State Representative Dave Rogers

JANUARY UPDATES

Happy New Year! I hope you and your families have enjoyed a wonderful holiday season. With the new year, a new Legislative Session begins on January 4th, when I will be sworn in for my third term as your State Representative. Thank you for continuing to put your trust in me. I look forward to the work ahead.
Retrospective Year Recap

As we move into 2017, first I thought we should take a look back at the previous legislative session to see all that our Commonwealth was able to accomplish. To begin with, the unemployment rate in our state is at a 15-year low, at just 2.9%. While job creation primarily occurs in the private sector, government policy is crucial in "setting the table" and helping to create conditions that lead to growth and prosperity. Through careful budgeting, the state now has an AA+ bond rating, the highest in its history. State policy has undoubtedly helped create favorable conditions for economic growth. Our economy is growing, and this makes me hopeful about the progress we will be able to make in the upcoming year as it continues to get stronger.

We were able to pass a signature renewable energy bill this summer that calls for growth among green and renewable energy sectors, particularly wind and hydropower. As we soon will be under a new presidential administration, with an at best questionable commitment to environmental issues, I am glad that Massachusetts will still be on the right track when it comes to climate change. I was thrilled when the Governor signed the piece of legislation that protects the rights of our transgender citizens and provides them access to the public accommodation that matches their gender identity. As your State Representative, I believe that protecting a person's civil rights is one of the most important things I can do and I worked hard to advocate for the bill.

And even as this newsletter is being drafted and sent, I am working to push through a bicycle safety bill. Tonight, January 3rd, is the last day of the 2015/2016, legislative session before we are all sworn in tomorrow and all bills will have to be refiled.

When it came to the ballot questions, I was pleased that we were able to prevent the addition of a slots parlor in our state, something I viewed as unnecessary and given that we already have one slots parlor and three casinos authorized under state law. I was also thrilled that we were able to maintain the cap on charter schools, ensuring that more money would stay in our public schools. Working with other opponents of this measure, I appeared at several forums to advocate against this ill-advised measure. Because I introduced the initial legislation on which the farm confinement ballot question was based, I was delighted that the people of Massachusetts agreed with me that we should improve the conditions under which they are raised. Finally, as you may know, I have been a long-time advocate for ending the prohibition of recreational marijuana and am now ready for the work that is ahead to make the people's decision a reality.
 
Legalization of Marijuana

While I am disappointed, I am not shocked that on December 28th the Legislature decided to delay by six months the implementation of certain provisions of the marijuana legalization ballot question. This move was largely a reaction to the repeated public statements by State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg that the Treasurer's office did not have adequate time to put a regulatory structure in place. While I am not thrilled with the delay because I think the Treasurer should have first attempted to put a regulatory framework in effect, I do not see it as striking at the heart of the law. 

Next year, the entire law is going to be subject to debate. I believe the Legislature will form a committee to study it and I may be on the committee. I have been one of the leading advocates for legalization. So I will be a strong voice for preserving the bill largely as it was passed by voters.
 Looking Ahead

I am looking forward to a busy and productive 2017/2018 Legislative Session. Soon we should see the release of a report by The Council of State Governments' Justice Center on a review of the Massachusetts criminal justice system. This review will highlight several areas where criminal justice reform is needed in our state and reform should be a big issue in the upcoming legislative session. As I mentioned in my last newsletter, there are a number of criminal justice bills that I will be filing and am looking forward to the outcome of the report. I do not believe however that we should be limited by the report and if it does not go far enough in its recommendations, I will not hesitate to push for more comprehensive changes.
 
As the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act did not pass at the end of informal session tonight at midnight, as we had all hoped, I will be re-filing the bill next session as the lead sponsor. It is too easy for pregnant workers in our Commonwealth to be discriminated against in the workplace. As a result risk their jobs, their health and the health of their families. I have been working on passing this legislation for two years now, and as we move into next session, I am proud to take it on as lead sponsor. I believe we are very close to making this a reality soon. Here's is the story of one woman who experienced pregnancy discrimination and how the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act would have helped her.
 

