Archive 2003

LEGISLATURE SENDS CLEAR MESSAGE WITH ECONOMIC STIMULUS BILL:
“STATE WILL PARTNER WITH BUSINESS TO CREATE JOBS”

SENATOR JOYCE TO HOST PUBLIC MEETING IN MILTON ON
ROUTE 28 CONSTRUCTION PROJECT

THE BLUE BALLOON

Senate Kicks off Fall Agenda with Consumer and Safety Legislation

SENATOR JOYCE SPEAKS TO THE DISTRICT THROUGH “THE BRIAN A. JOYCE REPORT”

SENATOR JOYCE TO MAINTAIN FULL SERVICES FOR DISTRICT DESPITE PAINFUL SENATE BUDGET CUTS

SENATOR JOYCE Warns of Unnecessary

Senator Joyce Issues Brief Touting Record of Reform

Public Safety Committee Passes Cell Phone Driving Ban

LEGISLATORS FILE ADD-A-LANE LEGISLATION

NEW GIFT CERTIFICATE LAW ELIMINATES HIDDEN FEES

Public safety committee passes cell phone driving ban

LEGISLATORS FILE ADD-A-LANE LEGISLATION

Senator Joyce announces Low cost college loans

CONFERENCE COMMITTEE DELIVERS BALANCED BUDGET DURING FISCAL CRISIS

FINAL STATE BUDGET RESTORES SCHOOL BUILDING PROJECT

U.S. CENSUS BUREAU OFFERS LOCAL RESIDENTS A CHANCE TO WORK FOR THEIR COMMUNITY

JOYCE AND FINEGOLD SPONSOR LEGISLATION TO ABOLISH THE GOVERNOR’S COUNCIL

NEW ENGLAND PENSION ASSISTANCE PROJECT AVAILABLE

"State Budget '03 - The Perfect Storm Unleashed"

School Building project clears another hurdle

Consumers Warned to Stay Away from High Cost Tax Refund Anticipation Loans

SENATOR JOYCE CONGRATULATES CLASS OF 2003 ON HIGH MCAS PASSING RATE

JOYCE FILES BILL TO IMPROVE SKATING RINKS

FINANCIAL SAFETY CONSUMER TIPS AVAILABLE

SENATOR JOYCE ANNOUNCES STATE HOUSE HOLIDAY CARD CONTEST

JOYCE SCORES ANOTHER ‘A’ FOR ENVIRONMENTAL VOTES

COMPUTER TAKE-BACK BILL MAKES
FINANCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL SENSE

SENATOR JOYCE AND SPONSORS SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION LEGISLATION

SENATOR JOYCE ANNOUNCES “Do Not Call” REGISTRY IMPLEMENTATION

"CIRCUIT BREAKER" TAX CREDIT

At the State House • By Senator Brian A. Joyce

STATE MCAS RESULTS • DATE: NOVEMBER 26, 2002

SENATOR JOYCE NAMED LEGISLATOR OF THE YEAR

RIBBON CUTTING FOR NEW I-95 CANTON SLIP-RAMP

IMMEDIATE OPENINGS FOR SENIOR COMMUNITY SERVICE POSITIONS IN WEST BRIDGEWATER, EAST BRIDGEWATER, EASTON, STOUGHTON AND AVON

SENATOR JOYCE SPONSORS LEGISLATION IN SUPPORT OF SPECIAL EDUCATION AND DISABLED STUDENTS

Senator joyce files tax relief BILL FOR SENIORS

$2 MILLION AWARDED TO ASSIST FIRST-TIME HOMEBUYERS

BRUGMAN BILL SENT TO GOVERNOR

EMERGING U.S. LEADERS AWARDED PRESTIGIOUS MARSHALL MEMORIAL FELLOWSHIPS

SENATOR JOYCE CALLS CUTS TO HOME CARE SERVICES DEVASTATING

SENATOR JOYCE OFFERS NEW INFORMATION ON THE OFFICE OF PATIENT PROTECTION

AMNESTY PROGRAM WILL WAIVE PENALTIES
TO GENERATE MILLIONS IN OWED FUNDS

LEGISLATURE APPROVES ANTITERROR BILL
MEASURE SENT TO GOVERNOR SWIFT’S DESK

UNITED WE STAND LICENSE PLATES APPROVED
COMMEMORATIVE MEASURE SENT TO SWIFT’S DESK

JOYCE SWEEPS DISTRICT

STUDY FUNDED IN BOND BILL

Bill TO SECURE AREA WATER STORAGE PASSES

$20,000 AWARDED TO CANTON HIGH SCHOOL
FOR “GREEN” FEASIBILITY STUDY


SENATOR JOYCE ANNOUNCES FUNDING FOR NEPONSET POLICE PATROL

LONGER JAIL TIME and STIFFER FINES for CORPORATE CRIMINALS:
Senator Joyce Votes for Anti-Fraud Bill


SENATOR JOYCE’S BILL WILL CHANNEL INCREASED FUNDS DIRECTLY INTO THE BLUE HILLS RESERVATION

FUNDS SECURED FOR THE DECONTAMINATION OF OLD CANTON AIRPORT

STUDY FUNDED IN BOND BILL
JOYCE SECURES $43,500 for RECONSTRUCTION


RATTLESNAKE HILL FUNDED IN FINAL BOND BILL

$2.13 MILLION TO FUND
14 PROJECTS TARGETING NONPOINT SOURCE POLLUTION
$472,152 SECURED FOR NEPONSET RIVER PROJECT


ADDITIONAL FUNDING SECURED
FOR CLEARING OF PINE TREE BROOK


An Act to End Child Hunger

SENATOR JOYCE’S BILL WILL CHANNEL INCREASED FUNDS DIRECTLY INTO THE BLUE HILLS RESERVATION

$2.13 MILLION TO FUND
14 PROJECTS TARGETING NONPOINT SOURCE POLLUTION
$472,152 SECURED FOR NEPONSET RIVER PROJECT


SENATOR JOYCE ANNOUNCES FUNDING FOR
NEPONSET POLICE PATROL


ADDITIONAL FUNDING SECURED
FOR CLEARING OF PINE TREE BROOK


ENVIRONMENTAL BOND BILL INCLUDES
ULIN RINK FUNDING

Highlights from the 2001-2002 Legislative Session
Major Laws in Order of Passage

For Immediate Release: November 26, 2003
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

LEGISLATURE SENDS CLEAR MESSAGE WITH ECONOMIC STIMULUS BILL:
“STATE WILL PARTNER WITH BUSINESS TO CREATE JOBS”

The Legislature this week passed a broad-based $100 million legislative package aimed at maximizing limited resources with creative to tools for expanding a stable and competitive business friendly climate.
“An Act to Promote Job Creation, Economic Stability and Competitiveness in The Massachusetts Economy” also known as the Economic Stimulus Package melds initiatives that capitalize a number of funds to leverage public and private sector investments in innovative technologies; offer business incentives such as research and development credits, tax rebates, and a sales-tax holiday and restore the viability of programs to promote work force training and tourism.

“This Stimulus Package represents a fair and balanced approach that lets business know the Commonwealth will be a partner, not an obstacle as we work to keep Massachusetts competitive, stem job losses and create new opportunities for employers and workers,” said Senator Brian A. Joyce. “With such scarce funding, we carefully examined where to invest public dollars to yield the greatest returns.

The proposal would receive one-third of its funding from the state's tobacco settlement revenues, one third from the Commonwealth's Stabilization Fund, and one third from funds that were received from the federal government in the fiscal relief legislation for states earlier this year.

Despite a slow and jobless recovery and limited state resources, the legislature's economic stimulus package combines creative ways and proven incentives to foster a better business climate, boost the state's competitive advantages and help restore trust that Massachusetts can be a stable partner.

SUMMARY

CAPITAL FORMATION FOR EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES, REGIONAL
DEVELOPMENT, AND UNIVERSITY ACADEMIC RESEARCH

* Re-capitalization of the Emerging Technology Fund ($25 million): Administered by MassDevelopment, the majority of this $25 million proposal will be used for "bricks and mortar" investments specifically targeted toward technology-based physical infrastructure, assuring a permanent development and manufacturing presence in Massachusetts.

* Capitalization of the John Adams Innovation Institute ($15 million): Administered by the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, this $15 million Institute will leverage long-term, public and private sector investment in innovation technologies to provide dedicated infrastructure support for emerging technology and regional industry clusters in the Commonwealth.

* Capitalization of the Matching Fund for Collaborative Academic Research Centers ($20 million): Administered through the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, this $20 million fund will attract federal research support and private sector investment for industry-university academic research centers. The Matching Fund will improve the competitiveness of our academic community in the pursuit of federal research support and private sector investment.

* Capitalization of the Massachusetts, Mathematics, Science, Technology & Engineering Grant Fund ($2.5 million): This $2.5 million fund, also known as the pipeline fund, will increase the number of Massachusetts students who participate in educational programs that support careers in fields related to math, science, technology, and engineering. The Council on Economic Advisors, also created in this proposal, will make recommendations to the Legislature and the chancellor of higher education on the deployment of the grants to be funded by this program.

* Re-capitalization of the Brownfields Redevelopment Access to Capital Fund ($6 million): The section provides $6 million to recapitalize the first state-sponsored program to promote private financing for the remediation and redevelopment of Brownfields. By subsidizing environmental insurance, this proposal will continue to make Brownfield redevelopment a financially sound position that will enhance the Commonwealth's economy.

* Re-capitalization of the Massachusetts Technology Development Corporation ($5 million): This $5 million commitment bolsters the state's quasi-public development agency as it provides long term capital investment in 15-20 emerging technology companies.

* Creation of the Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center ($2.4 million): This expanded center, to be affiliated with and housed at one of the UMass campuses, will accelerate and improve the efficiency of technology transfer from research institution to industry. A transfer center will facilitate the introduction of new products or services, which will create jobs.

BUSINESS INCENTIVES
* Makes the Investment Tax Credit Permanent: This section will provide a stable business climate allowing companies to retain revenues and invest them in jobs and increase capital reserves that are critical to economic growth.

* Research & Development Tax Credit Update ($8 million): Significant change to R&D tax credit to allow more companies to qualify for the R & D tax credit to include those companies who spend more than 2/3 of expenditures (not just receipts) on Research & Development. Updates the current state tax code to mirror federal research credit by including intangible expenses to be includes as R & D. R & D is critical to Massachusetts economy as Commonwealth's per capita R & D is 2.2 times the national average. To date, competing states, RI and Connecticut, provide more generous R& D credits. Furthermore, the Commonwealth is world-renowned for its biotech, telecomm, medical device, and pharmaceutical companies that are incubators of new technology and products and are reliant on such credits to create new jobs, products, and life-saving medicines.

* One-Day Sales Tax Holiday ($5 million): Scheduled for August 14, 2004, this holiday will provide parents and children who are doing "Back-to School" shopping relief from the sales tax, boosting economic activity and consumer buying power.

* Targeted tax rebate for new manufacturing jobs. Of the 160,000 jobs lost in this recession, over 50 percent (82,000) were in the manufacturing sector. This program will reduce the cost to relocate or expand manufacturing in Massachusetts by providing a rebate of 50 percent of the state income tax withheld for new jobs created. This rebate will be piloted for biotechnology, life sciences and medical device manufacturing.

* Medical Device User Fee ($1 million): First state in the nation, to allow a 50% tax credit for amount spent on FDA pre-approval application fees. This ground-breaking initiative leverages the Commonwealth's traditional strength in health care and research to support a burgeoning medical device industry in the Commonwealth. Tax incentive supports current Massachusetts companies and lures new medical device manufacturers to the Commonwealth. The credit also aids the development process for new products.

* Research & Development Tax Credit Transfer ($2 million): Administered by the Department of Revenue, this $2 million program will allow mid- sized companies with high growth potential to raise cash by selling tax losses and unused research and development credits. Companies must demonstrate high rates of job growth in previous years and must continue to grow every year that they are in the program.

* Historic Development Tax Credit: This proposal will provide a 20% tax credit for redevelopment of historic commercial and residential real estate that is at least 50 years old, encouraging the redevelopment of older properties in urban areas and promoting smart growth rather than suburban sprawl. It is modeled upon a federal credit and has been implemented in 24 other states.

* Brownfields Tax Credit Extension: This section extends the Brownfields Tax Credit Program for two years. Through this revision, net response and removal costs for waste site cleanups that are incurred by a taxpayer between August 1, 1998 and January 1, 2007 will be eligible for the credit provided that the taxpayer commences and diligently pursues an environmental response action before August 5, 2005, rather than 2003.

* Liability Protections for Cleaned Up Brownfields Site Owners or Operators: This section amends the current Brownfields Law which provides liability relief for any owner or operator of real property who has achieved and maintained either a permanent solution or a remedy operation status and has employed the use of an activity and use limitation (AUL) to do so. The changes proposed herein would strike language that requires that the owner or operator that receives liability relief must never have conducted, or been required to conduct, a cleanup of hazardous substances pursuant to the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) or the federal Comprehensive, Environmental, Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA, aka the Superfund law), in order to be afforded the liability relief. Without this legislation, an owner or operator of real property would still be liable to parties other than the state if the owner or operator has conducted or been required to conduct a cleanup of hazardous substances pursuant to RCRA or Superfund anywhere.

