" Read Last Years Releases " 2004 In The News Archive

FUNDING OKAYED FOR SKYLINE AND TRAIL CARE

MOUNTED PATROLS RETURN

$300,000 EARMARKED FOR MILTON HOSPITAL

JOYCE AMENDMENT PASSES: INCREASED REGIONAL
SCHOOL TRANSPORTATION FUNDS

THE RIGHT MEDICINE: SENATE PRIORITIZES PRESCRIPTION ADVANTAGE

United States Army Celebrates 230th Birthday

JOYCE SUPPORTS FUNDING FOR PUBLIC HIGHER EDUCATION

Senate Passes Compromise Stem Cell Bill

Senator Joyce PUSHES TO PRIORITIZE Early Education

KEEPING COYOTES AWAY

SENATOR JOYCE SIGNS UNTO
PRO-ENVIRONMENTAL BUDGET LETTER

JOYCE CO-SPONSORS BILL TO BAN GIFT CARD FEES

JOYCE SUPPORTS LIBRARY TECHNOLOGY FUNDING

Upcoming Civil Service Examinations

JOYCE COSPONSORS FAIR REDISTRICTING LEGISLATION

JOYCE SPONSORS NUTRITION EDUCATION BILL

SENATOR JOYCE ANNOUNCES SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITY

SENATOR JOYCE REQUESTS SOCCER BALL DONATIONS

SENATOR JOYCE FILES TAX RELIEF BILL FOR SENIORS

SENATOR JOYCE FILES ATM SAFETY BILL

JOYCE FILES LEGISLATION TO INCREASE VOTER PARTICIPATION

JOYCE SPONSORS GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FOODS BILL

LEGISLATORS REACT TO SHANLEY VERDICT

MILTON’S PLANTS RECEIVE RELEAF

SENATOR JOYCE TO CHAIR HOUSING

JOYCE SCORES ANOTHER ‘A’ FOR ENVIRONMENTAL VOTES

JOYCE COSPONSORS FAIR REDISTRICTING LEGISLATION

JOYCE FILES LEGISLATION TO INCREASE VOTER PARTICIPATION

JOYCE SPONSORS GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FOODS BILL

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

PRESS AND LEGISLATIVE INTERNSHIPS AVAILABLE WITH SENATOR JOYCE

For Immediate Release: July 12, 2005
Further Information: Matt Gaines (617) 722-1643

FUNDING OKAYED FOR SKYLINE AND TRAIL CARE
Senator Brian A. Joyce and the Massachusetts Recreational Trails Advisory Board are pleased to announce that the Blue Hills State Reservation will receive $6,800 for the Skyline Trail Restoration project and the New England Mountain Bike Association (NEMBA) will receive $11,865 for the Massachusetts Trail Care project. These projects will stimulate efforts to create a community-based recreational trail network throughout Massachusetts.

The Skyline Trail Restoration will involve the restoration of a severely eroded section of the Skyline Trail from Route 138 to Accord Path. The erosion has formed deep gullies exposing rocks and ledge making the trail difficult to traverse.

The New England Mountain Bike Association (NEMBA) will fund the New England Trail Builders School to train Department of Conservation Recreation staff, NEMBA Crew Leaders and other members of the Massachusetts trails community. Funds will also be used to buy materials for the creation of a new trail and boardwalk at Great Brook Farm State Park and Borderland State Park, as well as trail improvements at Middlesex Fells Reservation.

The Skyline Trail Restoration and NEMBA were 2 of 49 projects selected for grants out of 101 state applicants.

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For Immediate Release: July 12, 2005
Further Information: Matt Gaines (617) 722-1643

MOUNTED PATROLS RETURN
State Police Mounted Units to resume riding in the Blue Hills
Senator Brian A. Joyce is pleased to announce that two mounted state police officers will begin patrolling the Blue Hills Reservation.

Beginning Memorial Day (May 30), two state troopers will begin patrolling Blue Hills as part of a mounted unit.

“This is great news and just in the nick of time,” said Senator Joyce. “As the weather has improved, the number of people visiting the reservation has increased substantially -- putting a dangerous strain on the already limited public safety resources of the reservation.
A four-member mounted rangers unit was dismantled by the Romney administration earlier this winter despite serious public safety concerns.

After the decision to disband the unit was announced, Senator Joyce organized and chaired a Public Safety hearing on the issue in December. At the emotional hearing, rangers, police officers, and legislators joined Blue Hills’ activists and recreationists in testifying against the plan. Critics argued that that the elimination of mounted public safety officers would save the state a negligible amount at the expense of public safety and history.

“The mounted unit was responsible for many facets of public safety within our parks, including locating lost children, escorting emergency vehicles, and patrolling our park trails,” said Senator Joyce. “They provided a vital uniformed presence in our parks. Additionally, horses have been patrolling Blue Hills for a hundred years and have become a cherished part of the area’s landscape.”

Despite public outcry, the units were dismantled in February leading Senator Joyce to draft a series of letters to the Department of Conservation and Recreation and the Office of Public Safety urging the administration to reconsider.

