Dear Friends,
2015 was a busy and exciting year in the Kane household! Thanksgiving week our family visited Gettysburg, Monticello and Colonial Williamsburg, reflecting on our nation's founding, war for independence and incredible challenge to keep the union together. A personal highlight for me was our daughter Madison finding my great, great, great grandfather's name on the Pennsylvania monument, Thomas George Sharp, who fought at Gettysburg.

While Beacon Hill was not in formal session from mid-November through the holidays, the State House was extremely busy with many committees continuing to review, analyze and hold public hearings on the nearly 6,000 bills filed in this legislative session.  

2015 Legislative Update
While the 2015 legislative session in the House was not one of the most productive in recent years, we did pass a few key bills to note, and you can read more about the 2015 legislative session by reading my full press release here:
1.     DCF reform  -  The Legislature has taken steps to support the Baker
Polito Administration's efforts to implement reforms at the Department of Children and Families to ensure the protection of children entrusted to the state's care. The Fiscal Year 2016 budget included a $35.5 million funding increase for DCF for the hiring of new social workers to help reduce the agency's caseload. The fall supplemental budget included an additional $2.2 million to address immediate staffing and training needs at DCF, along with a $1 million reserve to provide training and supports for foster families and adoptive families.

2.     Fentanyl trafficking - The bill imposes a prison sentence of up to 20
years for manufacturing, distributing or dispensing more than 10 grams of fentanyl or any of its derivatives. Previously, individuals could only be charged for the lesser crime of fentanyl possession. This synthetic painkiller, which is 50-100 times more potent than morphine, has been linked to multiple fatal overdose deaths in Massachusetts and across the country and this new law is critical in our fight against opioid abuse.
3.     Veterans bills

a.     Stolen Valor Act: prosecutes individuas who falsely claim to be
veteran or recipient of a military honor in order to obtain
money, property or other tangible benefits.
b.    Veterans graves protection:  imposes a fine of up to $5,000 for
the  unauthorized sale, retention or disposal of a veteran's grave marker with repeat offenders subject to an additional punishment of up to 5  years in state prison or up to 2 ½ years  in a house of correction.  Another bill signed into law requires  vandals who desecrate a  grave stone or veteran's grave marker  to pay restitution to the property owner, in addition to facing a  fine of up to $5,000 and up  to 5 years of imprisonment in the  state prison or up to 2 ½ years of  imprisonment in a jail or  house of correction.
c.     Purple Heart fee waivers - Legislation signed by Governor
Baker  on  November 23rd allows Purple Heart recipients to  visit
any state  park, forest recreation area and reservation  without having to pay  any charges or fees. 

4.     Sex offender classification - Limiting the amount of time Level 2 and
       Level 3 sex offenders can secure a stay of final classification pending
a court appeal and mandating an expedited hearing process whenever a stay is granted, these changes will help preserve the public's ability to access information about convicted sex offenders living and working in their community who are considered to be at a high risk of re-offending.
5.     Public records reform - This bill, representing the first significant
updating of the state's public records law in more than 40 years, establishes specific timelines for municipalities and state agencies to comply with public document requests; sets limits on the extensions allowed for complying with these requests; caps the hourly rates and copying fees that can be charged for producing these documents; and allows individuals whose requests for documents are denied to seek legal relief through the superior court system, which can award "reasonable attorney fees and other litigation costs," along with punitive damages ranging from $1,000-$5,000. 
6.     Net metering cap - Before recessing for the holidays, the House also
approved legislation to encourage more solar energy projects across the state by raising the private net metering cap from 4% to 6% and the public net metering cap from 5% to 7%.  Massachusetts currently offers incentives to businesses and municipalities that produce solar power by allowing them to sell this energy back to the grid at retail rates. The House proposal calls for transitioning to a new "market net metering credit" equal to the average wholesale rate of electricity, while allowing utilities to offset the costs of maintaining their infrastructure by charging a "monthly minimum reliability contribution" to solar users.
7.     Shrewsbury Deputy Fire Chief bill - Senator Mike Moore and I
worked together to file the home rule petition passed by Shrewsbury Town Meeting last May to exempt the newly created Deputy Fire Chief position from civil service. We were both pleased that we were able to pass the bill through both chambers and that the Governor signed this bill into law in early December.
2016 Legislative Session Preview
In addition to working on the FY 2017 budget, which anticipates upwards of a $1 billion deficit, I expect we will take up a more comprehensive energy bill, as well as Governor Baker's municipal modernization bill that among the vast proposed changes, eliminates or updates obsolete laws impacting cities and towns.