Stand Up for Safety - Hands Around the Pond


It was an honor to stand with the people of Belmont against racism to show that our community is one of inclusiveness and support. Despite the snow and cold hundreds of people turned up to make this very strong statement. I wholeheartedly congratulate Donna Ruvolo, Mil Pierce, Kathryn Bonfiglio and everyone at Belmont Against Racism, the Belmont Human Rights Commission, the Belmont Veterans Memorial Committee, and the Belmont Religious Council. We were even covered in the Boston Globe, read it here.

Envision Cambridge Survey


Cambridge residents, share your thoughts and help Cambridge develop a shared vision around six core values. Take the survey to share what you think should be important in the future of the city here.

Register to Vote


Massachusetts residents can register to vote online. If you are not registered to vote or have family and friends that are registered, be sure to encourage them to register! While the deadline has passed, it's never too early to register for the next election.

Unclaimed Property


As many as 1 in 10 citizens of the Commonwealth, including many of my constituents, are owners of unclaimed property. Unclaimed property includes savings accounts, checking accounts, unpaid wages or commissions, stocks, underlying shares, uncashed dividends, customer deposits or overpayments, certificates of deposit, credit balances, refunds, money orders, paid-up life insurance policies, safe deposit boxes, and uncashed benefit checks, and gift certificates, all of which sat unused and were ultimately taken by the state. If you want to research whether or not you own unclaimed property, you can find out here.

Legislation


I have been using this newsletter as an opportunity to highlight one or more of the bills I have filed each month. I have now run through each of the 26 bills I filed for the 2015/2016 legislative session. As always, you can review all of the bills that I have filed on my website

Community Events

ARLINGTON CHRISTMAS TREE COLLECTION
From January 3rd through 7th the town of Arlington will collect Christmas Trees. Trees in plastic bags will not be collected. Find out more here.

BELMONT DEMOCRATS
The Belmont Democratic Town Committee will be meeting at 7pm on Thursday, January 5th. Social time begins at 6:30pm, this month the meeting will be held on the 3rd floor of the Homer Building.

BELMONT RECYCLING-PILOT PROGRAM
Belmont is piloting a cardboard recycling program to help you recycle your holiday cardboard. You can drop of your flattened cardboard Saturday, January 7th from 9:00am -12:00pm at the Town Yard, 37 C St.

CENTRAL SQUARE LIBRARY MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. CELEBRATION
On Sunday, January 8th from 3:00pm - 4:30pm join Mayor Denise Simmons and Reverend Mark Scott at 45 Pearl St. in Cambridge.
LESS JAIL, MORE FUTURE
On Monday, January 9th at the First Parish Unitarian Universalist of Arlington, 630 Mass Ave, there will be an event sponsored by the organization Roca on how young people can disrupt the cycle of incarceration and poverty in their lives. It will be held from 7:00pm -9:00pm in the Parlor.

BELMONT HEALTH DEPARTMENT OPIOID CONVERSATION
The Belmont Health Department is holding an Opioid Needs Assessment Community Conversation on Tuesday, January 10th from 2:30pm-4:00pm. The meeting will be held in the Board of Selectmen's Meeting Room at Belmont Town Hall. RSVP's are appreciated at (617)993-2720 or wchin@belmont-ma.gov.

CAMBRIDGE DEMOCRATS
Cambridge Democrats monthly meeting will be held Wednesday, January 11th at Cornerstone Cohousing, 175 Harvey St. Find more on their website.

BELMONT DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. COMMUNITY BREAKFAST
On Monday, January 16th Belmont's annual MLK Day breakfast will be held from 9am- 11am at the Belmont High School Cafeteria, 221 Concord Ave. Joined by Dorothy Stoneman, Founder of YouthBuild, Civil Rights Activist and BHS Graduate and a Panel of METCO Alumni. Find out more here.

CAMBRIDGE DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR DAY COMMEMORATION WITH REP. CLARK
From 11:00am - 12:45pm on Monday, January 16th at St. Peter's Episcopal Church,
838 Massachusetts Ave, there will be a celebration of Dr. King's Life and Work for Peace, Justice, and Transformation with Representative Katherine Clark, followed by an informal lunch and community gathering. Find out more here.

