Baker Trying to Have it Both Ways

Opposes Medicaid cuts in Washington, but backs them here
Commonwealth Magazine, July 23, 2017
By Reps. Ruth B. Balser, Jay Livingstone and Christine Barber

GOV. CHARLIE BAKER has publicly criticized Republican efforts in Washington, DC, to roll back health coverage provided by the Affordable Care Act. He rightly argues that such changes will have tremendously negative effects on the health care of hundreds of thousands of people in Massachusetts, our economy, and our budget. We commend him for these words. Unfortunately, his recent actions in Massachusetts are at odds with these statements.

During recent state budget negotiations, Baker sent a last-minute reform plan to the Legislature that included dramatic changes to MassHealth, the state’s Medicaid program. If the governor’s proposal had been adopted, Massachusetts would have become the first state in the country to roll back Medicaid expansion authorized by the Affordable Care Act.

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Yes: Cable Companies Should Offer High-Definition Channels for Local Access Programming

Boston Globe  |  June 23, 2017

Along with more than 80 legislative co-sponsors, I filed a bill this session that would help to ensure that our local public, education, and government (PEG) channels survive and thrive. An Act Supporting Community Access Television requires cable operators to carry local access channels in the same manner as all other primary broadcast channels by making them available in the high-definition tier, and by giving the local stations the ability to display the electronic program guide.

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The Argument: Should Massachusetts raise the smoking age to 21?

Boston Globe  |  January 1, 2015

Should Massachusetts raise the statewide smoking age to 21?

YES

By: Ruth B. Balser
State representative, Newton Democrat, House vice-chair, Joint Committee on Public Health

I am proud to be one of 56 cosponsors of House Bill 2021, “An Act further regulating the sale of tobacco products to teenagers.” This important public health legislation, filed by my colleague, Representative Paul McMurtry of Dedham, would raise the tobacco purchasing age from 18 to 21 across the state. I am also proud that Newton, the city in which I live and that I represent in the House, is among the approximately 80 Massachusetts communities that have adopted this policy at the municipal level.

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Bill proposes to prevent insurers from charging women more for disability insurance

Mass Live  |  July 22, 2015

State Rep. Ruth Balser, D-Newton, testifies about a bill that would prohibit gender discrimination in disability insurance at a Statehouse hearing on Wednesday. (Shira Schoenberg / The Republican)

State Rep. Ruth Balser, D-Newton, testifies about a bill that would prohibit gender discrimination in disability insurance at a Statehouse hearing on Wednesday. (Shira Schoenberg / The denpharma.com – visit this Republican)

BOSTON – Massachusetts lawmakers are weighing whether to prohibit disability insurers from charging higher rates to women than to men.

A group of women’s rights advocates and lawmakers are pushing for a bill that would prohibit gender discrimination in disability insurance. But insurers counter that gender is a legitimate factor to consider in weighing the risk that someone will make a disability claim.

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Pro-sprinkler legislator reattempts push for requirements in homes

Fire Sprinkler Initiative News  |  January 20, 2015

Ruth Balser speaking at podiumA key ally in the push for home sprinkler requirements, Massachusetts Rep. Ruth Balser has once again filed a bill calling for the installation of these devices in newly constructed one- and two-family homes in her state. The bill is currently co-sponsored by state Sen. Ken Donnelly.

Filed this month, the act states that “in any city or town which accepts the provisions … help site – denpharma every newly constructed building, designed or used for residential occupancy and containing no more than two dwelling units, shall be protected throughout with an adequate system of automatic sprinklers.”

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Lawmakers quiz Baker administration officials over proposed early retirement incentive for state employees

Mass Live  |  Tuesday, March 10, 2015

BOSTON — Massachusetts House and Senate budget writers quizzed Secretary of Administration and Finance Kristen Lepore on Tuesday about Gov. Charlie Baker’s proposal to trim the state workforce by 4,500 through an early retirement incentive program.

Baker’s proposal would allow state employees who are already eligible to retire to add up to five additional years onto their years of service for the purpose of calculating their pension benefits. This

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State Reps Push for Funding to Improve Accessibility at Newton’s Rail Stations

Newton TAB  |  February 14, 2014

Newton, Mass.

Members of the city’s legislative delegation are pushing for $19 million in funding to improve accessibility at two mass transit stations in Newton.

State Reps. Ruth Balser and Kay Khan introduced amendments that were included in the final version of a $12.7 billion transportation bond bill that passed the House of Representatives late last month. Balser’s amendment calls for spending $2 million to make the MBTA Newton Highlands station handicap accessible, and Khan’s amendment called for $17 million to relocate the Auburndale commuter rail station.

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