News From Senator Joyce

For Immediate Release: March 28, 2001
Further Information:  Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

SENATOR JOYCE ANNOUNCES AVAILABILITY OF COMPENSATION FOR WWII FORCED LABOR VICTIMS

Senator Joyce this week announced that applications are available for compensation for individuals who were forced into involuntary servitude under the Third Reich in Nazi Germany.

The present government of Germany has agreed to provide retroactive compensation to individuals who performed slave or forced labor during the Nazi regime in a concentration camp or ghetto, and in the territory of the German Reich or in a German-occupied area at the time.

Applications for reimbursement must be submitted by August 11, 2001 and are available through the Executive Office of Health and Human Services Office for Refugees and Immigrants. The applications for Jewish former slave and forced laborers can also be downloaded at www.claimscon.org. There is no fee to obtain or submit an application.

The application for non-Jewish claimants can be downloaded at www.compensation-for-forced-labor.org.

Please call Vivie Hengst at the Executive Office of Health and Human Services at 617-727-7888, ext. 306 or Claire McDonough at 727-7888, ext. 341 for more information.

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News From Senator Joyce

For Immediate Release: May 1, 2001
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

 JOYCE ANNOUNCED AVAILABILITY OF FEDERAL DISASTER AID FOR FLOOD VICTIMS

Senator Brian A. Joyce, Representative Bruce Ayers, Representative Walter Timilty, and Representative William Galvin, announced today that federal disaster relief aid has been made available for homes and businesses that suffered damage during last month’s storms.

Officials announced late yesterday that under a major disaster declaration issued by President Bush, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is authorized to provide aid to victims in Norfolk, Middlesex and Essex Counties.

The assistance, which will be coordinated by FEMA, can include grants to help pay for temporary housing, emergency home repairs, and other serious disaster-related expenses. Low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration also will be available to cover residential and business losses not fully compensated by insurance.

"I am encouraged to hear that FEMA will provide much need aid to the homes and businesses that were affected by last month’s extreme weather," said Senator Joyce. "I encourage all residents who suffered flooding or sewage damage to call the toll-free number and see if they qualify for federal disaster aid."

Residents and business owners in Norfolk, Middlesex and Essex Counties who sustained losses can begin the disaster application process by calling 1-800-462-9029, or (TTY) 1-800-462-7585. You must apply over the phone to qualify for federal disaster assistance.

The toll-free number will be available for approximately one month, seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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News From Senator Joyce

For Immediate Release: March 28, 2001
Further Information:  Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

SENATOR JOYCE FILES ENERGY TAX CREDIT BILL

Senator Brian A. Joyce recently filed a bill that will significantly reduce energy costs the installation of renewable energy systems.

Senator Joyce’s bill will increase the renewable energy tax credit to 35 percent of the installation cost, or $5,000 – whichever is less.

"I hope that this tax credit increase will encourage more people to install renewable energy systems in their homes," said Senator Joyce. "Not only does renewable energy have a much lower environmental impact than conventional energy sources but this bill is a good start in addressing the looming energy crisis. By encouraging residents to use renewable energy technology, we will lower our state’s dependence on limited energy sources."

Currently the state offers a tax credit of 15 percent or $1,000 to people who install renewable energy systems in their homes.

Renewable energy includes the installation of systems that use solar panels, or wind power to provide electricity to homes.

For more information on the renewable energy tax credit please call Senator Joyce at 617-722-1643 or e-mail him at [email protected].

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News From Senator Joyce

For Immediate Release: February 2, 2001
Further Information:  Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

JOYCE FILES BILL TO FUND EDUCATION

INCENTIVES FOR FIREFIGHTERS

Senator Brian A Joyce, along with Richard T. Moore, Representative Timothy Toomey, and Senator James P. Jajuga, has filed a bill to establish a "career incentive pay program" for firefighters in Massachusetts. The program will be similar to the so-called "Quinn bill" which funds advanced degree programs for Massachusetts police officers. Joyce’s bill will authorize increases in the base salary of firefighters who further their education in the field of fire fighting.

Upon filing the legislation, Senator Joyce said "today’s firefighters are responsible for everything from providing ‘first response’ emergency care to battling blazes with ever-changing technology. This bill will provide an incentive for fire fighters to continue their education in a field that now requires a more sophisticated and technical background."