ARLINGTON MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. BIRTHDAY OBSERVANCE
On Monday, January 16th at 6:45pm there will be an MLK Birthday Observance at Arlington Town Hall in the Auditorium, 730 Massachusetts Ave. Tina Martin of WGBH news will be the guest speaker. More information here.

SUSTAINABLE ARLINGTON
Sustainable Arlington will be holding its monthly meeting Tuesday, January 17th at the Town Hall Annex.

ARLINGTON DEMOCRATS
The monthly meeting will be held Thursday, January 19th at 7:15pm on the second-floor meeting room of the Community Safety Building at 112 Mystic St. Check out their website here.

CAMBRIDGE WINTER FAMILY FUN DAY
On Saturday, January 21st at the Peabody School Gym on 70 Rindge Ave, the Center for Families will be hosting a family fun day! From 10:00am - 1:30pm here will be games, activities and a chance to learn about community helpers. There will also be free books for children and a light lunch. Learn more here.

FRIENDS OF FRESH POND ANNUAL MEETING
On Sunday, January 22nd from 5:00pm- 7:00pm the Friends of Fresh Pond will be holding their annual meeting and potluck. The meeting will be held at the Maynard Ecology Center at the Lower level of Neville Place, 650 Concord Ave in Cambridge. Find out more and RSVP here.

BYSTANDER INTERVENTION WORKSHOP
The Diversity Task Group from Arlington's Vision 2020 being held Tuesday, January 24th from 7:00pm -9:00pm at the Robbins Library, 700 Massachusetts Ave. At this free event learn about what to do when you see someone being mistreated. Find out more here.

Other Events


There are a number of other places to find out about events in your community:

Office Hours


I will hold office hours at the following times and places during the month. I encourage any and all to stop by and speak with me or my staff about any concerns or to offer any input you might have. Occasionally, my aide Kira Arnott attends office hours in my place and then relays any issues to me. If you wish to speak to me directly, please email me at Dave.Rogers@mahouse.gov so that I can ensure that I will be attending. If I am not able to make it, we can set up a meeting at a mutually convenient time.

Tuesday, January 10th from 9:30am to 10:30am at the Beech Street Center in Belmont (266 Beech Street, Belmont, MA 02478).

Tuesday, January 17th from 4:30pm to 5:30pm at Kickstand Cafe in Arlington (594 Massachusetts Avenue, Arlington, MA 02476).

Friday, January 20th from 9:30am to 10:30am at Bruegger's Bagels and Cafe in Belmont (41 Leonard Street, Belmont, MA 02178).

Friday, January 27th from 4:30pm to 5:30pm at Fiorella's Express in North Cambridge (2401 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140).

You can also always contact me at any time in my office at 617 722 2013 or at dave.rogers@mahouse.gov.
 

Winter Farmers Market


The Cambridge Winter Farmers Market begins Saturday, December 10th. It will continue Saturdays from 10am-2pm through April, inside the Cambridge Community Center, 5 Callender St. Find out more here.

The Harvard Square Business Association is hosting the first season of the Charles Square Winter Farmers Market this year. The grand opening will be Friday, December 2nd. The market will be open Fridays 12pm-6pm and Sundays 10am-3pm at the lower courtyard of The Charles Hotel in Cambridge. Find out more here.

Local Media


Arlington, Belmont, and Cambridge are vibrant communities that sport multiple local news platforms that are worth perusing to learn more about what is going on in your community.

Arlington:
Belmont Cambridge

Contact Me


I welcome your input and hope to hear from you on issues of mutual concern. Email: rep.dave.rogers@gmail.com. State House office phone: 617-722-2013. Personal cell phone: 617-817-9395. Website: repdaverogers.com.

Social Media


I am glad to have already connected with many of you on Facebook. Due to the limitations on personal Facebook pages, however, I plan to start to do more of my political and community outreach from my political page. Please like my official State Representative page here. You can also follow me on twitter to find out more about my representation of the 24th Middlesex District.
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