Category: Economic Development

Legislative Update: Supplemental Budget

Legislative Update

H.3505 – An Act making appropriations for the fiscal year 2019 to provide for supplementing certain existing appropriations and for certain other activities and projects

On Wednesday, February 28th 2019, the Massachusetts State House of Representatives passed H.3505, a $135 Million supplemental budget. I joined my colleagues in voting affirmatively to pass the measure. The supplemental budget addresses multiple areas including heating assistance, enhanced support for victims of sexual assault, and programs to help those experiencing homelessness. Below are some highlights of what the bill included.

Increased funding for Low Income Heating Energy Assistance (LIHEAP)

Amount: $30 million (+$19 million from Governor’s proposal)

Details: This program ensures that all families in the Commonwealth can afford to keep their heating on through the winter. The additional funding makes up for the Federal funding shortfall.

Increased funding for Emergency Shelter Assistance for people and families experiencing homelessness

Amount: $10,046,612 (level with the Governor’s proposal)

Details: This program helps individuals and families that are experiencing homelessness by increasing the amount of shelter beds to help accommodate the needs of the State.

Increased funding for sexual assault evidence testing kits

Amount: $8,000,000

Details: This program will aid in addressing the backlog of sexual assault kits in the State and ensure that we are on the right path towards bringing justice for victims of sexual violence.

Increased funding for the costs associated with an independent statewide examination of the safety of gas distribution infrastructure

Amount: $1,482,694

Details: These funds will go toward addressing the safety hazard of poorly maintained pipelines. After the disaster that took place in the Merrimack Valley in September, the State is incentivized to take a good look at what can be done to prevent another emergency.

Authorization of Collective Bargaining Agreements

Amount: n/a

Details: The Supplemental Budget included authorization for collective bargaining agreements previously made between employers and trade unions for the following organizations/departments:

  • Massachusetts Department of Transportation and DOT Unit A – National Association of Government Employees, Clerical and Administrative Workers
  • University of Massachusetts and the New England Police Benevolent Protection Organization, Amherst Campus, Unit A07
  • University of Massachusetts and the Maintenance and Trades Unit/MTA/NEA, Lowell Campus, Unit L93
  • University of Massachusetts and Classified and Technical Union, Lowell Campus, Unit L92
  • Sheriff of Bristol County and the National Association of Government Employees, Maintenance Workers, Unit C
  • Sheriff of Worcester county and the New England Police Benevolent Association, Local 550, Unit SW6
  • Sheriff of Hampden County and the National Correctional Employees Union Mental Health Staff Unit, Local 131, Unit SH1

Leaders call for ‘fair’ hotel strike settlement

Brooks Sutherland Tuesday, October 30, 2018

City leaders joined striking hotel workers  outside the Ritz-Carlton yesterday to urge Marriott to strike a “fair” settlement with its union employees.

Five city councilors and state Rep. Jay Livingstone hand-delivered a letter addressed to Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson that was signed by 30 local elected leaders. The letter, urging the CEO to reach a “fair compromise” with UNITE HERE Local 26 that would end the strike, read: “We write to express our concern with the ongoing strike of Marriott hotel workers in Boston and to voice support for our constituents’ desire to provide for themselves and their families with fair earnings and benefits from one job.”

“This is a matter of respect and dignity,” At-Large Councilor Ayanna Pressley told the Herald. “And the stabilization of their families. There’s nothing charitable about this, this is what they deserve.”

Pressley joined fellow councilors Michelle Wu, Tim McCarthy, Kim Janey and Ed Flynn. Dozens of striking workers marched up and down the front sidewalk of the hotel, banging on buckets, blowing whistles and chanting emphatically.

“We’re demanding that they end the strike and come back with a contract that works for these workers and their families,” Flynn said. “I think it’s very important to let our workers know that we’re here to make sure that we’ll always fight for them. To make sure they’re treated fairly.”

Mei Leung, a housekeeper at the Sheraton put on a poncho and spent the day fighting for what she says, “is the right thing to do.”

“We’ve been negotiating for a long time, and they don’t accept our requests,” she said. “I’m 71 years old and still have to work.”

Last week, Wu filed an ordinance that would attempt to give hourly workers more protection as it pertains to predictable, consistent scheduling, an issue raised throughout the strike.

