Month: February 2018

Senator Lesser Votes to Authorize Funds for East Longmeadow Police Station Renovations

BOSTON — The Massachusetts State Senate voted on Thursday to authorize up to $3.65 billion in bonds for repairs and improvements to capital facilities across the Commonwealth, including renovations to the East Longmeadow Police Station championed by Senator Eric P. Lesser.

“The bond bill is an opportunity to bring attention to local priorities at the State House, and to say, ‘We need the state’s help on this.’ East Longmeadow has long wanted to make renovations to its Police Station, this is a worthy project, and I hope Governor Baker releases the funds to make it happen,” said Senator Eric P. Lesser.

The bond bill authorizes spending on a number of infrastructure improvements throughout the state. The bill will now be reconciled with a version passed by the House of Representatives, and the Governor must ultimately decide whether to release the funds from the appropriate executive offices to finance the projects.

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Senator Lesser Votes to Authorize Funds for Window Repair at Longmeadow’s Center School

BOSTON — The Massachusetts State Senate voted on Thursday to authorize up to $3.65 billion in bonds for repairs and improvements to capital facilities across the Commonwealth, including at Longmeadow’s Center School.

“The bond bill is an opportunity to bring attention to local priorities at the State House, and to say, ‘We need the state’s help on this.’ Center School is in need of window renovations, this is a worthy project, and I hope Governor Baker releases the funds to make it happen,” said Senator Eric P. Lesser, who sponsored the amendment to include funding authorization for the repairs at Center School.

The bond bill authorizes spending on a number of infrastructure improvements throughout the state. The bill will now be reconciled with a version passed by the State House of Representatives, and the Governor must ultimately decide whether to release the funds from the appropriate executive offices to finance the projects.

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Senators Lesser, Welch Issue Statements on MassMutual Announcement of Adding 1,500 Springfield Jobs, New Boston Campus

SPRINGFIELD — Senators Eric P. Lesser and James T. Welch praised MassMutual’s announcement on Thursday that it will be adding 1,500 positions in its Springfield headquarters and building a Boston campus over the next four years.

“This is very good news, to see MassMutual doubling down on its investment in Massachusetts. MassMutual is a proud Springfield company founded here nearly 200 years ago, and its decision announced today sends a clear signal that Springfield and Western Massachusetts are open for business!” said Sen. Lesser, who serves as Chairman of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies.

“MassMutual’s announcement is a sign of just how strong and business friendly the economy is here in the Commonwealth. As talks about companies moving jobs to Massachusetts continually center around Boston, it is refreshing to see a company reinforce its Western Mass roots,” said Sen. Welch, who serves as the Chairman of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing.

MassMutual announced a major expansion in Massachusetts on Thursday, first reported by Masslive/The Republican. The expansion includes adding 2,000 jobs to the Commonwealth and building a new campus in Boston’s Seaport District over the next four years.

Those 2,000 jobs include 1,500 at corporate headquarters in Springfield and 500 at the new Boston campus. The company will also be closing offices in Enfield, Connecticut, Charlotte, North Carolina, Somerset, New Jersey, Memphis, Tenn., and Johnstown, Pennsylvania, and moving many of those jobs back to Massachusetts.

MassMutual was founded in Springfield on May 15, 1851. It is listed 77 on the Fortune 500 list.

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Senator Lesser Meets with Ludlow Select Board

LUDLOW — Senator Eric P. Lesser met with the Ludlow Select Board on Tuesday night to discuss new and ongoing challenges and opportunities in the Town. Sen. Lesser meets regularly with the local leaders of the nine communities he represents.

“I am grateful to the Ludlow Select Board for taking the time to meet with me and discuss the new priorities as we begin planning for a new year’s budget. We celebrated a major milestone last year with the reopening of the East Street Bridge, and I look forward to continuing our work together on behalf of the residents of Ludlow,” Sen. Lesser said.

In November last year, Sen. Lesser joined local officials in a ribbon-cutting to reopen the East Street Bridge, a project he and town officials from Ludlow and Wilbraham worked on for two years.

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Senator Lesser Attends First Net Neutrality Committee Hearing, Questions AG and Other Witnesses

Committee formed in response to FCC’s decision to repeal net neutrality rules

BOSTON — Senator Eric P. Lesser attended the first hearing of the State Senate’s Special Committee on Net Neutrality on Tuesday to hear about the state’s options to ensure statewide access to the Internet without allowing providers to change Internet speeds according to pricing tiers.