* Covenants Not to Sue: The Covenant Not to Sue program which allows a current or prospective owner or operator of a contaminated property to enter into a covenant not to sue subject to certain conditions. Current law delineates that the proposed redevelopment or reuse of the property must contribute to the economic or physical revitalization of the community in which it is located, and provides one of the following public benefits: (a) new permanent jobs; (b) affordable housing; (c) historic preservation; (d) creates or revitalizes open space; (e) other public benefits as determined by the Attorney General. Under the current law, redevelopment such as market rate housing on a brownfields site would not be considered a "public benefit.", although it may have provide significant benefits to a community. This proposal would provide that the public benefits to qualify a site for a covenant not to use may include but are not limited to those specified previously so long as the project is contributing to the economic and physical revitalization of the property. This legislation will encourage and enable a wider range of brownfields redevelopment projects to receive critical liability relief benefits.

STREAMLINED PERMITTING
* Creation of a Massachusetts Permit Regulatory Office, MassPRO: The establishment of MassPRO and a Permitting Ombudsman will serve to streamline the state permitting process. The office will serve as the initial point of contact for businesses looking to locate or expand within Massachusetts and will act as a liaison between business and government on permitting issues.

* Regulatory Impact Statement: This initiative will require that any new regulation proposed by a state agency be accompanied by a "Regulatory Impact Statement," identifying all costs to the state and to the private sector related to its implementation and enforcement.

Other Initiatives

* Sunday Liquor Sales: These section lift the prohibition on the Sunday sale of alcohol. Local communities will have the option to opt out of this requirement.

Massachusetts International Tourism Initiative ($2 million): This $2 million initiative will establish an international tourism program to attract international visitors and dollars to the state by leveraging both public and private dollars to increase tourism. The tourism industry generated more than $11 billion in revenue in 2001 and provided 147,000 jobs.

* Recapitalization of the Massachusetts Community Development Finance Corporation ($1 million): This $1 million proposal will provide funding for economic development projects in urban and minority communities.

* Workforce Training Grants ($6 million): This section will invest $6 million for workforce training and development. Dollars will target training in specific sectors, help workers develop new skills, and provide re-training for older and dislocated workers.

* Reforms to the Worker Training Fund: These changes give the fund greater flexibility by allowing companies that are moving in-state to access the fund, raising the cap on awards to $1 million and allows for rolling applications.

* Funding for Existing Workforce Training Grants: This change will allow the Department of Workforce Development to keep the state's commitments for grants issued in prior years.
* HMO Solvency - Establishes minimum net worth and financial solvency standards for health maintenance organizations doing business in the Commonwealth. The legislation is based on standards developed and adopted by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) and/or existing standards contained in Chapter 175 of the General Laws. The standards are also consistent with the recommendations of the January 2002 Blue Ribbon Health Care Task Force.

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For Immediate Release: October 20, 2003
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

SENATOR JOYCE TO HOST PUBLIC MEETING IN MILTON ON
ROUTE 28 CONSTRUCTION PROJECT

Senator Brian A. Joyce announced this week that he has scheduled a public meeting to discuss the progress of the Route 28 (Randolph Ave.) construction project. The project involves the reconstruction of nearly two miles of Route 28 from Quincy to the intersection of Reedsdale Road.

After over fifteen years of discussion, work finally began on the project this summer. There have been numerous complaints from motorists and residents about traffic congestion, safety concerns and dust problems associated with the project.

The meeting will be held on October 27th at 7:00 p.m. at the Milton Town Hall. Senator Joyce will be joined by MassHighway Commissioner John Cogliano and District Director Stephen O’Donnell.
Senator Joyce explained that he scheduled the meeting to give Milton residents both an update and the opportunity to voice their concerns.

For more information about the meeting or the Route 28 project, please call Senator Joyce at 617-722-1643.

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For Immediate Release: October 17, 2003
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

THE BLUE BALLOON
At first glance, 11-year-old Nova Scotian Jessica Goreham and Senator Brian A. Joyce don’t have a lot in common. Separated by hundreds of miles, the two had never heard of each other until this September when Senator Joyce received a phone call from the Goreham family of Oak Park, Nova Scotia.

It seems that in early September, Jessica and her father were checking the bear tracks at their hunting camp when the little girl came across the half-inflated helium balloon. The sparkling curiosity of the girl pushed her to call her mother immediately and her mother Michelle, and grandmother, Shirley Hopkins, went to work trying to discern the history of the mystery balloon.

The search was on, but the case was challenging. The Gorehams were informed that there were no senators named Joyce in Canada, so they proceeded to contact the United States Embassy. Through this office they were informed of Senator Joyce’s phone number. Senator Joyce’s office staff was thrown back by the unbelievable news. They were eager to hear how such an unusual event took place.
The reality is that it was pure coincidence that the balloon not only made it so far away, but that it was ever found. Jessica and her father were in the middle of the woods making a tree stand near the campsite when Jessica spotted the unusual balloon. “It was a little muddy; obviously scars incurred from the cross border journey,” said Hopkins.

Senator Joyce believes the balloon must have come from either the Stoughton or Randolph Fourth of July parades, where hundreds of bright blue balloons with white letters spelling out “Senator Brian A. Joyce” were handed out to children along the parade route.

“What a wonderful story,” said Senator Joyce. “I was very impressed at Jessica and her family’s perseverance in tracking down the balloon’s source.” Jessica has already framed the Joyce balloon and plans on saving it for a long time.

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For Immediate Release: September 25, 2003
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

Senate Kicks off Fall Agenda with Consumer and Safety Legislation
Statehouse, Boston – In its first formal session of the fall, the Massachusetts State Senate voted Thursday to support legislation that protects consumers against unwanted and often misleading e-mail spam messages and safeguards students who ride school busses.This legislation sets the tone for the Senate’s fall priorities-eliminating practices that end up hurting our citizens or costing them time and money in inefficiencies.

Senator Jarrett T. Barrios introduced the anti-spam bill earlier this year, which was developed in concert with Senator David Magnani (D-Framingham), Senator Linda Melconian (D-Springfield) and Senator Steven Tolman (D-Watertown). It implements a series of requirements that alert consumers to the millions of deceptive commercial e-mail messages that flood internet “in” boxes and allows consumers to sue violators for monetary damages.

"Workers and families deserve the right to internet access without being deluged by misleading and annoying e-mail messages," said Senator Barrios. "Slowing the spam tidal wave will save us all a lot of time -- and lost productivity."

While the Constitution prohibits an outright prohibition on spam, the bill passed by the Senate provides the following important protections from spam emails sent and received in Massachusetts: Require e-mail marketers to make a prominent disclosure in the subject line of the e-mail message indicating that the message is an advertisement. (“ADV:”) Require senders to make a prominent disclosure in the subject line that the message contains or refers to adult content. (“ADLT”) Prohibit misleading information such as false sender address, forged routing information and deceptive text in the subject line or text of the message. Prohibit the sale of software used to falsify sending or routing information in electronic messages.

“Consumers and businesses have been flooded by these unsolicited e-mails. Mandating clear labeling and truthful information will help consumers regain control over their e-mail boxes,” said Senator Melconian, Chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology. Two separate enforcement tools would add teeth to the bill. Any individual or e-mail provider would be able to bring a lawsuit for money damages against someone who violates any of the requirements described above and a fine of $500 per message ($750 if the recipient is 65 years of age or older), in addition to reasonable Attorney's fees and costs, could be levied to any commercial electronic provider violating the law.

The Senate also unanimously passed a bill that sets a maximum highway driving speed for school busses at 55 miles per hour. Senator Michael Knapik (R-Westfield) and Senator Brian Joyce (D-Milton) sponsored the legislation to address parents safety concerns about their children. “When parents send their children to school, they should feel confident that the utmost precautions are taken to ensure their child’s safety, whether on a ten minute ride to school or a two hour field trip,” said Senator Joyce. “Setting a standard speed limit for school busses is a logical step in protecting our most precious assets.”

The Senate has been actively engaged in community forums, hearings and business roundtables across the Commonwealth in an effort to craft additional initiatives that will be heard this fall. The Senates agenda will include legislation designed to improve consumer and business confidence, stimulate the economy and create jobs.

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For Immediate Release: September 10, 2003
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

SENATOR JOYCE SPEAKS TO THE DISTRICT THROUGH “THE BRIAN A. JOYCE REPORT”
Senator Brian A. Joyce is proud to announce his new community television show entitled “The Brian A. Joyce Report,” a show that puts a face to some of the key players in Massachusetts government as well as business and community leaders. Cable stations throughout the Norfolk, Bristol, and Plymouth district will air the series continuously on each town’s community television channel.

The thirty-minute episodes are aimed at educating residents across the Commonwealth on the current issues that affect the district and the state as a whole. The first episode introduces Michael Widmer, President of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, and focuses on the economy of the Commonwealth. The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation is a non-partisan organization that focuses on state spending, tax policies, and the Massachusetts economy. His views on these issues are discussed in the premiere episode.

“This is an opportunity to take Beacon Hill to the people of my district. I’d love to hear what they think of the show and to get feedback as to whom they would like to see as a guest in the future,” says Joyce.
The second episode of “The Brian A. Joyce Report,” due to air in October, will include an interview with Secretary of Transportation Daniel Grabauskas. For more information on “The Brian A. Joyce Report” or to find out when the first episode will air in your town, please call the office of Senator Joyce at (617) 722-1643.

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For Immediate Release: September 10, 2003
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

SENATOR JOYCE TO MAINTAIN FULL SERVICES FOR DISTRICT DESPITE PAINFUL SENATE BUDGET CUTS
In the face of painful employee layoffs announced last week at the Massachusetts Senate, Senator Joyce assured his constituents that he would continue to provide full services for the entire district. “The present circumstances require painful reductions and cuts across the state and in the Senate budget alike. My staff and I will work harder to make sure that we continue to answer every call and fight for the needs of my district,” Joyce said.

Since January, the Massachusetts Senate has significantly reduced its own spending by hundreds of thousands of dollars to address a budget deficit. These cost-cutting measures include freezes in hiring, renegotiation of lease and contracts, the use of less costly office stationary, and the elimination of office newspaper subscriptions, long-distance telephone service, and webcasting of legislative sessions. Unfortunately, layoffs of Senate employees were also necessary to address the deficit.

In facing these cuts, senators have experienced first-hand the effects of the national recession that has swept businesses and non-profit organizations throughout the state. "This is a painful decision, but given the current circumstances, we've had to take drastic steps to close this shortfall,” stated Senate President Travaglini.

In fact, this year, many members of the Massachusetts Senate including Senator Joyce turned down automatic pay increases mandated by the state Constitution while increasing the cost of health care premiums for themselves.

Despite the cuts to Senate administration and staff, Senator Joyce stated that all district needs will continue to be met and added that the Senate will continue to enact reforms and programs that improve the efficiency of government and preserve core services. “This spring, we enacted more than a dozen major reforms to streamline bureaucracy, improve agencies, and save precious taxpayer dollars. This fall, we will continue to enact laws that improve our government, foster economic recovery and create jobs,” Joyce said.

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For Immediate Release: September 5, 2003
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

SENATOR JOYCE Warns of Unnecessary
“Do Not Call” Registration Fee
Senator Brian A. Joyce and The Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation (OCABR) would like to notify the public that the National Do Not Call Program, a program that limits the number of telemarketing calls to your home, is a FREE program with quick, easy, and FREE registration. Recent advertisements urge consumers to call 1-800-DONOTCALL and pay a $2.95 fee in order to sign up for the National Do Not Call Registry. Consumers calling this number are connected to the National Do Not Call Registry for a $2.95 fee.

The National Do Not Call Registry’s toll free number 1-888-382-1222 is the direct connection to registration. The choice of online registration is available on the National Do Not Call website, www.donotcall.gov. Massachusetts residents may also register for the Massachusetts Do Not Call Registry for free by calling 1-866-231-CALL (2255), by vesting their website at www.mass.gov/donotcall, or by mailing their name, address, and phone number to: Massachusetts Do Not Call Program, P.O. Box 1348, Boston, MA 02117

Questions about the National Do Not Call program can be directed to the Federal Trade Commission using their toll-free number 1-877-FTC-HELP, or visit www.ftc.gov/donotcall.

For questions about the Massachusetts Do Not Call program, contact the Office of Consumer Affairs toll free at 1-888-283-3757 or visit the Do Not Call website.

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For Immediate Release: August 27, 2003
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

Senator Joyce Issues Brief Touting Record of Reform
As the Legislature prepares to return to formal session, Senator Brian A. Joyce and Senate President Travaglini have issued a policy brief, entitled “Reforming State Government,” which details the compilation of responsible reforms that have been initiated by the Massachusetts Senate this year.

The policy brief highlights the Senate’s role in advancing new ideas to restructure government, while addressing the budget crisis and protecting core services. Items include the Senate’s initiative on reorganizing state police crime labs, health and human services, the state’s economic development agencies, the MDC, and public higher education. It also highlights many reforms the Governor failed to embrace, such as to the Quinn bill programs and the creation of a state bulk purchasing of prescription drugs. The prescription drug program would have been the first of its kind, and a step forward in the effort to provide affordable medication to those in need.

In addition, the policy brief details important core services that were preserved by the Senate, despite dwindling revenues, including the restoration of Prescription Advantage and MassHealth Basic. It also summarizes non-budgetary bills, including the municipal relief bill and other bills to improve public safety and spur economic growth and recovery.

Special attention was paid to the protection of the state’s most vulnerable residents, its children and elderly. Taking on its traditional role as advocate for these groups, the Senate came to the rescue, preserving essential services that would have been cut by then Governor’s vetoes. Local aid, vital to cities and towns in the faltering economy, was also preserved.

“We were at risk of having our economic downturn turn back the progress we’ve made,” said Senator Joyce. “Our challenge was to craft a budget that combined reform and fiscal responsibility with our mission to protect our citizens. With fewer dollars to spend on services and programs, the Senate seized the opportunity to initiate common sense reforms.”