The bill authorizes a ten percent increase in base salary for firefighters who obtain an Associates Degree; twenty percent for a Baccalaureate Degree and twenty-five percent for a Masters or Doctorate Degree attained after July 1, 2001. The salary increase will not be retroactive.

Half of the salary increase given to each firefighter through the program would be reimbursed by the Commonwealth. The career incentive pay program would have to be accepted by each town to become effective for that town’s firefighters.

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News From Senator Joyce

For Immediate Release: May 1, 2001
Further Information:  Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

 SENATOR JOYCE SECURES ADDITIONAL FUNDING FOR TRAILSIDE

Senator Brian A. Joyce announced today that the Massachusetts Senate has appropriated an additional $150,000 to the Blue Hills Trailside Museum.

"Securing funding for the Trailside museum has always been one of my top priorities and I am delighted that the Senate has appropriated this additional funding," said Senator Joyce.

Senator Joyce has long been a champion of the Trailside Museum. Over the past few months he has repeatedly met with the Norman Smith, the director of the Museum to discuss funding needs, while lobbying House and Senate members to increase funding for Trailside.

The Trailside Museum -- which sits on the Milton-Canton border -- is owned by the state and falls under the Metropolitan District Commission, but has been managed by the Massachusetts Audubon Society since 1974.

This year, following a veto of funding by the Cellucci-Swift administration, the museum was forced to reduce its staff, close for two-days a week and reduce it’s ability to provide free and reduced rate programs for groups like the New England Home for Little Wanderers, the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and the Pine Street Inn. The funds secured by Senator Joyce today will help the museum in all facets of its operations.

"The Trailside museum is one of the few facilities in the Metropolitan Boston area where families can easily access a wide range of affordable environmental, cultural and educational programs," said Senator Joyce. "Without necessary funding, the Trailside’s contribution to the community would be greatly diminished."


News From Senator Joyce

For Immediate Release: February 2, 2001
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

SENATOR JOYCE SLAMS CELLUCCI FOR CUTS
TO TRAILSIDE MUSEUM BUDGET

Senator Brian A. Joyce today slammed Governor Paul Cellucci for slashing state funding to the Blue Hills Trailside Museum in the Governor’s Fiscal Year 2002 Budget Proposal.

In the proposal released late last week, the Governor recommended allocating only $317,500 to the Milton-based Blue Hills Trailside Museum, almost $100,000 less than the Museum received from the state two years ago.

"Over the past few years, Governor Cellucci has consistently slashed state funding for the Blue Hills Trailside Museum forcing the Museum to increase program and admission fees while reducing the staffing hours," said Senator Joyce. "Hundreds of thousands of Massachusetts residents visit the Blue Hills area each year and nearly a quarter million pass through the Trailside Museum. Consistently eliminating state resources is extremely shortsighted and jeopardizes this superbly run public-private partnership that has served our community for over twenty years."

Senator Joyce has made restoring funding to this valued education facility -- which had been threatened with closure by the Weld and Cellucci administrations -- a top priority.

Two years ago, the Trailside Museum received $412,500 from the state. Last year, the Legislature recommended $465,000 but in the end Governor Cellucci chose to slash the amount to $317,500.

The dramatic decrease in state aid will continue to have a tremendous impact on the Museum, according to Director Norman Smith, including a reduction of one-fourth of the staff to part-time status, the closing of the museum for two-days a week and reducing the Museum’s ability to provide free and reduced rate programs for needy groups like the New England Home for Little Wanderers, the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and the Pine Street Inn.

The Trailside Museum is owned by the state and falls under the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan District Commission, but the Massachusetts Audubon Society has managed the facility since 1974. The Trailside Museum has served the local community since 1959 as a wildlife sanctuary for the 7,000-acre Blue Hills Reservation.

"I find it alarming that Governor would once again turn his back on such a valued educational resource for our communities," said Senator Joyce.

The Trailside museum is a one of the few facilities in the Metropolitan Boston area where families can easily access a wide range of affordable environmental, cultural and educational programs."

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News From Senator Joyce

For Immediate Release:  March 28, 2001
Further Information:  Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

SENATOR JOYCE ANNOUNCES LIFEGUARD OPENINGS

Senator Brian A. Joyce announced this week that the Metropolitan District Commission is looking to staff the MDC’s 19 swimming pools and 21 ocean and fresh water beaches in the Boston area.