Municipal Modernization Bill Announcement at the State House

Other major policy issues likely to come up for debate next year include proposals to mandate hands-free cell phone use when driving; bring Massachusetts into compliance with the federal REAL ID Act; regulate fantasy sports and ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft; raise the charter school cap to allow for up to 12 new and/or expanded charter schools a year in districts performing in the bottom 25% of all districts statewide; consider potential MBTA fare increases; and promote economic development throughout the Commonwealth.
There are also several home rule petitions for liquor licenses in the district and a land issue in Shrewsbury that we are working on in committees and hope to move through in this legislative session. Our formal session will end July 31st, so we will have a significant amount of work to do in the next seven months.
Preliminary FY 2017 Budget Outlook
Later this month the Governor will file his FY17 budget, and while it is expected that we will see revenue growth, it is anticipated that we will have another significant deficit, of up to $1 billion. The deficit will curtail any new spending and challenge us as we work to increase local aid and education funding. While the budget will be difficult, I believe that we must balance the budget without any new taxes or tax increases. The Governor has already committed to no new taxes and fortunately Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo has made the same pledge, and since "money bills" must be originated in the House, we have a commitment to work within the existing revenue streams available.
Transportation Committee
The Joint Committee on Transportation continues to provide legislative oversight to the MBTA Fiscal & Management Control Board, with critical work in the months ahead to determine how to reduce the backlog of transportation maintenance work, fund critical infrastructure projects and bring fiscal stability to the T. 

In addition to my committee work, I have also taken on a leadership role in the Central MA caucus in advocating that MADOT re-prioritize the 
I-495/I-90 Interchange Improvements as the move to All Electronic Tolling will exacerbate the public safety concerns and increased congestion at one of the busiest interchanges on the Mass Turnpike. I am very pleased that this past November, MADOT issued an RFP for completing the design work to 25% so we can understand the full cost of the improvements and begin permitting work.

Public Health Committee
Earlier this fall I sought out an appointment to the Joint Committee on Public Health. Not only are there substantive public health issues facing us in the Commonwealth, close to home I hoped to be a strong advocate for the UMASS Medical School and Hospital System. As a large employer and a key player in regional economic development with their cutting edge research and development efforts, UMASS is a tremendous benefit to Central MA. This past month I met with the MA Nurses Association to discuss their legislative priorities, and in mid-December UMASS President Marty Meehan and the Chancellor of the Medical School Dr. Michael Collins briefed several central MA legislators on the financial challenges facing the medical school.

Joint Committee on Public Health Hearing

Financial Literacy Task Force

As a member of Treasurer Deborah Goldberg's Financial Literacy Task Force, we unveiled our report at the State House in early December, and I was honored to be asked to speak about the importance of "starting early" by providing age appropriate tools throughout a K-12 education so students have the necessary skills to make the financial decisions at each point in their young lives. Locally, I have been working on a committee that includes School Committee member Dale Magee, Central One Federal Credit Union, Shrewsbury Federal Credit Union and a concerned Shrewsbury parent on what additional opportunities exist to help ensure our students are graduating high school financially literate. 

Shrewsbury and Westborough Community Compacts Signed

I joined Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito as she signed Community Compacts with Shrewsbury and Westborough, representing a partnership between the towns and Commonwealth of MA. The towns agree to pursue best practices in chosen areas and the Baker-Polito Administration works to support the self-selected initiatives by providing assistance. 

Local Initiatives & Events

Spending time in Shrewsbury and Westborough supporting local initiatives, attending events and speaking on issues important to our community are the most rewarding aspects of being State Representative. Here is a sampling of initiatives and events from the last few months.
  • Sponsored the Veteran's Inc 5K race in November and after touring the women's shelter on Sheridan Street in Worcester this past fall I gathered gently read books to donate.