For more information on “Reforming State Government” contact Senator Brian A. Joyce, (617) 722-1643 Room 413-A, State House, Boston, MA 02133-1053, or by email at [email protected]

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For Immediate Release: June 23, 2003
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

Public Safety Committee Passes Cell Phone Driving Ban

Senator Brian A. Joyce is pleased to announce that the Public Safety Committee has favorably released legislation to restrict the use of cellular phones while driving.

Co-sponsored by Senator Joyce, the bill aims to create safer streets for all drivers in Massachusetts, by reducing driving distraction. Under the new bill, junior operators (under the age of 18) are banned from all cell phone use while behind the wheel. All other drivers are required to use hands-free devices with their cell phones while driving. Only New York and a small number of other states require motorists to use hands-free devices.

“The rate of cell phone-related accidents and fatalities is growing just as fast as the popularity of cell phones themselves,” said Senator Joyce. “The issue needed to be addressed sooner rather than later.” The Bill states that a first violation will result in a $100 fine and all subsequent violations will be punished by a fine of $250.

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For Immediate Release: June 23, 2003
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

LEGISLATORS FILE ADD-A-LANE LEGISLATION
Bill aims to fast-track lane construction on Route 128
In a move aimed at addressing growing traffic congestion south of Boston, Senator Brian A. Joyce has filed legislation to fast track the widening of Rte. 128 in each direction from Randolph to Wellesley.

To date, over 15 legislators have signed on to the bill which will exempt the Route 128 “add-a-lane” project from the current lengthy design-bid-build requirement in favor of a more efficient and cost effective method cutting the estimated completion date in half to 5-7 years.

The project is designed to widen Route 128 from three to four lanes in each direction to alleviate traffic congestion from Randolph to Wellesley.

“As a legislator I find that the worthiest of projects often meet some sort of resistance from affected interest groups,” said Senator Joyce. “However, in the case of the add-a-lane project, we have amassed wide-spread support from residents, businesses, environmentalists, safety officials and elected officials.”

While large-scale transportation projects have recently suffered from significant cost overruns and unforeseen delays due to a disjointed bidding process and disincentive of individual contractors to employ cost-saving measures, under Joyce’s bill the risk is transferred to the “design—build” team by holding it accountable to the initial timeframe and bid on the “final product”.

The legislation is modeled on the Route 3 North project that stretches from Burlington to the New Hampshire border. Although nearly double in size and cost compared to the Route 128 add-a-lane proposal, the Route 3 project is scheduled for completion after only 42 months (as opposed to 10-12 years) and is currently $11 million under budget.

The project has been in the works since the mid-80s, when 120,000 vehicles traveled on Rte. 128 daily, according to Massachusetts Highway Department figures. Today, more than 200,000 cars use the highway.

The use of the breakdown lane as a fourth travel lane during peak hours was extended as an “interim measure” by the Federal Highway Administration in the mid-1980s and currently represents 20 percent of all traffic during these hours. The project would restore the breakdown lane to its original purpose of harboring broken down cars and increase safety along the highway.

The project will also have positive effects on the environment as average weekday use along Route 128 has increased by an estimated 60,000 vehicles per day, volumes surpassed by only the Central Artery and Southeast Expressway. Because of the congestion and high air polluting emission of idling cars, the Route 128 Corridor has the worst air quality conditions in the state. Completion of Route 128 also presents the opportunity to increase cleanup of contaminated sites throughout the Corridor by upgrading of storm water managements systems to current-day standards.

“We, in government, have to do all that we can both to retain existing businesses along the 128 corridor and to attract new business,” said Senator Joyce. “The benefits of this legislation, if passed, are positive and far reaching for our state and the residents along Route 128.”

The project is estimated to cost $150 million with an additional $50 million to redo the Interstate 95/Rte. 128 interchange from a combination of federal and state funding sources.

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For Immediate Release: July 7, 2003
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

U.S. CENSUS BUREAU OFFERS LOCAL RESIDENTS A CHANCE TO WORK FOR THEIR COMMUNITY
Senator Brian A. Joyce announces an exciting employment opportunity with the U.S. Census Bureau. Unknown to many people, the population census is not the only research done by the U.S. Census Bureau. Surveys investigating unemployment, crime, housing, and health are also given.

At this time, the Census Bureau is looking to hire hard working, flexible, and responsible individuals to help conduct household surveys. The Bureau offers competitive wages, paid training, and equips each worker with a laptop and all equipment needed for gathering data. In order to be eligible for this position, applicants must be a U.S. citizen; be able to work days, evenings, and weekends; have a car and valid driver’s license; have a private, non-cellular, phone line; and pass a written test. To learn more about this job opportunity, call the Census Bureau toll-free at 1-888-638-8310 or visit their website at
www.census.gov/robos/www/

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For Immediate Release: July 7, 2003
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

CONFERENCE COMMITTEE DELIVERS BALANCED BUDGET DURING FISCAL CRISIS
Senator Brian A. Joyce and the entire state legislature are proud to announce that the Conference Committee presented its Fiscal Year 2004 Conference Report in mid-June. After much debate and compromise, the final budget plans to deliver five key components: responsible reform within the
state government, no tax increases, a balanced budget, an honest and transparent proposal, and an on time completion.

Due to the current fiscal crisis, the conference committee had to make several difficult decisions including which state-funded programs needed to be cut in order to achieve a balanced budget. Ultimately, the legislature and the Governor are left to close the $3 billion budget gap—primarily
through spending cutbacks.

Because the state government cannot function on a budget of this size, several changes were made in order to make the system operate more efficiently and be more cost effective. While many departments were condensed to save funds, others were created to take control of several different issues. One such division is the Commonwealth Development Coordinating Council, which will handle concerns involving the economy, housing, transportation, capital development and the preservation of
environmental resources.

Although many cuts were made, the committee was able to hold onto a number of important programs such as Prescription Advantage. Despite the cuts, education is still ensured at the foundation level in every district in FY 04. Also, a section of the budget will make changes to the MCAS appeals
process to provide special education students with every opportunity to prove that they have met the standards for graduation.

For the legislature, the creation of the FY 04 budget was a complicated task filled with hard decisions and disappointing cutbacks. Thankfully, in the end, the budget could be balanced with as few reductions as possible.

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For Immediate Release: July 1, 2003
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

FINAL STATE BUDGET RESTORES SCHOOL BUILDING PROJECT
Both Easton projects now eligible to receive state funding Senators Brian A. Joyce and Robert S. Creedon, and Representatives Christine Canavan, Geraldine Creedon, and David Flynn are pleased to announce the final FY04 budget will include language providing that the renovations and
additions of both the Easton Junior High School and the Oliver Ames High School be placed on the state’s School Building Assistance priority list.

Under the terms of the FY04 budget passed by the legislature and governor, both school renovation projects will be eligible for SBA funding, estimated at over $45 million.

The Oliver Ames High School and the Easton Junior High School had individually received approval from the Department of Education and both at one time had been placed on the most recent preliminary approval School Building Assistance list. Unfortunately, under changes in the SBA program made by Governor Romney, only one project was to receive state reimbursement, jeopardizing the entire
project.

The two projects must be counted as one as they are a comprehensive solution to a growing problem, according to Easton officials.

Easton first received preliminary approval for its Junior High School project but the DOE agreed to switch approval to the High School project at the town’s request. Both projects have been ranked high priorities by the Department of Education based on the urgent need to alleviate severe
overcrowding.

Easton’s overcrowding is expected to compound as the school-age population gets older. Currently, all the schools in the district function above capacity except for the new Middle School. Easton was one of 28 out of the 63 applications to receive preliminary approval for funding from the DOE.

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For Immediate Release: June 27, 2003
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

Senator Joyce announces Low cost college loans
Families facing college tuition bills can benefit from the lowest rate loans ever available from the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority, Senator Brian A. Joyce announced today. The 2003-2004 interest rates for the MEFA Loan Program have reached record-low levels, meaning there has
never been a better time to finance a college education.

The MEFA Loan Program has broken last year’s record lows with a fixed rate of 6.25 percent and a variable rate of 3.55 percent on college loans for the next school year.

“Parents facing college tuition payments owe it to themselves to consider a low-cost loan from MEFA, which is a trusted authority with two decades of experience assisting Massachusetts families. The Legislature created MEFA because we believe every student should have the opportunity to attend
college,” said Senator Joyce.

“Interest rates are already at incredibly low levels, and as a not-for-profit state authority, we utilize tax-exempt bond financing and pass the savings on to families in the form of low interest rates,” said
Thomas Graf, Executive Director of MEFA.

The MEFA Loan offers parents a choice between fixed and variable rates. The fixed rate of 6.25 percent (APR 6.86 percent) translates into monthly payments of $8.91 per $1,000 borrowed. The variable rate of 3.55 percent (APR 4.11 percent) is reset annually, and current monthly payments are $7.45
per $1,000 borrowed.

Massachusetts parents are eligible to apply for the MEFA Loan to send their children to any colleges in the nation. The MEFA Loan is designed to help families who do not receive enough financial aid and need additional assistance financing college costs.

In addition to parent loans, MEFA offers students the Federal Stafford Loan at an interest rate 1 percent below rates available from banks. The MEFA Stafford Loan rate is 2.42 percent, and incentives for on-time payments could reduce the rate by an additional 2 percent.

Further information about MEFA’s low-cost college financing options is available by calling 1-800-449-MEFA or visiting www.mefa.org

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For Immediate Release: June 23, 2003
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

LEGISLATORS FILE ADD-A-LANE LEGISLATION
Bill aims to fast-track lane construction on Route 128
In a move aimed at addressing growing traffic congestion south of Boston, Senator Brian A. Joyce has filed legislation to fast track the widening of
Rte. 128 in each direction from Randolph to Wellesley.

To date, over 15 legislators have signed on to the bill which will exempt the Route 128 “add-a-lane” project from the current lengthy design-bid-build requirement in favor of a more efficient and cost effective method cutting the estimated completion date in half to 5-7 years.

The project is designed to widen Route 128 from three to four lanes in each direction to alleviate traffic congestion from Randolph to Wellesley. “As a legislator I find that the worthiest of projects often meet some sort of resistance from affected interest groups,” said Senator Joyce. “However, in the case of the add-a-lane project, we have amassed wide-spread support from residents, businesses, environmentalists, safety officials and elected officials.”

While large-scale transportation projects have recently suffered from significant cost overruns and unforeseen delays due to a disjointed bidding process and disincentive of individual contractors to employ cost-saving measures, under Joyce’s bill the risk is transferred to the “design—build”
team by holding it accountable to the initial timeframe and bid on the “final product”.

The legislation is modeled on the Route 3 North project that stretches from Burlington to the New Hampshire border. Although nearly double in size and cost compared to the Route 128 add-a-lane proposal, the Route 3 project is scheduled for completion after only 42 months (as opposed to 10-12 years) and is currently $11 million under budget.

The project has been in the works since the mid-80s, when 120,000 vehicles traveled on Rte. 128 daily, according to Massachusetts Highway Department figures. Today, more than 200,000 cars use the highway.

The use of the breakdown lane as a fourth travel lane during peak hours was extended as an “interim measure” by the Federal Highway Administration in the mid-1980s and currently represents 20 percent of all traffic during these hours. The project would restore the breakdown lane to its original purpose of harboring broken down cars and increase safety along the highway. The project will also have positive effects on the environment as average weekday use along Route 128 has increased by an estimated 60,000 vehicles per day, volumes surpassed by only the Central Artery and Southeast
Expressway. Because of the congestion and high air polluting emission of idling cars, the Route 128 Corridor has the worst air quality conditions in the state. Completion of Route 128 also presents the opportunity to increase cleanup of contaminated sites throughout the Corridor by upgrading of storm
water managements systems to current-day standards.

“We, in government, have to do all that we can both to retain existing businesses along the 128 corridor and to attract new business,” said Senator Joyce. “The benefits of this legislation, if passed, are positive and far reaching for our state and the residents along Route 128.”

The project is estimated to cost $150 million with an additional $50 million to redo the Interstate 95/Rte. 128 interchange from a combination of federal and state funding sources.

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For Immediate Release: June 23, 2003
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

Public safety committee passes cell phone driving ban

Senator Brian A. Joyce is pleased to announce that the Public Safety Committee has favorably released legislation to restrict the use of cellular
phones while driving.

Co-sponsored by Senator Joyce, the bill aims to create safer streets for all drivers in Massachusetts, by reducing driving distraction. Under the new bill, junior operators (under the age of 18) are banned from
all cell phone use while behind the wheel. All other drivers are required to use hands-free devices with their cell phones while driving. Only New York and a small number of other states require motorists to use hands-free devices.

“The rate of cell phone-related accidents and fatalities is growing just as fast as the popularity of cell phones themselves,” said Senator Joyce. “The issue needed to be addressed sooner rather than later.”
The Bill states that a first violation will result in a $100 fine and all subsequent violations will be punished by a fine of $250.

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For Immediate Release: June 16, 2003
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

NEW GIFT CERTIFICATE LAW ELIMINATES HIDDEN FEES
Over 60 Percent of Gift Cards Examined Mention Possible Dormancy Fees Senator Brian A. Joyce and the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation (OCABR) are pleased to announce that the new Massachusetts Gift Certificate Law has been implemented to help protect the citizens of
Massachusetts from hidden dormancy fees and abrupt termination of gift certificates.

The new law changes the definition of gift certificates to include electronic gift cards and extends the longevity of the gift certificate from two to seven years. The new law also states that if the issuance or
expiration date is illegible or missing then the gift certificate is valid forever. Furthermore, once 90 percent or more of the gift certificate is redeemed, the consumer has the right to ask for the remaining dollar amount in cash or to continue using it through the gift certificate.