Lifeguards must be 16-years-old by June 20, 2001, have the required certifications and they must pass the MDC’s swimming and written tests.

"This is a great opportunity to spend the summer working in both a challenging and fun environment while protecting the public’s safety," said Senator Joyce.

The lifeguard positions pay $400 a week. For more information or for an application, contact the MDC Office of Human Resources at 617-727-9650, ext. 210 or John Ciccone at MDC Recreation at 617-727-8865.

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1/3/00

AT THE STATE HOUSE

By Senator Brian A. Joyce

    "I, Brian A. Joyce, do solemnly swear that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and will support the Constitution thereof. So help me God."

    "I, Brian A. Joyce, do solemnly swear and affirm, that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all duties incumbent on me as State Senator according to the best of my abilities and understanding, agreeably, to the rule and regulation of the Constitution, and the laws of this Commonwealth. So help me God."

    "I, Brian A. Joyce, do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States."

    With this oath, administered by Governor Argeo Paul Cellucci on January 3, 2001, I began another term in the Senate representing Avon, Canton, Dorchester, Hyde Park, Jamaica Plain, Mattapan, Milton, Randolph and Roslindale. I am very grateful for this opportunity you have given me, and I will once again use this column to keep you informed of significant and local matters addressed in the Massachusetts Legislature.

    I appreciate your candid feedback. If you care to offer your thoughts, opinions or suggestions, please call me at the State House (617) 722 –1643 or at home (617) 696 – 0200. You can also e-mail me at [email protected].

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News From Senator Joyce

For Immediate Release: January 30, 2001
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

JOYCE SCORES AN ‘A’ FOR ENVIRONMENTAL VOTES

Senator Brian A. Joyce has received a final grade of "A" from the Audubon Society for his pro-environmental votes for the year 2000.

Out of a total score of 100 percent, Senator Joyce received a grade of 92 percent based on 13 Senate roll-call votes taken last year.

"It’s always nice to receive an "A" said Senator Joyce. "Especially when it is from an organization like the Audubon Society. I am firmly committed to preserving our environment and preserving our Commonwealth’s natural resources for generations to come."

During the year 2000, the Senate passed a variety of environmentally friendly bills such as an amendment restricting the construction of cellular towers, and the Beaches Bill which established minimum sanitation standards to protect public bathing waters from contamination.

Senator Joyce added that he was particularly pleased with the passage of the Community Preservation Act.

"Through the Community Preservation Act, local communities now have control over the balance of development and open space. I am also excited that the state will be able to offer matching grants to help communities across the Commonwealth to preserve the environment and protect open space."

Senator Joyce also voted to override a number of the governor’s vetoes which would have slashed $3.7 million in funds earmarked for the MDC’s park and recreation division, $2.5 budgeted for the Department of Environmental Management’s recreation and conservation program, and the $2 million earmarked Department of Environmental Management’s inland waterways and harbor program.

For more information about the Audubon Society call (617) 523-8448. To reach Senator Brian A. Joyce, call (617) 722-1643.

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News From Senator Joyce

For Immediate Release: January 18, 2001
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

SENATOR BRIAN A. JOYCE ENCOURAGES CANDIDATES TO ATTEND CITIZENS’ LEGISLATIVE SEMINAR

Senator Brian A. Joyce invites interested candidates to attend the fiftieth Citizens’ Legislative Seminar sponsored by the Senate Legislative Education Office.

The CLS program is designed to familiarize citizens first-hand with the legislature and the lawmaking process. Throughout the six-week program, the CLS participants will listen to presentations from Senators as well as Representatives on the lawmaking process.

"State government affects almost everyone in the Commonwealth, yet very few of us have a genuine understanding of how the process works. The Citizen’s Legislative Seminar is an excellent opportunity to gain insight into the Commonwealth’s Legislature and I strongly encourage all to attend," stated Senator Joyce.

The dates of the seminars are yet to be determined but will probably he held from mid-March to mid-April. The seminars will be at the State House on every Wednesday from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Interested parties should contact Senator Joyce’s office by Friday, January 26th at (617) 722-1643. Space is limited and nominees will be selected on a first-come-first-serve basis.

The CLS was established in 1976 through a joint effort of the Massachusetts State Senate and the University of Massachusetts.

