Community Newsletter - Winter 2019
Bill Spotlight | 35 Bills Sponsored | Meet my new Aide, Nora |
Upcoming Office Hours | Intern Update| In the News |
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Welcome to my first newsletter of 2019! I recently had the honor of being sworn in to start my third term as State Representative in Somerville and Medford. As we start a new legislative session, it's a time to focus my agenda for our work going forward: health care access for everyone; rights for immigrants; adequate and affordable housing in the Commonwealth; and bold steps on climate change.
We face significant challenges, and there is so much to do to build social and economic justice that supports our communities. But I am optimistic about the activism and ideas that will help Massachusetts continue to be a leader on progressive change.
We are just finishing the bill filing and cosponsorship period, and I provide more information about some my priorities in this newsletter. Thousands of bills are filed in the legislature each session, and I have heard from many of you about what is most important in our communities. Thank you and keep it up - this helps me to do my job better.
Please call, email or write my office, or set up a time to meet, so I can hear your ideas and concerns.
With the new year brings some changes - my long-time aide, Claire Teylouni, has moved on, and I hope many of you will get to meet my new legislative aide, Nora Bent!
Thank you for your continued partnership. I am ready to work with you to continue the fight for our values and communities this session.
P.S. I'm going to start plugging updates from my colleagues: this month, I encourage you to consider subscribing to Sen. Jehlen's newsletter.
Bill Spotlight: Work and Family Mobility
I recently filed a new bill, HD1719, An Act relative to work and family mobility, with Rep. Farley-Bouvier and Sen. Crighton, as well as groups including The Welcome Project, the Brazilian Workers Center and SEIU 32BJ. This bill would allow the standard MA license to be issued to all trained and insured drivers, regardless of immigration status.
This bill would improve safety by ensuring that everyone on the road is trained, licensed and insured. It also makes sense to separate state driving law from federal immigration law. Denying access to driver’s licenses limits people’s ability to meet their basic needs, and puts immigrants who drive without a license at risk of detention and deportation under a federal government that is separating families.
This bill builds off previous work on REAL ID and the separate Massachusetts standard license. It would allow standard licenses to be issued to ALL Massachusetts residents who otherwise qualify for a license.
This situation is even more urgent as people with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) (nearly 8,000 TPS holders from Haiti, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua in live MA) and DACA holders are in danger of losing this status due to the Trump Administration.
I look forward to working to move this bill forward this session as work to ensure that immigrants in our community do not risk detention or deportation every time they drive their children to school or go to the doctor.
Upcoming Office Hours
Joint Office Hours with W4 School Committee Member Andre Green
Thursday January 31, 6pm-8-pm
Tipping Cow Ice Cream, 415 Medford Street, Somerville.
Medford Office Hours
Friday, February 15, 8-10am
Danish Pastry House, 330 Boston Ave, Medford.
Medford Office Hours
Date and time TBD
Willis Avenue Community Center
148 Exchange Ave, Medford.
Or contact the office to set up a time to meet with Christine.
35 Bills Sponsored
January was busy with crafting and filing legislation to work on during this legislative session. My bills focus on:
Health Care: Improving prescription drug affordability and transparency; and Ensuring that insurers keep accurate provider lists to ease the process of finding a health provider to meet a patients' needs.
Housing: Incentivizing multifamily housing production near transit; Preventing discrimination against affordable housing; and Creating more affordable housing options for people with disabilities.
Gas Leaks: Requiring utilities to quickly repair gas leaks, which emit large amounts of greenhouse gas, and preventing them from passing cost of leaks to ratepayers.
Transportation: Prohibiting distance-based public transit fares; Curtailing the MBTA's debt, and Phasing all buses and large fleets to zero emission.
Equality: Requiring sexual harassment training in workplaces; Providing free menstrual products in schools, shelters and prisons, Ensuring TANF recipients receive child support payments (not the state); and improving visitation access for families at jails and prisons.
Support for Individuals with Disabilities: Expanding ability for people with disabilities to qualify for MassHealth coverage; and Creating access to alternative communication devices for learning.
I also co-sponsored over 150 of my colleagues' bills, on topics ranging from education funding to criminal justice reform, affordable housing and environmental protection. I am looking forward to a productive legislative session!
A Welcome from my new Legislative Aide, Nora!
I am excited to be just about two months into my new role as Rep. Barber's Legislative Aide. As a resident of Winter Hill, I'm honored to be serving my community. A little bit about myself: I've lived in Massachusetts my entire life, with time in Washington, D.C. for college at American University. My career has been in government and politics, where I have prioritized supporting women who run for office and serve in government. I have worked as Campaign Manager of a Cambridge City Council Campaign, Legislative Aide to the Vice Mayor of Cambridge, and, most recently, Deputy Finance Director of the Yes on 3 ballot campaign to uphold our state's transgender nondiscrimination law.
In my spare time, I like to bake, watch (too much) reality TV, and am a Big Sister volunteer to my 11-year old Little Sister. Feel free to reach out anytime to chat, set up a meeting, or ask a question. You can reach me at 617-722-2210 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
I look forward to meeting many of you in person soon,
From the Tufts Tisch Scholar working in my office, Kamille Bernard:
"I have been able to work in Representative Barber’s office through the Tisch Scholars Program within the Tisch College at Tufts University. The Tisch Scholar’s Program is a leadership program for undergraduate students who receive community placements in the Greater Boston area with the goal of creating meaningful change. I was drawn to Representative Barber’s office because I believed that her initiatives, especially those of healthcare, environmental policy, and justice-involved women, truly speak to worthwhile issues that can create meaningful change by working to promote equity. Thus far, I have written bill summaries as well as done research and written memos on programs for justice-involved women. This year, I look forward to seeing new criminal justice initiatives put into action and venturing into research on affordable housing and environmental policy."
In the News
"Lawmakers push bill making undocumented immigrants eligible for driver's license": WBUR covered the unveiling of a bill I sponsored to give undocumented immigrants access to a basic drivers license. See the "Bill Spotlight" section above for more on this bill.
"Training helps hair stylists 'Cut Out' domestic violence": WGBH covered the bill I sponsored with DA Marian Ryan, which would require salon professional to receive training in identifying signs of domestic violence.