Under the agreement announced by Senator Joyce, two mounted state police officers will be in the Reservation from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. seven days a week, and until 8:30 p.m. five days a week. Unlike the disbanded park ranger patrols, the state police officers have full police powers including the ability to arrest.

“I want to thank both Governor Romney and Executive Office of Public Safety Secretary Edward Flynn for understanding the importance of maintaining a mounted unit presence in the Reservation,” said Senator Joyce. “I would also like to thank Senator Morrissey as well as Representatives Galvin, Kafka, Ayers and Timilty for their advocacy on this issue.”

The Blue Hills Reservation is comprised of 7,000 acres, and enjoyed by tens of thousands of families throughout Greater Boston each year as well as hundreds of children who use the baseball fields. Parts the reservation are located in the communities of Milton, Quincy, Braintree, Canton and Randolph.

During the late 1990s, state and local officials worked cooperatively to address public safety needs at the reservation with state police mounted units averaging 50-60 arrests a year.

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For Immediate Release: July 12, 2005
Further Information: Matt Gaines (617) 722-1643

$300,000 EARMARKED FOR MILTON HOSPITAL
Joyce amendment approved in Budget
Senator Brian A. Joyce is pleased to announce that the final Fiscal Year 2006 budget includes an additional $300,000 for Milton Hospital.

“Massachusetts is at the crossroads for cutting the cost of medical care while improving quality and access to our medical institutions,” said Senator Joyce. “I am pleased that my colleagues recognized the importance of adequately supporting what has become a world-class institution.”

Citing the growing costs of treating the uninsured for Massachusetts hospitals, Senator Joyce said, “this will go a long way towards ensuring that Milton Hospital can continue to provide the excellent care the community has come to know and depend on.”

Last year, Massachusetts hospitals provided about $263 million in care that they were not able to collect for, according to the Massachusetts Hospital Association. Hospitals were able to recover $81 million in bad debt for emergency room care from the free care pool, which is funded by hospitals, insurers, and state funds.

Hospitals which see a large number of Medicaid recipients or uninsured patients are deemed ‘disproportionate share hospitals’ (DSP) and reimbursed at a much higher rate for the free care services they provide than smaller hospitals which do not meet the DSP threshold. While Milton Hospital is adjacent to Boston and Quincy and welcomes a large number of uninsured patients a year, as a smaller hospital it does not qualify for the 80 percent state reimbursement rate for free care enjoyed by its neighbors Quincy and Carney Hospital.

Milton Hospital has had to compete for nurses and other technical employees with Boston teaching hospitals that can afford to pay better wages because of their higher reimbursement rate. Quincy has received over $5 million and Carney over $7 million from various local, state and federal government sources.

“Smaller hospitals like Milton Hospital are an important part of the Massachusetts healthcare system, but cannot survive without assistance,” said Hospital President Joseph Morrissey. “This funding will go a long way towards ensuring that we continue to hire the very best employees while giving exceptional care to every patient who comes through the Hospital’s door regardless of ability to pay.”

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For Immediate Release: July 12, 2005
Further Information: Matt Gaines (617) 722-1643

JOYCE AMENDMENT PASSES: INCREASED REGIONAL
SCHOOL TRANSPORTATION FUNDS

Senator Brian A. Joyce this week announced that he had succeeded in passing an amendment to the Senate budget bill to increase the fund for regional school transportation by $2.5 million.
“I am thrilled that that I was able to secure these additional funds in the Senate’s budget,” said Senator Joyce. “Regional school transportation funding is one of those items that can make or break a local budget.”

Locally, the additional funding will help subsidize the local transportation costs for Blue Hills Regional Technical High School, Norfolk County Agricultural High School, and Southeastern Regional Vocational Technical High School.

The regional school transportation account reimburses school districts for the costs of transporting pupils from the member towns of the district to and from school. In the suburbs, with large areas to cover and distances to travel, the costs of busing students can be prohibitive. Joyce said funding for reimbursements has been steadily reduced in recent years as the state’s budget has become tighter. With this additional funding, the Senate’s appropriation for the account represents a $6 million increase over Fiscal Year 2005.

The Senate will negotiate a compromise version of the bill with the House of Representatives before it is sent to the Governor for approval. The Governor has veto power over items in the budget.

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For Immediate Release: July 12, 2005
Further Information: Matt Gaines (617) 722-1643

THE RIGHT MEDICINE: SENATE PRIORITIZES PRESCRIPTION ADVANTAGE
Senator Brian A. Joyce announced this week that the Senate Fiscal Year 2006 budget will extend the successful Prescription Advantage Program by creating an open enrollment period during the spring of 2006.

Too many residents continue to face the impossible choice of whether to put food on their table or pay for costly prescriptions. The Prescription Advantage program has been a lifeline for seniors and low-income people with disabilities who have come to count on the program to subsidize the costs of their prescriptions.

The first-in-the-nation prescription drug insurance program, Prescription Advantage, was created in 2001 and co-sponsored by Senator Joyce. The program now serves over 84,000 Massachusetts seniors and individuals with disabilities.

