Legislature Tackled Key Issues with Practical Solutions

By: Rep. Linda Dean Campbell ~ Jan. 2019

During the 2017-2018 legislative session, my colleagues and I worked together in a bipartisan way to address pressing issues facing Massachusetts residents, from the opioid epidemic to economic development to natural gas infrastructure safety. The State Legislature passed major laws to strengthen our communities and improve both public health and safety. Highlights include:

• A law to combat the opioid epidemic by expanding addiction treatment and prevention. An amendment that I filed to improve police training during a substance abuse crisis response was included in the final law.
• A law to enhance Veterans’ benefits, including an expansion of Veteran property tax exemptions and financial assistance for Veteran funeral costs. A bill I sponsored to establish an annual Women’s Defense Corps Remembrance Day also passed into law.

• A law to provide non-partisan civics education in our public schools through a hands-on, project-based approach, passed into law. I was the proud sponsor of this bill in the House.

• A law to fund critical economic development projects across the Commonwealth. This included funding which I secured for the cities of Methuen and Haverhill.

• A law to protect our environment by funding key environmental projects and helping communities plan for the effects of our changing climate. This law included funding I secured to develop a storm water management plan for Methuen and for improvements to the Bradford Rail Trail.

• A law to ensure the safety of our natural gas infrastructure by requiring that plans for maintenance work be reviewed and approved by a certified engineer.

• Laws to improve the well being of public safety officials by ensuring confidential mental health care and the designation of cancer as a work-related injury for firefighters.

• A law to reduce youth tobacco consumption by allowing only individuals age 21 and older to purchase tobacco products.

• A law to reform our criminal justice system so that it is more focused on rehabilitation, reasonable judicial discretion, and public safety.

• A law to prevent gun violence by allowing courts to remove guns from dangerous or suicidal individuals while preserving the owner’s right to due process.

• A law to establish a $15 minimum wage and paid family & medical leave programs, created in a way that balances the needs of small businesses and workers which is implemented in a responsible time frame.

• A law to establish automatic voter registration for eligible voters, which will improve the accuracy of our voter rolls.

• A law to expand clean energy in the Commonwealth, including critical technologies like energy storage.

• A law to regulate and tax short-term room rentals to ensure consumer safety and a level economic playing field for the hotel industry.

This was a very productive session, but there are many important bills that did not make it across the finish line. I look forward to continuing to work with all next session to enact critical legislation important to the great people of the Merrimack Valley and the Commonwealth. I wish you all a joyful, peaceful, and rewarding New Year!

State Representative Linda Dean Campbell represents the cities of Methuen and Haverhill in the State Legislature and currently serves as Vice Chair of the Revenue Committee. She can be reached at Linda.Campbell@mahouse.gov or at 617-722-2380.