By: State Rep. Linda Dean Campbell – Feb. 2019
I have filed a number of bills this session to address issues important to the residents of the Merrimack Valley and the Commonwealth. I will be filing additional legislation throughout the session, but some legislation has been put forth at this time as residents have already emphasized the urgency.
This past year, I have been attending meetings and informative seminars on the issue of Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs) into the Merrimack River. Understanding that solving the problem in its entirety will require a large investment of federal dollars, I want to ensure that we do what we can here in the Commonwealth to address the issue and work with our federal partners. I am sponsoring two bills pertaining to this issue, one to require the public notification of CSOs and one to ensure sanitary districts have immediate back-up power in the case of power outages, something that is happening more frequently with climate change.
I want to ensure communities and sanitary districts have input and I will be seeking ways to improve both pieces of legislation right away.
Last session, I filed a bill widely reported in the press best known as Nicky’s Law. The goal of the legislation is to protect the intellectually and developmentally disabled from abuse at the hands of care providers. It passed the Senate but did not pass the House due to last-minute concerns brought forth regarding the rights of accused care providers. Since being sworn in on January 2nd, I have held meetings and worked with all interested parties, and I have refiled the legislation with Senator Michael Moore.
The legislation now includes some changes to ensure that care providers who are found to have committed substantiated abuse (following a thorough investigation) are properly notified and made aware of their right to appeal the findings. I am hoping that the legislation gets to the Governor’s desk right way to prevent further abuse. The statistics demonstrating abuse are upsetting and overwhelming, so we must pass this legislation as soon as possible.
Other legislation I have filed will:
• Protect the disabled and honor their decisions in end-of-life situations
• Support Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) programs
• Reform the SNAP application process for senior citizens
• Expand licensure opportunity for school guidance counselors
• Provide for greater oversight of animal kennels and the sale of pets
• Require health insurers to cover lung cancer screenings for firefighters
• Improve safety regulations for public utilities’ hoisting operations in the Commonwealth
• Require doctors to report drug overdose deaths to law enforcement channels in order to identify areas of high need
• Allow detection monitoring systems to identify those failing to stop for school buses
State Representative Linda Dean Campbell represents the cities of Methuen and Haverhill in the State Legislature. She can be reached at Linda.Campbell@mahouse.gov or at 617-722-2380. ◊