Representative Ultrino to Receive Prestigious Award from Pirandello Lyceum

MALDEN – The Pirandello Lyceum will award Representative Steve Ultrino (D – Malden) with the prestigious I Migliori in Mens et Gesta Award, “The Best in Thought and Actions.” The award recognizes outstanding Americans of Italian descent who have made important contributions to profession, to society and to the Italian American community, according to the Lyceum.

 “Like many immigrant communities, Italian immigrants overcame discrimination and hardship to raise their families, strengthen their communities, and have a profound impact on our country for generations,” said Representative Ultrino, whose Italian grandparents and great-grandparents immigrated to the United States in the early 1900s. “I’m proud to be one of countless Italian-Americans working to help our communities, and I’m honored to receive this award.”  

This year marks the 32nd anniversary of the I Migliori award, which Boston Magazine called “the most prestigious honor to be received by a person of Italian descent.” The 2017 honorees including Representative Ultrino, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, Italian Consul General for New England Dott. Nicola DeSantis, and others.

The I Migliori awards dinner will be held on April 1, 2017.

REPRESENTATIVE ULTRINO COMMITTEE APPOINTMENTS FOCUS ON WORKING FAMILIES, SENIORS

Rep. Ultrino appointed to Labor and Workforce, Children and Families; reappointed to Elder Affairs, Health Care Finance

BOSTON – State Representative Steven Ultrino (D-Malden) was appointed to four committees focused on supporting children and families, workers, seniors, and access to affordable health care. For his second term, Representative Ultrino was reappointed to the Joint Committee on Elder Affairs and the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing, and was also appointed to two new committees, the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development and the Joint Committee on Children and Families. The committee appointments underscore the importance fighting for working class families and seniors, a primary focus of Representative Ultrino’s first term in 2015-2016.

“I’m excited to continue working for Malden’s seniors and working class families on these committees,” said Representative Ultrino.

Last session, Representative Ultrino’s service on the Elder Affairs and Health Care Financing Committee focused on providing supports, keeping costs low, and improving access to quality services. Representative Ultrino also hosted multiple forums and events for seniors, and facilitated conversations on elder homelessness, affordable public transportation for seniors, and more.

“Our seniors built the foundation of our community, and we have a responsibility to provide them with the resources they need to succeed later in life,” said Representative Ultrino. “The high cost of housing, health care, and other services too often pushes seniors out of their homes and away from our community. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues and Elder Affairs Secretary Alice Bonner to protect our seniors from fraud, homelessness, hunger, and other problems.”

Representative Ultrino’s appointment to the Health Care Financing Committee comes at a time of great uncertainty and concern at the national level as the federal governments debates whether to eliminate or modify the Affordable Care Act. This session, the Health Care Financing Committee is preparing to address any changes at the federal level to maintain high access to health care while limiting growth in spending.

“No matter what happens in Washington, we believe in Massachusetts that everyone deserves access to quality, affordable health care,” said Representative Ultrino. “We don’t yet know how the federal health care system will change, but I am resolute in protecting access to health care as a human right in our state.”

Representative Ultrino’s newer committee appointments, the Committee on Labor and Workforce Development and the Committee on Children and Families, deal with legislation particularly relevant to Malden’s working class families. Several of Representative Ultrino’s legislative priorities, including paid family leave and a living wage, are likely to go through these committees.

Most of the legislature’s committees are joint committees with members appointed from both the House and the Senate. All legislation is referred to a committee and requires a favorable committee recommendation in order to go to the House floor and, eventually, to passage.

In addition to four legislative committees, he also represents the House on the state’s Economic Empowerment Trust Fund Board and on the Special Commission on Local and Regional Public Health.

Steven Ultrino was sworn in to his second term as State Representative on January 4th, 2017.

REPRESENTATIVE ULTRINO ANNOUNCES $332,540 GREEN COMMUNITIES GRANT FOR MALDEN

Malden receives second-highest grant award out of 30 cities

BOSTON – State Representative Steve Ultrino (D – Malden) announced today that Malden has been designated a Green Community and has received a $332,540 grant from the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER). Malden is one of thirty new Green Communities, a designation earned by municipalities committing to an ambitious renewable energy agenda to reduce energy consumption and emissions. The 30 new Green Communities are now eligible for grants totaling $6,460,385 to complete renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in their communities. Since the program began in 2010, DOER’s Green Communities division has awarded over $65 million in grant funding to the Commonwealth’s cities and town through designation and competitive grant rounds. In this year’s round of new cities, Malden received the second highest amount awarded to any of the 30 cities.

“Becoming a Green Community represents a major achievement in Malden’s energy and environmental objectives. This money will help Malden expand efforts to conserve energy, cut costs, and protect our environment,” said Representative Ultrino. “This grant award will benefit all of Malden’s residents for years to come, and the Green Communities designation will allow Malden to compete for future grants as well.”

