Although the 2007-2008 formal legislative session was extremely productive, some bills never made it to a full vote, and must remain priorities for the 2009-2010 session. Over the past two years we were able to address many of the pressing concerns of the citizens, families, businesses and municipalities of the Commonwealth, but several other crucial matters still require further attention.
Here are a few highlights:
In the beginning of 2008, Governor Deval Patrick introduced legislation relative to reducing recidivism rates by providing better employment opportunities to citizens who have been convicted of criminal offenses. One of the most important parts of this bill would prevent employers from accessing information about fraudulent charges on which a defendant has been found innocent.
Although the bill gained some attention this year, it never made it to the floor of the House for a vote, and it remains a top priority hopefully to be addressed early next session.
Non-Lethal Defense Sprays:
In the interest of helping citizens protect themselves from violent and predatory criminals without needing to buy a firearm, it is essential that Massachusetts increase the availability of non-lethal defense sprays. While on the one hand it is important to work to decrease the number of illegal and unregistered hand guns and automatic weapons on our streets, another often neglected front in the battle against crime is providing people with legal ways that they can protect themselves and their families. Non-lethal defense sprays offer an effective and safe way for people to feel secure both while out walking on city streets and within in their own homes.
I filed a bill that will help increase legal access to such defense sprays, which has been reported favorably by The Committee on Public Safety, but still requires a vote before the House and Senate.
Urban Speed Limits:
In the wake of several tragic deaths on roads in urban districts, it is clear that we must take steps to increase the safety of pedestrians on sidewalks and in crosswalks. Vehicles operating at high speeds in highly populated areas cause a significant threat to safety for all pedestrians, and especially children.
Based upon the recommendation of various transportation agencies and safety experts, this bill will decrease roadway speed limits in urban districts to 25 MPH and will considerably increase the safety of the tens of thousands of pedestrians in urban areas every day.
Read more about the 2007-2008 Formal Legislative Session: