Around the District
The cities and towns in my district have begun summer with many exciting and meaningful activities. Throughout May and June, I had the joy of attending many local events, including a Harvard League of Women Voters forum on single-payer healthcare, the Domestic Violence Services Network Celebration of Hope benefit in Stow, a discussion on the Safe Communities Act at the Trinity Chapel in Shirley, the kickoff of the 9th Annual Acton Boxborough Farmer’s Market, and the unveiling of the “Trashy Fishbone Xylophone” sculpture on the Assabet River Rail Trail in Hudson.
The MCI-Norfolk state prison hosted its annual restorative justice retreat, which I was fortunate to attend. The prisoners, victims’ families, and advocates told powerful stories of harm, apology, and healing, reaffirming the need for more vigorous restorative justice practices. These activities make me proud to represent communities that work tirelessly to enrich the lives of people throughout the Commonwealth.
At the Statehouse
In this time of national unrest, the role of state and local governments in pursuing progressive policies is more important than ever. I was grateful to join distinguished advocates and colleagues on the steps of the Statehouse to speak in support of my bill to move Massachusetts to 100% renewable energy. Cities and states must lead the way in protecting our environment, and the passion that I witnessed at this rally gives me hope that our state will be successful in mitigating the effects of climate change.
The past 30 days have been eventful for my legislative priorities on immigration, criminal justice reform, and the environment. On June 5th, I testified in favor of restorative justice practices, which focus on repairing harm done to victims and developing sentences that serve the best interests of the community. This reform is integral to creating a fair and effective justice system, and I was proud to testify in support of this bill as part of our legislature’s movement to pass comprehensive criminal justice reform.
I recently testified in support of the Safe Communities Act before the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security to ensure that Massachusetts tax dollars are devoted to protecting our communities, not enforcing federal immigration law. Four hundred people who were passionate about this bill packed the hearing room, where I fielded questions from the committee for nearly an hour. I am hopeful that the positive momentum will allow us to pass this crucial legislation and create safer communities for all Massachusetts residents.
I was also pleased to vote in favor of advancing the Fair Share Amendment to the ballot in 2018 because it is important that voters have the opportunity to weigh in on this issue next year. This amendment would create a progressive income tax on the wealthiest 1% of residents, in order to raise much-needed funds for education and transportation in our Commonwealth, and now moves to the ballot for voters to decide in November 2018.
Finally, I took part in the Senate debate on legislation to further regulate the sale of medical and recreational marijuana in the Commonwealth. We considered over 100 amendments to the bill, and ultimately agreed to preserve the will of the voters by retaining a 12% tax rate. The amended bill also encourages economic opportunities for farmers and small businesses, promotes justice, and preserves the medical marijuana program. A conference committee is currently meeting and hopes to send a finished product to Governor Baker this summer.
Your advocacy is important
I’m very proud to represent a constituency that is committed to improving our communities and making sure our shared interests and goals are heard by the state legislature. Please continue to reach out by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or connect with me on social media through @JamieEldridgeMA on Twitter and Senator Jamie Eldridge on Facebook. I value the time, energy, and thoughtfulness you put in your advocacy, and look forward to staying connected.