Category: Press Release

Senator Lesser Votes to Ban “Bump Stocks” and “Trigger Cranks” in Mass. after They Were Used by Las Vegas Shooter

Las Vegas Shooting Was Deadliest in U.S. History, Leaving 58 Dead and 489 Injured

“Too many Americans fear for their safety and the safety of their families. It is time for us to step up and say we will not tolerate this senseless killing anymore,” said Lesser

 

BOSTON — Today the State Senate voted 38-0 to ban the use or sale of “bump stocks” and “trigger cranks,” attachments used by the Las Vegas shooter on Oct. 1 which enable semi-automatic rifles to fire faster, simulating automatic fire. The Las Vegas mass shooting was the worst in U.S. history, leaving 58 dead and 489 injured.

Banning “bump stocks” and “trigger cranks” have been a unifying issue in the debate over reducing gun violence. The National Rifle Association announced on Oct. 5 that it was open to new regulations on such devices.

Following the vote, State Senator Eric P. Lesser issued the following statement:

“There are commonsense solutions to reducing gun violence while protecting the Second Amendment. Banning ‘bump stocks’ and ‘trigger cranks’ is one of those commonsense solutions.

“Too many parents have had to bury their children, too many movie-goers have had a fun night out turn into a nightmare and too many Americans fear for their safety and the safety of their families. It is time for us to step up and say we will not tolerate this senseless killing anymore — or the ease with which it is carried out.

“I understand that no one law will end our epidemic of gun violence, but there are actions we can and must take today that make it harder to commit mass murder and to keep weapons of mass murder out of the hands of criminals. Western Mass has a long tradition of hunting and sportsmanship, but bump stocks and trigger cranks are designed to turn semi-automatic guns used by hunters or hobbyists into weapons of war capable of inflicting terror in our communities. They should be illegal.

“This is not an issue that should be used to divide us. We can come together even on these tough issues of life and death as long as we listen to each other and continue to look out for our neighbors the way we have always done in our communities and across our country.”

The vote came a week after a report that the Las Vegas shooter had researched concert venues in Boston and searched for hotels near Fenway Park.

Similar legislation passed the State House of Representatives the previous day.

Legislation banning bump stocks at the federal level was introduced by a bipartisan group of 20 legislators in the U.S. House of Representatives on Oct. 10.

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Lesser Welcomes Del. Gov. Carney and Gov. Baker to Springfield to Tour Commerce High School

SPRINGFIELD — On Friday Senator Eric P. Lesser welcomed Governor Charlie Baker and Del. Governor John Carney to Springfield for a tour of Commerce High School to see the innovative practices employed by students and teachers to improve the school’s performance.

“It’s an honor to welcome Governor Carney to Western Massachusetts and to showcase the fantastic work happening in the Springfield School System. The Springfield model is showing success for students that can be replicated across the state and even around the country,” said Sen. Lesser.

In 2010, a number of low-performing Springfield schools formed an “empowerment zone” to allow school principals more autonomy and flexibility in managing their schools’ curriculum and finances. The move prevented a takeover by the state, and is showing promise as a successful model for improvement.

Sen. Lesser has introduced legislation that would allow schools in cities and towns across the Commonwealth to adopt the empowerment zone model and to replicate the success seen in Springfield.

In September, Sen. Lesser testified in favor of the bill before the state legislature’s Education Committee, alongside Springfield Superintendent of Schools Dan Warwick, president and CEO of the Urban League of Springfield Henry Thomas III, and the principal and two teachers at Duggan Middle School.

The teachers, Emma Klein and Evan Christner, explained why they feel the empowerment zone model has given them greater flexibility in the classroom to avoid “teaching to the test.”

Gov. Carney drove up from Delaware to see how the empowerment zone model was improving students’ success, and whether or not something similar could be implemented in his state.

“I hope Gov. Carney will be able to take some of what he learned back to Delaware with him,” Sen. Lesser said.

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Senator Lesser to Hold Series of “Cider and Donuts” Events at Area Senior Centers

First round of events will be held in Chicopee, Belchertown and Granby

 

SPRINGFIELD — Today State Senator Eric P. Lesser announced that he will hold a tour of listening sessions at senior centers across the First Hampden & Hampshire Senate District. The first round of fall-themed “Cider and Donuts” events will take place in Chicopee, Belchertown and Granby on Monday October 2, 2017, with another round of events in other towns to be announced at a future date.