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For Immediate Release: June 22, 2005
Further Information: Matt Gaines (617) 722-1643

United States Army Celebrates 230th Birthday
Senator Brian A. Joyce has signed on to House and Senate resolution commemorating the 230th birthday of the United States Army along with colleagues from the Massachusetts State Legislature.

On June 14, 1775, the Continental Congress adopted the “American Continental Army.” Since then, the Army’s soldiers have fought honorably to protect the freedom and liberty of millions both in America and abroad. These brave men and women’s unwavering allegiance reflects the best of the American spirit.

Senator Joyce extends his congratulations to the United States Army on its birthday and commends its continued dedicated service to the United States of America.

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For Immediate Release: May 12, 2005
Further Information: Matt Gaines (617) 722-1643

JOYCE SUPPORTS FUNDING FOR PUBLIC HIGHER EDUCATION
Senator Brian A. Joyce joined several of his legislative colleagues this month requesting an increase in funding for public higher education.

In a letter to Ways and Means Chairwoman Therese Murray, Senator Joyce requested the appropriation of $57 million in fiscal year 2006 for public higher education, $8 million for needs-based financial aid directed at high demand occupations, $1 million for new or expanded programs in high demand areas, and a $1 million increase in the operating budget of the Board of Higher Education.

These recommendations stem from a Public Task Force on Higher Education’s report which found that funding for public higher education has been cut by 32.6 percent. The report details the need for workforce development and rebuilding an aging infrastructure.

“Eighty-five percent of persons who graduate from one of our public institutions stay in Massachusetts and contribute to the well-being of the Commonwealth,” said Senator Joyce. “Public higher education has a profound impact on the future of our state and these cuts in public higher education funding have been debilitating.”

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For Immediate Release: May 2, 2005
Further Information: Matt Gaines (617) 722-1643

Senate Passes Compromise Stem Cell Bill
The Massachusetts Senate has voted overwhelmingly (34-2) in support of a compromise bill that legalizes stem cell research, outlaws human reproductive cloning and establishes a licensing and oversight framework to regulate the research. The legislation is the final product of a Conference Committee that has been working over the last several weeks to mediate differences between Senate and House versions of the bill.

“Stem cell research is crucial to saving lives and finding cures for debilitating diseases,” said Senator Brian A. Joyce. "This bill allows that research to move forward while imposing strict ethical guidelines and controls.”

“I am pleased with the hard work of the members of the conference committee on this crucial legislation,” added Senate President Robert E. Travaglini. “The issues and concerns of members of both the House and Senate have been addressed. They came up with a reasonable, thoughtful and thorough bill.”

The legislation, which now goes to the House of Representatives for approval, will allow scientists to conduct stem cell research, including somatic cell nuclear transfers and clarifies language that forbids experimentation on human fetuses.

The bill also provides criminal penalties of up to ten years in prison for violating the ban on human reproductive cloning, and selling or buying donated embryos. It also requires the research to be limited to institutions and companies which have Institutional Review Boards that will oversee day to day aspects of the projects.

The Department of Public Health will also be authorized to adopt regulations enforcing the bill, but these regulations may not inhibit, obstruct or otherwise delay research. In addition, a 15 member biomedical research advisory council will conduct public hearings and provide an annual report on the state of embryonic stem cell research.

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For Immediate Release: April 21, 2005
Further Information: Matt Gaines (617) 722-1643

Senator Joyce PUSHES TO PRIORITIZE Early Education
Senator Brian A. Joyce joined several of his legislative colleagues this month in an effort to increase funding for early education programs in the state. The proposed increase of $50 million will fund the newly created Department of Early Education & Care (DEEC) and the programs it oversees.

As part of the “early education for all” campaign, the DEEC seeks to offer universal preschool services for all children in Massachusetts.

The new standards set by the DEEC have been embraced by community based programs, YMCAs and Head Start Programs but funding has fallen short of what is necessary.

Members of the Massachusetts Senate have urged the Senate Committee on Ways and Means to prioritize early education in the 2006 Senate budget recommendation. “Early education has a profound impact our children’s futures and they deserve all the tools necessary to succeed,” said Senator Joyce.

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For Immediate Release: April 21, 2005
Further Information: Matt Gaines (617) 722-1643

KEEPING COYOTES AWAY
As the days get longer, and the temperatures warmer, Senator Brian A. Joyce would like to take this opportunity to pass on information from the MSPCA regarding general Coyote safety.

Coyotes are generally extremely shy and avoid contact with humans. However, as seen evidenced in recent news reports, incidents between coyotes and humans have become more common as housing development have expanded into historically unpopulated areas.

To avoid incidents before they occur, please:
Never feed a wild animal
Avoid any contact with wildlife
Always keep trash securely covered or indoors
Feed pets inside or supervise outdoor feedings, and keep the area clean
Keep cats and dogs indoors, especially at night and supervise them at all times when they are outside
Report any strange behavior to local police or animal control
Be sure your pets are up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations
Regularly clean outdoor grill

And if you keep a bird feeder, clean up spilled seed to avoid attracting other forms of wildlife that feed on either the seeds or rodents that feed on the spilled seed.

