Massachusetts State Senate
Massachusetts State Senate
Disability benefits for Firefighters with Parkinson's Disease from toxins.
A fire can expose firefighters to millions of chemicals and toxins. We have become aware of the massive risks these toxins pose for first responders, who breathe them in, ingest them, and absorb them through the skin while putting their lives on the line. Most states have adopted “cancer presumptive laws,” meaning that if a firefighter gets cancer on the job, they are automatically awarded accidental disability to see them through their illness. The increased rate of Parkinson’s Disease (PD), a degenerative brain disorder, in firefighters has emerged. I am a firefighter who was recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s. I am not alone -- while the rate of PD in the general population is 3 out of 1000, it is 30 out of 1000 for firefighters. I am young to be experiencing this disease, but that’s often how it works for emergency responders, and there is mounting evidence that our exposure to toxins is the culprit. Four firefighters who all fought a tire fire in Spencer MA in 1986 have all been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. My state of Massachusetts has great presumptive laws for firefighters, not only for cancer, but for heart and lung disease as well. It is now time for our legislators to include Parkinson’s Disease among these illnesses. There is no disputing the connection between toxic chemical exposure and PD anymore. While PD usually develops slowly among the general population, symptoms often hit firefighters fast, seemingly out of nowhere. Research now suggests that toxin-induced PD has a more rapid onset than genetic PD, another indicator that we are, indeed, contracting this illness on the job. For those of us struggling with Parkinson’s, walking, talking, grasping and even blinking become increasingly difficult tasks to accomplish. Needless to say, continuing to work as firefighters while battling this disease is most often not possible. Indiana recently became the first state to include Parkinson’s in its presumptive law. This has provided unimaginable relief to many firefighters, who were running out of sick time, and facing unemployment and massive medical bills due to their debilitating disease. We now must band together and demand that more states recognize the link between firefighting and PD, and include PD among the illnesses covered by their presumptive laws. Please sign this petition to include Parkinson's in Massachusetts’ presumptive law, which would allow firefighters with Parkinson's to retire on full accidental disability.
Justice for Officer Gannon and Officer Nero
The judicial system in this state needs an overhaul. Our police officers are out putting their lives on the line daily for the safety of the people of the Commonwealth and their hard work is for not when career criminals are allowed to walk free from a courthouse. How many known violent criminals are walking freely in public awaiting their next court date instead of sitting in a cell where they belong? 1 is too many. Officer Sean Gannon is the perfect example of why. On April 12,2018, while serving a warrant with his K9 partner Nero, he was shot and killed by Tom Latanowich, 29, of Somerville. A man with 125 prior convictions and current pending criminal charges and on probation. He had a known violent history and yet he was allowed to freely walk the street. Had he been where he belonged, jail, Officer Gannon would be here today. Instead, a great, young police officer is gone needlessly and his young wife is a widow. His family has lost a key member, Nero has lost his best friend and his department has lost a brother. The judges need to be held accountable for these decisions. We are prosecuting drug dealers in some cities and towns on manslaughter charges and sentencing them to jail, we send drunk drivers to jail after minimal numbers of offenses but we let a man with 125 convictions walk freely amongst us. We the people of Massachusetts want our justice system fixed. it’s time we are allowed to feel safe and it is beyond the time for our police officers to have their hard work followed through on the final end—jail for offenders. Hold the judicial system responsible for these career criminals walking freely amongst us. FIX THE SYSTEM! Save our police officers, DO YOUR JOBS!
Congress: Let all children of U.S. military service members unite with their families!
