State Representative Dave Rogers

UPDATES

Budget Update


The final FY2016 budget will likely be passed after the new fiscal year begins. As a result, the House and Senate passed a short-term, $5.5 billion budget to guarantee continuity in state services when the new fiscal year begins on July 1st. The final budget, which I expect will make a number of strong investments, will arrive late on the Governor's desk thanks to a disagreement between the House and Senate over whether or not the budget is a "money bill" in which taxes can be changed. While the final budget is not likely to include any new taxes, the Senate did opt to include an earned income tax exemption expansion (a policy step that I strongly support) and the state Supreme Court ultimately ruled that the Senate's proposed tax changes were appropriate for debate in the budget process. As a result of this stand-off, negotiations to resolve the differences between the two budgets are behind schedule. Fortunately, with an interim budget in place, there should not be any consequences due to the delay.
 

Massachusetts Economic Development


Massachusetts' jobless rate has dropped to pre-recession levels. The current unemployment rate of about 4.6% is almost a full percentage point below the national average and around half of the Commonwealth's peak unemployment rate in 2009. 70,000 jobs have been created in the past year alone. While this growth is somewhat misleading - some of the jobs are part-time, have fewer benefits than before, and some individuals have left the work force - on balance it still demonstrates a strong recovery. Moreover, often when there are fewer individuals looking for work companies raise wages to better attract a dwindling labor supply. Massachusetts' strong recovery from the recession of recent years demonstrates the sound fundamentals of our state's economy, and although we cannot say for sure what the years ahead will bring we are well-positioned for a reasonably prosperous time.

Massachusetts has Implemented Online Voter Registration


As a result of the 2013 Election Modernization bill that I strongly supported, Massachusetts now allows voters to register online. The Commonwealth is the 21st state to implement an online voter registration system, which, in other states that have already adopted the policy, has increased voter registration by as much as 10 percent following implementation and resulted in savings from the use of online applications. I strongly support any measure we can take to increase voter participation (which is far too low, particularly among young people) and am therefore thrilled to see this measure go into effect.

Legislation


Each newsletter I highlight a couple of my bills that I think are particularly important. Last month's newsletter featured three of my criminal justice reform bills. This month I would like to mention three other criminal justice bills that I have filed to help make our justice system more fair and responsive to individuals' needs.
  • H3449: An Act requiring audiovisual recordings of certain police interrogations: The work of many organizations such as the Innocence Project have shown that false confessions are a real concern. Following a 2004 Supreme Judicial Court ruling that all but called for legislative action on this issue, my bill requires that custodial interrogations of suspects in the most serious crimes be filmed. With this video record, jurors will be better able to discern false confessions and prosecutors will have more conclusive evidence of authentic confessions. This bill would both protect defendants from the use of coerced, false confessions and would support the efficient administration of justice in the courtroom.
  • H3448: An Act relative to fees for indigent defendants: This bill removes any fees facing indigent criminal defendants seeking their constitutional right to counsel. People should not be financially punished retroactively for their inability to pay for their constitutionally guaranteed counsel.
  • H3450: An Act relative to the classification and punishment for certain offenses in the commonwealth: This bill reclassifies some low level, non-violent felonies as misdemeanors. For example, the bill increases the amount for felony shoplifting from $250 to $950. The dollar amounts for these felonies have no been adjusted to inflation, so they punish individuals with felonies for less severe offenses. Conviction of a felony is a life-long obstacle, and we should be careful to only use this classification when truly necessary.
Criminal justice reform is a top priority of mine. I will continue to work to ensure that our laws allow for fair trials and that we are appropriately punishing both serious and minor crimes. As always, you can review all of the bills that I have filed on my website.

Community Events

Payson Park Music Festival

Each Wednesday evening from June 17th to August 26th, at 6:45 p.m. there are fantastic music performed at Payson Park in Belmont, a concert series that is celebrating its 25th anniversary this summer. In July, The Reminisants will perform on the 1st, The Love Dogs and Cheryl Arena on the 8th, 4 Ever Fab and the Beatles Tribute Band on the 15th, Joshua Tree on the 22nd, and the Belmont Community Summer Band and di bostoner klezmer on the 29th. In addition, there will be four children's programs every Friday from 10:30 a.m. beginning on July 10th and ending on July 31st. Check out their website to learn more.   

Summer Concert on the Green featuring Glorious Noise

On July 22nd from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. you will surely hear some Glorious Noise coming from the Jefferson Cutter house lawn (611 Mass Ave. Arlington, MA) . This quartet performs music ranging from blues to classic rock to 90s alternative rock.

July 4th Celebrations

Don't have plans for your July 4th weekend? Well here are two great options:

The Boston Harborfest takes place from July 1st to 5th with a ton of fun activities all around historic Boston. Please look at their website to find out the specifics.

The Independence Day Celebration at Robbins Farm Park (61 Eastern Ave, Arlington) has refreshments, music, and the Boston Pops Orchestra and Fireworks on the giant screen! This July 4th celebration begins at 6:00 p.m. and the fireworks start at 10:30 p.m.

Harvard Alumni Jazz Band

The Harvard Alumni Jazz Band will be performaning at Robbins Farm Park (61 Eastern Ave, Arlington) on July 16th at 6:00 p.m.

Shakespeare in the Park

Another event at Robbins Farm Park (61 Eastern Ave, Arlington) is a performance of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream". The Classic Repertory Company of New Repertory Theater will be performing it July 19th at 5:00 p.m.

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.

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.

July Office Hours


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

Tuesday, July 7th from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the Beech Street Center in Belmont (266 Beech Street, Belmont, MA 02478).

Tuesday, July 14th from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Kickstand Cafe in Arlington (594 Massachusetts Avenue, Arlington, MA 02476)

Saturday, July 18th 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, July 18th 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

In Belmont, Arlington, and Cambridge farmers' markets 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.
 

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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