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News From Senator Joyce

For Immediate Release: February 2, 2001
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

SENATOR JOYCE INVITES RESIDENTS TO ATTEND BLUE HILLS MEETING

Senator Brian A. Joyce invites all interested residents to attend a neighborhood meeting this coming Monday, February 5, at 7 p.m. at the Blue Hill Trailside Museum. The meeting is to discuss future operations at the Blue Hills Ski Area.

The current operators of the Blue Hills Ski Area, who also operate the Ragged Mountain Ski Resort in New Hampshire, will be available at the meeting to answer questions or neighborhood concerns related to the Ski Area as well as to discuss possible expansion and improvement plans. The meeting will be co-hosted by Senator Joyce and the Friends of Little Blue – the neighborhood association for the Green street area.

"Last year, the Blue Hills Ski Area was on the verge of being closed down due to poor management and a lack of state funds," said Senator Joyce. "Today, I am proud to report that the Ski Area is thriving."

Some of the issues that will be discussed at the meeting include the possibility of expanding ski services into the evening, opening a restaurant/bar at the Ski Area, and the lack of parking and other traffic problems associated with the influx of visitors to the area. The meeting will also address the Ski Area operator’s request for a long-term lease from the State.

"I am looking forward to getting as much input as possible from the Blue Hills neighborhood," said Senator Joyce. "This meeting is a great opportunity for us to work as a community to address everyone’s concerns about the Ski Area and to come up with long term solutions that will benefit both residents and visitors."

The one-hour meeting will be held at the Blue Hills Trailside Museum, 1904 Canton Avenue, Milton, at 7 p.m., Monday, February 5th.

For more information, call Senator Brian A. Joyce’s office at 617-722-1643.

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News From Senator Joyce

For Immediate Release: January 30, 2001
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

SENATOR JOYCE PRESENTS MILTON RESIDENT WITH CITATION FOR BOXING ACHIEVEMENTS

Senator Brian A. Joyce recently presented Milton resident Charlie Ross a Massachusetts Senate Citation for his recent induction into the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame.

Ross is a former undefeated U.S. Navy boxer who fought in over nine countries between 1948 and 1962. Today Ross is an inducted member in five boxing Halls of Fame across the country. He also works as a journalist, publishing the column "Punchlines" which regularly appears in several national periodicals.

"Looking at Charlie Ross’s achievements over the past five decades, from a journalist and writer, to a Navy boxer, all I can say is I hope he’s on my side," said Senator Joyce. "I am proud to give him this Citation for everything he has accomplished."

Ross has received a number of awards throughout his career for both his writing and his boxing including the "Outstanding Boxing Writer’s Award," in 1996 and the "South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Grand Marshall Award" in 1991. Ross is a member of the Washington, D.C. Boxing-Hall-of Fame, the World Boxing Hall-of-Fame and an honorary member of the Golden State Boxing Association in Los Angeles.

Ross, who has 12 children and 22 grandchildren, is currently the Massachusetts Representative of the American Association for the Improvement of Boxing, a trustee at the South Boston Sports Hall of Fame Scholarship Fund, and a Co-National Historian at the International Veteran Boxers Association.

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News From Senator Joyce

For Immediate Release: January 18, 2001
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

SENATOR BRIAN A. JOYCE ANNOUNCES
PAINTERS AND ALLIED TRADES APPRENTICESHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Senator Brian A. Joyce announces that the Painters and Trades District Council #35’s Joint Training Program is accepting Apprenticeship Applications at this time.

District Council #35 operates an extensive training program covering painting, taping/drywall, wallcovering, glass and glazing and sign construction and billboard crafts. The apprentice training facility is based in Roslindale and is accessible by public transportation.

Apprentices work with District #35 signatory contractors during the day and attend classes at least two nights a week from September to April. This opportunity to both earn and learn offers young women and men the chance to acquire a skill and a trade that can last a lifetime.

Candidates are accepted into the apprenticeship program by meeting requirements, as well as completing an interview and passing a drug test. The deadline for

applications is January 31, 2001. Please contact District Council #35’s Training Office at (617) 524-0248 if interested or call the office of Senator Brian A. Joyce at (617) 722-1643 for a copy of the application.

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View from the Hill

Home health care is compassionate and fiscally responsible

By Brian A. Joyce

In Massachusetts, many elders, disabled adults and children with special needs receive health care and supportive services in their homes. In almost all instances, consumers prefer to receive care in their homes rather than in an institution. If it is possible to address an individual's medical and personal needs at home, I believe that it is a far more compassionate and fiscally responsible approach.