I’m Jenifer Bass, a U.S. Navy veteran, who served for 10 years, one-third in the Asia-Pacific region. It was due to my travel between ports in countries like Japan and Thailand that I first encountered amerasian children, and descendants, of U.S. service members and civilian contractors previously stationed overseas. Filipino Amerasians are abandoned and neglected biracial children of Filipino mothers and American fathers (mostly members of the US armed forces). In the Philippines alone, more than 52,000-plus children were born and left behind after the U.S. Navy withdrew the last of its military personnel in 1992. Right now, the U.S. government won’t legally recognize them as U.S. citizens, despite having been born to an American parent. The Philippine Embassy won't help them either. As a former US colony between 1898 and 1946, the Philippines was home to millions of US soldiers and their dependents, even after its independence. Until 1992, the country hosted two of the largest US military facilities outside the US – Clark Air Base and Subic Naval Base, which played major roles during the Vietnam and first Gulf wars. In 1982 US Public Law 97-359, or the Amerasian Act of 1982, allowed children from Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Kampuchea, or Thailand to move to the US and eventually become American citizens, but those who were from the Philippines were excluded from the law, an exclusion which was upheld by the US Senate on the basis that many Filipino Amerasians were “conceived from illicit affairs and prostitution”, and were born during peacetime. Today, there are estimated to be more than 250,000-plus children. Many amerasians are caught in a no-man’s land of discrimination and poverty -- most left behind by U.S. service members who are unaware that they’ve fathered children overseas. My friend John Haines is one of these sailors. In 2011, John discovered he was the father of a half-Filipino daughter, Jannette. He attempted to unite with her through the American Homecoming Act -- but was frustrated to learn that the Act did not apply to Filipino children of U.S. service members. Today, all John wants is to be united with his daughter and grandchildren. He, like so many other veterans are living with a “hole in their hearts” as they search for ways to unite with their children. There is hope. The Uniting Families Act of 2018, HR 1520, creates a specialized visa allowing military veterans and eligible civilian contractors to sponsor their children and grandchildren for U.S. citizenship. Currently, blood relationship must be proven by DNA test and the total number of visas granted will be capped at 5,000 each year. The issue takes on more urgency as so many of our veterans from our wars in Southeast Asia are getting older and dying each day -- without the chance to connect, or in some cases, reconnect with their own children. John’s daughter Jannette has already undertaken the DNA testing process, conclusively proving her relationship to her American father. All she’s waiting for is the opportunity to permanently unite with her father. There is a PBS documentary, "Left by the Ship" (2010), documenting a day in the life and the personal struggles as a Filipino amerasian on the never ending search for identity and their struggles to connect to their American military families. Please sign this petition to tell Congress that these families cannot wait another day. Pass the Uniting Families Act of 2017, HR 1520, now!
To open and maintain more public ATV/Dirtbike Trails in MA
As of right now I am up to $750 in fines for simply riding an ATV on public town land. The areas in which I and other ATV/Dirtbike enthusiasts use are created by ATVs and Dirtbikes to go in and around areas like landfills and powerlines. These are not beautiful places to hike or walk your dog but they suit us just fine. The problem is our State's strict laws on offroad vehicle use. Basically, if you own an ATV/UTV in MA the only place you are able to ride is Pittsfield MA, which is practically in another state form where I live. Because of this I and many others head to their local spots. Some are old quarries, sandpits and powerlines. However these are all illegal and I can attest to that. Like I stated before I am up to $750 in fines for simply wanting to have fun and not bother anyone. The state is not doing its part in providing enough safe space for outdoor recreational use for all of its residents. In my town alone there are over 70 acres of protected land that are permissible to be used by foot, bicycle or horseback. Some of this army land looks like it was used for nuclear experiments (no growth in forest and all sand). Yet still these sandy areas, perfect for riding ATVs and dirt bikes, is still illegal. As riders and residents of Massachusetts we need to propose the State to do something about this. Riding ATV's, UTV's and dirtbikes should not be considered a crime! There is a need to have more legal places to ride! In order to do this people need to register their machines. If everyone in the state registered their machines the state might be persuaded to take action. Massachusetts should also look to change the rules of legal dirt bike only areas to allow both ATVs UTVs and dirtbikes; for example Freetown State Forest and the Wrentham Trails. This would at least give ATV and UTV riders some other options without traveling 3 hours. Regardless we need to start a conversation with the State!
