Therese Murray plans to begin her final full session as state Senate president with an ambitious agenda.
In a speech to the newly sworn-in senators made Wednesday, Murray announced her intentions to call for expansion of early voting, a fix to the state’s transportation system, and changes to the state’s welfare system, the issue that brought her to prominence two decades ago when she began her Senate career, according to the Boston Globe.
She...propose[d] measures to respond to the deadly massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School “that will protect the residents of Massachusetts without demonizing the mentally ill.” Patrick has introduced a gun bill that would, among other provisions, increase the reporting of disqualifying mental health issues into the federal gun registry.
...reexamining the criteria for sex offender registration in response to the case of John Burbine, a Level 1 sex offender from Wakefield accused last month of raping and abusing at least a dozen infants and children at his wife’s childcare service.
Patrick supports posting the identities of Level 2 and Level 3 sex offenders online, while making information about Level 1 offenders available in person upon request. Others have called for greater public access.
“Those reforms were enacted with the goal of creating a system that gave people the help they need to exit a system that kept them in poverty and their children at risk,” Murray said in the speech. “It’s time to revisit and identify loopholes that need to be closed to ensure that our system presents a clear path for our residents to reach economic independence and lead self-sufficient and successful lives.”
Murray, a Plymouth Democrat, was elected to the Senate in 1992 and has served as president since 2007. Under Senate term limits, she is required to give up her post by March 2015, meaning this is her last full two-year term as Senate leader, barring a rule change.
Murray is the first woman to lead the Senate; she made her name in the chamber by championing a 1995 overhaul of the state’s welfare system, which preceded the federal welfare overhaul, with limits on cash assistance and emphasis on finding work.