For more information visit www.livingwithwildlife.org or call the MSPCA at 618-541-5104.

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For Immediate Release: April 18, 2005
Further Information: Matt Gaines (617) 722-1643

SENATOR JOYCE SIGNS UNTO
PRO-ENVIRONMENTAL BUDGET LETTER

Senator Brian A. Joyce has signed on to a letter urging the Ways and Means Committee to create a budget that adequately reflects the importance of prioritizing environmental policy.

Over the past four years, environmental programs across the state have experienced substantial reductions in their budgets and, as a result, Massachusetts is ranked 48th out of the 50 states in environmental funding as a portion of total state spending.

These budget cuts have been felt by all citizens of the Commonwealth as they have had a negative impact on public health, quality of life, and local economies. The Department of Environmental Protection has been forced to eliminate or scale back much of its hazardous waste site cleanup program. Because of reduced staffing, businesses are unable to receive the proper permits in a timely manner and parks have suffered from increased dumping with too few rangers to protect user safety.

As a long time advocate of environmental protection and five year “A” rated legislator by the Audubon Society, Senator Joyce added, “Budget increases are crucial when it comes to the security of our air, water, land, and health and I am glad to be a part of this effort.”

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For Immediate Release: March 31, 2005
Further Information: Matt Gaines (617) 722-1643

JOYCE CO-SPONSORS BILL TO BAN GIFT CARD FEES
Senator Brian A. Joyce recently co-sponsored legislation for the current legislative session that would significantly increase consumer protection regarding gift certificates and gift cards. The legislation prohibits fees that may reduce the value of a gift certificate or gift card. The bill has 84 co-sponsors.
“The legislation is very important to clarify our gift certificate statute,” said Senator Joyce. “The Legislature strengthened the consumer protection laws on gift certificates a several years ago and already certain businesses are trying to circumvent a gift certificate holder’s right to redeem it for the value of the original purchase price.”

The legislation would expand the legal definition of gift certificate to include gift cards and any electronic card whose intent is to be used as a gift certificate. This will extend existing gift certificate consumer protections to gift cards or similar electronic cards.

“For example, the current statute requires that gift certificates be honored for seven years from the date of issuance or if there is no date on the gift certificate, then it is valid indefinitely,” said Senator Joyce. “By expanding the definition of gift certificate to include gift cards and other electronic cards then those should be also gives the same protections under the statute.”

The legislation would remove the provision requiring a gift certificate as an item that must be redeemed by the seller of the gift certificate. This would provide greater consumer protection for gift certificate and gift cards that can be used at other retailers. An example of this is the Simon Malls’ gift card, which can be used at any business that accepts Visa credit card. Because the seller, Simon Malls, does not redeem its own gift card, it is not a gift certificate under the current law. As a result, Simon Malls is able to charge a service fee after six months. The gift card also expires after one year.

The legislation would also remove from the definition of gift certificate the requirement that the gift certificate must be given to a third party essentially ensuring all persons the same protection when trying to redeem a gift certificate. This will eliminate much confusion about what is a gift certificate and who receives gift certificate consumer protections under the statute. Any person who tries to redeem a gift certificate is protected.

Finally, the legislation would prohibit gift certificates and gift cards from charging fees that reduces the card’s value other than by the purchaser. The legislation would not prohibit any initial fees associated with the sale of the gift certificate or gift card. The legislation does prohibit any administrative fees after the initial sale, which includes dormancy fees, latency fees and services fees. Also, the legislation would prohibit gratuities from reducing a gift certificate or gift card.

“Given the strong support by colleagues for the legislation, I hope it will have swift passage through the Legislature,” said Senator Joyce. It is very important that persons with gift certificates and gift cards read the fine print carefully and purchasers should ask questions to the seller about fees and expiration date.

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For Immediate Release: March 25, 2005
Further Information: Matt Gaines (617) 722-1643

JOYCE SUPPORTS LIBRARY TECHNOLOGY FUNDING
Senator Brian A. Joyce has joined together with seventeen of his legislative colleagues in seeking an increase in funding for library-related technology in the Commonwealth.

Over five million residents use 371 libraries spread out across Massachusetts and resource sharing is an invaluable part of the library system. With drastically reduced funding, libraries have been forced to move resources using inefficient and outdated methods.

The legislators are calling for an additional $2 million for library technology in fiscal year 2006. The letter is addressed to the Senate Ways and Means Chair. The additional money will provide a stable base of funding for high quality electronic information resources and assure that the delivery system that moved 10 million books between libraries last year is adequately funded. An increase in funding will also help libraries reestablish some of the over 200 databases that have been lost due to the budget cuts of the past few years.

“Strong libraries need updated technology,” said Senator Joyce, a long-time supporter of the Commonwealth’s library system.

Senator Joyce is the lead sponsor of An Act Relative to Public Library Construction Funding which aims to provide funds to cover new library construction projects.