Many large companies attach hidden fees to their gift certificates. This dormancy or inactivity fee can average $2.00 per month and is deducted from the certificate’s total amount after a consecutive twelve months of non-use. Because companies were not be able to physically change the amount on a
paper gift certificate, these hidden charges were only applicable to electronic gift cards.

“Too many companies were taking advantage of the consumer with these hidden fees and it needed to stop,” says Senator Joyce. “The new law ensures that all gift certificates and electronic gift cards are valid for the full purchased dollar amount for seven years, regardless of usage.”

Further information on this new Massachusetts Gift Certificate Law can be found on the Consumer Affairs website: http://www.state.ma.us/consumer or by calling the office of Senator Brian A. Joyce at (617) 722-1643.

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For Immediate Release: May, 2003
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

NEW ENGLAND PENSION ASSISTANCE PROJECT AVAILABLE
Informative leaflets on the New England are now available in the Office of Senator Brian A. Joyce. Published by the University of Massachusetts Gerontology Institute, the leaflets offer tips on how to get free counseling, in both the private and public sector, on their pension.

The Pension Assistance Project at the University of Massachusetts is funded by the Administration on Aging, the Massachusetts Bar Foundation, and the Boston Bar Foundation. It is the only program of its kind in the Commonwealth and provides information on comprehensive assistance options. The brochure is available in English and Spanish.

For a copy of either of the leaflets or for more information, please call the Office of Senator Joyce at (617) 722-1643.

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For Immediate Release: April 16, 2003
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

JOYCE AND FINEGOLD SPONSOR LEGISLATION TO ABOLISH THE GOVERNOR’S COUNCIL
Bill aims to eliminate outdated pre-colonial era body
In a move aimed at streamlining government and reducing unnecessary state expenditures, Senator Brian A. Joyce and Representative Barry R. Finegold filed a bill today to abolish the Governor’s Council, calling it an outdated vestige of the pre-colonial era.

“The Council has long since outlived its original function of serving as a check on the Royal Governor’s actions,” said Senator Joyce. “During these fiscally difficult times, we need to eliminate unnecessary bureaucracy and the Council is a logical place to start.”

The bill would be the final step in a three decade long process to phase out the archaic government body that dates back to 1628 and was formally established in the state constitution in 1780.

Massachusetts is one of only two states in the nation with a Governor’s Council, with New Hampshire the only other state to retain this pre-colonial relic. Vermont abolished its 15-member Council in 1836 and created the Vermont Senate in its place. Maine was the last state to abolish its Council and did so by Constitutional Amendment in 1975.

The 1962 Democratic and Republican Party platforms both called for the abolition of the Council, which had been under attack for years from governors of both parties and former members of the Council itself, but legislators did not pursue the matter. Two years later, following a scandal involving councillors and the selling of pardons and paroles, the voters removed a majority of the Council’s substantive powers through initiative petition.

In 1975, Governor Michael Dukakis filed a Constitutional Amendment to abolish the Council entirely. In his letter of support to the Legislature he said, “This legislation will abolish the Executive Council and complete the process now nearly two centuries old, which has seen the elimination of any useful function for the Council in the Commonwealth’s organization of its government. Efforts to be rid of the Council, a vestige of colonial days, began even as our constitution was being framed.” However, politically connected councillors and their legislative allies blocked the measure and the bill received an unfavorable report in committee.

“The Council may have been necessary to regulate the actions of a Governor appointed by the English monarchy, but its purpose is clearly outdated. The few remaining substantive responsibilities of the Council can be easily absorbed elsewhere, as they are in 48 other states and in the federal government,” said Senator Joyce.

Today, the eight members of the Council meet once a week and enjoy $25,000 salaries with significantly reduced powers including the approval of judicial appointments, pardons and commutations, and the largely symbolic review of all expenditures from the state treasury.
“This bill is not about cutting the Governor’s Council but about making difficult choices in difficult times,” said Representative Finegold. Before we talk about cutting people’s health care, we need to tighten our belts and reduce unnecessary state bureaucracies whose responsibilities could be managed more effectively through already existing institutions. This is about streamlining government.”
The bill filed would build on Governor Romney’s initiative to neutralize the judicial appointment process under Executive Order 445 and would eliminate the approval of judges by the Governor’s Council, instead requiring a majority vote in the Senate for all judicial nominations, the process followed by the federal government and most states.

“The appointment of judicial officers is the foundation on which justice rests in the Commonwealth. We must ensure that judges and officers serving in our court system, from the trial courts on up to the Supreme Judicial Court, are of the highest quality and caliber,” said Senator Joyce.

In addition, the bill would give the General Court the power to establish the terms and conditions of felony pardons and commutations. On an annual basis, the Governor will report the name of each person pardoned, the crime and date of conviction and the date pardoned to the General Court.
Under the rules, the legislation must be called for consideration and pass by a majority in a Joint Session of both the 03-04 and 05-06 Legislative Sessions and then would need to receive a majority vote in the November 2006 election.

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For Immediate Release: March 18, 2003
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

SENATOR JOYCE ANNOUNCES STATE HOUSE HOLIDAY CARD CONTEST
Senator Brian A. Joyce is pleased to announce the 7th Annual Senior Citizens Artistic Interpretation of the State House Holiday Card Contest.

Each year, the Secretary of State’s office sponsors a Holiday Card contest for citizens age 62 and over. The winning entry will be reproduced and sold at the State House Gift Cart. This year’s theme is Celebrating the Winter Holiday at the State House. Entries will be accepted from both amateur and professional artists. All entries will be exhibited at the Commonwealth Museum beginning July 15, 2003. Professional artists will judge the entries.

All medium of art is acceptable (oil, watercolor, ink, pastels, etc.). The size requirements are a minimum of 5” x 7” and a maximum of 18” x 24”. If an artist is unable to mat and frame their entry, the Secretary of State’s office will provide matting using basic materials. Please print name, address, and telephone number on the back of the artwork.

The deadline for entries is June 30, 2003. Entries must be mailed or delivered to the attention of Dolores McCray, Commonwealth Museum, Archives Building, 220 Morrissey Boulevard, Boston, MA 02125. In order for artwork to be displayed on the Secretary of State’s website, each entry must include a signed authorization form. An Affirmation of Award will be presented to the winning artist at a date to be announced in August 2003.

To receive a copy of the website authorization form or for more information, please call the Commonwealth Museum at 617-727-2816 or the office of Senator Brian A. Joyce at 617-722-1643.

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For Immediate Release: March 14, 2003
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

FINANCIAL SAFETY CONSUMER TIPS AVAILABLE
Informative leaflets on various financial security issues are now available in the office of Senator Brian A. Joyce. Published by the Massachusetts Bankers Association, the five leaflets give consumers tips on how to protect their assets.

The first leaflet “Identity Fraud – It Can Happen to You” gives consumers advice on how to protect themselves from becoming victims of identity fraud and includes the phone numbers of the appropriate agencies for those who may be victims.

The second leaflet “Consumer’s Guide to Lower-Cost ATM/Cash Access” teaches consumers methods of accessing their funds at the lowest possible cost.

A leaflet entitled “Homeowner’s Guide to Addressing Financial Problems” is designed to give individuals tips on how to address financial problems and provides information on non-profit agencies that can help.

Other leaflets include “Financial Exploitation… is More Common” which provides safety tips for seniors and “Beware of Easy Credit,” which warns consumers of the risks associated with credit debt and what to do if they end up with more credit than they can afford.

For a copy of any of the leaflets or for more information please call the Office of Senator Joyce at (617) 722-1643.

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For Immediate Release: March 14, 2003
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

JOYCE FILES BILL TO IMPROVE SKATING RINKS
Senator Brian A. Joyce today introduced legislation to improve the quality of ice rinks and public skating programs by authorizing the Commonwealth to enter into 10-year leases for the management of its 21 Metropolitan District Commission rinks.

Under the Joyce bill, the Commonwealth will continue to retain full ownership and oversight of the skating rinks. The bill also protects access to ice times for public skating, youth groups and school hockey teams. Furthermore, the legislation provides equal opportunity for youths of each gender to access the facilities.

In addition, the legislation will attract much-needed private sector capital investment for the rinks. Contracting entities will be required to undertake all rink repairs and capital improvements.
Schools, municipalities, and youth hockey groups would be able to join the bidding process for their local rinks by responding to a Request for Proposals.

“Many of the MDC skating rinks have outlived their useful design life and are in major need of repair, while those that have been repaired in recent years are already showing signs of neglect,” said Senator Joyce.

“This bill provides a win-win situation for the state and the taxpayer -- it is a sensible way to improve the condition and management of the rinks, to create long-term stability of skating programs and to improve working conditions for seasonal staff who currently do not receive benefits,” he said.
The Joyce proposal closely mirrors a Department of Environmental Management ice rink lease program for the private management of its 18 skating rinks that was launched in 1992 and was expanded to a 25-year lease term last year.

“Although I do not agree with a 25-year lease for any taxpayer held asset, it is hard to deny the success of the DEM leasing program,” said Senator Joyce. “The ice rinks formerly operated by the DEM are universally regarded as better run and cleaner now than when run by the state.”

Under the Joyce legislation, lease agreements would be provided for periods of not more than 10 years. Specifically, the leases would provide for structural improvements to the DEM rinks such as slab and roof replacements and improved operating systems, better parking lots, safe lighting and the purchase of essential new equipment.

“It is particularly important to consider ways to guarantee an injection of private financing into our ice rinks during these difficult fiscal times. The MDC ice rinks are falling apart and they are ending the skating season early again this year creating problems with tournament and play-off schedules. My hope is that this bill will improve the rinks and restore the full skating season,” said Senator Joyce.

“The legislation is particularly timely as the MDC rinks close this weekend as a result of budget cutbacks. Closing rinks that should be making money for the taxpayers in an effort to save money makes no sense,” said Joyce. “The closures are having a negative effect on youth hockey programs causing interruptions of playoff and tryouts.”

The following MDC ice rinks are included in the Joyce proposal: Allied Veterans Memorial Rink, Everett; Bajko Memorial Rink, Hyde Park; Bryan Memorial Rink, West Roxbury; Connell Memorial Rink, Weymouth; Connery Memorial Rink, Lynn; Cronin Memorial Rink, Revere; Daly Memorial Rink, Brighton; Devine Memorial Rink, Dorchester; Emmons Horrigan O’Neill Memorial Rink, Charlestown; Flynn Memorial Rink, Medford; Kelly Outdoor Skating Rink, Jamaica Plain; LoConte Memorial Rink, Medford; Murphy Memorial Rink, South Boston; Porazzo Memorial Rink, East Boston; Reilly Memorial Rink, Brighton; Shea Memorial Rink, Quincy; Simoni Memorial Rink, Cambridge; Steriti Memorial Rink, Boston; Ulin Memorial Rink, Milton: Veterans Memorial Rink, Somerville; and Veterans Memorial Rink, Waltham.

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For Immediate Release: March 13, 2003
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

SENATOR JOYCE CONGRATULATES CLASS OF 2003 ON HIGH MCAS PASSING RATE “But work is not finished,” he cautions
Senator Brian A. Joyce is pleased to announce an impressive MCAS passage rate for the graduating seniors in his district.

Over 95 percent of the class of 2003 in Senator Joyce’s ten towns have now passed both the English and Math portions of the standardized test making them eligible to graduate in the spring.

“When the state passed Education Reform in 1993, the primary goal was to raise student achievement in our public schools,” said Senator Joyce. “This high passing rate means that our students are learning what they need to earn a high school degree.”

While Senator Joyce’s district performed better than the state average, he noted that we must continue to work to improve the system. He cited a high failure rate among special education students as one area with room for improvement.

Senator Joyce has filed a bill to return autonomy to change the impact of the MCAS on special education and disabled students. If passed, the law would allow school districts to decide the requirements that certain high school students would need to obtain a diploma. “I do not believe that we can penalize special needs students who work hard and attend class, but simply do not pass one test,” said Senator Joyce.

“I believe in the MCAS as a diagnostic tool and as a way to measure accountability. We have made great progress in improving our schools, as evidenced by the recent test scores. However, there is still a long road ahead and I will ensure that each and every student in my district will have the opportunity to earn a diploma and graduate with their peers. I remain committed to providing the best education possible for all students.”

Those who have not yet passed the test have the opportunity to take the MCAS again in May and will be eligible for a local certificate of attainment if they have met their local graduation requirements. This summer, extra help programs will be available at high schools around the state, concluding with a fifth retest opportunity.

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For Immediate Release: March 12, 2003
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

Consumers Warned to Stay Away from High Cost Tax Refund Anticipation Loans
Division of Banks Puts Refund Anticipation Loan Providers on Notice
With tax season around the corner, Senator Brian A. Joyce and Consumer Affairs Director Beth Lindstrom are warning consumers to steer clear of Refund Anticipation Loans (RAL) and have directed the Division of Banks to curb any unlicensed RAL activities in the Commonwealth.

RALs are short-term loans based on a consumer’s anticipated tax refund that are usually offered with extremely high interest rates.

“Taxpayers should not pay unreasonable rates and fees to obtain the refund they are legally entitled to receive,” said Lindstrom. “Further, many of the consumers who obtain a RAL are eligible for the federal and state Earned Income Tax Credit. The very purpose of the tax credit is to give a helping hand to those who need it most, not to benefit tax firms.”

In Massachusetts, it is illegal for a tax preparer to offer or broker a RAL without a license from the Division of Banks. Lindstrom is working closely with the Commissioner of Banks to cease unlicensed RAL activity. The Small Loan Act allows non-banks to offer interest rates of no more than 23 percent APR. The Division of Banks has found that tax preparers are charging consumers 100 percent APR or more for RALs.

