OP-ED: End of Session Crunch in the State Legislature

State Sen. Will Brownsberger (D – Belmont) who also represents Watertown and parts of Boston, provided the following piece:

It has already been a productive legislative session, but negotiations underway have the potential to make it especially significant. In April, we enacted  a transformational set of criminal justice reforms. Last month, we settled a major package to reduce economic inequality — raising the minimum wage, providing paid family and medical leave and also resolving a dispute over the sales tax. Several measures that have significant resonance in the current national political climate have crossed or should shortly hit the Governor’s desk: Extreme risk protective orders to reduce the risk of gun suicides, automatic voter registration and the repeal of archaic anti-abortion laws. Another measure that resonates nationally is still up in the air — “safe communities” legislation that would assure that local police focus on maintaining order and protecting residents rather than doing the immigration enforcement work of ICE. The safe communities measure is pending as part of the state’s budget for fiscal 2019which is now a couple of weeks late.

LETTER: Proposed Road Projects Will Hurt Neighborhoods, Small Businesses

The DPW and Planning Department have been working on improving the traffic flow through Watertown Square, as well as making it and Mt. Auburn Street friendlier to bicyclists and pedestrians. However, as usual, they are not considering neighborhood integrity, nor the needs of small businesses. It is funny to me that they are touting “complete streets,” which simply means designing for more modes of transportation than cars. Cities in Europe have been doing this type of design for over 60 years, but we have just “discovered” it here in the U.S., and we don’t do it well yet.

OP-ED: State Sen. Brownsberger Pushing to Make Roads Safer for Bicyclists

(The following piece was provided by State Sen. Will Brownsberger (D – Belmont) who also represents Watertown and parts of Boston)
When I cycled across the country in 2011, I saw a lot of roadkill. I was constantly aware that all it would take was one mistake by me or by one of those caffeinated guys in big rigs and I’d look about the same. On the open road, I developed a profound gratitude towards the tens of thousands of drivers who did not hit me. The Senate just approved a safety package that would require a clearance of at least three feet for vehicles passing vulnerable road users like highway workers, cyclists and pedestrians.  It would add an additional foot of required clearance for each ten miles per hour of speed.

OP-ED: Mass. Senate Passes Act to Reduce Pedestrian/Bicycle Fatalities

State Sen. Will Brownsberger released the following piece on legislation, of which he was the lead sponsor, to increase bicycle and pedestrian safety:

The Massachusetts State Senate voted Thursday, July 28, 2018 to pass legislation that aims to create safer streets for all road users. Developed in collaboration with a coalition of bicycle, pedestrian and transportation advocates, S.2570, An Act to reduce traffic fatalities, includes several measures to improve road safety, lessen the severity of crashes, and standardize the collection and analysis of crash data. The bill classifies several groups, including pedestrians, utility workers, first responders and cyclists, as “vulnerable road users,” and requires motor vehicles to apply a “safe passing distance” of at least three feet when traveling 30 miles per hour or less with an additional foot of clearance required for every 10 miles per hour over 30 miles per hour. Current law only requires motor vehicle operators to pass at “a safe distance and at a reasonable and proper speed.” The bill would further require a vehicle that is overtaking a vulnerable road user to use all or part of the adjacent lane, crossing the center line if necessary, when it cannot pass at a safe distance in the same lane and only when it is safe to do so. “We need to keep working year after year to achieve a future in which traffic fatalities get as close as possible to zero,” said Senator William N. Brownsberger (D-Belmont), lead sponsor of the bill in the Senate.

LETTER: Watertown Republicans Endorse Jay McMahon for Attorney General

The Watertown Republican Town Committee has proudly and unanimously voted to endorse Attorney James “Jay” McMahon III who running in the Republican Primary to be the next Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.McMahon, a Buzzards Bay resident, has practiced law in the Massachusetts for 30 years. During this period he has litigated cases in every court in the Commonwealth, in Federal Courts, as well as the U.S. Supreme Court. His experience includes Civil, Criminal, Domestic, and Bankruptcy. McMahon
further has an extensive background in business management and law enforcement. In addition he served in the Massachusetts Army National Guard as a 2nd Lieutenant (Military Police).

LETTER: Exhibit Shows Examples of High Quality Early Childhood Education

I have been a Preschool and Pre-K teacher for 15 years. I am happy that the scientific and economic research that shows the life long positive impacts of quality early childhood education is starting to lead to more investments and expansion of early childhood programs in Massachusetts. However, I am always leery this will come with a push down of the K-12 education model of education into early childhood. High quality early childhood education is not tracing letters, using flash cards, sitting still for long periods, or preparing kids for future standardized tests. High quality early childhood education allows young children to build on their innate curiosity about the world to become mini-researchers who are guided in their research by well-trained early childhood educators.

OP-ED: State Senate’s Letter to President on Separating Children from Parents Seeking Asylum

{The following letter was provided by State Sen. Will Brownsberger, and was sent on behalf of the Massachusetts State Senate}

June 20, 2018

President Donald J. Trump
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Trump,

We write to you as a united and bipartisan group of Massachusetts State Senators, to denounce the immoral policy of separating children from their parents when they seek asylum at the United States border with Mexico. We believe this policy is toxic to our reputation as a country and, most importantly, damaging to the families it impacts. This policy has already separated over 2,300 children from their families; the federal government has an affirmative duty to reunite every family that was separated by this policy. Further, rising public knowledge of this new un-American practice by your administration has created outrage and deep sorrow across our country. In a time when politics regarding immigration policy has become more divisive than ever, response to these actions has united Republicans, Democrats, independents, family advocates, and business groups – all calling for the common sense practice to keep families united.