The need for home care is increasing as a result of our aging population. At the same time, home care providers have reported shortages of qualified employees. To the maximum extent possible, we should strive to provide greater funding and access for community-based, long-term care that would provide a full range of health and supportive services.

While home care expenses can be staggering, they are far less than the cost of institutional or nursing home care, estimated at over $50,000 a year. Taxpayers will benefit when fewer people receive institutional and nursing home care. Yet, in Massachusetts, more than 80 percent of our long-term care spending is on institutional services. Furthermore, a shortage of home care workers has left many families without the care they need, even when funding is available.

In our state-funded home care program, we are serving 5,000 fewer elders than we did 12 years ago. In our Medicaid home and community-based waiver program, we have only 4,500 elders enrolled, and we provide them with merely one-fifth of the care we would give them if they chose to go into a nursing home. If we agree that the disabled should have the choice of living in the most integrated setting possible, then we have much work left to do in Massachusetts.

The costs associated with home health care are significant and, in many cases, the families of the sick and disabled pay for them. The Federal Balanced Budget Amendment of 1997 led to more than a $100 million per year cut in federal home health care funding. While we have made significant increases in state funding, it is impossible to entirely compensate for the federal cutbacks. Medicare is the major payment source for home health care in the state as well as nationally.

Under current policies, there is no guarantee that individual Medicare payment rates will be sufficient to cover the cost of care, particularly for patients requiring more involved services. We must make a serious effort to examine the various needs and services of home health care recipients. These services include skilled nursing, home health aide, homemaker/housekeeping, social services, physical, occupational and speech therapy, emergency response, nutrition counseling, and case management among others.

We must ensure that Medicare increases its coverage of community-based care. At the same time, we should try to shift funding to reflect the patient’s desire for care at home. As a legislator, I will support measures to address the recruitment and retention of health care workers, to appropriate funds for training and other incentives such as loan forgiveness, tuition waivers, career ladders so that we have enough qualified workers to meet the growing request for services. This will ultimately lower costs of home health care and allow families to care for their loved ones at home.

The demand for home care will continue to increase with the growing population of elderly and disabled persons and the emergence of technologies that enable people with disabilities to live longer. Only when we have provided financial support for families in need of home care plus training incentives to ensure high quality home health professionals, can we begin to adequately address this important societal need.

Brian A. Joyce is a Democrat representing the Suffolk and Norfolk District in the Massachusetts State Senate. He is a member of the Joint Legislative Committee on Human Services and Elderly Affairs.

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News From Senator Joyce

For Immediate Release: January 30, 2001
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

Joyce sponsors legislation to help mend state’s Health care safety net

Senator Brian A. Joyce announced this week that he has co-sponsored legislation that would take an important step towards protecting patients by stabilizing the Commonwealth’s ailing health care system.

The "Act for a Healthy Commonwealth" is a two-year plan that would immediately increase support for Medicaid and the state’s uncompensated care pool – which are two critical components of our state’s health care safety net – and design new longer-term systems for both programs. The bill would provide financial relief for all Massachusetts hospitals, and safeguard vital community health resources.

"Everywhere I go, people tell me how worried they are about what’s happening to health care," said Senator Joyce. "That is why I’m supporting legislation that will begin to fundamentally improve the health care environment for patients and communities throughout the Commonwealth. The strong showing of bipartisan support from my colleagues in the legislature is a testament to the fact that our health care system is facing a crisis and it must be addressed immediately."

According to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, a federal government agency, as well as other independent analyses, Massachusetts’ Medicaid program currently pays less than 80 cents on the dollar for the medical care hospitals provide to needy people – the sixth worst level in the country. The legislation would require that the state cover the reasonable cost of care for Medicaid patients. Furthermore, it would increase the state’s contribution to the uncompensated care pool. Currently, the pool relies primarily on funding from hospitals that are themselves in dire straits, with two-thirds of hospitals reporting negative financial operating margins.

"One of my priorities this legislative session is to ensure that the state lives up to its responsibility to protect the health care safety net," said Senator Joyce. "A strong safety net is critical to the care of every patient. We all rely on the same facilities, services, doctors and nurses – and we should all support the strengthening of a system in distress."

The proposed bill will be addresses in the current legislative session, which began on January 3, 2001.

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