Impeach Judge Feeley
Yesterday, Representative Jim Lyons filed a resolution to impeach Superior Court Judge Timothy Feeley. The resolution was sponsored by Republican Representatives Geoff Diehl, Marc Lombardo, Shaunna O’Connell, Kevin Kuros, Nick Boldyga, and Dave DeCoste. Joining them in sponsoring the petition was Maureen Maloney. Maureen is the mother of Matthew Denise who was killed by an illegal immigrant who was drunk driving when he hit and dragged Matthew to his death. Judge Feeley is the same judge who let Maine cop killer John Williams out of jail: http://www.eagletribune.com/news/maine-murder-suspect-s-bail-was-lowered-twice-by-mass/article_d7d21686-48b3-11e8-89db-9f1bf1d0dcab.html Judge Feeley is the same judge that kept convicted heroin dealer Manuel Soto-Vittini out of jail. The reason the judge gave was that the dealer had to provide for his family. Feeley also said he was taking into account the possible immigration consequences Soto-Vittini faces as a result of the conviction — outrageous! Feeley did not put this thug behind bars because he could be deported. Story here: http://www.bostonherald.com/news/local_coverage/2018/05/salem_judge_blasted_for_putting_heroin_dealer_back_on_street Judge Feeley is the same judge that released Salem man Daniel Beauvais, charged in a recent sexual abuse case. He released this sexual predator after another judge concluded that “Beauvais poses a danger not only to the child in the case in which he’s been charged, but to other children, if released." Story Here: http://www.salemnews.com/news/local_news/judge-jails-child-rape-suspect-after-new-indictments/article_8ded903d-6246-515f-9337-55ecdba66116.html Judge Feeley must go! Please sign onto this petition for your voice to be heard; and urge your State Representative and State Senator to support HD4822 to impeach Judge Feeley.
Naturopaths are not doctors: stop legitimizing pseudoscience
The purpose of this petition is to voice opposition to legitimizing naturopathy through state licensure and mandated insurance reimbursement. Naturopaths are attempting to become legally recognized as "primary care physicians" in all U.S. 50 states and become Medicare providers. This is a dangerous future. UPDATE: This petition has expanded to include Canada, where naturopaths are also aggressively lobbying for licensure in all provinces and inclusion in healthcare programs. In Canada and the U.S., naturopathic education is shared across the border via a common accrediting agency, the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education (see below). Thus, a naturopath who graduated from Bastyr in Washington state can then become licensed in Ontario. It is only natural that opposition to NDs should be applied to all of North America. Naturopaths are not trained similar to physicians, nurse practitioners, or physician assistants. Naturopaths are trained in a hodgepodge of antiquated methods, mystical theories, and bare-bone fundamentals of medicine. Naturopathic students are required to master homeopathy, energy modalities, herbalism, chiropractic-like manipulations, and therapies involving heat and water. There is a strong emphasis on anti-vaccine promotion and alternative cancer treatments. This petition concerns naturopaths who graduated from programs approved by the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education. These programs are attempting to circumvent comprehensive medical training by misrepresenting their academic rigor to lawmakers and the public. This is our chance to make a stand against pseudoscience masquerading as legitimate medicine. Please sign this petition to show your support for blocking naturopathic licensure, scope of practice expansion, and inclusion in federal and state health care programs. Naturopaths are not doctors, and they should not be treated as such. Below is a list of references with data and expert opinion on naturopathic education and practice: Atwood, Kimball C., IV (2003). "Naturopathy: A critical appraisal". Medscape General Medicine 5 (4): 39. Atwood IV, Kimball. C. (2004). "Naturopathy, pseudoscience, and medicine: Myths and fallacies vs truth". Medscape General Medicine 6 (1): 33. Barrett, Stephen (2013). "A close look at naturopathy". QuackWatch. Wilson, K. (2005). "Characteristics of Pediatric and Adolescent Patients Attending a Naturopathic