“Overall, we are at a point in our country’s economy and politics, where more and more workers are part-time, without benefits, and trying to balance multiple jobs in order to make everything work,” Wu said. “And when you introduce the ability of corporations and companies to change schedules at the last second, that really throws everything up into the air.”

Marriott has said it does not conduct negotiations in the press.

190th Session Recap: Economic Development

190th Session Recap: Economic Development

H.4732 – An Act relative to economic development in the commonwealth


  • Jay filed and supported amendments to provide bond funding for Magazine Beach ($1 million) and autonomous vehicle road infrastructure improvements ($3 million), which were included in the final bill.
  • Creates restrictions on the use of “non-compete” agreements.
  • Green lights a Sales Tax Holiday for the weekend of August 11th.
  • Authorizes public infrastructure grants for local and state-wide projects:
    • MassWorks Infrastructure Program ($250 million) – provides a one stop shop for municipalities and other eligible public entities seeking public infrastructure funding to support economic development.
    • Massachusetts Manufacturing Innovation Institute ($25 million) – enables institution of higher education to participate in the Manufacturing USA initiative.
    • Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation ($1.25 million).
    • Cyber Security Innovation Fund ($2.5 million) – Establishes and capitalizes a cyber security fund to address cyber security threats and address workforce training and educational needs in order to expand employment opportunities in cyber security and related fields.
    • Workforce Skills Capital Grants ($75 million) – to purchase and install equipment and related building improvements for career technical education and training programs that are aligned to regional economic and workforce development priorities.
    • Cultural Facilities Fund ($50 million) – enhances the state’s creative economy through financing for acquisition, construction, expansion, renovation, and repair of cultural facilities, increase employment, entrepreneurialism, and tourism to regions where these facilities are located while stimulating a further investment in the arts, heritage, and sciences by preserving cultural resources.
    • Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund – will allow for the annual transfer of up to five percent from the Workforce Training Fund to the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund to support job training for unemployed workers and to meet demand in industry sectors with critical vacancies
    • Charges the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative with conducting a study and issuing recommendations on how to advance the state’s competitiveness in the autonomous vehicle industry.

Outcome: This bill passed both chambers and was signed by the Governor on August 10, 2018. However, the Governor vetoed a provision that would have prohibited a person from making an assertion of patent infringement in bad faith, and a provision to study the barriers to establishing “last mile” broadband connections. He also sent back 6 parts of the bill with amendments.

To read the full text of the bill, click here.

Picking the next official state [fill in the blank]

When they’re not creating budgets and setting policy, state lawmakers occasionally make time to focus on issues that are a bit less pressing, such as whether Massachusetts should have an official shellfish.

When they’re not creating budgets and setting policy, state lawmakers occasionally make time to focus on issues that are a bit less pressing, such as whether Massachusetts should have an official shellfish.

Massachusetts has 57 official symbols, everything from an official state cat (the tabby cat) to an official state dessert (Boston cream pie), and bills proposing additional state symbols are introduced nearly every legislative session.

 Lawmakers often file the bills on behalf of students in their districts, providing a hands-on civics lesson. Like any other bill, the proposals must pass the House and Senate on majority votes before heading to the governor and becoming law. Oftentimes, they never make it to the chamber floor for a vote.

Massachusetts already has an official rock and an official song, but a new bill from state Rep. David Linsky, D-Natick, would make the song “Roadrunner” by Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers the state’s official rock song.

Pacheco’s quahog bill, first proposed in 2005 on behalf of a 7th-grade social studies class in Taunton, has been filed every session since but has never come up for a vote. The students argued the quahog’s use as an early trade currency between American Indians and British settlers demonstrates its importance in Massachusetts history.

“I have continued to try to get it done because they backed up their ideas with real research,” Pacheco said. “It’s always a challenge. There’s usually a competing bill, and obviously there are a lot of other things we’re dealing with at the Statehouse that require a significant amount of time. But it’s always a good teaching tool about how a bill becomes a law.”

Calter filed his bill on behalf of a Kingston oyster farmer. Picking the oyster as the official state shellfish, an aide said, would recognize the increasingly important place oyster farming has in the Massachusetts agricultural industry.

Here’s a rundown of proposed new state symbols.

 · Seasoning: Bell’s Seasoning (presented by state Rep. James Murphy, D-Weymouth).

