Senator Joe Boncore spoke at the May 2017 NEWRA Meeting on a few topics. Here’s a guide for the video above. Jump to (09:15) to hear questions for the senator asked at the meeting.
Criminal Justice Reform
Crime has steadily decreased in Massachusetts since the 1970’s, however the amount of people being put in jail has increased. The senator noted that Massachusetts has the highest per capita rate of people being put in jail. At the State House, Senator Boncore is working on reducing incarcerations and recidivism, or the likelihood of someone going back to jail. Boncore says, “If you’re locked up once, there’s a 77 percent chance you’ll be locked up again.”
Boncore notes that roughly 70% of people who are in jail are locked up for non-violent drug crimes, costing Massachusetts $90 million per year.
Senator Boncore announced that he has become the Chairman of Housing Committee in the Senate. On Beacon Hill, the Housing Bond Bill was introduced to help combat the housing crisis in the state. Its intent is to invest in the preservation of housing that is affordable for millennials, seniors, workforce housing, and non-transit oriented housing.
The legalization of Marijuana has been enacted into law. Boncore says, “The voters have spoken,” whether people like it or not. He mentions that they are taking their time at the State House so that they get the legalization process right the first time.
As the Vice Chair of Senate’s Transportation Committee, Senator Boncore acknowledges that there is a huge transportation crisis. He states that the MBTA system is failing with a $7.5 billion state of repair deficit. Before they can expand the MBTA, this deficit must be made up for. The MBTA is not alone in its deficit as the senator describes that the Roads and Highways are in a $5 billion deficit and the local roads are in a $2.3 Billion deficit. The senator explains that there is a big gap in the budget that must be made up for and that new ways of revenue are being talked about regarding transportation.
View the video above for full coverage.