Ultrino Hosts Senior Forum with Legislators

Event Brought Service Providers, Legislative Leaders, and Seniors Together

From left: Representatives Paul Brodeur, Denise Garlick, and Steve Ultrino.

From left: Representatives Paul Brodeur, Denise Garlick, and Steve Ultrino.

MALDEN – State Representative Steve Ultrino (D—Malden) hosted Malden seniors at a well-attended community forum at the Malden Senior Center on Monday, along with House Elder Affairs Committee Chairwoman Representative Denise Garlick (D—Needham) and Representative PaulBrodeur (D—Melrose).

Representative Ultrino, who sits on the Elder Affairs Committee and also on the board of directors for the Monsignor Neagle Housing Association, spoke about the need for better resources for seniors in housing, health care, and other areas.

From left: Representatives Steve Ultrino, Denise Garlick, and Paul Brodeur.

From left: Representatives Steve Ultrino, Denise Garlick, and Paul Brodeur.

“We’ve done a lot of great work in Malden, but there’s so much more to do,” said Representative Ultrino. “It’s important for us to hear from seniors about their concerns, and that’s what this forum is about. I’m grateful to the many organizations and citizens who are joining with us in the legislature to fight for more services. ”

Chairwoman Garlick, who chairs the House Elder Affairs Committee, presented key information on these issues and discussed resources that are available to seniors in need. Other topics discussed include predatory lending practices against seniors, helping support caregivers, and unreasonable limits on assets and income for program eligibility.

The legislators fielded questions from those in attendance and invited seniors to complete an anonymous survey about issues they are facing relating to elder affairs.

Representative Ultrino stressed the importance of community partnerships in providing resources to Malden seniors. Several service providers and senior advocacy groups were represented, including AARP of Massachusetts, Boston Medical Center, Mystic Valley Elder Services, and ABCD, which recently began operating the Fuel Assistance (LIHEAP) program in Malden.

Representative Ultrino co-sponsored a number of important bills to help Malden seniors this legislative session, including An Act relative to assisting elders and people with wisabilities in the Commonwealth, An Act to create increased eligibility for home care services for the elderly, and The Caregiver Advise, Record, Enable (CARE) Act.

Ultrino, House Vote to Pass Veterans Legislation

“Advocating for veterans is a year-round effort,” says Ultrino.

Representative Ultrino meets with Corporal Sam Bernstein, 90, at a ceremony in February recognizing veterans of the Battle of Iwo Jima. “Working to help veterans is a year-round effort,” says Ultrino.

Representative Ultrino meets with Corporal Sam Bernstein, 90, at a ceremony in February recognizing veterans of the Battle of Iwo Jima. “Working to help veterans is a year-round effort,” says Ultrino.

BOSTON  – State Representative Steve Ultrino joined his colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives last Wednesday in passing comprehensive legislation to improve the lives of American veterans. The passing of this legislation comes a week before the celebration of Veterans Day.

Representative Ultrino has been a steadfast and proactive advocate for veterans since being sworn in earlier this year. He has co-sponsored several bills affecting veterans, including H.2461 which would create a tax exemption for paraplegic veterans, and H. 3057, which would help veterans access health care. Representative Ultrino also submitted testimony last month in support of H.3126, An Act relative to the cost of veteran higher education.

“Veterans Day is an opportunity for us to recognize the men and women who have done so much for our country,” said Representative Ultrino. “But working to help veterans is a year-round effort. I’ve been advocating for veterans legislation since I was sworn in last January, and I look forward to continuing to do so.”

During last week’s session, Representative Ultrino and his colleagues approved a batch of proposals to protect veterans grave markers from theft and defacement and to criminalize falsely claiming veteran status for personal benefit.

One of the bills sets punishments for “stolen valor” crimes, such as pretending to be a veteran, active service member or military honor recipient for financial gain. A separate bill that sets a fine of $5,000 for the illegal sale, receipt, retention or disposal of veterans grave markers was also approved. These markers are often made of bronze and have thus been the targets of scrap metal scavengers. The House passed a third bill which strengthens a law criminalizing the desecration of gravestones.

Statement from Representative Ultrino, Senator Wolf, Mass. AFL-CIO President Tolman, and Fight for $15

BOSTON – Following the favorable report of An Act to establish a living wage for employees of big box retail stores and fast food chains, legislators, workers, and supporters of the bill rallied at the State House in support of the Fight for $15 movement.

“This piece of legislation and this entire movement is about working class individuals and their families,” said Representative Steve Ultrino (D-Malden), the lead sponsor of the bill in the House. “I’m thrilled that the committee has supported our bill, and I’m looking forward to this legislation becoming law.”