 

“I always enjoy my visits to our senior centers and take away a lot from my conversations. I’m looking forward to hearing what our seniors have to say and about the issues that concern them and how I can help work on them,” Senator Lesser said.

 

WHO: State Senator Eric P. Lesser

WHAT: Fall Meet-and-Greet at Chicopee Senior Center

WHERE: Chicopee Senior Center, 5 West Main St, Chicopee, MA 01020

WHEN: Monday, October 2, 2017 at 9 a.m.

 

WHO: State Senator Eric P. Lesser

WHAT: Fall Meet-and-Greet at Belchertown Senior Center

WHERE: Belchertown Senior Center, 60 State Street, Belchertown, MA 01007

WHEN: Monday, October 2, 2017 at 10:30 a.m.

 

WHO: State Senator Eric P. Lesser

WHAT: Fall Meet-and-Greet at Granby Senior Center

WHERE: Granby Senior Center, 10 West State St, Granby, Massachusetts, MA 01033

WHEN: Monday, October 2, 2017 at 12 p.m.

 

Each event is open to the media. For questions, please contact Ryan Migeed, Communications Director to Senator Eric P. Lesser, at 617-722-1291.

 

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Senator Lesser Hosts Town Hall in Springfield

SPRINGFIELD — On Monday night, Senator Eric P. Lesser spoke and took questions at the Greenleaf Community Center in Springfield, where he held his third and final town hall of the month.

For nearly two hours, Sen. Lesser took more than a dozen questions on topics ranging from the state’s health care system to K-12 education and innovative reforms happening in Springfield to the opioid addiction crisis and the recent Equifax data breach.

He also discussed his proposed Student Loan Bill of Rights in response to a question about student debt. The bill would protect student borrowers from deceptive practices by student loan servicers and require those servicers to be licensed by the state. The bill would also empower state officials to investigate students’ complaints and take legal action against servicers who violate this bill of rights — including forcing servicers to repay student borrowers if they were overcharged.

Sen. Lesser was also asked about east-west rail connecting Boston to Springfield, and discussed the state’s regional economic differences and how the rail connection would help the Western Mass economy.

“I don’t think anyone is trying to pretend this is going to be some easy project. But the question that needs to be asked is, What’s the cost of not doing it? And what’s the cost of continuing to allow an entire region of the state to fall further and further behind while an economy just to the east of us in Boston and just to the south of us in New York is as hot and growing as fast as it’s ever grown before. That’s not sustainable and frankly, it’s not fair,” Sen. Lesser said.

“Our taxes helped pay for the Big Dig and are still paying for the Big Dig. Our sales taxes support the MBTA. And my guess is most of us in this room would gladly pay our fair share because we understand how important a dynamic and growing Boston is for the whole state and for the economy of our whole New England region. But the deal has to be fair. I don’t think somebody’s future potential should depend on the zip code where they live. I think everyone should have the same access to jobs and opportunity,” he added.

In July, the legislature’s Conference Committee released its compromise budget, which did not include an amendment to study east-west rail that had been included in the Senate version of the budget.

Sen. Lesser has reintroduced a standalone bill to study the feasibility of such a project. It is slated to have a hearing before the legislature’s joint transportation committee this fall.

Sen. Lesser also met with local officials, including city councillors, selectmen and school committee members from Springfield, Wilbraham and East Longmeadow before the town hall to get updates on a variety of local issues he is working on at the state level.

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Senator Lesser Highlights Importance of Civics with School Readings

SPRINGFIELD — During the week of Constitution Day on Sept. 17, which marks the anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution, Senator Eric P. Lesser embarked on a two-day tour of elementary schools in his senate district to highlight the importance of civics education.

At each school, he spoke with students about the job of a state senator and read “Madam President,” an illustrated children’s book by Lane Smith. In the book, a little girl imagines what her day would be like if she were the President of the United States.

“It’s important for students to have memorable civic experiences early on if we truly want them to be active, engaged citizens in the future. Young people shouldn’t feel hopeless or helpless, they should feel powerful. In high school, I helped organize students and teachers to save teachers’ jobs that had been cut because of budget decisions made miles away in Boston instead of in our own community. We won that fight because we got engaged. The lesson is you can make a difference no matter what age you are,” Sen. Lesser said.

