Jobs Available for 2020 U.S. Census Workers

The 2020 Census is approaching, and there are job opportunities available. The Census Bureau needs thousands of temporary employees to help complete the count. State Sen. Will Brownsberger, who represents Watertown, provided information for those seeking work with the Census. “Massachusetts needs 54,000 applicants for 2020 Census efforts, but only has received about 17,000 applications so far. Census takers must be hired from all communities across the Commonwealth to ensure a complete count,” Brownsberger wrote on his website.

OP-ED: Details of Au Pair Ruling, Constituent Meeting

State Sen. Will Brownsberger

The following piece was provided by State Sen. Will Brownsberger, who represents Watertown, Belmont and parts of Boston:

For my constituents with concern or interest in the new Au Pair Ruling, I’m holding a discussion meeting: Saturday, December 21, 2019 at 12:30PM – 2 p.m., Watertown Savings Bank Meeting Room, Watertown Free Public Library, 123 Main St, Watertown, MA 02472 (See below for more details on the ruling)

A federal appellate court ruling has created a difficult situation for some families who rely on “au pair” arrangements for their child care. The ruling upheld the application of the Massachusetts Domestic Workers Bill of Rights to au pair arrangements. In an “au pair” arrangement, a young person comes from another country to live with a U.S. family. In return for room and board, they provide child care. In many cases, they are treated very well, often as a family members.

OP-ED: Details of Hands Free Cell Phone Bill Being Considered at State House

State Sen. Will Brownsberger

The following piece was provided by State Sen. Will Brownsberger, D – Belmont, who also represents Watertown and parts of Boston:

On Nov. 18, House and Senate conferees filed their report on the hands-free cell phone safety bill. The bill is virtually certain to be approved by both branches and to become law shortly. The new hands-free rules will take effect in late February 2020, but violations will be handled with warnings through March 31, 2020. Under the new law, you can talk to your cell phone, but you cannot touch or even look at it while driving, except in true emergency.

OP-ED: Looking at Gov. Baker’s Temporary Ban on Vaping

The following piece was provided by State Sen. Will Brownsberger, D – Belmont, who also represents Watertown and parts of Boston. On Sept. 24, Governor Baker declared a public health emergency and temporary ban on the sale of all vaping products in response to a multi-state outbreak of unexplained lung illnesses associated with vaping. In effect until Jan. 25, the ban seeks to provide medical experts time to properly investigate the dangers associated with the use of electronic nicotine and marijuana products, which will assist the state in developing a response that could include new legislation or Department of Public Health (DPH) regulations.

OP-ED: Raising Our Rate of Investment in Transportation

Buses like this one on the 71 bus will get priority heading toward Harvard Square on Mt. Auburn Street in the new Cambridge-Watertown Bus Priority Pilot program. The following piece was provided by State Sen. Will Brownsberger, D – Belmont, who also represents Watertown and parts of Boston:

The MBTA’s Board heard a presentation last week from leaders of Toronto’s regional rail system. What was really stunning was how rapidly Toronto has been investing in all forms of transit improvement and expansion. 

Since 2008, Toronto’s regional leadership has been engaged in a series of transit expansions which will add up to a total investment of approximately $60 billion by 2028. Annual spending has reached a level over $4 billion in some years. Four billion dollars in well-managed transit investments within one year represents staggering progress. In Massachusetts, we have struggled to raise our annual investment to $1 billion per year on transit. In private and public meetings officials ask constantly whether we can move more quickly, but again and again the answer has been that we don’t have the planning and management capacity to do so.

OP-ED: Improving Rail Service Can Reduce Congestion at Rush Hour

The following piece was provided by State Sen. Will Brownsberger, D – Belmont, who also represents Watertown and parts of Boston:

A closer look at recently-reported traffic numbers offers hope that expansions of rail service can make a real difference in rush hour congestion. I was discouraged by two analyses that came out over the summer. MassDOT’s report, Congestion in the Commonwealth, showed that daily vehicle volume dwarfs daily commuter rail ridership along the major radial commuting paths into the core of the Boston area. Around the same time, preliminary results from the Rail Vision model showed that even major expansions of commuter rail service outside 128 would garner ridership increases apparently too small to make a dent in vehicle volume. For example, the Congestion report shows at page 89 that on I-90 (the Massachusetts Turnpike), there are roughly 150,000 vehicles per day as compared to only 18,000 daily riders on the parallel Worcester line.

OP-ED: Education Reform Bill Would Provide More Funding

State Sen. Will Brownsberger

The following piece was provided by State Sen. Will Brownsberger, D – Belmont, who also represents Watertown and parts of Boston:

Friday, the legislature’s Education Committee released the Student Opportunity Act, a very significant education reform bill. It is an especially promising bill because the House and Senate leadership teams are already in agreement on all of its details. 

The bill targets more aid to communities with the highest concentrations of low income students, but schools in every community will benefit. The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) computes a budget for each school system in the state, known as the “Foundation Budget.” DESE also computes an amount that the school system should be able to contribute towards that budget. The state then sends the difference between what the community can afford and the Foundation Budget as education aid. Unfortunately, the Foundation Budget computation has not kept up with rising school costs. On average, communities need to spend approximately 30 percent more than the Foundation Budget to run their schools. The poorest communities in the state are unable to spend at that level and are therefore spending much less than the more affluent communities in the state.

Sen. Brownsberger Seeks Nominees for Citizen’s Legislative Seminar

Massachusetts State House. The following information was provided by State Sen. Brownsberger’s Office:

Senator Will Brownsberger announced that he is seeking nominees to participate in the 83rd Citizens’ Legislative Seminar (CLS) on Tuesday, Oct. 22 and Wednesday, Oct. 23 at the Massachusetts State House in Boston. CLS is a semi-annual educational seminar geared towards adults of all ages interested in learning more about state government and the legislative process.