“I understand that some taxpayers need their money right away and often turn to a RAL provider because they think it is the fastest way to obtain a refund,” said Joyce. “What consumers need to know is that there are no-cost options for getting a quick tax refund and tax preparation assistance.”

The Commonwealth’s electronic filing system administered by the Department of Revenue will issue refunds to consumers in as little as three days, without a fee or interest charges. The quickest way to receive a state refund is to file electronically by telephone or computer.

In order to receive a federal tax refund quickly, consumers should use E-File, a service offered by many tax preparation companies. Consumers who E-File their federal tax return can obtain their refund in as little as 10 days.

In addition, through the IRS’ Free File Alliance, consumers who meet certain income eligibility will receive free online tax preparation and E-Filing.

Consumers interested in more information on filing both state and federal taxes or receiving free tax preparation assistance should contact the following agencies:

To file your state tax returns electronically, go to www.mass.gov/dor or call Telefile at (617) 660-2002 or (413) 827-7100.
To receive your federal tax refund in as little as ten days, eligible consumers should consider the IRS E-File program at www.irs.gov.

For free tax preparation assistance:

-Action for Boston Community Development (ABCD) at (617) 357-6000
-Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Help Hotline at (617) 918-5275
-Call the IRS toll-free at (800) 829-1040 or visit the website at www.irs.gov.

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For Immediate Release: March 13, 2003
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

School Building project clears another hurdle
Senator Brian A. Joyce is pleased to announce that the governor has signed legislation lifting a moratorium on the School Building Assistance Program.

The amendment, which was sponsored by Senator Joyce and Senator Robert S. Creedon, allows the Town of Easton as well as over a dozen other communities across the Commonwealth to be eligible for state funding for school building assistance under current state reimbursement levels.

“I am delighted the governor recognized the importance of investing in safe and modern schools,” said Senator Joyce. “This is a victory for children across the Commonwealth in cities and towns who have spent countless hours of time, energy and money getting school construction projects approved at the municipal level before heading to the state for reimbursement under the school building assistance program.”

Senators Joyce filed the amendment several weeks ago following a Department of Education decision to place a moratorium on additions to the School Building Assistance priority list effectively ending all chances for the Easton school construction project. Given virtually no notice of the moratorium, the legislature felt that to deny the cities and towns the reimbursement that they deserved at such a late hour would have been patently unfair.

In signing the legislation, Governor Romney directed Education Commissioner David Driscoll to consider the urgency of the projects and the number of projects within each community.

The classification of the Easton school project by the DOE last year appears to indicate that the Department considers the Easton project a priority due to severe overcrowding.

Senator Joyce added that because the DOE may seek to limit each community to one project, he and Senator Creedon will continue working towards reimbursement for both projects to relieve systematic overcrowding in the Easton schools.

The Senate approved the amendment soon after it was filed, and with the support of Easton Representatives Christine Canavan, Geraldine Creedon, and David Flynn, the House passed similar legislation. The priority waiting list will now remain open until July 1, 2003.

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For Immediate Release: January 27, 2003
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

JOYCE SCORES ANOTHER ‘A’ FOR ENVIRONMENTAL VOTES
For the third 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 2002.

Senator Joyce has 11 pro-environment Senate roll-call votes last year including legislation to prohibit the sale of retail mercury thermometers, a bill he co-sponsored, and a bill to protect Upper Cape Cod’s drinking water supply and wildlife habitat at the Massachusetts Military Reservation.

“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: January14, 2003
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

COMPUTER TAKE-BACK BILL MAKES
FINANCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL SENSE

Senator Brian A. Joyce and Representative Mark Carron along with local officials and citizen activists recently announced the re-filing of the Computer Take Back Bill, which if passed will help relieve the state budget crisis.

The state legislation ties into the work of the national Computer Take Back Campaign (CTBC), a coordinated effort of state and national groups that has developed model legislation and will be organizing broad public support in 10 states nationally this year. The 4th annual Report Card showed that US computer manufacturers are still lagging behind their European counterparts, who are reducing the toxicity of this waste and taking financial responsibility for its collection and recycling.

“Recycling has always been a priority and used computers are a costly problem for towns across the state,” said Senator Brian Joyce, who co-sponsored the bill. “This legislation will save money during the budget crisis while providing a financial incentive for companies to make these products less toxic.”

“Local governments are subsidizing the inefficient design practices of computer manufacturers, whose products are toxic and are costly to recycle,” said John McNabb of Clean Water Action. “Massachusetts cities & towns pay $6 - $21 million per year to collect and recycled used CRT’s and computers. The state spends about $400,000 a year on programs to help the cities and towns with this waste,” said McNabb. “Computer manufacturers in Massachusetts should be required to pay for the collection and recycling of their products, to take this “unfunded mandate” off the backs of local government.”

This year’s Computer Report Card echoes last year’s findings of substantial double standards within the computer industry. Companies that actively resist take back requirements and hazardous materials phase-outs in the U.S. operate in the European Union under rules requiring life cycle responsibility. U.S. customers still get second-class treatment from global computer manufacturers.

To date, 104 Massachusetts municipalities have endorsed the bill.

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For Immediate Release: January14, 2003
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

SENATOR JOYCE AND SPONSORS SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION LEGISLATION
State Senator Brian A. Joyce along with other legislators, has sponsored legislation to assist cities and towns that are planning or have begun a school construction project. Across the Commonwealth, school construction projects face an uncertain future because of the current fiscal situation; the Department of Education anticipates spending only $21 million to reimburse communities whose projects come off the waiting list in fiscal year 2003, compared with the $51 million spent in fiscal year 2002. The state School Building Assistance Bureau pays for as much as 70 percent of the total costs of the school construction projects that are approved.

The reduction in funding may force some districts to postpone school building projects or seek alterative ways to cover costs as they await state money. This legislation is a safeguard for cities and towns across the Commonwealth, to protect them financially until the state is able to begin reimbursement. Currently, a city or town may be approved for a short-term loan for a period of seven years, pursuant to state law for a school building project. Municipalities initially pay for these projects with borrowed money in anticipation of state reimbursement. During that waiting period, the communities pay the interest on the loan. The problem is if the waiting period for reimbursement exceeds seven years, the community will have to pay the interest and the principal on the loan, which could create a serious financial problem for the city or town. Consequently, local taxpayers could have to pay hefty payments on construction projects while the community waits for state money.

Until now, school districts have been able to anticipate state money arriving within five years from the start of a project. However, with the state facing an estimated $3 billion deficit for Fiscal Year 2004, state education officials are predicting that the length of time between commencement of the project and reimbursement by the state will be longer.

“This legislation is beneficial to all cities and towns across the Commonwealth that are planning, renovating, and/or constructing a school building. It is essential to protect local taxpayers,” said Senator Joyce.

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For Immediate Release: January2, 2003
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

SENATOR JOYCE ANNOUNCES “Do Not Call” REGISTRY IMPLEMENTATION

Senator Brian A. Joyce and The Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation (OCABR) are pleased to announce that telemarketing registration and the "Do Not Call" Registry has been implemented. This new program will help consumers avoid telemarketing calls in their homes. The “Do Not Call” registration hotline is 1-866-231-2255.

The list will take effect in April and be updated quarterly bringing an end to most “cold calling” telephone solicitation for residential consumers who sign-up. The Massachusetts “Do Not Call” program will have no fee and consumers will not be asked to provide personal information like a social security number.

The State website www.Mass.gov will host information about the law, as well as information on how to sign up, for both consumers and telemarketers. The website will also provide regular updates on how to participate in the program. The consumer can also visit the link directly at www.Mass.Gov/DoNotCall.

Please visit the website or call the office of Senator Brian A. Joyce at 617-722-1643 for information on how to sign-up.

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For Immediate Release: January, 2003
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

"CIRCUIT BREAKER" TAX CREDIT
Dear Friend:
The state’s persistent fiscal crisis will probably compel many communities across the state to take up Proposition 2 1/2 overrides in the coming months to support local services. And where these overrides occur, many of our senior citizens will face a dilemma: they can choose to support an override for something they find worthwhile, and risk losing their homes and their standard of living to do so; or they can side with those seeking to block the override and risk being portrayed in their communities as turning their backs on the social contract, the idea that older generations provide the same or better opportunities to the younger generation.

Neither option is desirable. Growing older, the property tax and Proposition 2 1/2 should not be the stuff of intergenerational conflict in Massachusetts. To help alleviate some of the stress property taxes and override questions often create for senior citizens, the state is continuing to make available a tax credit called “The Circuit Breaker.”

It’s called the Circuit Breaker because it’s “triggered,” like an electrical circuit breaker, when property tax payments exceed 10 percent of a senior citizen’s annual income. Those who qualify will still be required to pay property taxes to their local communities. But they will receive a dollar credit for every dollar their property tax, and certain water and sewer bills, exceed 10 percent of their annual income, up to the $790 maximum.

Senior citizens who rent their homes can also take advantage of the same dollar for dollar credit, up to the same $790 maximum, if 25 percent of their annual rent exceeds 10 percent of their annual income. This tax credit is in addition to the rental deduction already provided under current state income tax law.

Here are the basic requirements for eligibility:
Must be a Massachusetts resident, age 65 or older;
Must own or rent residential property in Massachusetts as your primary residence;
Must have an annual income of $42,000 or less for a single filer; $53,000 or less for a head of household; and $63,000 or less for joint filers;
Must file a joint return if married;
Must not be a dependent of another tax filer;
Must not receive a federal or state rent subsidy directly, or live in a property tax exempt facility;
Must not own property assessed at $425,000 or more.

No special application is required, but even seniors who do not owe any income tax must file a 2002 state income tax form before the end of April 2003 deadline to receive the credit. Official information packets from the state Department of Revenue for 2002 state income tax returns will include Circuit Breaker schedules and will be available in local libraries and post offices beginning in January, 2003.
This is the second year of this program, so there are bound to be questions. If you need more information, please don’t hesitate to contact my office at 617-722-1643, or the state Department of Revenue Customer Service Bureau at 617-887-MDOR, or toll-free at 800-392-6089, or visit their website, www.massdor.com.

Last year, the Circuit Breaker Tax Credit helped 24,000 senior citizens across the Commonwealth save roughly $8.1 million on their property taxes. Combined with the already available property tax exemptions for senior citizens, the Circuit Breaker will go a long way toward addressing the intergenerational conflicts Proposition 2 1/2 overrides and other local spending proposals often create.

Our senior citizens have contributed much to our communities and have made innumerable sacrifices for their children and grandchildren. For all that, and more, they have earned our respect. This tax credit will enable seniors to continue lending a hand to the younger generation by allowing them to judge the merits of local spending proposals with much less concern over how the property tax increase will affect their own quality of life. Our senior citizens have earned this opportunity.

Sincerely,
BRIAN A. JOYCE
State Senator
BAJ/jb

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From: Blanchard, Marie • December 23, 2002

At the State House
By Senator Brian A. Joyce

As we approach the new year, I am busy working with my colleagues at the State House to analyze projections of our state's finances and author effective solutions-effective not only in terms of successfully balancing the budget, but in refusing to do so on the backs of our already-burdened taxpayers or our vulnerable, sick, and disabled populations.

As you may know, tax collections in Fiscal Year 2002 were $2.44 billion less than the previous year, reflecting a 15% decline and an abrupt reversal of the previous six years' annual double-digit growth. In the fourth quarter alone, we saw a 25% drop in revenues, the largest in the nation. To balance the books, the Legislature drew upon most of the $2.3 billion rainy day fund, instituted a $1 billion tax increase, and cut almost $1 billion in state services. Despite this blended approach, October revenue numbers came in $37 million lower than October of last year, while November tax revenues were $29 million short of last year's numbers. Acting Governor Swift has slashed $260 million in funding to state programs to address the additional deficit, making cuts to health care, higher education and public safety programs to close the gap. She proposed a round of cuts which I find unacceptable, including devastating cuts to home care for seniors, community policing, and care for the disabled. There are better ways to balance the budget.

We in the Legislature passed An Act Making Certain Amendments to the General Appropriation Act for Fiscal Year 2003 to immediately generate $23 million in maximized federal grants for human service agencies, even as our tax amnesty program brought in over $90 million, double original estimates. But we may need twenty times that amount in savings and new revenue to close a projected budget gap of $2 billion next year, this time without the benefit of large cash reserves. We will be examining many more revenue solutions in the coming months, a long list of what may be modest money-savers and controversial programs. Many human service programs will face cuts, and even local and education aid will feel the impact. My job will be to minimize that impact, while protecting taxpayers and critical core services. The coming year will present striking obstacles and force painful decisions, but I believe innovation and creativity will surface in its midst. As the year comes to a close, we are working to confront our current fiscal crisis and plan for the future. Casino gambling, lottery payouts, school building assistance and chapter 70 aid reform as well as my own advertising pilot proposal will be among many budget options up for what promises to be heated debate in the coming months. Should you have thoughts on proposed revenue solutions, or if you have original ideas of your own, please do not hesitate to contact my office. We all have concerns about the future - providing for our families, our parents and ourselves. I am confident that together, we can solve the problems we collectively face.

Enjoy the holidays, spend time with your family and friends, and know that your legislators are working hard to achieve the best outcome for our districts in an otherwise bleak fiscal time. Feel free to call me at my office (617) 722-1643 or home (617) 696-0200, with comments, questions or suggestions, or e-mail me at [email protected] Thank you for allowing me to work for you.