Sen. Lesser spent Monday morning at Meadowbrook Elementary School in East Longmeadow, Center School in Longmeadow and Robert R. Litwin School in Chicopee.

On Tuesday, he read to third-graders at Swift River Elementary School in Belchertown, East Meadow School in Granby and Chapin Street Elementary School in Ludlow.

Earlier this year, Sen. Lesser introduced legislation that encourages school districts to teach civics and news media literacy. It directs the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to establish voluntary pilot programs to test the curriculum on news media literacy and include a civics participation project at least once in elementary school and at least once in high school.

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Senator Lesser Hosts Town Hall Forum in Ludlow

LUDLOW — On Tuesday night, Senator Eric P. Lesser spoke at the Ludlow Boys and Girls Club, where he held his second of three town hall forums this month.

For nearly two hours, Sen. Lesser took more than a dozen questions on topics including the state’s opioid addiction crisis, the EpiPen bulk purchase program that Sen. Lesser proposed and the governor signed into law earlier this year, and the economy and jobs.

He also discussed his proposed Student Loan Bill of Rights in response to a question from a student in the audience. The bill would protect student borrowers from deceptive practices by student loan servicers and require those servicers to be licensed by the state. The bill would also empower state officials to investigate students’ complaints and take legal action against servicers who violate this bill of rights — including forcing servicers to repay student borrowers if they were overcharged.

One constituent asked about the political system and possible changes to how candidates are elected through primaries.

“I really think that most people are consensus-minded. I think for most of us in our lives, in our homes, and in our personal relationships, our instinct is not just to attack. There’s clearly something sick in our political system right now that creates that incentive structure in our politics. We need our politics to more accurately reflect normal human behavior, which is listening to each other and trying to build consensus and trying to focus on the things we agree on,” Sen. Lesser said.

Sen. Lesser was also asked about east-west rail connecting Boston to Springfield, and discussed the state’s regional economic differences and how the rail connection would help the Western Mass economy.

“Western Mass is a fantastic place to live. I’m raising two young kids here, I own a home here, my whole family is here, my parents are here. But we have some serious challenges, which is the economy changed and the economy now is about technology and about innovation and industries that we have traditionally not led,” he said. “We need to connect ourselves, we need growth, we need opportunity that we’re seeing in other parts of our state and our country and I think rail is an important part of this. We have a perfect location, we have amazing universities and assets and talented people and we’re really close to places that have super red-hot economies that we could connect ourselves to. Rail is a win-win for both sides of the state.”

Sen. Lesser also met with the Ludlow School Committee and Board of Selectmen before the town hall to get an update on a variety of issues affecting the town.

The final forum will be at Springfield’s Greenleaf Community Center on Monday, Sept. 25, at 6:30 p.m. Doors open to the public at 6 p.m.

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Senator Lesser, Rep. Wagner Bring State House Hearing to Springfield

Economic Development committee held a hearing on several bills sponsored by local officials at STCC

SPRINGFIELD — Senator Eric P. Lesser and Representative Joseph F. Wagner brought the State House to Springfield, in a sense, when they held a public hearing of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, which they chair, at Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) on Tuesday.

The committee heard testimony on bills that could impact the state’s economy, including several introduced by Western Massachusetts Reps. Brian Ashe, Bud Williams and Carlos Gonzalez, and Sen. James Welch.

In a rare occurrence, both the Senate and House chairmen of this high-stakes economic committee represent parts of Western Massachusetts, a region of the state that is often neglected by Beacon Hill for funding and investment.

“We thought it was important to have this hearing in Western Mass so that those proposing laws directly affecting our communities could actually see the impact they would have,” said Sen. Lesser.

“As we examine matters pending before the committee, we’ve made it a priority to ensure Western Massachusetts residents have the opportunity to weigh in as we move through the committee process,” said Rep. Wagner.

Rick Sullivan, President and CEO of the Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council gave an overview of the economic development happening in the region.

Sullivan, the former mayor of Westfield, discussed MGM Springfield, the casino and resort complex that is expected to open in fall 2018, as well as ongoing construction on the Interstate 91 viaduct and the CRRC railcar plant in East Springfield.

Michael Suzor, Assistant to the President of STCC, also testified on the programming STCC is pioneering in emerging technologies, specifically in high-tech precision manufacturing.

Rep. Williams testified on his bill to establish a Western Mass sustainable development commission.