· Textile: Gingham (presented by state Rep. Jay Livingstone, D-Boston)

· Amphibian: Spring peeper (presented by state Sen. Jennifer Flanagan, D-Leominster)

· Cupcake: Boston cream pie cupcake (presented by state Rep. Angelo Puppolo, D-Springfield)

· County song: “14 Counties of Massachusetts” by Alissa Coates and Darci Hamann, as recorded by third- and fourth-grade students at Our Lady’s Academy in Waltham (presented by state Rep. Thomas Stanley, D-Waltham)

· Organic public park: Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway (presented by state Sen. Joseph Boncore, D-Boston)

 · Military history museum: Fort Devens Museum (presented by state Rep. Sheila Harrington, R-Groton)

· Patriotic song: “Here’s to America” by Louis and Florenzo DiDonato (presented by state Rep. Sean Garballey, D-Arlington)

· Shellfish: Oyster (presented by state Rep. Thomas Calter, D-Kingston)

· Shellfish: Quahog (presented by state Sen. Marc Pacheco, D-Taunton)

· Rock song: “Roadrunner” by Jonathan Richman and the Modern Lovers (presented by state Rep. David Linsky, D-Natick)

Existing official state symbols, according to the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office are:

· Flower: Mayflower

 · Tree: American elm

· Bird: Chickadee

· Beverage: Cranberry juice

· Horse: Morgan horse

· Insect: Ladybug

· Fish: Cod

· Dog: Boston Terrier

 · Gem: Rhodonite

· Marine mammal: Right whale

· Fossil: Dinosaur track

· Mineral: Babingtonite

· Song: “All Hail to Massachusetts” by Arthur J. Marsh

· Folk song: “Massachusetts” by Arlo Guthrie

· Poem: “Blue Hills of Massachusetts”

 · Rock: Roxbury puddingstone

· Historical rock: Plymouth Rock

· Explorer rock: Dighton Rock

· Building and monument stone: Granite

· Heroine: Deborah Sampson

· Ceremonial march: “The Road to Boston”

· Muffin: Corn muffin

 · Shell: New England Neptune

· Cat: Tabby cat

· Patriotic song: “Massachusetts (Because of You Our Land is Free)”

· Folk dance: Square dance

· Soil: Paxton Soil Series

· Vietnam veterans’ memorial: Worcester Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial

· Designation of residents: Bay Staters

 · Game bird: Wild turkey

· Southwest Asia War Veterans’ Memorial: Worcester Southwest Asia War Veterans’ Memorial

· Bean: Baked Navy bean

· Berry: Cranberry

· Folk hero: Johnny Appleseed

· Dessert: Boston cream pie

· Cookie: Chocolate chip cookie

 · Glee club song: “The Great State of Massachusetts”

· Polka: “Say Hello to Someone from Massachusetts”

· Peace statue: Orange Peace Statue

· Korean War memorial: Charlestown Navy Yard Korean War Memorial

· Ode: “Ode to Massachusetts”

· MIA/POW memorial: Massachusetts National Cemetery MIA/POW Memorial

· Children’s book: “Make Way for Ducklings”

 · Children’s author and children’s illustrator: Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss)

· Doughnut: Boston cream doughnut

· District tartan: Bay State Tartan

· Colors: Blue, green and cranberry

· Blues artist: Taj Mahal

· Sport: Basketball

· Inventor: Benjamin Franklin

 · Reptile: Garter snake

· Artist: Norman Rockwell

· Glacial rock: Rolling Rock, Fall River

· Birthplace of the National Guard: Salem

· Groundhog: Ms. G of the Massachusetts Audubon Society

· Recreational team sport: Volleyball

Rep. Livingstone’s 2017-18 Legislative Agenda

Filed Legislation

2017-2018 Legislative Session

I am so thrilled to share some of the bills that I have filed this legislative session. Our team hit the ground running with bills spanning topics like criminal justice reform, protecting civil liberties, encouraging social justice, and promoting education. Here are some bills that I am particularly excited about this session:

HD2550 – An Act relative to criminal forfeiture
This bill repeals and replaces the Commonwealth’s existing forfeiture law, which received an F grade from the Institute of Justice in a recent 50-state survey. Currently property owners in Massachusetts do not have to be convicted of a crime or even charged with one to permanently lose their money, cars, businesses, or even their homes.  This bill would make three critical reforms to change that situation and align Massachusetts law with the laws of most other states:

  • Require a criminal conviction before a person’s property can be forfeited,
  • Require the state to prove by clear and convincing evidence that the property is subject to forfeiture, and
  • Eliminate a profit-motive for seizing personal property by directing forfeited property to the General Fund instead of the law enforcement agency.