  • In October I greatly enjoyed speaking to the Men's Group at the Shrewsbury Senior Center.
  • Spoke at the grand opening of the new Westborough Fire Station and renovation of the Westborough Town Hall, and attended the swearing in of the new Fire Chief Patrick Purcell.
  • Attended the fantastic fire-works and spoke at the Kenneth F. Burns Bridge re-dedication, a state transportation mega-project that came in under-budget and ahead of schedule.
  • Working with the Service Learning group at Shrewsbury High School, we collected clothing donations at local schools to donate to Andy's Attic, an incredible non-profit created by the parents of a SHS student who passed away, and now run by volunteer Christine Foley, an amazing woman and gym teacher at South High in Worcester.


  • Worked with Shrewsbury resident Andy MacIsaac to help raise funds to bring Unified Basketball to Shrewsbury, a fantastic athletic program that gives students with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to play on interscholastic teams.
  • I was honored to speak at the Westborough Veteran's Day Observance, and attended the Shrewsbury Observance and a very moving luncheon at the Willows in Westborough dedicated to veterans. In December, I attended the Wreaths Across America service at Mountain View Cemetery, where local boy scouts placed wreaths in remembrance of our veterans during the holiday season.
  • Member of the Shrewsbury Drug Free initiative coordinated through Shrewsbury Youth and Family Services.
  • Sponsored the Westborough Turkey Trot to benefit the Westborough Public Schools and the Shrewsbury Turkey Trot for Alzheimer's research
  • Senator Moore and I partnered together on two events at the Shrewsbury Senior Center, a Roast Turkey Dinner in November and a Christmas Luncheon in December, and we taped a "Conversations with" show with Chair of the Council on Aging Tim Swiss, Vice Chair Louise Russell and Senior Center Director Sharon Yager on issues facing seniors and how the Senator and I are working on those issues.

Opposing the Legalization of Recreational Marijuana

In early November I spoke on a League of Women Voters' panel in Sudbury as the opposition to the legalization of marijuana. My good friend and colleague Senator Will Brownsberger spoke in favor, and we continued our effort to have substantive policy discussions in a manner which is respectful and engaging to attendees, yet clearly articulates the positions that we each take on this critical issue. I will be actively working over the course of the next 10 months to defeat the ballot initiative that I believe would be enormously detrimental to our youth, health, society, public safety and would have stark fiscal consequences to our state.

Women in Government Conference

In October, I traveled to South Carolina for the Women in Government (WIG) Eastern Regional Conference to represent Massachusetts along with several other colleagues. WIG, headquartered in Washington, D.C., whose stated mission as a national, non-profit, non-partisan organization of women state legislators is to provide leadership opportunities, networking expert forums, and educational resources to address and resolve complex public policy issues to all 1,783 women state legislators.  This weekend I will attend a policy briefing in Tampa, Florida with legislators from across the country on reengaging veterans in the workforce, the 2016 legislative forecast, economic development and workforce development and health care issues. 
Events Coming Up!
  • My campaign team and I are excited to be planning my Re-election Kick-off Event - stay tuned! 
  • Join me for my next "Coffee with Hannah" on Thursday, January 14th at 9am at Blue Coast Coffee on South Street in Shrewsbury. Please stop in to say hi or talk about an issue in an informal setting.
  • I host monthly office hours in Shrewsbury and Westborough for residents to stop in and discuss an issue or problem they need help with in a quieter environment. The upcoming times and locations can be found on my home page on I hope you can join me!  
Welcome my New Legislative Aide
- Erin Ryan, former Legislative Director for the former Senate Chair of Ways and Means Stephen Brewer, has joined my office and we are thrilled to have someone with her level of legislative experience and relationships in the State House. Welcome, Erin! 

Thank you for all of your support.  As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to me or my Legislative Aide Erin Ryan. Our email addresses are and and our office number is 617-722-2430. I welcome your thoughts, perspectives and questions and please know that it an amazing honor to serve as your State Representative.

With sincere gratitude,                  
Hannah Kane
State Representative
11th Worcester District

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