Ultrino, L’Italien Announce Bill Ensuring Access to State IDs for Low-Income People

BOSTON – State Representative Steve Ultrino (D-Malden) and State Senator Barbara L’Italien (D-Andover) announced legislation today ensuring no-fee access to state IDs for low-income Massachusetts residents.

The legislation was filed following a Dec. 18 article in the Boston Globe about Penny Shaw, a disabled elder rights advocate who was blocked from a state building because she had no state ID. With only $72.80 each month for discretionary spending, Shaw is unable to afford a $25 state ID fee.

“There are people living right on the edge, between their rent, their food, their heating bills, their transportation, and to come up with a $25 fee for a state ID can be prohibitive,” said Penny Shaw, who strongly supports the legislation. “Waiving this fee would be a big first step toward increasing access to state government, and would decrease the financial burden that’s a barrier for low-income people.”

“The state ID fee is a big hurdle for many low-income people seeking the help of state services and other resources,” said Representative Steve Ultrino. “Our state government should make it easier for people to pull themselves up, not stand in the way.”

“Disabled, elderly, and low-income people should not experience hurdles to accessing identification, and with increased security, we need to be mindful that every member of the public is able to access our shared spaces” said Senator Barbara L’Italien. “Government should be focused on making access easier for everybody. This bill will help folks who are low-income have the resources they need to be full participants in government and the community.”

Currently, Massachusetts residents must pay a $25 fee to receive a state ID from the registry of motor vehicles. Without a state ID, some residents lose access to public buildings, state and federal services, medical care, legal resources, and even the right to vote. The legislation eliminates the application fee for a driver’s license or non-driver state ID for individuals at or below 300 percent of the federal poverty line.

Ultrino Secures $1.5M For Malden Projects in House Bill

BOSTON – Lead pipe replacement efforts and a local community center may receive $1.5 million in state funding thanks to a bill that recently passed the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

The funding levels in the bill were secured by Representative Steve Ultrino (D – Malden), who filed two amendments to a capital bond bill being considered for non-transportation infrastructure in Massachusetts. One amendment allocates $1 million for replacing water service pipes in Malden, which would provide much needed funding for the City’s lead pipe replacement efforts. Another amendment allocates $500,000 to assist a community center in Malden with the cost of leasing or purchasing space. This funding could benefit the Malden Teen Enrichment Center, a potential recovery center, or another community center.

“This bill makes targeted investments in our community by responding to pressing needs in Malden,” said Representative Ultrino. “By improving access to clean drinking water through lead pipe replacement, and by securing space for important community services, we can really make a big impact on residents’ quality of life. I’m grateful to my House colleagues for supporting this funding, and I urge the Senate and the Governor to do the same.”

The bill, H.4045, passed the House 144 to 6, with strong support from Representative Paul Donato (D – Medford) and Representative Paul Brodeur (D – Melrose). The bill now moves to the Senate.

House Passes Legislation to Support and Honor Military Veterans

BOSTON – Representative Steve Ultrino (D – Malden) joined his colleagues in the House of Representatives to pass two bills to support Massachusetts’ veterans. These bills build upon the Commonwealth’s legacy as the first state in the nation for the number of programs and services it offers to military personnel, veterans and their families.

“I am immensely proud that Massachusetts ranks first in the nation when it comes to military-benefit programs and services,” House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo said. “This legislation sends a message to our heroes and their families that we appreciate their bravery, sacrifice and service. While these two bills are small steps, the House is continuing its work in providing critical and well-deserved supports.”

"We wanted to put these important bills out before Veterans Day to honor those who have served as a small token of our appreciation,” said Representative John J. Lawn, Jr., Chair of the House Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs.

“Our veterans and their families have given so much to our country, and this legislation honors that sacrifice by helping to make the lives of veterans just a little easier,” said Representative Ultrino. “It’s one small step in our history of supporting veterans,  and in recognizing their service and sacrifice.”

Under legislation passed by the House, every municipality in the Commonwealth will now designate one parking space at its town or city hall as “veterans-only parking.”

The House also took action to enable municipalities to more easily collect donations for their Veterans Memorial and Patriotic Celebration Funds. This legislation allows cities and towns to include a check-off box on municipal tax or motor vehicle excise tax bills through which residents can pledge donations to be used for the creation and restoration of monuments and other activities that honor the contributions and sacrifices of local veterans.

House Passes Legislation Banning Bump Stocks

BOSTON- Representative Steve Ultrino (D – Malden) joined his colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives to pass an amendment sponsored by Representative David Linsky (D – Natick) to the 2017 Supplemental Budget banning the sale, purchase, or ownership of a “bump stock” device.

