State Representative Dave Rogers

UPDATES

Session Resuming/Fall Topics


As summer comes to a close, the Legislature will resume formal sessions after its August recess. Having tackled a first round of MBTA reforms and the budget, the House and Senate now enter the heart of the legislative session with a number of critical issues pending action.
  • Criminal Justice Reform: It will come as no surprise to those of you who regularly read my monthly messages that debate on how to reform our criminal justice system is ongoing. September and October will both feature Judiciary Committee hearings at which many criminal justice reform bills - including several of my proposals - will be heard. While there is no knowing for sure, I think it is possible that an omnibus bill featuring a balanced set of policy changes - some that make sensible technical updates to the legal code, some that progressive reform advocates prefer, and some that law enforcement favor - will come before the House for consideration and debate. Of course, I hope that such a bill would feature strong progressive reforms and will continue my work to achieve that outcome.
  • Public Records Reform: Those of you who have tried to access public records may have found the process arduous. Public records should be public in practice as well as in law, something our current rules do not adequately ensure. As a result, there is a strong push in the Legislature to pass reforms that improve access while making sure that requirements for public records holders are realistic. I strongly support these efforts and hope we take swift action this fall.
  • Energy: As I have mentioned briefly in previous newsletters, the Legislature may take up major energy policy legislation this session. There are several urgent drivers of this debate, the most prevalent of which are the need to lift the cap on net metering and unshackle the solar industry in Massachusetts, meet our ambitious carbon emissions goals, and curb high energy prices throughout the Commonwealth. Just as with criminal justice reform, energy policy may be handled in a single omnibus bill that would include a variety of measures to support solar, natural gas, hydroelectric, and wind power in Massachusetts. I favor expediting a stand-alone solar bill to lift the cap on net metering and get solar in the Commonwealth back on track and will of course advocate strongly for legislation focused on supporting renewable, green energy that takes another meaningful step towards weaning the Commonwealth from fossil fuels.
  • Equal Access for Transgender People: The Legislature is considering taking up the issue of equal access for transgender people in the Commonwealth. Ensuring "equal access" would protect transgender people's right to use public accommodations including hospitals, restaurants, homeless shelters, bathrooms, nursing homes, locker rooms, and supermarkets. I strongly support taking this step. It is a basic civil rights issue and the time for action is overdue.
  • MBTA: The Legislature took a first round of steps to fix the MBTA in the FY 2016 budget with the intention or revisiting the issue. I agree with Governor Baker's MBTA Commission's report which identifies the need for both reform and revenue, and while some reforms have been made we are still yet to see substantial additional revenue for long-overdue repairs. New MBTA General Manager Frank DePaola, moreover, announced yesterday that the cost of bringing the MBTA into a state of good repair will be $7.3 billion, not the $6.7 billion that was previously reported. The increase is largely due to the fact that the previous number did not adequately factor in the costs of repairing the commuter rail. This increase comes at a time when some projections of the cost of the Green Line Extension have risen from $2 billion to $3 billion, illuminating the tensions between the goals of repairing the existing system and providing critically needed new services. With another winter around the corner that will once again test our transportation infrastructure, I strongly support swift action that includes both further reforms and increased funding for the MBTA.
  • Charter Schools: Governor Baker has made his intention to expand charter schools in the Commonwealth abundantly clear. Charter school activists, meanwhile, are seeking to put a question on the 2016 ballot to expand charter schools in MA and the Legislature may once again take up the issue. I am wary of the possibility of expanding charter schools without taking strong steps to ensure that public education improves throughout the Commonwealth and prevent a two-tiered system from emerging. I will of course follow debate carefully and scrutinize any proposals that gain traction.

Belmont Commuter Rail Stations


In a recent meeting, MBTA General Manager Frank DePaola informed Senator Brownsberger and me that, after having been refurbished with various repairs and upgrades using federal stimulus funds, the Waverly Square commuter rail station is no longer grandfathered into its longstanding exemption from certain requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). As a result, the MBTA will eventually need to bring the station into compliance with the ADA, or alternatively close or relocate the station. The MBTA also informed us that while the Belmont Center station is still grandfathered into non-compliance with the ADA, that protected status will be lost when the station is next repaired and then it will face the same dilemma as the Waverly station does now. And in the case of the Belmont Center station, its configuration makes ADA-compliance quite difficult.
 
There are a number of paths forward for Belmont to consider, each with their own merits, costs, and consequences. Belmont and the MBTA are going to have time to come together and think through how best to address the situation in a way that fully serves the Belmont community and makes fiscal sense for the MBTA. Making substantial changes to commuter rail stations in town is of course a major consideration for the community and will be an ongoing topic conversation and debate for some time to come.

