Wicked Local Bedford
Posted Feb 20, 2017
Ending an exhaustive first month of the legislative session, state Rep. Ken Gordon, D-Bedford, introduced 19 bills and co-sponsored dozens more as Beacon Hill buckles down to an important new session.
Among the bills filed by Gordon is legislation that will shield ratepayers from unwarranted gas pipeline expansion costs by preventing utilities companies from passing the costs of building or expanding gas pipelines onto consumers in the form of fees. The Supreme Judicial Court ruled in 2016 that this practice is illegal and the legislation would codify the ruling.
“This is one step in the process of protecting rate-payers from expansion of gas lines that many do not want,” said Gordon. “Coupled with cosponsorship of bills filed by my colleagues that encourage the use and development of renewable energy, we are on the right track.”
Gordon filed bills designed to assist the local economy by attracting high-tech employers and businesses that come with them to the new “Middlesex 3 Corridor.” Joining with state Sen. Ken Donnelly, D-Arlington, whose district includes Burlington, he filed several bills that will expand workforce training opportunities for mid-career workers.
Gordon revised and re-filed his bill calling for a paid family and medical leave program for all Massachusetts workers. This bill would allow workers in Massachusetts to take job-protected paid leave to recover from a serious illness or injury, to care for a seriously ill or injured family member, or to care for a new child. The bill would allow for an employer to the money that may have been used to pay the worker on leave to hire a temporary replacement worker or to provide additional hours to a part-time workers. Gordon traveled to Washington several occasions to work with the federal government and other state legislators to work on the policy.
“I will be spending time this session traveling to Chambers of Commerce across the Commonwealth,” said Gordon, who explained this program at a forum hosted by the Burlington Area Chamber of Commerce last session. “When most businesses learn the details of this program, they realize why this is good for workers and it is good for Massachusetts small and high tech business.”
Gordon also filed a bill that is aimed at the prevention of sexual abuse of students in schools and minors served by state agencies, by raising the age of consent in these situations to 19. For veterans, Gordon joined with local advocate Marie Ardito in filing a bill that allows Veterans in public service to use up to four years of active duty service towards pension benefits.
In defense of civil liberties, Gordon filed a bill backed by the ACLU to prevent potential employers and schools from asking applicants for social media passwords as a condition of employment or involvement in school activities. His cosponsored platform supports initiatives to improve public education at all levels, to encourage good government practices, to enhance elder services, to mitigate raising healthcare costs, to protect civil liberties and to reform the criminal justice system.
Once the bills have been assigned to committees, they will each be put before a public hearing. Anyone interested in testifying on behalf of a bill may contact Gordon at Kenneth.Gordon@mahouse.gov.