The amendment adopted by the House bans the possession, ownership, or sale of any device that attaches to a rifle, shotgun, or firearm, other than a magazine, which is designed to increase the rate of fire of said weapon. The legislation carries a punishment of imprisonment in the state prison by not less than three years nor more than twenty years, and goes into effect six months from the passage of the bill.

“I was proud to take this vote to protect our community from these incredibly deadly devices,” said Representative Steve Ultrino. “By acting quickly to ban bump stocks, Massachusetts continues to be a national leader on gun control. I urge Congress and legislatures in other states to act quickly to adopt common-sense gun control legislation which has made Massachusetts one of the safest states in the nation.”

“I am proud and encouraged that the House’s 2014 gun law has resulted in Massachusetts having the lowest rate of gun deaths per capita,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo. “There’s no doubt about it: The stronger the gun laws, the safer the state. Today’s vote to ban bump stocks is a responsible, commonsense action to protect our citizens and make our laws even stronger. I thank Chairman Linsky for his initiative and I urge other states and Congress to take action on gun safety.”

“What we saw last week in Las Vegas was horrific,” said Representative Jeffrey Sánchez, House Chair of the Joint Committee on Ways & Means (D-Boston). “While we cannot bring those precious lives back, today’s bump stock ban prevents another tragedy from taking place in Massachusetts, and builds on our progress promoting sensible gun safety in the Commonwealth.”

“This legislation will ensure that no one in Massachusetts can legally possess a ‘bump stock,’ a device designed to increase the deadliness of these already deadly weapons,” said Representative Linsky (D-Natick). “These devices were created by gun manufacturers as a work-around of the federal law banning the sale and possession of automatic weapons, and there is absolutely no place for them in a civilized society.”

A “bump stock” is a device that uses the recoil of a semiautomatic firearm to file several shots in succession, mimicking automatic gun fire. While the weapon still fires one bullet for every pull of the trigger, the “bump stock” automates the trigger-pull process, allowing shooters to fire at a rate of 400 to 800 rounds a minute. Twelve of the rifles the gunman in the Las Vegas mass shooting were modified with a “bump stock,” allowing him to increase the fire rate of his weapon.

“Congress has continued its failure to act in the wake of yet another gun violence tragedy, but I applaud Speaker DeLeo and the rest of my colleagues in the Massachusetts House for their willingness to take a stand on this issue of public safety,” said Representative Linsky. “We must continue to take the initiative at the state level to improve our state’s gun laws, and ultimately save lives.”

The Amendment, which passed 151-3, now goes to the Massachusetts Senate for debate.

Malden Non-Profits See Funding Restored After Mass. House Action

Funding restored for domestic violence survivors, people with disabilities, and homeless families

MALDEN - Representative Steve Ultrino (D – Malden) joined his colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives this week to continue to override Governor Baker’s vetoes of vital services in the FY2018 budget.  These overrides restore funding for several key programs in Malden, including local resources for domestic violence survivors, people with disabilities, and homeless families.

Representative Ultrino urged that funding for these programs be restored in order to protect Malden’s at-risk populations. Local nonprofit Portal to Hope, which provides services to survivors of domestic violence, had $150,000 restored by the House. Malden-based Triangle, Inc., which helps individuals with disabilities succeed in the workforce and in the community, saw $100,000 restored for School to Career programming. Housing Families Inc., also based in Malden, supports homeless families and families on the brink of homelessness. They had $100,000 restored to the budget for educational support and programming for homeless children in the community. An additional $100,000 was restored by the House last week to support a school-based health center at Malden High School.

“These cuts to the budget put Malden’s vulnerable communities further into jeopardy and left local organizations reeling from a loss of funding,” said Representative Ultrino. “I was proud to join my House colleagues in restoring funding to these programs. Survivors of domestic abuse, people living with disabilities, and public school students with less access to health care need these crucial programs and resources.”

After receiving a balanced budget from the Legislature, Governor Baker in July unilaterally slashed funding for many important programs across Massachusetts. By overriding these vetoes, the House ensures proper funding for these services. Other vetoes that were overridden include:

·         Children’s Trust Fund                                         

·         Suicide Prevention

·         Adult Mental Health

·         Emergency Assistance to low-income families in need

·         Safe and supportive schools

·         HIV/ AIDS prevention

·         Funding for Councils on Aging, including the Malden Senior Center

·         Environmental and conservation programs

“After these programs were slashed in July, I promised to fight to restore their funding,” said Representative Ultrino. “I’m very grateful today to the rest of the Malden delegation, to House leadership, and the whole membership for their support of these crucial programs.”

The veto overrides now move to the Senate for consideration.