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 own unclaimed property you can recover it here.

Legislation


Each month I take the opportunity provided by my email newsletter to highlight a few of the bills I have filed. This month I want to focus on two bills aimed at helping municipalities enforce environmental and housing rules.

H1130: An Act relative to creating a statutory housing restriction and providing remedies related to statutory housing (filed in the Senate as S694 by Senator Eldridge)

This bill addresses difficulties faced by municipalities in crafting durable affordable housing restrictions that assure properties will remain affordable for persons of modest means through successive transactions and as the value of real estate goes up. It creates an “estate in land” (to be known as the Statutory Housing Covenant) that limits the property to a certain value (the affordable value) for use as owner-occupied affordable housing. While not mandatory, this bill equips municipalities with a new tool to help in their efforts to expand and maintain affordable housing stock.

H1864: An Act Relative to the Effective Enforcement of Municipal Ordinances and Bylaws (filed in the Senate as S1076 by Senator Eldridge.)

Local municipal boards, including conservation commissions, have the authority to administer a variety of important land use and other bylaws, ordinances and regulations, and need adequate enforcement tools. The current tools are lacking, leading to willful violations of local laws. This bill gives court judges specific guidance on calculating a penalty as well as the right to enforce payment and dispose injunctive relief.

As always, you can review all of the bills that I have filed on my website.

Community Events

Overnight Construction on Mass Ave


As you have all likely experienced by now, the Mass Ave Reconstruction project is well underway. There will be be two periods of overnight construction in September. The first started on the night of Sunday August 30th and culminating on Thursday September 3rd, and the other running from Sunday September 13th to Thursday September 17th. You can visit the Arlington Town Website to keep up with the projet's progress and can also opt to receive email updates.

Rescheduled Rolling Roadblocks at I-95 South at Route 2 in Lexington


MassDOT began implementing overnight “rolling roadblocks” on I-95 South on Monday night. They will continue until the morning of Friday September 4th between Exit 30 (Route 2A) and Exit 29 (Route 2). Multiple lane and ramp closures will be implemented from 8:00 p.m. each night to 5:00 a.m. the following morning to prepare for and facilitate the “rolling roadblocks,” which will begin around 12:00 a.m. and end at 4:00 a.m. each morning to prepare for peak travel. For questions, comments or issues, please contact Donny Dailey, MassDOT Legislative Liaison, at 617-945-4272 or Donny.Dailey@state.ma.us, or the project field office at 781-790-5261. For more information on the project, visit the website at www.mass.gov/massdot/rt2i95bridges. View progress photos on MassDOT’s Route 2/I-95 Bridge Flickr Album.

Water Trouble: A Neighbor-to-Neighbor Dialogue about Storms, Floods, and Water Quality


Residents of Arlington, Belmont, and Watertown will join together to discuss stormwater challenges and what to do about them from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Winn Brook Elementary School in Belmont. A panel of experts will discuss stormwater projects and issues relevant to Arlington, Belmont, and Watertown, as well as green infrastructure, water quality and rivers, and infiltration strategies for urban soils. Speakers will include:

Anne-Marie Lambert, BCF director and co-founder of the Belmont Stormwater Working Group, will facilitate the discussion. 

First Days of School


With September comes the first day of school in Arlington, Belmont, and Cambridge. School in Arlington resumes on September 8th, school in Belmont resumes on September 2nd, and school in Cambridge resumes on September 8th. I wish the best to students in the 24 Middlesex District in their upcoming year of studies.

Longfellow Bridge Rehabilitation Project Public Meeting


On Wednesday September 2nd from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center (41 Second Street, Cambridge) there will be a public meeting with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to discuss the the Longfellow Bridge Rehabilitation Project. The purpose of the meetings is to provide a project update, including completed and upcoming work and details about the current schedule. Following the presentation, staff from MassDOT and the design/build contractor, White-Skanska-Consigli JV, will be available to answer questions.

Cambridge Senior Center Monthly Town Hall Meeting


Each month the staff of the Council on Aging and Senior Center disseminates important information that is of interest to Senior Citizens at a town hall meeting. This month's meeting will be held on Wednesday September 3rd from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Cambridge Citywide Senior Center (806 Massachusetts Ave).

Arlington Town Night and Day


Friday September 11th will be Arlington Town Night and Saturday September 12th is Arlington Town Day. Both are great annual opportunities to join with the Arlington community for a variety of events. To learn details about the wide variety of festivities you can see the flier for the event.