HD 655 – An Act creating a common application for core food, health, and safety-net programs
This bill works to address the disparity commonly known as the “SNAP Gap.” Currently, there are about 680,000 people who are receiving Mass Health benefits and are likely eligible for SNAP but are not receiving SNAP benefits, for which the State is currently reimbursed by the federal government. MassHealth and SNAP have separate application processes that ask for the same basic information, duplicating efforts and creating more work for both the state and applicants. This legislation would create a common application portal to let low income households apply for MassHealth and SNAP at the same time. This would lay a foundation for a comprehensive common application portal for safety-net benefits which would reduce duplicate data collection and increase the efficiency of State Government while helping our State’s low-income population.

HD 3502 – An Act for uniform fiduciary access to digital assets
As we increasingly use online services, it becomes more important to consider our digital afterlife. This bill would address the accessibility and privacy of a person’s digital information in the event that they pass away. This privacy-centric legislation accomplishes these important goals by balancing the interests of all parties – the privacy of the deceased user; the privacy of the people with whom the deceased corresponded; the needs of the fiduciary; and existing federal law (Electronic Communications Protection Act). The legislation would empower the user to decide if and how their communications and digital content are accessed via user level controls.

HD 400 – An Act Authorizing the establishment of a commission to evaluate student health
Creates a legislative commission to address and evaluate the growing health needs of students across the Commonwealth, including exploring the need for more school nurses in each school.  Currently, class room teachers spend too much time addressing the health needs of their students, instead of teaching, because of a lack of school nurses.

HD 2131 – An Act protecting sunlight in certain public parks
Builds on the existing State Legislative Protection on the Boston Common and Public Garden by including the Charles River Esplanade, Commonwealth Avenue Mall, Copley Square Park, and Magazine Beach Park.  This bill does not weaken any current protections or allow any new exceptions.

HD 401 –  An Act to clarify the meal break law and to establish private enforcement
Massachusetts employees are legally entitled to meal breaks after six hours of employment.  Courts may punish employers who violate this law with a fine of $300 to $600 dollars, but at present, only the Attorney General has the authority to prosecute such offenders.  This legislation would allow employees to go to court without being accompanied by the Attorney General, thereby alleviating the burden on state resources while providing employees with a more effective remedy.  Ultimately, this bill seeks to treat meal break requirements in the same legal manner as wage payments and enact the same remedy for violators.

HD 664 – An Act expanding eligibility for diversion to treatment for criminal offenders
Current law allows 18-22 year old individuals who are charged with a crime but have never been convicted of a crime to avoid a criminal record by successfully completing a drug treatment program. This bill would expand eligibility to defendants of any age that are facing district court charges, pending a judge and probation’s approval.

HD 1681 – An Act to establish transparency with respect to government surveillance
Current state law does not provide criteria for the use of video recording devices by government entities. While there are some regulations at the state and local level, government entities often have wide discretion to install recording devices without any public input, record and keep for long periods of time the data collected, and give broad access to that data. This situation has the potential to infringe on the civil liberties of the law-abiding citizens unnecessarily. The bill attempts to address this situation by providing the public more information about what is happening and create standard rules for the use of recording devices.

HD 654 – An Act for fairness regarding line of duty benefits
Under current law, a $300,000 payment is given to the family any public safety employee who was killed or sustained injuries in the line of duty. This bill expands that eligibility to include the family of any public employee who dies while on the job. It also expands eligibility for the Public Service Scholarship Program.

HD 2955  – An Act to increase fair housing protections for survivors of domestic violence
This legislation will add survivors of domestic violence as a protected class under fair housing laws. This bill will protect domestic violence survivors against unfair evictions, different rental agreement terms, and denial of lease/sale. These protections currently apply to public housing but not private housing.


To learn more about the legislation that I have filed, you can check out my public legislative page here, or reach out to my Legislative Aide, Caitlin Duffy, by email ( or by telephone (617-722-2396)