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For Immediate Release: March 24, 2005
Further Information: Matt Gaines (617) 722-1643

Upcoming Civil Service Examinations
Senator Brian A. Joyce is pleased to announce that an entry-level Civil Service Examination for Correction Officers has been scheduled for May 21, 2005.

The results of the test will determine eligible applicants for employment to the position of Correction Officer in the Department of Correction.

“I would encourage all individuals with an interest in public safety to take the exam,” said Senator Joyce.

All applicants must have at least two years of full-time or equivalent part-time professional experience in counseling, guidance, criminal justice or social work or a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in sociology, psychology, counseling, criminal justice, law enforcement, law or criminology. The examination fee is $60. Additional details, including application forms can be found at www.csexam.hrd.state.ma.us/hrd. The deadline for all applications is April 18, 2005.

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For Immediate Release: Febuary 28, 2005
Further Information: Matt Gaines (617) 722-1643

JOYCE COSPONSORS FAIR REDISTRICTING LEGISLATION
In a bid to end the age-old practice of political gerrymandering, a coalition of advocacy groups and 55 legislative cosponsors, including Senator Brian A. Joyce have filed legislation that would create an independent commission to oversee the redistricting process.

A longtime staple of American politics, gerrymandering has grabbed headlines in many states over the past few years. New districts created in Massachusetts were thrown out last year by a federal district court for violating the Federal Voting Rights Act. The courts also rejected a Massachusetts redistricting plan in 1987.

Along with the creation of the independent commission, the legislation calls for more stringent guidelines to direct the redrawing of electoral boundaries.

“Anything we can do to make redistricting more fair and less political would be beneficial to the citizens of the Commonwealth” said Senator Joyce.

The bill was drafted with the support of Common Cause Massachusetts, the League of Women Voters MA, the NAACP New England Regional Conference, MassVOTE, and MassVoters for Fair Elections.

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For Immediate Release: january 13, 2005
Further Information: Matt Gaines (617) 722-1643

JOYCE SPONSORS NUTRITION EDUCATION BILL
With the number of overweight children more than doubling in the past 30 years, Senator Brian A. Joyce has filed legislation mandating nutrition education programs in Massachusetts’ public schools.
Currently, childhood obesity significantly increases the risk of many serious health conditions, including Type 2 diabetes, arthritis, asthma, and hypertension. Massachusetts spends an estimated $283 per person on medical costs related to obesity. Nutrition education will undermine the growing rate of childhood obesity.

The Joyce bill seeks to develop effective health decision-making skills and improve eating habits among students. Students enrolled in grades 1 through 9 will be required to attend weekly classes for 45-minutes dedicated to nutrition education and physical fitness guidelines.

In promoting healthier eating habits, nutrition education will increase overall student performance and will decrease attention spans, irritability, fatigue, and other concentration problems associated with inadequate nutrition.

“Children need to understand that their food choices directly impact their health, and we have a responsibility to teach them how to make informed decisions,” said Senator Joyce.

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For Immediate Release: january 13, 2005
Further Information: Matt Gaines (617) 722-1643

SENATOR JOYCE ANNOUNCES SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITY
Senator Brian A. Joyce has announced a unique and exciting opportunity for students in his district to participate in the League of Women Voters Online Student Essay Contest.

The League of Women Voters Citizen Education Fund is sponsoring its sixth annual essay contest. As a nonpartisan political organization, the League of Women Voters is dedicated to increasing governmental awareness and participation among future generations.

The essay contest is designed to encourage students and teachers to collaborate in learning more about the democratic process.

This year’s theme is entitled “Making Democracy Work: Lessons Learned from the Presidential Election.” The contest is open to all Massachusetts students in grades four through twelve. The deadline for entry is February 28, 2005. The winners will be honored through a Special Awards Event at Faneuil Hall in Boston on April 10, 2005. Additionally, winning essays will be quoted in the League’s newsletter, The Massachusetts Voter, and will be published on the League’s website.

“Today’s youth are instrumental to the future success of American government, and I urge all students to participate by sending in an entry,” said Senator Joyce.

Student prizewinners will receive U.S. Savings Bonds, and educational grants will be awarded to teachers and advisors.

Anyone interested in entering the essay contest should visit the League of Women Voters’ website at www.lwvma.org.

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For Immediate Release: Febuary 28, 2005
Further Information: Matt Gaines (617) 722-1643

SENATOR JOYCE REQUESTS SOCCER BALL DONATIONS
Senator Brian A. Joyce is looking for the public’s help by asking his constituents to donate soccer balls for Iraqi children.

The balls will be shipped to American soldiers who will distribute them to children across Iraq.
Soccer is a very popular sport among Iraqis where the national team placed fourth in this summer’s Olympics in Athens, however balls are hard to come by in the war-torn country.

“Gaining and maintaining positive relationships with the local Iraqis is key to establishing a more safe and secure environment in the country,” explained Senator Joyce. “The donation of soccer balls to children is a gesture of goodwill.”

The program is part of the Armed Forces Network and is being coordinated locally by Easton resident Paula Vogler who found out about “Operation Soccer Ball” after corresponding with Roy Blanchard, a Dedham soldier stationed in Mosul. Blanchard is a Master Sergeant with the 260th Air Traffic Control Squadron.