The Commonwealth’s 185 Green Communities range from the Berkshires to Cape Cod and are home to 64 percent of Massachusetts’ population in municipalities as large as Boston and as small as Rowe. Under the Green Communities Act, cities and towns must meet five criteria to be designated a Green Community and receive funding, including reducing municipal energy consumption by 20 percent over five years. The newly designated Green Communities have committed to reducing their energy consumption amounting to savings of $6,241,862 of energy costs and 2,234,090 MMBtu in five years, energy use equivalent to heating and powering nearly 2,718 homes, and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 27,641 metric tons, equivalent to taking 5,819 cars off the roads.

Under the Green Communities Act, DOER’s Green Communities Designation and Grant Program can provide up to $20 million annually to qualified cities and towns.  The goal of the Designation Grant Program is support communities’ investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that further the clean energy goals determined by the designated communities. 

Representative Ultrino Sworn in for Second Term

BOSTON – Representative Steve Ultrino (D-Malden) was sworn in for his second term as a State Representative in the Massachusetts House of Representatives on January 4, 2017.

“It has been an incredible honor to serve my community as State Representative,” said Representative Ultrino. “In my first term, I was proud to advocate for Malden’s working-class families in the State House, and I look forward to continuing that work in the coming session.”

Last term, Representative Ultrino served on the Joint Committee on Elder Affairs, the Joint Committee on Public Health, the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing, and the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development. He was particularly active in connecting Malden seniors with state elder affairs services.

“Our seniors are the foundation of our community, and it is incumbent upon us to take care of them,” said Representative Ultrino. “Last session, we made progress at the state level by passing the CARE Act, increasing senior center funding, and by running several local programs about housing, transportation, and other concerns of interest to seniors. Over the next two years, I will work to build on this progress.”

Representative Ultrino gained attention early on in his first term for his strong support of working class families. He was the lead House sponsor of a bill to raise the minimum wage for certain low-wage workers to $15 an hour, and was an active co-sponsor on a successful bill that became the strongest pay equity bill in the nation. Representative Ultrino fought against privatization efforts that would harm the state’s aging public transportation system, and supported clean energy legislation that will slow the cost of electricity for families across Massachusetts.

Representative Ultrino will file new legislation for the 2017-2018 session in the coming weeks, in addition to refiling several bills from his first term. He emphasized that securing additional funding for Malden and continuing to fight for working people and their families would remain his legislative priorities.

ULTRINO JOINS WORKERS TO PROTECT MBTA SERVICE, OPPOSE PRIVATIZATION

BOSTON – State Representative Steve Ultrino (D – Malden) was one of more than a dozen lawmakers to stand with a coalition of transit workers against the MBTA’s aggressive privatization plans at a rally today at Faneuil Hall. The MBTA’s privatization scheme has already led to layoffs and reduced service, despite a recent increase in T fares borne by riders.

Representative Ultrino joined State Senators Tom McGee, Marc Pacheco, Sal DiDomenico, and more than a dozen other lawmakers at the rally.

“MBTA privatization hurts the consumer, it hurts the worker, it hurts the economy and it hurts the community,” said Representative Ultrino. “Unfortunately, the T’s plan isn’t about slimming down costs while improving service and identifying efficiencies. It’s about outsourcing jobs and slashing budgets at all costs, regardless of the impact on MBTA riders.”

Last week, MBTA Acting General Manager Brian Shortsleeve made clear that "everything's on the table" for potential outsourcing, including work transporting passengers. The Boston Carmen’s Union has opposed privatization of the MBTA since the suspension of the Taxpayer Protection Act in 2015. For months, union worker have attempted to engage in contract negotiations that would save money for riders and the system. But MBTA leadership under the Baker Administration, Shortsleeve and Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack have been committed to privatization at all costs.

In September, the MBTA took action to lay off nearly a third of its cleaning staff, resulting in deteriorating sanitation conditions across the public transportation system and loss of health care benefits for many remaining workers.

“Governor Charlie Baker, Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack, and Acting General Manager Brian Shortsleeve have made it clear that they’re determined to privatize more parts of the MBTA,” said Jimmy O’Brien, President of the Boston Carmen’s Union Local 589. “But that doesn’t mean that riders will get better service – as we’ve seen with Keolis and the commuter rail. It just means that private companies will be able to turn a profit off of our fares and our tax dollars.”

In June, the Boston Carmen’s Union presented a contract extension and cost savings proposal to the MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board, providing the MBTA with $24 million in cost savings over the next four years, and the potential to save over $190 million over the next two decades.