5th Annual Garden Tour in Belmont


The Belmont Garden Club and Sustainable Belmont are announcing that Belmont's 5th Annual self-guided tour of green gardens will take place on Sunday, September 13th from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Residents across town have volunteered to share their gardening practices. You can learn more on the Sustainable Belmont website.

23rd Annual Cambridge Carnival Festival


On Sunday September 13th Cambridge will host its 23rd annual Carnival Festival. The parade starts at 12:30 pm at Blackstone Street and River Street, continues up to Massachusetts Avenue and on to Main Street, and ends in Kendall Square at Albany and Main Street. Learn more about this fun annual festival here.

Flu Shots for Arlington Seniors


On Thursday September 17th the Arlington Health Department will be offering 150 free high-dose flu shots to eligible seniors ages 65 and older. The high-dose vaccine contains four times the amount of antigen (which prompts the body to make antibodies) than contained in regular flu shots and creates a stronger immune response. For more information on the high-dose flu shot, participating insurance provider information, or to register, please call the Arlington Council on Aging at 781-316-3400. The Arlington Health Department will also be hosting a regular flu clinic for seniors on Thursday, September 24 from 10:00am to noon at the Senior Center, ground floor conference room.  No appointment is necessary for the September 24 clinic.

CPA Informational Meeting


On Thursday September 17th individuals and groups interested in learning more about the process of applying for a community preservation grant can attend a public meeting at 7:00 p.m. at Belmont Town Hall with the Community Preservation Committee. The Community Preservation Committee funds projects that acquire or improve open spaces, rehabilitate or preserve historical sites, and promote affordable housing. The committee will have about $1.2 million to distribute this year.

State Democratic Convention


The Massachusetts State Democratic Convention will be held on Saturday, September 19th. To learn more about the convention you can visit the relevant page on the Massachusetts State Democratic Party website.

20th Annual Danehy Park Family Day


Danehy Park Family Day is a can't-miss annual community event and will be held on Saturday September 19th from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Danehy Park in North Cambridge. You can read more about the performers, arts and crafts, music, food, and community that make the event such fun each year at the page for the event.

Visit Boston Museums for Free


Boston's museums will be free on Saturday, September 26 as part of Smithsonian Magazine's nationwide Free Museum Day celebration. Participating Boston and Cambridge museums include the Longfellow House, Old South Meeting House, Mary Baker Eddy Library (Mapparium), and Nichols House Museum.

Other Events


You can also look at the town and city calendars for Arlington, Belmont, and Cambridge to find out about more town meetings and community events.

September Office Hours


I will hold office hours at the following times and places during September. I encourage any and all to stop by and speak with me about any concerns or to offer any input you might have.

Tuesday, September 8th from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the Beech Street Center in Belmont (266 Beech Street, Belmont, MA 02478).

Tuesday, September 22nd from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Kickstand Cafe in Arlington (594 Massachusetts Avenue, Arlington, MA 02476)

Saturday, September 26th from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Verna's Donut Shop in North Cambridge (2344 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140)

Saturday, September 26th from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Bruegger’s Bagels in Belmont (41 Leonard Street, Belmont, MA 02478).

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

Farmers' Markets and Farm Stands


Arlington, Belmont, and Cambridge all host farmers' markets and farm stands that have opened up for the summer and fall months. These markets provide great fresh produce and other delicious options.

Belmont Farmers' Market

Open on Thursdays from 2:00 to 6:30 p.m, the Belmont Farmers' Market is located in the Belmont town center parking lot by the intersection of Cross St. and Channing Rd.

Arlington Farmers' Market
Open on Wednesdays from 2:00 to 6:30 p.m, the Arlington Farmers' Market is located in the Russell Common parking lot in Arlington Center, behind Park Terrace, just off of Rte. 60/Rte. 30.

Cambridge Farmers' Markets
Cambridge has a variety of farmers' markets open every day of the week at different locations. Check out their website to find out more information about each farmers' market.

Belmont Acres Farm
Belmont Acres Farm - previously Sergi's Farm from 1947-2011 - is open on Saturdays from 1:00-5:00 p.m. and on Tuesdays from 3:00-6:00 p.m. You can find the stand at 34 Glenn Road off of Blanchard road.

Farmer Tim's Vegetables
This year Belmont Acres Farm will be joined by a new farm stand in town - Farmer Tim's Vegetables - which will be open from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m in the Boston Musicians' Association parking lot at 130 Concord Avenue (across from the entry to Belmont High School). Tim Carroll, a long-time Belmont resident who recently purchased a farm in Dudley, will sell produce from that new farm.

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.

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.
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