If you would like to donate a soccer ball or would like more information on where to ship the balls directly, please contact Paula Vogler at 508-238-0747.

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For Immediate Release: Febuary 28, 2005
Further Information: Matt Gaines (617) 722-1643

SENATOR JOYCE FILES TAX RELIEF BILL FOR SENIORS
JOYCE BILL WILL EASE LIVING EXPENSES

Seniors on fixed incomes and faced with mounting local property tax payments will receive some much-needed financial relief under a bill introduced by Senator Brian A. Joyce.

The Joyce bill, An Act Relative to Property Tax Rebates for Senior Citizens, will provide cities and towns with the option to rebate up to $750 in property tax payments for all eligible seniors.

“This legislation is designed to provide property tax relief for seniors who may otherwise be forced out of their homes, and to avoid intergenerational disputes over funding local government, particularly our public schools,” Senator Joyce said.

In participating municipalities, seniors over the age of 65 years may claim Senator Joyce’s tax rebate if they have an income below the level that is required for filing Massachusetts income taxes or if they qualify for the state’s circuit breaker tax credit.

The circuit breaker tax credit, an initiative that Senator Joyce co-sponsored, was launched last year to alleviate some of the stress property taxes create for seniors. Under that program, qualified seniors receive a tax credit when they file their state income tax return. The credit is called the Circuit Breaker because its “triggered,” like an electrical circuit breaker, when property tax payments exceed 10 percent of a senior’s annual income.

To be eligible for Senator Joyce’s tax rebate and for the circuit breaker tax credit seniors must own a property assessed at less than $412,000 and must have an annual income of $41,000 or less for a single filer; $51,000 or less for a head of household; and $61,000 or less for joint filers.
“In these difficult economic times, it is vital that we be creative in our efforts to offer financial relief for seniors who need help with increasingly higher water, sewer and utility bills,” said Senator Joyce. “This bill is one way to give seniors some relief.”

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For Immediate Release: Febuary 28, 2005
Further Information: Matt Gaines (617) 722-1643

SENATOR JOYCE FILES ATM SAFETY BILL
Senator Brian A. Joyce has filed an ATM safety bill for the upcoming legislative session, aimed at mandating simple safety measures at ATM’s across the Commonwealth.

The legislation requires that all Massachusetts banks implement simple safety precautions like requiring that ATM’s be equipped with a security camera, a reflective surface, and adequate lighting to provide the operator of the machine with extra security.

Senator Joyce initially filed the bill in 2000 after he was approached by a personal friend who was robbed and shot in the back while using an ATM in New York City. The ATM did not have a functioning video camera nor any reflective surfaces which would have enabled the user to see his attackers approaching.

“I consider this bill a most basic consumer protection measure,” said Senator Joyce.
New York City has since enacted safety measures similar to those outlined in Senator Joyce’s legislation.

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For Immediate Release: Febuary 28, 2005
Further Information: Matt Gaines (617) 722-1643

JOYCE FILES LEGISLATION TO INCREASE VOTER PARTICIPATION
Senator Brian A. Joyce has filed legislation in the 2005-2006 legislative session aimed at increasing voter participation in Massachusetts.

An Act to Increase Voter Participation provides a financial incentive for eligible voters to get out on Election Day by offering a $25 tax credit to those who vote in the general state election.

“In over twenty countries, it’s a crime punishable by a fine not to vote,” said Senator Joyce who chairs the Joint Committee on Election Laws. “This bill merely provides a financial incentive.

Tens of million of eligible Americans choose not to vote each year citing a variety of reasons including disinterest in politics, difficulty getting to the polls, and confusion over the registration process.
The period from 1960 to 2000 marks the longest ebb in turnout in United States history. Turnout was nearly 65 percent of the adult population in the 1960 presidential election and only 51 percent in 2000. Statewide, only 55 percent of eligible voters turned out in the last (2002) general election.

“Unfortunately many politicians have come to the realization that they can only count on a certain segment of the population on Election Day,” said Senator Joyce. “In turn, they tend to focus their energy and funds exclusively on these likely voters, not on the general electorate as a whole which tends to further disenfranchise marginal voters who may feel their concerns are not being addressed.”
“I believe voting is every citizen’s civic duty,” said Senator Joyce. “With declining election participation, it is our obligation – as a democracy – to search for alternative ways to increase turnout, thus more accurately reflecting the will of the people.”

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For Immediate Release: Febuary 28, 2005
Further Information: Matt Gaines (617) 722-1643

JOYCE SPONSORS GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FOODS BILL
In response to the increasing number of genetically engineered foods on our supermarket shelves, Senator Brian A. Joyce has re-filed legislation designed to protect consumers and the environment from the potential harmful effects of scientifically altered foods.

Senator Joyce recently re-filed “An Act Relative to Liability for Genetically Engineered Foods” to be considered in the 2005-2006 legislation session. The bill is designed to encourage biotech companies to conduct more thorough research prior to genetically altering foods by holding manufacturers liable for any resulting harm.