Ultrino Earns Perfect Score From Environmental Advocates

Organization recognizes first-term Malden Rep. as “environmental champion”

BOSTON – Environmental advocates have awarded Representative Steve Ultrino (D – Malden) a perfect score for his voting record and advocacy in support of clean energy and environmental initiatives. Only 26 members of the 160-member House of Representatives were awarded a perfect score, which accounts for not only roll call votes on legislation but also leadership on environmental issues outside of the House chamber.

“Protecting the environment is a major priority for Massachusetts. It’s about clean energy, rising sea levels, the green economy, improving public health, and preserving our community for our children and grandchildren,” said Representative Ultrino. “I’m proud to advocate for action against climate change, investments in our workforce, and the preservation of open space. And I’m proud to represent Malden, which is a leader in urban environmental efforts.”

The Environmental League of Massachusetts Action Fund (ELM Action Fund) recognized Representative Ultrino for achieving a perfect score of 100 in the organization’s 2015-2016 Legislative Scorecard on the environment. It rates true legislative action, not merely votes. And it challenges AIM’s recent scorecard criticizing legislators on energy policy as lost in the 19th century and failing to represent the long term interests of their own members.

“When it came to votes this session, Representative Steve Ultrino supported our pro-environment agenda, but didn’t stop there. Steve demonstrated leadership on conservation. The ELM Action Fund is pleased to recognize him as an environmental champion,” said ELM Action Fund President George Bachrach. “We look forward to continued work together to protect our environment, improve public health, enhance quality of life, and grow our green economy.”

The scorecard takes into account increased funding for state parks, the Department of Environmental Protection, An Act to Promote Energy Diversity, and more, including the addition of a state climatologist to prepare the state for the effects of climate change.

Beyond votes, the ELM Action Fund awarded additional points to lawmakers who led by sponsoring important legislation or authored “Dear Colleague” letters, and deducted points from legislators who filed anti-environment legislation.  The ELM Action Fund also challenges lawmakers for the practice of “voice votes” on controversial issues which are not recorded roll call votes. This practice prevents voters from truly gauging which representatives and senators are truly on their side.

“Legislative scorecards are common but this is unique, measuring leadership, not just votes,” said Bachrach. “This is our best effort to give voters a sense of who is really on their side in the critically important work that takes place out of public view.”

To view the scorecard, visit bit.ly/scores15

TRIANGLE AWARDS REPRESENTATIVE ULTRINO WITH SPIRIT AWARD AT ANNUAL CEREMONY

MALDEN – Earlier this month Malden-based Triangle, a non-profit serving individuals with disabilities, recognized Representative Steve Ultrino (D – Malden) for his community partnership with Triangle and his support for the disability community. Citing his strong advocacy for funding and the integration of community services for people with disabilities, Triangle presented Representative Ultrino with an award at its annual Spirit Awards cookout celebration. Other Spirit Award recipients include inspirational members of Triangle staff, program participants, and community partners.

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Representative Ultrino was given the award alongside Triangle clients, employees, and community leaders like the Malden YMCA, Chicken & Rice Guys, and Clarks Americas.

“Representative Ultrino is a long-time supporter of Triangle and a recognized public leader in the effort to make this a more inclusive world,” said Triangle’s Chief Executive Officer Coleman Nee. “We are fortunate to have his support and congratulate him on this award.”

Triangle provides career and life services to over 3,700 adults and transition-age youth with disabilities in the Greater New England area. Triangle teaches safety and self-advocacy and encourages community involvement, but its chief focus is employment. Staff work day in and day out to curb the 60% unemployment rate for people with disabilities in Massachusetts by providing individualized services to meet the needs of every participant. In the last fiscal year, Triangle exceeded its organizational record and placed individuals with disabilities in 234 competitive employment positions.

“Triangle is grateful to have the support of valuable partners like Representative Ultrino that allow us to provide quality services that help the world realize that we are all people with ability,” Triangle said in a statement.

For more information about the programs and services Triangle provides, please visit PeopleWithAbility.org.

FLURRY OF BILLS, VETO OVERRIDES PASS AS LEGISLATIVE SESSION ENDS

REP. ULTRINO JOINS COLLEAGUES TO RESTORE FUNDING FOR VITAL PROGRAMS

BOSTON – As the 2015–2016 legislative session came to an end on Sunday, July 31, Representative Steve Ultrino (D – Malden) joined his colleagues in the House of Representatives in passing critical legislation that invests in the state’s economy, allows record levels of clean energy development, expands access to health care, improves municipal governance, and takes a first-in-the-nation stance to ensure pay equity. The Legislature also responded to Governor Baker’s vetoing of important state programs by restoring funding to dozens of line items, including public housing, education, public health, the arts, and assistance for the needy.

“The last few days have been an incredible capstone to my first term as Malden’s state representative,” said Representative Ultrino. “I’m so proud of what we’ve accomplished, so excited to continue this work next session, and so honored to be representing my community. We’ve just taken some historic steps forward, and I’m eager to see Massachusetts continue to grow.