"When committed workers and activists rally for a $15 an hour minimum wage, filling the State House steps with enthusiasm, it's my honor to join them,” said Senator Dan Wolf (D-Harwich). “And I had great news to share:  Today the committee I co-chair- the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development- endorsed my bill to guarantee $15 an hour for people working in big box stores and fast food restaurants.  Another great step forward!”

“Given the income inequality in America and Massachusetts, this legislation is a step in the right direction but we have a staircase still to climb. We look forward to putting all our efforts towards its passage,” said Massachusetts AFL-CIO President Steven A. Tolman.

“Fifteen dollars an hour would help lift up our communities by strengthening our families that are barely hanging on right now,” said Theresa Pennington, a single mother and a fast food worker at Dunkin Donuts where she makes $9 an hour. “Today’s announcement shows the growing momentum behind Fight for $15, and stands as one more reminder that when workers unite, we win.”

State Representative Steve Ultrino To Host Community Conversation with Seniors

Committee on Elder Affairs Chair Garlick to Attend

MALDEN – Representative Steve Ultrino wishes to invite all seniors, their loved ones and caregivers to a Community Conversation with the Chair of the Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Committee on Elder Affairs, Representative Denise C. Garlick.

They will share information on the resources that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts currently uses to support our seniors. Most importantly, Representative Ultrino and Chair Garlick are looking forward to listening to the issues, needs and concerns of the seniors of the community in order to plan for the future.

The Community Conversation with Seniors will be held:

November 23, 2015
10:30 AM
Malden Senior Center
7 Washington St

Malden MA 02148

Light refreshments will be served.

Please do not hesitate to contact Alex Pratt in the Office of Representative Steve Ultrino at Alexander.Pratt@mahouse.gov or 617-722-2460 with any questions or concerns.

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Malden Receives Additional MassWorks Funding for Downtown Revitalization

Left to Right: Secretary Jay Ash, Lt. Gov. Karyn Paulito, Mayor Gary Christenson, Rep. Steve Ultrino, Rep. Paul Donato

Left to Right: Secretary Jay Ash, Lt. Gov. Karyn Paulito, Mayor Gary Christenson, Rep. Steve Ultrino, Rep. Paul Donato

Mayor Gary Christenson and State Representatives Paul Donato and Steve Ultrino were pleased to accept an $850,000 MassWorks grant during a recent State House Ceremony held with Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito and Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Jay Ash. The grant announcement is part of an $85 million MassWorks Infrastructure Program that awarded funding to 10 Massachusetts cities and towns undergoing redevelopment initiatives. To date, Malden has received $9.85 million for the downtown Malden/Police Station revitalization project. The legislative delegation including State Senator Jason Lewis and State Representative Paul Brodeur, who were unable to attend, worked towards the award.

Malden Redevelopment Authority Executive Director Deborah Burke and Strategic Planning Analyst Ron Hogan, who prepared the City’s MassWorks application, also attended the ceremony in Boston with the Mayor. Malden received additional points for its application by executing a Community Compact Agreement with the Commonwealth. The Community Compact Agreement is a tool that the Baker/Polito administration uses to strengthen the partnership between cities and towns and the state. As part of the Compact, Malden has committed to furthering best practices in several areas including citizen engagement through electronic/technological communication and to study the feasibility of a community supported housing plan to create an appropriate mix of housing suitable to the community’s demographic. The Compact, signed by Mayor Christenson and Lt. Governor Polito also articulates commitments the Commonwealth will make on behalf of communities, including helping them to attain chosen best practices. Malden is the 48th community to sign the Community Compact Agreement with the state.

This past September, the City broke ground on the construction of the new Police Station at 800 Eastern Avenue, which is a critical part of the redevelopment that will contribute to the economic revival of Downtown Malden. The future police station represents the first phase by the City of Malden to revitalize Malden Square by demolishing the existing City Hall and Police Station at 200 Pleasant Street, reopening Pleasant Street to through traffic, and connecting Downtown Malden to the Malden Center T Station. Upon the completion of the new Police Station in the fall of 2016, Developer Jefferson Apartment Group will redevelop the transit oriented site into a thriving mixed-use retail/residential/office development that will include a new City Hall.

“The award of this additional funding clearly demonstrates the State's commitment to Malden's plans to unlock renewed opportunity and growth in downtown Malden,” said Mayor Christenson. “We are truly grateful to our Legislative Delegation, to Secretary Ash, and the Baker Administration for their continued support and commitment.”

“I’m very pleased to see Malden receive this well-earned $850,000 MassWorks grant to help support its downtown redevelopment efforts,” said Senator Jason Lewis.  “The ongoing revitalization of Malden’s downtown will be an economic boon to small businesses, residents, and the City, and I’m glad to see state government partnering with the city in this way.”