Attorney General Maura Healey, whose office has begun a lawsuit against the Federal Communications Commission for revoking Net Neutrality rules implemented by the Obama Administration, was one of the witnesses who testified at the hearing.

Lesser asked Healey whether legal challenges would arise if the Legislature passed legislation while the state’s lawsuit is still pending. Healey said there would not be.

Lesser also pressed one witness on the question of states’ rights and the Bay State’s responsibility to protect its consumers when the federal government fails to do so.

“Net Neutrality is about protecting the Internet access Americans have always enjoyed. No company should be able to slow your data speeds on a whim. We must do all we can at the state level to protect users’ access to the Internet,” Lesser said.

Lesser was appointed to the committee, led by Sen. Cynthia Creem, at the time of its creation in January. The committee was formed with the task of developing legislation in response to the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to repeal net neutrality rules.

“I’m grateful to have a seat on this committee and to help craft our response to the Trump Administration’s dangerous removal of Net Neutrality rules,” Lesser said at the time of his appointment.

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr and Sens. Michael Barrett, Jamie Eldridge, Barbara L’Italien and Patrick O’Connor were also appointed to the special committee. Tarr serves as vice chair.

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Senator Lesser Meets with Granby Select Board

GRANBY — Senator Eric P. Lesser met with the Granby Select Board on Monday night to discuss new and ongoing challenges and opportunities in the Town. Sen. Lesser meets regularly with the local leaders of the nine communities he represents.

“I am grateful to the Granby Select Board for taking the time to meet with me and discussing the important issues Granby is facing as we begin planning for a new year’s budget. These meetings with local officials are very helpful in setting local priorities and carrying them forward to my work in the State Senate. I look forward to continuing our work together on behalf of the residents of Granby,” Sen. Lesser said.

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Sens. Lesser, Welch Vote with Senate for State Funding to Support Local Schools Accepting Influx of Students from Puerto Rico

BOSTON — In a unanimous vote on Thursday, the State Senate supported a measure to inject needed funds into school districts, including Springfield and Chicopee, that have accepted an influx of students from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands as a result of Hurricane Maria.

The supplemental funding bill was an urgent response to the need of school districts across the state that have added hundreds of new students to their classrooms. The $15 million in state funds was an amount proposed by Gov. Charlie Baker and passed by the State House of Representatives on Wednesday.

“As we welcome new students from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands who have lost everything they know because of a natural disaster, we must also support our schools and local institutions that are doing their best to serve them. I hope this is the first of many efforts to support our friends and neighbors working to rebuild their lives, and those working to help them,” said Senator Eric P. Lesser.

“I am more than pleased that this funding was included in the supplemental budget. Our communities welcomed these students and families and it is important that they receive adequate reimbursement and funding going forward to support the students. As a delegation, we have been in touch with the Administration to be sure this was a priority. We will continue to stay in touch to be sure the funds go where they are most needed,” said Senator James T. Welch.

The funding bill will now go to Gov. Baker’s desk for his signature.

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Senator Lesser Calls On Residents to Attend State Rail Plan Public Meeting in Springfield

SPRINGFIELD — The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is holding its only public hearing on the 2018 State Rail Plan in Western Massachusetts on Friday, and Senator Eric P. Lesser is encouraging residents to attend to have their voices heard.

“The 2018 State Rail Plan is in draft form until the public comment period closes on February 19. If you support a study to look at the costs and benefits of a rail link connecting Springfield to Boston, you need to let MassDOT know so that they can see the support this has in Western Mass,” Sen. Lesser said.

Sen. Lesser held a press conference on Monday to announce the inclusion of an east-west rail study in MassDOT’s State Rail Plan as a “major breakthrough” in a years-long effort to get a study completed. At that conference, he noted that the 2018 State Rail Plan is a draft, and is currently open for public comment until Feb. 19.

He told residents that making their support of a study known to MassDOT was “vital at this moment” to ensure that it is included in the final published Plan.

Sen. Lesser will attend MassDOT’s public meeting on the draft State Rail Plan, which is being held at the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, and calls on residents to join him:

WHAT: MassDOT will hold its only announced public hearing in Western Massachusetts on the 2018 State Rail Plan. Public comment on the Plan closes on Feb. 19.

WHEN: Friday, February 2 at 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

WHERE: Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, 60 Congress St., Springfield, MA 01104

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