“While new discoveries in the field of biogenetics benefit us all, there needs to be more testing and labeling of these products before they sold to the general public,” said Senator Joyce.

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For Immediate Release: Febuary 16, 2005
Further Information: Matt Gaines (617) 722-1643

LEGISLATORS REACT TO SHANLEY VERDICT
Following the sentencing of Paul Shanley for his history of sexual abuse, a coalition of legislators joined together this week with sexual abuse survivors, adovacy groups and other elected officials to call for the removal of the statute of limitation on sex abuse crimes.

Co-sponsored by Senator Brian A. Joyce, several pieces of legislation addressing sexual abuse have been filed in this legislative session. These include legislation removing the civil statute of limitations for sex crimes and abolishing charities’ $20,000 cap on liability in cases in which the charity facilitated sex crimes.

“Many victims of sexual abuse repress memories of the abuse for years after it stops,” said Senator Joyce. “Unfortunately, given current statutes of limitations, some of these crimes can no longer be prosecuted and justice can never be served.”

Former priest Paul Shanley was sentenced for 12 to 15 years in prison for sexually abusing a Sunday school student in the 1980s. The case, like the handful of other high-profile sex abuse over the past few years, was only prosecuted because the abuser left Massachusetts for a period of years, which kept the statute of limitation from expiring on the crimes.

The bills will be referred to the Committee on Judiciary and scheduled for a public hearing in the legislative session.

“With this legislation, sexual abusers will no longer be able to hide behind to law,” added Senator Joyce.

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For Immediate Release: Febuary 17, 2005
Further Information: Matt Gaines (617) 722-1643

MILTON’S PLANTS RECEIVE RELEAF
Environmental Affairs Secretary Ellen Roy Herzfelder and Senator Brian A. Joyce are pleased to announce that the Department of Conservation and Recreation has awarded the Town of Milton with a Mass ReLeaf Grant in the amount of $5,000.

Administered through DCR’s Urban and Community Forestry Program, Mass ReLeaf grants provide funds for the purchase of trees that communities have committed to planting and maintaining at various locations throughout the Commonwealth. This year’s grant will awarded to the Hillside Neighborhood Association.

This year’s sponsors, which include the Calpine Corporation, Massachusetts Electric Company and the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ, have awarded funds to 25 communities and groups this year.

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For Immediate Release: Febuary 7, 2005
Further Information: Matt Gaines (617) 722-1643

SENATOR JOYCE TO CHAIR HOUSING
Issue seen as critical to THE state’s economic turnaround

Senator Brian A. Joyce has been appointed to a number of Committees important to the state’s economic health, according to Senate President Robert E. Travaglini.

Joyce will serve as the Chair of the Housing Committee, Vice Chair of the Bonding, Capital Expenditure & State Assets Committee, and Vice Chair of the Revenue Committee. Additionally, he will sit on the Community Development & Small Business, the Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure, and the Public Service Committees.

“Housing is a critical component to the state’s fiscal health,” said Senate President Robert Travaglini of his decision. “In order for the Commonwealth to continue to make economic progress, it is important to have bright policy makers and leaders like Senator Joyce in a position to address real housing
concerns.”

A recent UMass poll that found that housing is one of the biggest worries for area residents, joining jobs, traffic, and education on the list of top concerns. The poll also found that nearly one-half of Massachusetts residents or members of their immediate family are seriously considering
leaving the state because of rising housing costs.

Policy makers are in agreement that addressing the housing crisis is crucial to the success of the region.

“According to recently released census data, Massachusetts was the only state in the nation to incur a net loss in population in 2004,” said Senator Joyce. “We can’t afford to be losing potential revenue to other states because we lack a comprehensive housing plan. Tackling these housing issues is of critical importance to the state and I welcome the challenge of developing policies and laws that will have a
lasting impact.”

“I am confident that Senator Joyce will rise to the challenges presented by these important committee assignments,” said Senate President Travaglini.

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For Immediate Release: January 24, 2005
Further Information: Matt Gaines (617) 722-1643

JOYCE SCORES ANOTHER ‘A’ FOR ENVIRONMENTAL VOTES
For the fifth year in a row, Senator Brian A. Joyce has received an “A” grade from the Audubon Society for his pro-environmental votes for the year 2004.

Senator Joyce had 10 pro-environment Senate roll-call votes last year including legislation to increase funding for the Division or Urban Parks and Recreation (formerly the MDC), the establishment of an environmental justice program, and the prohibition of the permitting of a solid waste facility near a town’s water supply.

The average score in the Senate was a 77 percent. No single senator scored better than Senator Joyce.
“I am delighted that the Audubon Society recognizes my commitment to preserving the environment and our Commonwealth’s natural resources for generations to come,” said Senator Joyce.

In 1985, the Massachusetts Audubon began reporting the environmental record of Massachusetts legislators in order to inform citizens of their state legislators’ performances in protecting the environment.