"Once again, Malden has received grant money that will revitalize the downtown area as we continue to move the city forward," said Representative Paul J. Donato.

“The MassWorks program supports local economic development opportunities identified by local leaders as important to their communities. This grant will supplement prior state and local investments in Malden and encourage additional private investment in the community,” said Representative Paul Brodeur.

“I’m very pleased that Malden has been awarded this additional funding,” said Representative Ultrino. “This money will support our efforts to revitalize downtown Malden and enhance our housing, public safety, and economic development goals.”

Ultrino, House Vote To Criminalize Fentanyl Trafficking

New Legislation enhances ongoing and multifaceted effort to confront the substance addiction epidemic facing Massachusetts

BOSTON – Representative Steve Ultrino (D–Malden) joined his colleagues in the House of Representatives to pass legislation criminalizing the trafficking of fentanyl. Drug traffickers frequently combine fentanyl, the most potent opioid available for medical use, with heroin which can create a lethal mix.

Under existing law, drug traffickers can only be charged with manufacturing, dispensing, or possessing fentanyl. Closing this loophole comes at a crucial time. The current opioid crisis is becoming increasingly destructive because individuals using heroin are often unaware that the drug contains fentanyl. Fentanyl is 50 to 100 percent more potent than morphine and 30 to 50 percent more potent than heroin.

“This legislation gives our law enforcement officials an important tool to crack down on trafficking and to help stem the opiate crisis sweeping across Massachusetts,” said Representative Steve Ultrino.

“Combatting the opioid crisis in Massachusetts and supporting those struggling with addiction requires a comprehensive and multi-faceted approach,” House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo said. “Criminalizing the fentanyl trafficking is an important part of that equation as we continue our efforts related to treatment and prevention. I thank Chairman Fernandes and Attorney General Healey for their foresight and prompt action on this urgent and distressing matter.”

 “This bill is another step towards getting the deadly drug fentanyl off the streets and out of the hands of those struggling with addiction,” said Attorney General Maura Healey. “The heroin and prescription drug crisis is claiming lives and devastating families and communities across our state. We applaud the

House for passing this legislation and thank House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Chairman John Fernandes for their leadership on this issue. We urge the Senate to also pass this measure swiftly so that we can give law enforcement the tools to prosecute those who traffic these lethal drugs.”

Specifically, this legislation:

·         Sets the threshold of fentanyl trafficking at more than ten grams;

·         Includes any derivative or mixture containing fentanyl;

·         Authorizes incarceration in state prison for up to 20 years.

This bill complements unprecedented investments in funding for addiction services and the landmark substance addiction law passed in 2014 which went into effect one week ago. That legislation seeks to set patients on a path to sustainable recovery by both increasing access to care and improving the standard of care. Under the new law, all insurance plans in the Commonwealth will cover acute treatment services, clinical stabilization and medical detox for up to fourteen days.

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Representative Ultrino Joins Economic Empowerment Trust Fund Board

Board promotes wage equality, financial literacy, and smart spending programs

BOSTON –State Representative Steve Ultrino (D-Malden) was sworn in last week as an inaugural member of the Commonwealth’s Economic Empowerment Trust Fund Board, which is responsible for supporting and promoting wage equality, establishing financial literacy programs, creating college savings accounts, and establishing college and career readiness programs in the fields of STEM.          

“The Commonwealth’s Economic Empowerment Trust Fund Board informs and educates Massachusetts residents about issues that help keep families economically stable and provide avenues for growth,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D-Winthrop). “In his short tenure in the House, Representative Ultrino has proven himself to be a hardworking and passionate public servant. I look forward to seeing the good work he’ll do on the board.”

“Wage equality and financial literacy are vital issues for working-class families living paycheck to paycheck, for veterans looking to settle down after time overseas, and for students preparing to make big financial decisions that could last a lifetime,” said Representative Ultrino. “I am excited to join my fellow board members in this new endeavor.”

Representative Ultrino’s extensive career in education includes serving as a teacher at Malden Catholic High School and as Education Director for the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Department, where he supported financial literacy efforts.

The Economic Empowerment Trust Fund was created earlier this year when the Legislature merged the Financial Literacy Trust Fund and the Commonwealth Covenant Fund. The new Trust Fund has an expanded mission to help empower residents across the state.

Other members of the Financial Literacy Trust Fund Board include the Attorney General, the Secretary of Education, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, the Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education, and appointees of the Treasurer’s office. The Board is chaired by Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, and held its first meeting on September 21, 2015.

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Malden Schools Receive Nearly $2.5M for Expanded Learning Time Initiative


MALDEN – Malden’s state legislative delegation, including State Senator Jason Lewis and Representatives Paul Donato, Paul Brodeur, and Steve Ultrino announced that Malden Public Schools received nearly $2.5 million through the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Expanded Learning Time grant.

