Friday, February 19, 2021: Today marks the completion of the bill filing process for the 2021-22 Legislative Session here in Massachusetts. A complete list of our Association’s legislative proposals, as well as the lead legislative sponsors of our bills, is contained within our March newsletter. You should receive your copy of The Voice this week.
In addition to the bills listed in the newsletter, we have opted to file an additional proposal aimed at addressing cost concerns for non-Medicare eligible retirees insured through the state’s Group Insurance Commission. This proposal, filed by House Republican Leader Brad Jones (R-North Reading), instructs the GIC to implement the so-called Medicare buy-in program for those retirees age 65+ who are not Medicare eligible. We continue to work closely with the GIC on this issue and will have more information to report in the coming weeks and months.
Last Friday, newly elected House Speaker Ron Mariano (D-Quincy) and Senate President Karen Spilka (D-Ashland) each announced their respective leadership teams and committee assignments. Yesterday, House Republican Leader Jones and Senate Republican Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) did the same.
We are very pleased to say that several close friends and supporters of public retirees now hold critical senior positions and committee chairmanships within both branches for the legislature. These include officials with whom we have worked closely with for many years and have formed deep friendships outside of government.
History was made on the House side with the appointment of Rep. Claire Cronin (D-Easton) as Majority Leader. Born and raised in Brockton, Cronin is the first woman in state history to hold the House’s #2 position. She served as Massachusetts Chair of President Joe Biden’s campaign and previously served as Chair of the House Judiciary Committee. Claire is highly regarded by her colleagues and has maintained a very close relationship with our Association for many years. Needless to say, we cannot be more exited for her and look forward to working with her as the House sets its agenda for the new session.
In the Senate, Newton State Senator Cynthia Creem will once again serve as Majority Leader. Each chamber will retain their current Chairmen of Ways and Means, with Rep. Aaron Michlewitz (D-Boston) and Senator Michael Rodrigues (D-Westport) leading their respective budget writing committees. We have worked closely with both chairmen in the past on a wide variety of issues impacting retirees.
Senator Cindy Friedman (D-Arlington) returns as Chairwoman of Healthcare Finance. Her House counterpart is Rep. John Lawn (D-Watertown). Both legislators are long-time friends of our Association, working to sponsor key legislation on our behalf.
While the list of legislators chairing important committees is extensive, the one Committee of utmost importance to public retirees and employees is the Joint Committee on Public Service. Nearly every legislative proposal pertaining to public retirement or health insurance originates with the Public Service Committee.
Returning as Senate Chairman is our good friend Mike Brady (D-Brockton). As members know, we have maintained a close relationship with Senator Brady since his days as a Brockton City Counselor and then State Representative. Representing a so-called gateway city, the Senator is known to focus his efforts on working class economic issues – the type of issues that make up the bulk of our legislative platform. We are very excited by the opportunity to work closely with Mike once again.
On the House side, the Speaker has tapped Rep. Ken Gordon (D-Burlington) to Chair Public Service. While we have not had the opportunity to work closely with Rep. Gordon in the past, he is known to us and has an excellent reputation within the State House. Given the fact that the House has traditionally staffed the Committee, we are excited to have the chance to work directly with the new Chairman and his staff.
I’d like to take a moment to thank Rep. Jerald Parisella (D-Beverly) for the support he gave to our members during his four years as Public Service Chairman. Jerry has been promoted to Chair the Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies – areas of extreme importance to Massachusetts. During his tenure as Chairman, Jerry and his staff maintained an open-door policy with Mass Retirees, and I cannot thank him enough for his help.
As we move forward into the new session, we are not only encouraged to have folks who are well known to us serving in key legislative positions, but it is also very reassuring to know that highly capable elected officials are serving our state in a variety of important positions. Given that we remain in the midst of the global pandemic, experienced leaders are more important than ever before.
We will have more to say about the new session and our legislative proposals in the coming weeks and months. I also hope to be joined by a few special guests for our weekly video reports.
Stay tuned and stay safe,
Chief Executive Officer
Mass Retirees Association
PS: For information on each legislator listed above, click on their highlighted name.