Archive 2008 - 2019

Recent News From the State House

by Senator Karen Spilka

Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season, surrounded by family, friends and loved ones. At the State House, I'm excited to continue this legislative session, which began in January 2013. I'm pleased to report progress on some of my bills in the Senate so far this session and highlight some initiatives I hope we can successfully complete in the new year. I am also excited to share news about an exciting district event hosted by the MetroWest Visitors Bureau next month.


New Laws in 2013: Raise the Age and Heather's Law


Senate Accomplishments Awaiting House Action: Pets in Disasters, MetroWest Commission on the Status of Women & Girls, and Raising the Minimum Wage


On the Horizon for 2014: Economic Development and Water Infrastructure Reform


District News: MetroWest Visitors Bureau


As always, I welcome input on all legislation and policy priorities. Please do not hesitate to contact my office if you have any questions or need my assistance at (617) 722-1640, or email me at


Warm Regards,



Senator Karen E. Spilka

2nd Middlesex and Norfolk


Legislative Successes in 2013


Raise the Age

In September, working closely with Representative Kay Khan, I successfully advocated for legislation to raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction by one year to include 17-year-olds in the juvenile justice system. Teenagers have unique developmental needs, and our juvenile justice system plays a critical role in helping young offenders get back on track after making mistakes. Raising the age of juvenile jurisdiction will increase public safety and provide teenagers with the age-appropriate rehabilitation and support services they need.


Heather’s Law

At the end of last year, the legislature enacted Heather’s Law, a bill I filed with Representative Kate Hogan to clarify and reform the legal rights of family members who lose a loved one to domestic violence. We filed this bill to address issues that arose following the murder of 19-year-old Heather Alleyne in Framingham in August 2010. Under this new law, a spouse charged with the murder of the deceased will no longer be considered the next of kin in decisions related to control of the body. At a time of such terrible loss, no family should have to experience the additional anguish and heartache of fighting for release of the body.


Senate Accomplishments Awaiting House Action



Pets in Disasters


Protecting animals and the rights of their owners is a very important issue for me as a legislator and as a dog owner. In October, the Senate passed my bill to ensure that the needs of people with household pets and service animals are addressed in the case of an emergency. Many people are reluctant to leave their pets behind, and the failure to evacuate then becomes a critical public safety and public health issue. This important legislation would require local civil defense agencies to include specific provisions for animals in emergency evacuation plans.



Raise the Minimum Wage

At the end of last year, we passed legislation in the Senate to raise the minimum wage in Massachusetts to $11 by 2016, and tie future increases to inflation. This is an important step in protecting the working individuals and families across the Commonwealth who are struggling to make a living. As both branches of the Legislature resume formal sessions this year, I hope we will be able to demonstrate our commitment to the state’s most vulnerable by raising the minimum wage.



Water Infrastructure Reform

In the next few months, I expect the legislature to consider important water infrastructure reforms. Conserving natural resources and improving access to clean, safe and affordable drinking water are critical issues in our community and across the state, and I look forward to working on legislation to make investments in our water infrastructure.



Comments (1)

Thank you Senator Spilka for focusing on water infrastructure improvements. You and Representative Dykema are doing great work on the issue.

tpartynitwit | 2014-02-11 18:23:12