Malden, which was one of eleven school districts to participate in the $14 million program, received $2,483,064 for FY 2016, including $1,119,424.00 at the Ferryway School and $1,363,640.00 at the Salemwood School. The money helps to cover the cost of an extended school day at the two schools, which were some of the first in the state to participate in the program. The money can be used for additional instruction in math, literacy, science and other core subjects; offer enrichment opportunities; and provide educators with more opportunities to plan and participate in professional development.

Representative Ultrino filed an amendment in the House budget this year that successfully added $550,000 to the program, with Representatives Donato and Brodeur as co-sponsors. Senator Lewis filed a similar amendment in the Senate budget.

“The expanded learning time grant has proven very beneficial to Malden Public Schools,” said Malden Superintendent David Derousi. “We reached out to the delegation when this funding was cut, and we have been able to get most of that money back.”

“Extended Learning Time helps students achieve their academic goals and reach their long-term potential,” said Senator Jason Lewis.  “I was very pleased to advocate for increased resources for Extended Learning Time through the Chapter 70 Education Foundation Budget Review Commission; and, I’m especially pleased to see the Ferryway and Salemwood Schools receiving this vitally important grant funding that will greatly benefit Malden’s young minds.”

“The extended day program has been beneficial to both schools and the students,” said Representative Paul J. Donato.

“Extended learning time is a proven strategy for boosting student achievement,” said Representative Brodeur. “This grant money will help the students at Ferryway and Salemwood continue to make great strides in their education.”

“I’m glad that Malden continues to benefit from this funding,” said Representative Ultrino. “Our students at the Ferryway and Salemwood Schools have shown real progress since we’ve implemented this program.”

Legislature Passes Balanced FY16 Budget

Includes Key Investments for Malden

BOSTON – Representative Steven Ultrino (D – Malden) joined his colleagues in the Massachusetts Legislature to enact a $38.145 billion state budget for Fiscal Year 2016 (FY16) which emphasizes economic growth, support for residents most in need, and reform of the state’s transportation system. The spending plan makes investments in local aid, education, and human services including an acute focus on behavioral health and substance abuse.

“This was a tough budget year for everyone, but we were able to make some key investments in our future,” said Representative Ultrino. “With the help of the rest of the Malden delegation, including Senator Jason Lewis and Representatives Paul Donato and Paul Brodeur, we secured funding for several important projects and organizations in the city.”

At least $150,000 will be used for an analysis of the structural integrity of the existing storm water tunnels in Malden, Everett, and Revere to make sure they are functioning properly and to capacity. $35,000 was appropriated to develop and maintain a community garden by the commuter rail and MBTA tracks that run through the city.

Malden also received funding for social programs throughout the city. Portal to Hope, a non-profit that helps victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking crimes and serves Everett, Malden, and Medford, received $150,000 in funding. Housing Families, Inc. received $100,000 to provide educational support and programming for homeless children through the GREAT Youth and Families Program. Additionally, Malden received more funding for expanded learning time for students outside of the regular school day.

The budget also addressed many statewide issues that affect Malden and its residents.

Building on a responsible yet proactive approach to bolstering the state’s economy, this year’s budget increases the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) while maintaining a voter-mandated tax reduction and without implementing new taxes or fees. For low-to-moderate households, EITC will increase to 23 percent on January 1, 2016. Increasing this credit is an effective way to fight stagnant wages and lift working families out of poverty.

“This year’s budget features a long-overdue increase of the Earned Income Tax Credit, and I’m thrilled we have taken this substantial step towards addressing income inequality by helping working families in Massachusetts,” said Senate President Stan Rosenberg (D-Amherst).

The FY16 budget also targets the opioid crisis, strengthening behavioral health efforts enacted in last year’s budget and the landmark substance addiction law through several targeted investments. Many of the programs focus on co-occurring disorders and finding sustainable ways to aid in both prevention and recovery including:

•  $3 million for new clinical stabilization beds to provide for treatment after detoxification;

•  A municipal Naloxone bulk purchasing program to authorize the Department of Public Health to buy and distribute this critical intervention to first responders;

•  A task force to study the feasibility of a prescription drug disposal program;

•  $2.5 million to expand patient access to Vivitrol, a non-narcotic drug that blocks the effect of opiates or alcohol for a period of 30 days;

•  $1.5 million to expand opioid prevention grants;

•  $3.1 million for a new line item for Recovery High Schools, including $1 million to establish two new programs;

•  More than $375 million for Adult Community Mental Health Services, $87 million for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, and an additional $4 million for the Department of Mental Health to annualize and expand community placements to free up beds in the DMH pipeline.

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Alexander Pratt 

July 13, 2015