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STATE MCAS RESULTS • DATE: NOVEMBER 26, 2002
The Department of Education released performance and improvement ratings for the Massachusetts public schools. The ratings are based on student performance on the MCAS and used to track schools' progress toward meeting the goal of all students achieving proficiency in Math and English by 2014 (in accordance with President Bush's No Child Left Behind Act). The Department of Education compared a school district's baseline passing rate, based on its 1999 and 2000 MCAS results, with its Cycle II results, derived from its 2002 MCAS results, to determine the rate of improvement achieved by each district. The DOE calculated annual improvement targets, the level of improvement that each district must achieve on a yearly basis to meet the 100% target by 2014, and has given
each district a rating.

Performance Ratings
Very High = 90-100
High = 80-89.9
Moderate = 70-79.9
Low = 60-69.9
Very Low = 40-59.9

Improvement Ratings
A = Above Target
O = On Target
I = Improved Below Target
N = No Change
D = Declined

Here's how our schools fared:

ENGLISH • MATH

TOWN: Baseline / Cycle II Rating • Baseline / CycleII Rating

Avon 72.7 / 81.6-A • 52.3 / 64.6-A

Braintree 87.8 / 92-A • 72.5 / 80-A

Canton 86.7 / 91.5-A • 73 / 80.1-A

E. Bridgewater 77.3 / 86-A • 64.7 / 71.7-A

Easton 85.6 / 89.3-A • 71 / 78.4-A

Milton 86 / 90.2-A • 72.3 / 78.2-A

Randolph 73.1 / 75-I • 56.5 / 60-I

Sharon 89 / 93.3-A • 80.4 / 85.9-A

Stoughton 80.1 / 86.4-A • 66.8 / 73.5-A

W. Bridgewater 81.6 / 85.8-O • 70 / 73-O


All of our school districts are "Above Target" in the improvement ratings, with the exception of West Bridgewater which is "On Target" and Randolph, which has "Improved Below Target".

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For Immediate Release: December 6, 2002
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

RIBBON CUTTING FOR NEW I-95 CANTON SLIP-RAMP
Transportation Secretary James Scanlan, MassHighway Commissioner John Cogliano and Senator Brian A. Joyce recently took part in a ribbon cutting ceremony for the opening of the new slip-ramp from Dedham Street in Canton to I-95 South.

The $1.3 million includes widening a section of Dedham Street for creation of a deceleration lane, and widening a section of I-95 south for an acceleration lane. The length of the new ramp is approximately 2000-feet. The ramp will help alleviate traffic congestion in Canton, Westwood and Norwood in the area of the University Ave. commuter rail/AMTRAK station by providing easier access to I-95 south.

Motorists heading eastbound on Dedham Streets can turn right from Dedham Street to the new ramp, but because of the geometry of the intersection, motorists heading westbound on Dedham Street cannot turn left to the new ramp. Left- turning vehicles would have backed up traffic. A "No Left Turn Sign" has been installed at the top of the ramp facing westbound traffic on Dedham Street.

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For Immediate Release: December 6, 2002
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

IMMEDIATE OPENINGS FOR SENIOR COMMUNITY SERVICE POSITIONS IN WEST BRIDGEWATER, EAST BRIDGEWATER, EASTON, STOUGHTON AND AVON
Senator Brian A. Joyce announces that positions are available in a training program for seniors interested in earning a supplemental income while developing job skills and participating in community service.

The Senior AIDES (Able Industrious Dedicated Energetic Service) Program, administered by Old Colony Elderly Services, is a federally funded program that places seniors in positions such as teachers aides, office workers, computer operators, child and adult care workers and custodians.

The program is designed to promote independence, self-assurance and revitalize job skills so seniors can transition back to unsubsidized employment. To be eligible, applicants mush be 55 years or older, meet income guidelines, live in a service area and have the long-term goal of integrating into the workplace.

If interested, contact the Senior AIDES Coordinator at (508) 584-1561 or 1-800-242-0246.

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For Immediate Release: December 5, 2002
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

SENATOR JOYCE NAMED LEGISLATOR OF THE YEAR
Senator Brian A. Joyce was recently named the 2002 Senate Legislator of the Year by the Massachusetts Silver Haired Legislature for his long history of commitment to senior issues.

The award - which is given annually to legislators with "exceptional leadership qualities" - was presented to the senator in November.

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For Immediate Release: November 18, 2002
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

SENATOR JOYCE SPONSORS LEGISLATION IN SUPPORT OF SPECIAL EDUCATION AND DISABLED STUDENTS
Senator Brian A. Joyce has filed a bill to return autonomy to local school districts and protect the interests of special education and learning disabled students throughout the Commonwealth. If passed, the law would allow school districts to decide the requirements that certain high school students would need to fulfill in order to receive a diploma.

Under the current Massachusetts law, a high school diploma hinges on a single statewide factor—a student’s ability to pass the MCAS exam— and individual consideration is not given to students who may not have the ability to perform well on the test.

“I can understand concerns regarding the MCAS and ensuring that our high school students achieve a standard of competency before graduation. However, I do not believe that we can penalize special needs students who work hard and attend class, but simply cannot pass one test,” said Senator Joyce.

Using the MCAS as an evaluation tool was mandated under the Education Reform Act of 1993, as a way of ensuring accountability in the school system. This is the first year it will be used to determine whether a student is given a high school diploma.

Senator Joyce filed the bill after being approached by several constituents whose learning disabled children may not receive a high school diploma this year because they have fallen just a few points shy of passing the MCAS.

While Senator Joyce understands the importance of providing students with the necessary tools to succeed after high school, he also knows that each student should be evaluated on more than just a test score. In 2001, Joyce co-sponsored legislation that would evaluate vocational students in their vocation as well as their academic performance. Under the bill, if vocational students fail the MCAS they can still receive a high school diploma if they pass the certificate of occupational proficiency.

“I believe in the MCAS as a diagnostic tool and as a way to measure accountability. We have made great progress in improving our schools, as evidenced by rising scores. However, we cannot ignore the unique plight of these special education and disabled children,” said Senator Joyce.

Under Joyce’s bill, school officials will be given the power to decide the requirements for students with special needs and will be able to assess students’ knowledge by considering alternative factors that may more accurately reflect the students’ actual competency. The standard of competency would be defined by each school district and likely would take in to account factors other than performance on a standardized test.

“At this point, I do not believe the MCAS should be the sole measurement of academic achievement. I do not propose eliminating the MCAS as a factor used to evaluate student performance, but I do support considering a host of factors when determining whether these particular students deserve a diploma.”

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For Immediate Release: November 12, 2002
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (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 today 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 it’s “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 special relief.”

The Joyce bill is the first piece of legislation introduced by Senator Joyce for the 03-04 legislative session that begins in January 2003.

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For Immediate Release: November 15, 2002
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

$2 MILLION AWARDED TO ASSIST FIRST-TIME HOMEBUYERS
The state Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and the Massachusetts Housing Partnership Fund (MHP) have awarded $2 million from the state’s Soft Second Loan program to 20 communities and nine regional organizations across the Commonwealth to assist more than 315 low- and moderate-income families in purchasing their first home.

“Without the state’s investment in this valuable program, owning a home would be far out of reach for many low- and moderate-income families,” said Senator Brian A. Joyce.

The two agencies, along with participating private lenders makes purchasing a home easier by combining a conventional first mortgage with a subsidized second mortgage. The loans lower homeowner-borrowing costs by dividing a mortgage into two amounts.

Buyers are qualified based on the first mortgage which is 75% of the purchase price. The “soft-second” mortgage is 20%; the remaining 5% is the buyer’s downpayment. The state subsidizes the interest payments on the second mortgage for the first nine years, with the borrower making principal and interest payments after the tenth year.

Depending on location, price limits on eligible properties are from $150,000 to $180,000 for condominiums and single-family homes, $180,000 to $225,000 for a two-family property and $200,000 to $270,000 for a three-family property. The program is open to first-time homebuyers who meet income guidelines. Typically, the income limit for a family of four in the metropolitan Boston area is $58,300.

Prospective first-time homebuyers should contact the MHP Fund at 617-338-7868, DHCD at 617-727-7824 or their town hall.

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For Immediate Release: October 24, 2002
Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

BRUGMAN BILL SENT TO GOVERNOR
Senator Joyce’s legislation will compensate Dorchester widow for Trooper’s accidental death
The Legislature has passed a bill granting accidental death benefits to a Dorchester widow whose husband was severely injured while on duty as a state trooper.

On July 13, 1984, Michael Brugman of Tolman Street, was severely injured while performing his regular duties as a motorcycle State Trooper.

The leg injuries he sustained were numerous. He underwent over 15 operations before his leg was eventually amputated below the knee.

Senator Brian A. Joyce first heard of the Brugman’s plight shortly after taking office in the spring of 1999. On the very day he was scheduled to meet with the family, Trooper Brugman passed away as a result of complications from his injuries. Moved by the family’s story, Senator Joyce immediately filed the accidental death benefit legislation on behalf of his widow -- Diane Brugman.

The bill specifically authorizes and directs the State Board of Retirement to pay Diane Brugman accidental death benefits – approximately 72 percent of her husband’s salary at the time he was injured.
“The Brugman bill is both just and fair and its passage will finally give Diane Brugman and her family the financial support to which they are entitled,” said Senator Joyce. “Trooper Brugman never recovered from his terrible accident and this legislation will hopefully bring some closure to the Brugman family.”

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For Immediate Release: October 15, 2002
Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

Emerging U.S. Leaders Awarded Prestigious Marshall Memorial Fellowships
Senator Joyce Selected for European Fellowship

The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) announced this week that 38 emerging American leaders from 16 states including Senator Brian A. Joyce of Massachusetts have been awarded a Marshall Memorial Fellowships for intensive study tours of Europe in 2002. The 2002 American Marshall Memorial Fellows will spend three weeks in Europe to gain a greater understanding of European institutions and societies, and to explore in-depth a host of European and transatlantic economic, political and social issues.

Senator Joyce left Thursday, October 10th to travel from Washington, DC to Brussels, Belgium for briefings on the European Union, NATO, and transatlantic issues before continuing on to Amsterdam, Turin, and Budapest. He will then travel to Berlin at the end of the three weeks for final briefings and an evaluation session. This unique program combines one-on-one meetings, site visits, hands-on experiences, and formal briefings to provide a variety of perspectives on key issues affecting Europe and the transatlantic relationship.

The German Marshall Fund is an American institution promoting the exchange of ideas and cooperation between the United States and Europe in the spirit of the postwar Marshall Plan. Through its work in the U.S. and Europe since 1972, GMF has pursued its founding mission to create a closer understanding between partners on both sides of the Atlantic and to advance the study of international and domestic policies, and to support comparative research and debate on key issues.

“A new Europe is taking shape, and with the formation of the European Union, the United States’ relationship with Europe is fundamentally changing,” said Senator Joyce. “I am looking forward to observing firsthand the economic, foreign and political policies abroad – particularly in these turbulent times.”

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For Immediate Release: October 11, 2002
Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

SENATOR JOYCE CALLS CUTS TO HOME CARE SERVICES DEVASTATING
Under Elder Affair’s Proposal, Thousands of Seniors will be Left Without Care
Responding to Acting Governor Jane Swift’s consideration to cut millions in home care service for seniors, Senator Brian A. Joyce today called the proposal shortsighted and devastating.

The proposed $6.5 million cut would eliminate services for over 5,000 seniors across the Commonwealth who rely on meals, transportation and part-time care to live independently in their own homes, and would force thousands of seniors into institutional care.

“While I recognize the need for restraint while coping with the state’s budget woes, home care services must be sustained in order to protect our most vulnerable population,” said Senator Joyce. “While the number of seniors in Massachusetts continues to rise, we should be expanding home care options for seniors and people with disabilities, not forcing more people unnecessarily into nursing homes.

The current structure of Medicaid reimbursement leaves many seniors with no real choice other than institutionalization. More than 80 percent of the state’s long-term care spending goes towards institutionalized care, and Massachusetts has one of the highest rates of seniors living in nursing homes.

Senator Joyce is the author of the Equal Choice bill, An Act Regarding Equal Choice of Long Term Care Settings, aimed at reducing the gross disparity in Medicaid aid for individuals who choose to receive care at home, and those who seek care in an institution.

Senator Joyce also sponsored a pilot program in the 2003 budget which would save the Commonwealth $4 million in health care costs while enhancing community based services for seniors and providing consumers with a compassionate choice of where they receive their medical care.

“The reality is that giving seniors a choice between home care services and nursing homes is not only the fiscally responsible thing to do, but it also provides a fair and compassionate solution to those who find themselves no longer able to care for themselves,” said Senator Joyce. “At the very least, I urge the governor to protect home care from any further cuts.”

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For Immediate Release: October 21, 2002
Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

SENATOR JOYCE OFFERS NEW INFORMATION ON THE OFFICE OF PATIENT PROTECTION
Senator Brian A. Joyce is pleased to announce the release of new information from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Office of Patient Protection (OPP), established by the Legislature on January 1, 2002.

The OPP is designed to protect the rights of patients in fully insured managed care programs by assisting health plan members with inquiries and concerns regarding managed care, grievances, appeals, denials of care, continuity of care and independent external reviews.

The OPP offers patients assistance through its two programs, the Managed Care Ombudsman Program and the External Review Program.

The Managed Care Ombudsman Program, staffed with an Ombudsman and two registered nurses with experience in dispute resolution and managed care, provides information on health plan coverage and procedures. It may investigate individual health plans, guide patients in appeals in obtaining benefits and recommend alternatives methods for resolving the matter.

The External Review Program advises patients on their eligibility for an independent external review if their health plan denies medically necessary care covered in the patient’s plan and facilitates the external review process.

“The Office of Patient Protection has provided much needed assistance to a number of patients and their families and helped to resolve disputes and misunderstandings regarding health care plans,” said Senator Joyce.