College Clinic in Canada". Pediatrics 115 (3): e338–e343. Busse, Jason W.; Wilson, Kumanan; Campbell, James B. (2008). "Attitudes towards vaccination among chiropractic and naturopathic students". Vaccine 26 (49): 6237–6243. Wilson, Kumanan; Mills, Ed; Boon, Heather; Tomlinson, George; Ritvo, Paul (2004). "A survey of attitudes towards pediatric vaccinations amongst Canadian naturopathic students". Vaccine 22 (3-4): 329–334. Mielczarek, Eugenie V.; Engler, Brian D. (2014). "Selling Pseudoscience: A Rent in the Fabric of American Medicine". Skeptical Inquirer 38.3. Boon, Heather S.; Cherkin, Daniel C.; Erro, Janet; Sherman, Karen J.; et al. (2004). "Practice patterns of naturopathic physicians: Results from a random survey of licensed practitioners in two U.S. States". BMC Complementary & Alternative Medicine 20 (4): 14. "Testimony in Opposition to H. 1992 and S. 1205, An Act to Create a Board of Registration in Naturopathy". Massachusetts Medical Society. Massachusetts Medical Society. Downey L, et al. (2010). "Pediatric vaccination and vaccine-preventable disease acquisition: associations with care by complementary and alternative medicine providers.". Matern Child Health J. 14 (6): 922–30. Lipson, Peter. (2016). Naturopaths: Fake Doctors in White Coats? Forbes. Caulfeild, Timothy. (2013). Don't legitimize the witch doctors. National Post. Palmer, Brian. (2014). Quacking All the Way to the Bank: Naturopaths are winning insurance coverage for medical nonsense. Slate. Various authors. Naturopathy vs Science. ScienceBasedMedicine.org. Bellamy, Jann. (2015). 2014: Chiropractors, naturopaths and acupuncturists lose in state legislatures. ScienceBasedMedicine.org. Hermes, Britt. (2015). ND Confession, Part 1: Clinical training inside and out. ScienceBasedMedicine.org. Hermes, Britt (2015). ND Confession, Part II: The Accreditation of Naturopathic “Medical” Education. ScienceBasedMedicine.org. Hermes, Britt. Naturopathic Diaries.
RE:Bill H.2073/H.3441/S.1409 An Act to ensure pay parity for County Sheriff’s Corrections
Dear Governor, House Speaker, Senators and Legislative Representatives; RE: Bills H.2073 / H.3441 / S.1409 An Act to ensure pay parity for County Sheriff’s Correction Officers and Jail Officers My name is Barry Ferreira I am a Lieutenant at the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office and a member of the Massachusetts Correction Officers Federated Union. I wanted to write you this letter in hopes of obtaining your support for House Bills H.2073 / H.3441 / S.1409 that is of vital importance to me and my family, as well as the families of each and every one of my brother and sister Officers. H.2073 / H.3441 / S.1409 is in regards to pay parity and fair wages for Correction Officers working at the 14 County Sheriff’s Office’s across the State of Massachusetts. Our Officers are assigned to the arduous task of working behind the walls across Massachusetts. They perform the same duties as the counterparts at each of the other County Facilities as well as the Department of Corrections, but are paid a substantially less amount on average. Statistically speaking the average Correction Officer will be seriously assaulted twice in their career. We have had several instances of Officers being assaulted by inmates in the past few months resulting in hospitalizations and serious injuries. Given the increasing population within our facilities of individuals with serious and often untreated mental illness, the number of assaults is sure to increase as well. It is also important to know that the dangers associated with our work do not end at the completion of our shift. Our Officers unlike DOC Officers for the most part, live in the same communities as the inmates who are in our custody. Whether we’re out buying groceries, pumping gas, or out for dinner with our families, there is always a chance of encountering a former inmate and potentially facing a dangerous situation. Fair compensation is the only thing that offsets the stresses of this job and the dangers we face daily in and out of work. I hope I have your support in this bill and would like to express that if this bill is successful, Correctional Officers across the State of Massachusetts will forever be thankful for the life changing, well deserved parity. Sincerely, Barry Ferreira 35 McCabe St. Dartmouth, MA 02748