Rep. Gonzalez testified on his bill to develop a microlending program to small businesses in inner cities.

The hearing was held in Scibelli Hall on STCC’s historic campus.

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Senator Lesser, Local Officials Applaud Granby Clean Energy Grant

GRANBY — On Friday, Senator Eric P. Lesser welcomed the announcement that the town of Granby had been awarded $13,750 in Municipal Energy Technical Assistance (META) grants.

“I am thrilled that our community has received this grant, which will help reduce energy costs by updating waste management systems and investing in more efficient energy sources. As we know, clean energy is not just good for the environment, but also for taxpayers’ wallets. This is a win-win situation for Granby,” said Sen. Lesser.

“I was pleased to hear that Granby received this META grant. A grant like this will help Granby invest in crucial projects like updating the waste management systems or conducting energy audits on town buildings to look for ways to increase energy efficiencies. Congratulations again to Granby for pursuing this grant and for helping lead the way in prioritizing green energy,” said Rep. John Scibak.

“I could not be more excited on behalf of the town of Granby. The Green Communities Program is a vital part of encouraging and sustaining our position at the forefront of the renewable energy revolution — and this META grant is the state’s way of financially supporting our local communities who are leading the way on the path of long-term sustainability,” said Rep. Solomon Goldstein-Rose.

“We’re very excited about this technical assistance grant. We have a very active energy committee. Among our green community projects is an energy audit of Granby High School. We thank Senator Lesser for his advocacy,” said Mark Bail, Chair of the Granby Select Board.

The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources awards META grants each year to better inform designated “Green Communities” decision-making. The grants are awarded to cities and towns, regional school districts, and wastewater districts to help manage sustainability projects or improve the performance of studies to support the development of clean energy projects.

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Senator Lesser, Rep. Tosado Applaud Springfield Clean Energy Grant

SPRINGFIELD — On Friday, Senator Eric P. Lesser welcomed the announcement that the city of Springfield had been awarded $12,500 in Municipal Energy Technical Assistance (META) grants.

“I am thrilled that our community has received this grant, which will help reduce energy costs by updating waste management systems and investing in more efficient energy sources. As we know, clean energy is not just good for the environment, but also for taxpayers’ wallets. This is a win-win situation for Springfield,” said Sen. Lesser.

“As Springfield continues to make clean, efficient energy a priority, this grant will further those efforts. The result is lower energy bills for the city and a more sustainable environment for our residents,” said Representative Jose F. Tosado.

“I appreciate Senator Lesser’s and our local state delegation’s continued efforts to bring assets to our Springfield. Eric’s efforts help us on our ongoing drive to ‘go green,’” said Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno.

The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources awards META grants each year to better inform designated “Green Communities” decision-making. The grants are awarded to cities and towns, regional school districts, and wastewater districts to help manage sustainability projects or improve the performance of studies to support the development of clean energy projects.

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Senator Lesser, Town Officials Applaud Longmeadow Clean Energy Grant

LONGMEADOW — On Friday, Senator Eric P. Lesser welcomed the announcement that the town of Longmeadow had been awarded $13,750 in Municipal Energy Technical Assistance (META) grants.

“I am thrilled that our community has received this grant, which will help reduce energy costs by updating waste management systems and investing in more efficient energy sources. As we know, clean energy is not just good for the environment, but also for taxpayers’ wallets. This is a win-win situation for Longmeadow,” said Sen. Lesser.

“We are thrilled that Longmeadow has received this META Grant.  As we aim to make our town more energy efficient, this grant, as well as our continued commitment for our future, will help to further our goals,” said Representative Brian M. Ashe.

“I feel this grant is needed to get things moving in terms of developing more efficient and cost saving energy-generating agreements. Many town buildings are suitable for green energy projects,” said Longmeadow Select Board Chairman Tom Lachiusa.

“The Town is pleased to receive this grant that will fund an evaluation of Town-owned buildings and land for the installation of solar panels. In accordance with the Longmeadow Energy Reduction Plan, an expert in the siting and installation of solar arrays will help us determine what Town assets are viable. The long term benefits of this effort cannot be overstated,” said Longmeadow Town Manager Stephen Crane.

The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources awards META grants each year to better inform designated “Green Communities” decision-making. The grants are awarded to cities and towns, regional school districts, and wastewater districts to help manage sustainability projects or improve the performance of studies to support the development of clean energy projects.

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