The new information recently made available is an updated version of “Your Guide to Managed Care in Massachusetts” to assist in the evaluation of Massachusetts health plans as well as the clarification of consumer rights. Additionally, the OPP has released a fact sheet with a description of services and contact information.

For more information or to obtain a brochure, please contact the Office of Senator Brian Joyce at 617.722.1643.

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For Immediate Release: October 7, 2002
Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

AMNESTY PROGRAM WILL WAIVE PENALTIES
TO GENERATE MILLIONS IN OWED FUNDS

Senator Brian A. Joyce is pleased to announce the Department of Revenue has launched a 60-day tax amnesty period that is expected to recoup $43 million in unpaid funds to the Commonwealth.

The tax amnesty program gives delinquent and underpaid individuals and businesses the chance to pay-up owed tax liabilities and interest payments over the next two months without penalty.

“It will inject millions of dollars into the state coffers at a time of great fiscal need,” said Senator Joyce, who co-sponsored legislation calling for a tax amnesty program earlier this year.

The Department of Revenue is also using new technology to find tax scofflaws. The department has so far identified approximately 65,000 tax delinquents and under-payers who owe various state taxes.

Massachusetts recovered $86 million from 52,000 delinquent taxpayers when it last offered a full tax amnesty in 1983.

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For Immediate Release: September 4, 2002
Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

LEGISLATURE APPROVES ANTITERROR BILL
MEASURE SENT TO GOVERNOR SWIFT’S DESK

Senator Brian A. Joyce this week lauded the passage of a sweeping antiterrorism crime bill that will help Massachusetts prevent terrorist attacks. The legislation, now awaiting Governor Jane Swift’s signature, makes it a state crime to issue a terrorist threat over the Internet, possess material that could be used as a weapon of mass destruction, or carry a weapon in secure areas of an airport.

The bill gives law enforcement the tools it needs to effectively fight against terrorism and provides local and state police with jurisdiction to work alongside federal agencies to tackle terrorism.

“I am pleased that this critical piece of legislation has passed,” said Senator Joyce. “It is important for us to do all that we can to prevent another tragedy.”

In particular, Senator Joyce hailed a measure contained in the bill that he co-sponsored, which toughens the penalties against individuals who make terrorist threats. Under the provision, individuals that force the evacuation or serious disruption of a school, transportation center, or other place of assembly face up to 20 years in state prison, fines of up to $450,000, and payment of restitution to public safety agencies who incurred costs responding to the threat. Current law makes threatening to commit a crime a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months of incarceration.

The legislation also restricts public access to certain building blueprints and other records related to security and creates stricter standards for drivers’ licenses and official state identification cards.

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For Immediate Release: September 19, 2002
Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

UNITED WE STAND LICENSE PLATES APPROVED
COMMEMORATIVE MEASURE SENT TO SWIFT’S DESK

Senator Brian A. Joyce this week announced the passage of legislation that creates a Massachusetts “United We Stand” license plate commemorating September 11, 2001.

“This legislation will generate funds to be used to commemorate the tragedy, to help us fight future terrorist threats and to provide support to the families of victims,” said Senator Joyce.

The new red, white and blue license plates will be available within four to eight weeks. Proceeds from the $40 plates will be directed to the Massachusetts Office of Commonwealth Security to enhance the statewide anti-terrorism unified response network and to the Rewards for Justice Fund, a nonprofit organization created in the wake of the attack.

On the recommendation of a panel made up of victims’ family members and health and public safety officers, funds will also be distributed for local police and firefighter equipment, the construction of a memorial to the Massachusetts victims of the attacks, a memorial to police officers killed in the line of duty, a memorial to firefighters killed in the line of duty and to the victims’ families.

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Brian A. Joyce Committee Date: September 23, 2002
From: Senator Brian A. Joyce Contact: (617) 696 0200

JOYCE SWEEPS DISTRICT
Senator Brian A. Joyce swept to an overwhelming primary day victory winning all 46 precincts in the Norfolk, Bristol and Plymouth District.

"The result exceeded my wildest expectation and I was thrilled,” said Senator Joyce.

“My priorities have always been to return to my constituents their fair share of state tax dollars so we can continue to improve our schools, public safety, and health care for seniors while keeping pressure off local property taxpayers and working families. Clearly that message resonated in every community across the district.”

Senator Joyce won every precinct in the ten towns that comprise the newly created Massachusetts senate district. The seat was restructured following a population boom in the southeast section of the state and now includes all or portions of Avon, Braintree, East Bridgewater, Easton, Canton, Milton, Randolph, Sharon, Stoughton and West Bridgewater.

“I will continue to develop creative solutions to the state's fiscal woes, such as the money-saving initiatives I authored in this year's budget, including home care as an alternative to nursing home care. I am thankful for the opportunity to serve in the Senate and I thank each and every person who participated in the democratic process. It is truly an honor to receive such strong support in every precinct in the district.”

Senator Joyce is currently serving his third term in the Massachusetts State Senate where he is the Assistant Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means – the Committee that shapes the state budget and the Commonwealth’s finances. Senator Joyce and his wife Mary have five children between the ages of 5 and 13-years-old.

For more information about Senator Joyce, please call his office at 617-722-1643 or visit his website at www.brianajoyce.com. Senator Joyce is running unopposed in the November general election.

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For Immediate Release Further Infomation: July 2002
Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

STUDY FUNDED IN BOND BILL
JOYCE Secures $43,500 for Reconstruction
Senator Brian A. Joyce announced today that $43,500 has been secured in the Transportation Bond Bill for historical and environmental improvements to Bay Road, a former stagecoach route to Narragansett Bay.

“Community preservation is important to Sharon, and I have worked to preserve not only environmental aspects of Bay Road, but the history there as well,” said Senator Joyce.

While the Massachusetts Department of Highways approved funding for reconstruction of the historic site, the agency agreed only to fund safety and operational improvements. Senator Joyce, at the request of Sharon residents and Town officials, secured the additional $43,500 in the Bond Bill to preserve and reconstruct historical and environmental aspects of Bay Road, which he believes are key to maintaining the scenic, historical and environmental integrity of the community.

“Residents of Sharon came to me and told me this was important to them,” explained Senator Joyce. “They had approached MassHighway and others, so I am happy that I was able to make headway so quickly.” The funds will likely be used for benches, signage, greenery and stonewall reconstruction along the former Bay Colony Road.

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For Immediate Release: August 30, 2002
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

BILL TO SECURE AREA WATER STORAGE PASSES
Senator Brian A. Joyce this week lauded the passage of a bill by the Legislature that will help ensure the safety of the Metropolitan Boston area's drinking water from possible chemical and biological attacks. As part of its journey from the MWRA's reservoirs to customers' homes, drinking water requires protected, short-term storage in the metro area after treatment.

Senator Joyce, who along with fellow MWRA Legislative Caucus members filed the bill to allow for the acceleration of the critical water storage tank projects, said the bill authorizes the MWRA to expedite the construction of two covered storage facilities at the Blue Hills and Spot Pond reservoirs.

"I am delighted that we are protecting our water systems from contamination," said Senator Joyce.

MWRA plans to build a 25 million gallon storage tank underground near Blue Hills Reservoir in Quincy that will serve Quincy, Milton, Dorchester, West Roxbury and Hyde Park. The second project is a 20 million gallon underground tank near Spot Pond in Stoneham. The Blue Hills and Spot Pond Reservoirs were removed from active service to the MWRA system in 1981 and 1997 respectively. The MWRA has successfully used the design-build process for the 115 million gallon Norumbega water storage tank now under construction along the Mass Pike in Weston.

The MWRA Legislative Caucus is composed of Representatives and Senators who represent MWRA serviced communities. The Caucus has worked diligently through the years to control water and sewer rates and to ensure the quality and safety of MWRA services.

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For Immediate Release: August 15, 2002
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

$20,000 AWARDED TO CANTON HIGH SCHOOL
FOR “GREEN” FEASIBILITY STUDY

Senator Brian A. Joyce announced this week that the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative has awarded $20,000 to Canton High School to study the feasibility of high performance and renewable design features for their school building construction project.

The grant will be used to “put all the options on the table” for the Canton High School Building Committee and School Department to consider in order to make the high school a high-performance “green” school. Priorities will include the investigation of renewable technologies such as solar power, changes to improve air quality, and energy modeling.

The Massachusetts Technology Collaborative awarded $797,137 in new grants from the state’s Renewable Energy Trust. The funds will help 16 Commonwealth communities to develop new and renovate energy efficient schools and buildings.

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For Immediate Release: August 9, 2002
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

SENATOR JOYCE ANNOUNCES FUNDING FOR NEPONSET POLICE PATROL
Senator Brian A. Joyce is pleased to announce that the Legislature has overridden the governor’s veto of $130,000 for state police patrols along the Neponset River in the state budget.

The funding will allow the state police to provide additional security along the Neponset River bike path between Milton and Dorchester and will address the safety needs of the growing number of people who take advantage of the MDC’s multi-use trail along the river.

“This is great news for the growing number of residents who make use of the riverside trail along the Neponset,” said Senator Joyce.

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For Immediate Release: July 31, 2002
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

LONGER JAIL TIME and STIFFER FINES for CORPORATE CRIMINALS:
Senator Joyce Votes for Anti-Fraud Bill

Senator Brian A. Joyce was proud to vote for a Worker and Small Investor Protection Act this week. The legislation will strengthen the state’s ability to protect the dreams and bank accounts of the people of Massachusetts from corporate misrepresentation and securities fraud.

Citing the recent business scandals associated with Enron, Global Crossing and WorldCom, Senator Joyce said, “These transgressions are blatant and outrageous, and this bill is a sure and clear response.”

He explained that this legislation would increase the penalties for those convicted of securities fraud, with the increased fines supporting expanding oversight and investigations.

It would:
Increase maximum jail sentence from 3 years to 10 years
Increase civil fines for securities fraud from $10,000 to $25,000
Increase criminal penalties for securities fraud from $5,000 to up to $100,000
Institute whistleblower protections for private sector employees
Institute responsible investor policies for the state’s pension system

“The anxiety people are experiencing is real and understandable. Older people are losing their pensions, families are losing their college savings and hard-working people are losing their jobs. The state must do more to stop fraud and start being a more responsible investor,” said Senate President Birmingham, chief sponsor of the bill.

Senator Joyce agreed. “We need to punish those who perpetrate fraud, protect those who can come forward with information about it and promote good corporate governance through our state pension system.”

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For Immediate Release: July 31, 2002
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722 1643

SENATOR JOYCE’S BILL WILL CHANNEL INCREASED FUNDS DIRECTLY INTO THE BLUE HILLS RESERVATION
In a maneuver that has significant potential to increase funding for the Blue Hills Reservation, Senator Brian A. Joyce has secured language in the final Environmental Bond Bill of the fiscal year 2003 budget that would create a Trust Fund for the Blue Hills Reservation.

“This is great for the Blue Hills Reservation and the Towns of Canton, Milton and Randolph, as well as for all of the tens of thousands of visitors to the Blue Hills each year,” said Senator Joyce. “I am delighted that current and future revenues generated within the Reservation will be placed into this Trust Fund and not transferred to the state’s General Fund.

“The Blue Hills Reservation is one of our most cherished natural resources and the creation of this Trust Fund would only serve to protect and improve the area in years to come,” said Senator Joyce.

Under the bill, all the non-tax revenues generated by permits, licenses, leases and other agreements relating to the use of the Reservation that are currently directed to the state’s General Fund would instead be directed to the Trust Fund for improvements and maintenance. The Metropolitan District Commission would oversee the new fund.

The state currently receives very little revenue from the Reservation. However, Senator Joyce believes that hundreds of thousands of dollars could be generated each year by effectively managing existing resources in the Reservation.

The Environmental Bond Bill appropriates millions to the state for farmland and open space conservation and acquisition, watershed protection, maintenance of state parks, and grants to communities.

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For Immediate Release: July 26, 2002
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

FUNDS SECURED FOR THE DECONTAMINATION OF OLD CANTON AIRPORT
$5M appropriated in Environmental Bond Bill

The Environmental Bond Bill passed by the legislature this week includes $5 million for the decontamination of PCBs at the old Canton Airport site on Neponset Street.

While the potentially lethal polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) found at the now abandoned site are non migratory and thus pose no immediate health risks, the airport is in close proximity to the town’s water well and has been of great concern for town officials.

“This area has been a safety hazard for far too long,” said Senator Brian A. Joyce. “I am grateful to Representative William Galvin for securing this funding in the House.”

The Environmental Bond Bill appropriates millions to the state for farmland and open space conservation and acquisition, watershed protection, maintenance of state parks, and grants to communities.

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For Immediate Release: July 24, 2002
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

STUDY FUNDED IN BOND BILL
JOYCE SECURES $43,500 for RECONSTRUCTION

Senator Brian A. Joyce announced today that $43,500 has been secured in the Transportation Bond Bill for historical and environmental improvements to Bay Road, a former stagecoach route to Narragansett Bay.

“Community preservation is important to Sharon, and I have worked to preserve not only environmental aspects of Bay Road, but the history there as well,” said Senator Joyce.

While the Massachusetts Department of Highways approved funding for reconstruction of the historic site, the agency agreed only to fund safety and operational improvements. Senator Joyce, at the request of Sharon residents and Town officials, secured the additional $43,500 in the Bond Bill to preserve and reconstruct historical and environmental aspects of Bay Road, which he believes are key to maintaining the scenic, historical and environmental integrity of the community.

“Residents of Sharon came to me and told me this was important to them,” explained Senator Joyce. “They had approached MassHighway and others, so I am happy that I was able to make headway so quickly.” The funds will likely be used for benches, signage, greenery and stonewall reconstruction along the former Bay Colony Road.

