We are down to mere hours. The end of formal sessions will trigger at midnight on Tuesday, and plenty of work remains.
Over the past couple of weeks I have written a lot about the progress the Senate is making on several fronts. The reason for this is largely because, starting Wednesday, with only informal sessions remaining during the last months of the 187th General Court, if a bill comes before either the Senate or House, it will take only one member to state an objection and halt the legislative process for that particular petition. Consequently, I, like many fellow senators and representatives, am working diligently to bring forth any potentially controversial legislation for a full debate and vote before the transition.
This week the Senate took final action on a host of initiatives including a bill that strengthens the protections for homeowners in light of the recent foreclosure crisis. The Senate also passed a Transportation Bond Bill that authorizes borrowing for transportation projects, several of which are proposed in and around our Worcester & Norfolk District. I am pleased to have convinced my colleagues to include projects like the Milford Veterans Memorial Drive alternative route project, and Blackstone River Greenway bikeway in the final legislation.
Beyond that, there are a handful of bills that have already been passed by the Senate and House and are before conference committees to reconcile the differences. One of these initiatives, as you may be aware, is a health care cost containment and payment reform bill which I have spearheaded in the Senate since the start of the session. As the Senate's lead negotiator, I am pleased with the progress we are making. While work remains, I am confident in our ability to achieve a resolution before the end of formal sessions.
In the midst of this legislative full court press, on Thursday, I was able to take some time to enjoy lunch in the Hall of Flags at the State House with the 2012 Cops ‘n’ Kid’s program. This program, which is orchestrated by Southbridge Police Department Sgt. Jose Dingui, and supported by Chief Dan Charette and several of his fellow Southbridge police officers, serves more than 150 youth in the town, engaging them in various safe, fun, summer activities.
Earlier in the week, Oxford native, USMC Capt. Michael Gagnon was at the State House after returning from a third tour in the Middle East. Most recently, Capt. Gagnon led a team of roughly 20 men, dubbed "Task Force Nomad," in the construction of a helicopter-landing zone for a special operations outpost in the Helmand River Valley.
Check out my website and Facebook page to see some pictures of me with these star constituents.
Overall, now is a hectic, but relatively fun time to be a legislator because the fruits of close to 19 months of labor come to the forefront. That being said, like a sprinter at the 2012 London Olympic Games, I won’t stop working and advocating on behalf of the residents and taxpayers of 14 towns I have the honor to represent until crossing the finish line at 11:59:59 p.m. on Tuesday evening. We're hard at work and fully prepared to burn the midnight oil to reach consensus on our remaining policy work.
Have a great weekend.
If you haven’t had the chance to yet, please feel free to complete my 2012 Constituent Survey. It will only take about 5 minutes, and your feedback is invaluable.