Velis supports firefighter, education bills

Rep. John Velis

Hello Westfield,

This week has been another busy one with constituent work and being in Boston. I have been going across the state to best represent my constituents and home city, it has been a bit of a whirlwind altogether. Although I enjoy time in Boston, I look forward to the time I spend in the district above all else as I am able to meet with all of you.  It is so important to what I do that I am able to get your input.

This week on Tuesday I testified in Boston on a bill we have put a lot of time and energy into to best help a group of individuals I am sure we can all appreciate, our firefighters.  This is the second time I have filed the bill An Act Relative to Parkinson’s Disease Disability and Death in Firefighters.  This bill would allow Firefighters diagnosed with Parkinson’s to retire on accidental disability, just like they would if they were diagnosed with heart disease or lung cancer. Studies have shown that Firefighters are up to 8 times more likely to be diagnosed with this debilitating disease than the general public and usually at a much younger age. We need to make sure that these brave men and women can continue to provide for themselves and their families once they can no longer work. It is so important to me and those I have worked with on this to make sure these Firefighters are taken care of since they already do so much for us.

This week we were in session as we are on most Wednesdays and we voted on a bill known as an Act to Support Improved Financial Stability in Higher Education. The legislation requires higher education institutions to make public and accessible financial reports and requires any institution facing financial risk of closure to develop contingency plans to ensure a process is in place to assist and inform its students and other stakeholders. The legislation also establishes financial penalties on institutions for non-compliance with reporting and planning. The bill requires ethics and fiduciary training for higher education trustees and board members. This is a bill that was pretty widely voted yes except for a few no votes.  It was another win for bipartisanship, something I have pushed for and displayed on many occasions. The topic of bipartisanship is something I try to keep at the forefront of everything I do.  I am always proud of the legislature when we are able to come together and get done what needs to be done. It has been a busy week on Beacon Hill, but I look forward to spending as much time in the District as I can.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns about bills or any other issue, please don’t hesitate to reach out! My office can be reached at [email protected] or (413) 572-3920. Have a great week!

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