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For Immediate Release: July 24, 2002
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

RATTLESNAKE HILL FUNDED IN FINAL BOND BILL
$12 million secured in Environmental Bond Bill

Senator Brian A. Joyce is pleased to announce that the Environmental Bond Bill includes $12 million for the purchase, preservation and protection of Rattlesnake Hill.

Over the past five months, Senators Joyce worked with Sharon officials, the Sharon Conservation Commission, and members of the House and Senate to secure funding for the purchase and conservation of the undeveloped 337-acre land adjacent to the Borderland State Park. As early as 1974, Rattlesnake Hill was rated in a Massachusetts Landscape and Natural Areas Survey as an area of local, state and regional ecological significance. Nearly 20 percent of the parcel consists of varied wetland communities and nine of its expansive vernal pools have received certification from the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program.

In April, Senator Joyce and Senator Jo Anne Sprague were able to secure $12 million for Rattlesnake Hill in the Senate version of the Bond Bill. The House passed similar legislation in June, with funding for Rattlesnake Hill secured by Representative Louis Kafka.

“Once land is gone, it’s gone forever,” explained Senator Joyce of his decision to push for the funding. “Without immediate action, we would lose a critical opportunity to purchase this invaluable piece of land and to preserve this space for generations to come.”

While the owners of the privately owned parcel offered to sell the land to the Town of Sharon two years ago, the town came one percentage point short of passing the override necessary to buy the $12 million parcel. A developer has recently shown interest in purchasing the property to build 250-unit single-family condominiums.

“With the help and hard work of Rep. Kafka and Senator Sprague we were able to secure this funding that will allow the fundamental character of the community to remain intact and make a strong statement regarding the Commonwealth’s commitment to preserving open space,” said Senator Joyce.
The Environmental Bond Bill will supply $707,372,514 for farmland and open space conservation and acquisition, watershed protection, maintenance of state parks, and grants to communities.

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For Immediate Release: July 24, 2002
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

$2.13 MILLION TO FUND
14 PROJECTS TARGETING NONPOINT SOURCE POLLUTION
$472,152 SECURED FOR NEPONSET RIVER PROJECT

Bob Durand, Secretary of Environmental Affairs, Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection Lauren A. Liss, and Senator Brian A. Joyce announced that 14 projects totaling $2.13 million have been recommended for funding in the Nonpoint Source Competitive Grant Program, including $472,152 for the Neponset River Watershed Bacteria TMDL Implementation Project.

The projects will help to protect Massachusetts’ water resources by restoring and preserving watershed areas, constructing storm-water treatment systems, and demonstrating innovative technologies.

The program focuses on implementation of measures to control nonpoint sources (NPS) of water pollution. NPS pollution is caused by diffuse sources that are not regulated and are normally associated with precipitation and runoff from the land or infiltration into the soil.

The Neponset River Watershed Bacteria TMDL Implementation Project will focus on four major strategies in abating sources of NPS bacterial pollution. These include managing storm-water runoff, ensuring proper maintenance of septic systems, detailing sources of NPS bacteria as called for in the TMDL, and a strong outreach and technology transfer component. Project success will be gauged through water quality monitoring, and ultimately by the number of stream segments restored to their designated uses.

“Eliminating nonpoint source pollution represents one of our greatest challenges to water quality improvements,” said Secretary Durand.

“It is critical for the health of our lakes and streams to eliminate pollution from nonpoint sources,” added Senator Joyce.

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For Immediate Release: July 25, 2002
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722 1643

ADDITIONAL FUNDING SECURED
FOR CLEARING OF PINE TREE BROOK

Senator Brian A. Joyce announced this week that he has secured an additional appropriation of $80,000 in the final version of the Environmental Bond Bill for the next phase of the Pine Tree Brook project.

“This is good news for the town of Milton and the Pine Tree Brook Neighborhood in particular,” said Senator Joyce. “Pine Tree Brook is one of Milton’s most cherished natural resources. The preservation of its pristine beauty is a service to all members of the community, and protecting area homes from flooding is important.”

The funding will cover Phase 3 of the project which includes a hydrology survey that will examine the amount of sediment that has built up in the Brook over the past three decades and will determine the amount of dredging necessary to help the water flow faster thus reducing the threat of flooding in the area. Additionally, brush, surface debris and trash along the 2 ? miles of Pine Tree Brook have already been removed.

Milton will be reimbursed for 75 percent of the cost of clearing the Brook as well as the cost of surveys and design work to remove sediment and stabilize the riverbank.

The Environmental Bond Bill appropriates millions to the state for farmland and open space conservation and acquisition, watershed protection, maintenance of state parks, and grants to communities.

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For Immediate Release: July 31, 2002
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722 1643

An Act to End Child Hunger
The Senate has passed a bill Co-sponsored by Senator Brian A. Joyce, the legislation Programs that provide a safety net for our most vulnerable residents are crucially important when the economy weakens. This bill would protect our children, the most vulnerable of all.

With the economic slowdown and increased unemployment, there are signs that more families in Massachusetts are struggling to put food on the table. Many people who lose their jobs find that unemployment benefits are not adequate to pay monthly bills and provide food for their families. Since the Massachusetts unemployment rate has nearly doubled in the last year, the number of children disproportionately affected is overwhelming.

Unemployment numbers don’t count children, but for every parent who is unemployed, at least two children are affected. It’s more important than ever to construct a safety net for hungry children. At the best of times, one in five children under the age of 12 lives in a family that struggles to put food on the table. Now, with the recent economic downturn, this number will grow. Eighty nine percent of the emergency food providers surveyed by Project Bread reported seeing more hungry people in October, 2001 than in October, 2000. And 61 percent of these clients were children. On December 6, 2000, Project Bread filed An Act to End Child Hunger in MA (S722/H2183) to insure that every child has the opportunity to eat where they live, learn and play.

Right now, Massachusetts has an unprecedented opportunity to end child hunger in the Commonwealth. An Act to End Child Hunger in Massachusetts will guarantee that all at-risk children eat at home, in school and after-school programs and in summer recreation programs. Not in soup kitchens. This safety net for children is seamless and invisible, removing stigma and allowing parents to focus on regaining control of their economic lives. We have until July 31, 2002 to pass the bill before it expires.

In addition to filing legislation, Project Bread has also launched its annual state budget campaign to ask legislators for adequate funding in fiscal year 2003 to strengthen and expand existing child nutrition programs. At a time when state resources are in decline, An Act to End Child Hunger in MA makes sense economically. A state investment of $28.5 million garners up to $117 million in federal funds. In other words, it adds $4 of federal funds for every $1 of state funds spent to eliminate child hunger, and it bolsters the state’s investment in education and health care.

The key is to make better use of a wide range of federal resources that are already available. These resources can provide healthy meals throughout the day where kids live, learn and play, through school meals, WIC, summer meals and food stamps.

An Act to End Child Hunger in Massachusetts will guarantee that all at-risk children eat at home, in school and after-school programs and in summer recreation programs. Not in soup kitchens. The bill proposes innovative approaches to ending child hunger by increasing participation in these important programs. This safety net for children is seamless and invisible, removing stigma and allowing parents to focus on regaining control of their economic lives. We have until July 31, 2002 to pass the bill before it expires.

SIX STEPS TO END CHILD HUNGER IN MASSACHUSETTS
These six steps in the bill guarantee children the opportunity to eat wherever they live, learn and play while bringing in millions of federal dollars to a cash-strapped economy – enabling Massachusetts to become a leader in ending child hunger.

-Expand the universal school breakfast program.
-Improve access to food stamps.
-Expand WIC to age six.
-Boost the summer food program.
-Bolster after-school meals.
-Establish a unified application system.


Senator Robert Travaglini is the bill's lead sponsor in the Massachusetts Senate, and Representative Kevin Fitzgerald is the bill's lead sponsor in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.
The Commonwealth is at a critical juncture in its mission to ensure that all children have the food they need to learn and thrive. Identical versions of our bill, An Act to End Child Hunger in Massachusetts, are in the Committees on Ways and Means in both the House and the Senate. Your letters, postcards, faxes, and phone calls make a huge difference in determining which bills pass.

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For Immediate Release: July 31, 2002
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722 1643

SENATOR JOYCE’S BILL WILL CHANNEL INCREASED FUNDS DIRECTLY INTO THE BLUE HILLS RESERVATION
In a maneuver that has significant potential to increase funding for the Blue Hills Reservation, Senator Brian A. Joyce has secured language in the final Environmental Bond Bill of the fiscal year 2003 budget that would create a Trust Fund for the Blue Hills Reservation.

“This is great for the Blue Hills Reservation and the Towns of Canton, Milton and Randolph, as well as for all of the tens of thousands of visitors to the Blue Hills each year,” said Senator Joyce. “I am delighted that current and future revenues generated within the Reservation will be placed into this Trust Fund and not transferred to the state’s General Fund.

“The Blue Hills Reservation is one of our most cherished natural resources and the creation of this Trust Fund would only serve to protect and improve the area in years to come,” said Senator Joyce.

Under the bill, all the non-tax revenues generated by permits, licenses, leases and other agreements relating to the use of the Reservation that are currently directed to the state’s General Fund would instead be directed to the Trust Fund for improvements and maintenance. The Metropolitan District Commission would oversee the new fund.

The state currently receives very little revenue from the Reservation. However, Senator Joyce believes that hundreds of thousands of dollars could be generated each year by effectively managing existing resources in the Reservation.

The Environmental Bond Bill appropriates millions to the state for farmland and open space conservation and acquisition, watershed protection, maintenance of state parks, and grants to communities.

# # #   Back to Top

$2.13 MILLION TO FUND
14 PROJECTS TARGETING NONPOINT SOURCE POLLUTION
$472,152 SECURED FOR NEPONSET RIVER PROJECT

Bob Durand, Secretary of Environmental Affairs, Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection Lauren A. Liss, and Senator Brian A. Joyce announced that 14 projects totaling $2.13 million have been recommended for funding in the Nonpoint Source Competitive Grant Program, including $472,152 for the Neponset River Watershed Bacteria TMDL Implementation Project.

The projects will help to protect Massachusetts’ water resources by restoring and preserving watershed areas, constructing storm-water treatment systems, and demonstrating innovative technologies.

The program focuses on implementation of measures to control nonpoint sources (NPS) of water pollution. NPS pollution is caused by diffuse sources that are not regulated and are normally associated with precipitation and runoff from the land or infiltration into the soil.

The Neponset River Watershed Bacteria TMDL Implementation Project will focus on four major strategies in abating sources of NPS bacterial pollution. These include managing storm-water runoff, ensuring proper maintenance of septic systems, detailing sources of NPS bacteria as called for in the TMDL, and a strong outreach and technology transfer component. Project success will be gauged through water quality monitoring, and ultimately by the number of stream segments restored to their designated uses.

“Eliminating nonpoint source pollution represents one of our greatest challenges to water quality improvements,” said Secretary Durand.

“It is critical for the health of our lakes and streams to eliminate pollution from nonpoint sources,” added Senator Joyce.

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For Immediate Release: August 9, 2002
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

SENATOR JOYCE ANNOUNCES FUNDING FOR
NEPONSET POLICE PATROL

Senator Brian A. Joyce is pleased to announce that the Legislature has overridden the governor’s veto of $130,000 for state police patrols along the Neponset River in the state budget.

The funding will allow the state police to provide additional security along the Neponset River bike path between Milton and Dorchester and will address the safety needs of the growing number of people who take advantage of the MDC’s multi-use trail along the river.

“This is great news for the growing number of residents who make use of the riverside trail along the Neponset,” said Senator Joyce.

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For Immediate Release: July 25, 2002
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722 1643

ADDITIONAL FUNDING SECURED
FOR CLEARING OF PINE TREE BROOK

Senator Brian A. Joyce announced this week that he has secured an additional appropriation of $80,000 in the final version of the Environmental Bond Bill for the next phase of the Pine Tree Brook project.

“This is good news for the town of Milton and the Pine Tree Brook Neighborhood in particular,” said Senator Joyce. “Pine Tree Brook is one of Milton’s most cherished natural resources. The preservation of its pristine beauty is a service to all members of the community, and protecting area homes from flooding is important.”

The funding will cover Phase 3 of the project which includes a hydrology survey that will examine the amount of sediment that has built up in the Brook over the past three decades and will determine the amount of dredging necessary to help the water flow faster thus reducing the threat of flooding in the area. Additionally, brush, surface debris and trash along the 2 ? miles of Pine Tree Brook have already been removed.

Milton will be reimbursed for 75 percent of the cost of clearing the Brook as well as the cost of surveys and design work to remove sediment and stabilize the riverbank.

The Environmental Bond Bill appropriates millions to the state for farmland and open space conservation and acquisition, watershed protection, maintenance of state parks, and grants to communities.

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For Immediate Release: July 24, 2002
Further Information: Marie Blanchard (617) 722-1643

ENVIRONMENTAL BOND BILL INCLUDES
ULIN RINK FUNDING

Citing the importance of providing functioning recreational facilities for public use, State Senator Brian A. Joyce announced this week that $70,000 has been secured for further improvements to Max Ulin Ice Rink.

The capital facility funds were secured in the final version of the Environmental Bond Bill and will be used to upgrade the facility. A new bathroom will be of particular benefit during the busiest periods of the skating season. Currently, when the main locker room is full, teams must use a second locker room that does not have showers.

“I am very pleased that these funds will be available to upgrade this valuable community asset,” said Senator Joyce. “The current facilities are inadequate and after a game, players must get dressed to walk from the locker room to the only showers located at the other end of the building.”

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