The Legislature met late into the night on the last Saturday and Sunday of July in order to approve compromises on bills and wrap up overrides of the governor’s vetoes. The House and Senate approved compromise language on bills regarding economic development, clean energy, municipal modernization, transportation networking companies like Uber and Lyft, and on pay equity. They also agreed on language that expands health care coverage to cover treatments for Lyme disease and HIV-associated lipodystrophy. If the lipodystrophy bill is signed by the governor, Massachusetts will become the first state in the country to cover the ailment caused by certain medicines used to treat HIV.

“Massachusetts has always been a leader in driving policy changes across the country, from the U.S. Constitution to education, equal marriage and health care reform,” said Representative Ultrino. “This week, we can add first-of-its-kind pay equity legislation and coverage of a tragic HIV-related disease to the list of progressive policies that began in Massachusetts.”                                                                  

The House led the charge in overriding a number of vetoes, restoring funding to public schools, public health, public housing, and other programs. The Massachusetts Cultural Council also saw funding restored after advocates across the state, including dozens in Malden, lobbied legislators to support the arts.

Other overrides taken up and passed by the legislature restored major funding for the State University Internship Incentive Program, early learning, and state aid for public libraries. Massachusetts continues to establish itself as a top model for education for the rest of the country and the Legislature continues to dedicate itself to providing the necessary means to meet the state’s objective. School districts like Malden will see a funding boost after the legislature overrode the Governor’s veto of the special education circuit breaker line item.

ULTRINO, HOUSE PASSES LANDMARK BILL TO DISMANTLE THE GENDER WAGE GAP

(BOSTON) – Representative Steve Ultrino (D – Malden) joined his colleagues in the House of Representatives in passing legislation to ensure that both women and men receive equitable compensation for comparable work.

“Pay equity gets at the heart of who we are as Americans,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D-

Winthrop). “I want to offer my sincerest thanks to the legislators who have raised their voices and tenaciously pursued this issue for decades. Your work will shape a better and more just future for women in the Commonwealth.”

“In adopting these new protections and policies, our state is taking a big step forward in eliminating the gender wage gap and towards helping women across the state earn their fair share,” said Representative Steve Ultrino. “I was proud to co-sponsor this legislation, and am proud that we were able to make this historic landmark that will serve as a model for states around the country.”

Massachusetts will be the first state in the nation to adopt a provision that would benefit all workers by preventing employers from requesting salary history in hiring, a measure designed to end the self-perpetuating cycle of wage disparity. However, prospective employees would not be barred from voluntarily disclosing their past salaries.

The bill prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender in the payment of wages for comparable work unless the variation is based upon a mitigating factor including seniority (provided that paternal, family, and medical leave don’t reduce seniority). This is a system that measures earnings by quantity or quality of production, sales, or revenue; education, training or experience, allowing women to have the same pay as men for the same standard of work.

In drafting this bill, the House of Representatives focused on building consensus to ensure that the legislation would be workable, effective and sustainable. The key effort to defining “comparable work” helps determine how much each individual gets paid regardless of their gender. The bill incentivizes companies to correct compensation disparities internally before going to court by creating three-year affirmative defense from liability. Within that time period employers must complete a self-evaluation of its pay practices and demonstrate reasonable progress in eliminating pay disparities.

It also:

-       Prohibits employers from reducing salaries in order to comply with law.

-       Prohibits an employer from preventing employees from talking about their salaries.

The legislation will take effect of July 1, 2018.

Tiffany Farris Ward of Malden Honored as Unsung Heroine at State House

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Tiffany Farris Ward of Malden was honored as an Unsung Heroine at the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women’s 13th Annual Unsung Heroines Celebration on Wednesday June 22, 2016 at the State House. Malden State Representative Steven Ultrino (D) – Malden nominated Ms. Ward for this recognition for her dedication and contribution to the Malden YWCA for over 15 years. 

Ms. Ward works at the Malden YWCA organizing and facilitating after school programs and housing placement programs for homeless and/or low income women of Malden. Her dedication to helping women extends beyond her role at the YWCA as a volunteer for the Annual Encore Breast Cancer event, said Representative Ultrino.

Each year, state legislators nominate women who make remarkable contributions to their organizations and communities but who are often unrecognized for their efforts. Unsung Heroines are actively engaged in making a difference for women in their communities by using their time and skills to mentor, volunteer, and advocate on behalf of women.

“Tiffany’s work to better the lives of those around her has left a lasting impression on the entire Malden community,” said Representative Steve Ultrino. “She deserves recognition for the time and dedication she has selflessly put forth to better the lives of others.”

The Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women is an independent state agency that was legislatively created in 1998 to advance women of the Commonwealth to full equality in all areas of life and to promote their rights and opportunities. The MCSW provides a permanent, effective voice for the women of Massachusetts.