Thursday, January 19, 2012
Joyce votes to end abuses at state ed. collaboratives

Last week, the Senate took decisive action to end mismanagement and financial abuses at the commonwealth’s education collaborative — institutions that aim to provide special education services. With a unanimous vote, the Senate passed legislation that establishes strict oversight and accountability of the state’s 30 institutions.

Both state officials and the public called for immediate action after investigations by the state auditor and inspector general uncovered a serious misuse of funds at the Merrimack Special Education Collaborative and other collaboratives around the state.

“These financial abuses not only cheat taxpayers; they cheat our children,” said state Senator Brian A. Joyce. “After last year’s investigation, we vowed to take action. I am glad that we have voted to end such shocking abuse.”

The legislation will improve the governance and fiscal accountability of the commonwealth’s network of educational collaboratives by increasing transparency and setting clear standards to ensure that funding funnels directly to services to students.

Sen. Joyce supports employment rights bill for victims of domestic violence

State Senator Brian A. Joyce voted last week for legislation establishing new employment rights for victims of domestic violence. Passed unanimously, the bill will help victims recover and continue to make a living.

The legislation requires employers with 50 or more employees to allow up to 15 days of leave, with or without pay, to any employee who is a victim of domestic violence. Employees can use the leave to obtain medical attention, counseling, housing, protection orders, and other legal assistance.

The bill has garnered wide support from advocacy organizations and the business community. It has the support of Jane Doe Inc., the Associated Industries of Massachusetts, and the Retailers’ Association of Massachusetts.

The bill now goes to the House of Representatives.