged over the past few weeks: new energy and mobilization. People who have never done so are calling their member of Congress, going to a rally, or having discussions with different people about issues. New groups are forming to talk about climate change, immigration, health care, women’s rights. It is the organizing, involvement, and conversations that I am excited about for 2017.
In this new 2017-18 legislative session in the House, I look forward to protecting against threats at the federal level and finding opportunities to show other states what is possible. I’m working to make sure that our state remains welcoming to all by supporting policies that create safe spaces for immigrants. Amid threats at the federal level on reproductive health and women’s rights, I am pushing for polices to ensure women’s choices are protected. I am working to support our federal delegation and pass state-level reforms to hold on to the gains that we have made in health care coverage. And our state can keep showing the way through fighting for economic justice like raising the minimum wage to $15/hour and ensuring paid family leave for all.
You'll find more about these issues in this and upcoming newsletters, and I hope we can work together. Somerville and Medford are vibrant communities filled with active, engaged residents. I urge you to talk with your neighbor, join a discussion, and work together at the local and state level to use this moment to build stronger communities for all. I appreciate your calls, emails, and tweets to me - you are making your voices heard. Keep it coming!
Finally, we are heading into the budget season. Please contact me with your priorities for our state budget. I'm working on affordable housing, legal aid, the Mystic River and youth jobs. I'm interested in hearing what you care about.
Legislative Update: Civil Liberties, Health Care, Economic Justice
As we began the legislative session, I received hundreds of phone calls, emails, letters and in-person visits from constituents deeply concerned about a number of issues. Thank you for being incredibly politically active and for helping me prioritize bills to cosponsor in the House. Here is a sample of bills:
Safe Communities:Protects all residents by ensuring that state resources are not used for federal immigration enforcement
ACCESS: Requires insurance to cover all contraception types without copays
Justice Reinvestment Act:Comprehensive criminal justice reform, links reductions in sentencing with job training
Fundamental Freedoms Act: Bars state agencies from working on any registration system based on religion or other protected status
Paid family and medical leave:
Makes employees eligible for job-protected paid leave to recover from a serious illness, care for an ill family member, or care for a new child
Reduce greenhouse gases:
Enacts carbon pricing. 80% rebated to residents, 20% invested in green infrastructure, with carve-out for low-income communities
See my full list of cosponsored bills.
Spotlight: Training students to recognize signs of domestic violence
In late January, I was proud to join Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan at Medford Vocational Technical High School for her Cut It Out training program. This program trains hairstylists, aestheticians, and other students to recognize signs of domestic violence and learn local resources to connect clients for help.
I spoke at this event about a new bill I filed, HD 2547, in partnership with DA Ryan, which mandates this type of training for all individuals who apply for a hairstylist or aesthetician license. This bill would help ensure that all stylists have the tools they need to recognize the signs and symptoms of domestic violence, connect victims with resources, and provide another community response to violence.
Upcoming Office Hours
Friday, March 3rd
Danish Pastry House
Saturday, March 18th
Winter Hill Brewing Company
Wednesday, March 29th
Medford Council on Aging
Spotlight: Prescription drug costs
Prescription drugs are the fastest-growing costs in our health care system. While a critical part of our health care, there is little transparency over how prices of prescriptions are set. This session, I am proud to sponsor HD3101, An Act to Promote Transparency in Prescription Drug Prices to begin to address prescription drug costs in two ways:
First, the bill requires the manufacturers of the highest costing drugs and those that have had dramatic price increases to provide information publicly about the cost of development of those drugs.
Second, the bill requires pharmaceutical and biotech companies to testify and submit data at the Health Policy Commission’s annual health care cost trends hearings, the state entity that currently oversees costs for insurers and hospitals.
Please let me know if you have a story about prescription drug costs that you would like to share, or if you would like to be involved in working on this bill!
In the News:
Rep. Barber named Women's Caucus Vice Chair
The Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators has announced their Board of Directors for the 2017-2018 legislative session. Sen. Jennifer Flanagan (D-Leominister) and Rep. Colleen Garry (D-Dracut) will serve as Co-Chairs; Sen. Eileen Donoghue (D-Lowell) and Rep. Christine Barber (D-Somerville) will serve as Vice Chairs.
Established in 1975, the Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators was formed with a mission to enhance the economic status and equality of women and to encourage and support women in all levels of government. The Board of Directors serves as the governing body of the Women’s Caucus and provides guidance on events and policy.
There are currently 52 women legislators that make up 26% of the Massachusetts legislature. Throughout the history of the Commonwealth, only 196 women have served as elected officials in the legislature compared to over 20,000 men.
Updates from Medford Green Line Meeting
The Green Line Extension's Interim Program Management Team hosted a public meeting at Medford City Hall, where new project manager John Dalton provided updates about the 4.7-mile rail extension into Somerville and Medford.
"The hiring of a high-level project manager was one of the things that the reset of this project required," said Medford/Somerville state Rep. Christine Barber. "So it's a really positive step that we have a competent project manager who has dealt with these projects in other places."
Clarendon Hill/North Street Meeting
March 6, 6:30 - 8:30PM
W. Somerville Neighborhood School
The Somerville Housing Authority is working with a developer to revitalize Clarendon Hill/North Street housing. Topic: urban design.
Attorney General Maura Healey Town Hall
March 6th, 7PM
Somerville High School Auditorium
Come hear what the Attorney General intends to do and how you can get involved. RSVP Today.
Forum on Airplane Noise
February 22, 6 - 8:PM
10 Park Plaza, Boston
Complaints from many communities prompted the FAA and Massport to study changes to reduce impacts from aircraft flight noise. Hear details from the study team and provide feedback.