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For Immediate Release: January 24, 2005
Further Information: Matt Gaines (617) 722-1643

JOYCE COSPONSORS FAIR REDISTRICTING LEGISLATION
In a bid to end the age-old practice of political gerrymandering, a coalition of advocacy groups and 55 legislative cosponsors, including Senator Brian A. Joyce have filed legislation that would create an independent commission to oversee the redistricting process.

A longtime staple of American politics, gerrymandering has grabbed headlines in many states over the past few years. New districts created in Massachusetts were thrown out last year by a federal district court for violating the Federal Voting Rights Act. The courts also rejected a Massachusetts redistricting plan in 1987.

Along with the creation of the independent commission, the legislation calls for more stringent guidelines to direct the redrawing of electoral boundaries.

“Anything we can do to make redistricting more fair and less political would be beneficial to the citizens of the Commonwealth” said Senator Joyce.

The bill was drafted with the support of Common Cause Massachusetts, the League of Women Voters MA, the NAACP New England Regional Conference, MassVOTE, and MassVoters for Fair Elections.

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For Immediate Release: January 10, 2005
Further Information: Matt Gaines (617) 722-1643

JOYCE FILES LEGISLATION TO INCREASE VOTER PARTICIPATION
Senator Brian A. Joyce has filed legislation in the 2005-2006 legislative session aimed at increasing voter participation in Massachusetts.

An Act to Increase Voter Participation provides a financial incentive for eligible voters to get out on Election Day by offering a $25 tax credit to those who vote in the general state election.

“In over twenty countries, it’s a crime punishable by a fine not to vote,” said Senator Joyce who chairs the Joint Committee on Election Laws. “This bill merely provides a financial incentive.

Tens of million of eligible Americans choose not to vote each year citing a variety of reasons including disinterest in politics, difficulty getting to the polls, and confusion over the registration process.

The period from 1960 to 2000 marks the longest ebb in turnout in United States history. Turnout was nearly 65 percent of the adult population in the 1960 presidential election and only 51 percent in 2000. Statewide, only 55 percent of eligible voters turned out in the last (2002) general election.

“Unfortunately many politicians have come to the realization that they can only count on a certain segment of the population on Election Day,” said Senator Joyce. “In turn, they tend to focus their energy and funds exclusively on these likely voters, not on the general electorate as a whole which tends to further disenfranchise marginal voters who may feel their concerns are not being addressed.”
“I believe voting is every citizen’s civic duty,” said Senator Joyce. “With declining election participation, it is our obligation – as a democracy – to search for alternative ways to increase turnout, thus more accurately reflecting the will of the people.”

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For Immediate Release: January 10, 2005
Further Information: Matt Gaines (617) 722-1643

JOYCE SPONSORS GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FOODS BILL
In response to the increasing number of genetically engineered foods on our supermarket shelves, Senator Brian A. Joyce has re-filed legislation designed to protect consumers and the environment from the potential harmful effects of scientifically altered foods.

Senator Joyce recently re-filed “An Act Relative to Liability for Genetically Engineered Foods” to be considered in the 2005-2006 legislation session. The bill is designed to encourage biotech companies to conduct more thorough research prior to genetically altering foods by holding manufacturers liable for any resulting harm.

“While new discoveries in the field of biogenetics benefit us all, there needs to be more testing and labeling of these products before they sold to the general public,” said Senator Joyce.

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For Immediate Release: January 10, 2005
Further Information: Matt Gaines (617) 722-1643

SENATOR BRIAN A. JOYCE ENCOURAGES CONSTITUENTS TO ATTEND CITIZENS’ LEGISLATIVE SEMINAR
Senator Brian A. Joyce invites interested candidates to attend the fifty-eighth Citizens’ Legislative Seminar sponsored by the 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 time and dates for the Citizens’ Legislative Seminar schedule will be from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., on the following Wednesdays: March 16, March 23, March 30, April 6, April 13 and April 20.
Interested parties should contact Marie Blanchard in Senator Joyce’s office AS SOON AS POSSIBLE 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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For Immediate Release: January 3, 2005
Further Information: Matt Gaines (617) 722-1643

PRESS AND LEGISLATIVE INTERNSHIPS AVAILABLE WITH SENATOR JOYCE
Senator Brian A. Joyce is looking for college students to serve as press or legislative interns in his State House office during the winter months. All interns will be expected to keep regular work schedules in the office, amounting to at least 10 hours per week. The office is seeking individuals who are responsible, possess excellent writing skills, and want to work in a fast-paced office in the State House. These are volunteer positions, but academic credit may be received if the student arranges it with his or her school.

“Working as an intern on Beacon Hill offers students of all ages the unique opportunity to learn how our state government works. I encourage all interested candidates to apply early,” said Senator Joyce.

Senator Joyce is currently serving his fourth term in the Senate where he has developed a reputation for working hard on behalf of the communities he represents and the people he serves. He is a Senate Chair of the Election Laws Committee and Vice Chair of the Committee on Public Safety.

All interested individuals should contact Marie Blanchard [email protected] or Amy Reynolds [email protected], or send a resume and writing sample to Room 413A, State House, Boston, MA 02133, or by email to [email protected]

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