JP/Rox Transportation Action Plan Meeting on Sept. 19th

There will be a public meeting on Sept. 19th to discuss the Washington Street and Columbus Avenue corridor as it relates to the upcoming Transportation Action Plan that builds on Go Boston 2030 and PLAN: JP/ROX. This is a kickoff meeting during which the scope of the project, an overall update and summary of the transportation component of the PLAN: JP/ROX, will be discussed. There will be future meetings, too. PLAN: JP/ROX is a set of guidelines that will direct future development and improvements to the corridor that connects Jamaica Plain and Roxbury.

City Holding ‘Help for Houston’ Drive Starting Tuesday

The city of Boston is holding a three-day Help for Houston Drive starting Tuesday through Thursday and residents are being asked to contribute items to those impacted by Hurricane Harvey in Texas. There are numerous locations to bring donations, including City Hall and two community centers in Jamaica Plain. "Our thoughts are with the people of Texas. So many are struggling during this challenging time. As we have done in other emergencies and which has been done for us, Boston will step up and help through the darkest hours," said Mayor Martin Walsh.

Councilor O’Malley Supports State Bills to Improve Oral Health Care for Those in Need

The Boston City Council unanimously passed a resolution in support of Massachusetts House and Senate bills to expand access to oral health for those in need. The issue speaks loudly to Jamaica Plain's City Councilor Matt O'Malley who championed the bills. "The city of Boston has a dental access problem. Third-grade children in Boston’s Suffolk County suffer unmet dental needs at more than twice the rate of the surrounding suburban areas, and more than 530,000 people in Massachusetts live in areas with a shortage of dentists," said O'Malley through a press release. "Boston residents deserve better, and these midlevel providers can help bring cost-effective dental care to children, seniors and people with disabilities currently going without it."

Massachusetts Senate Passes Bill to Expand Language Opportunities for Students

On Thursday the Massachusetts Senate unanimously passed legislation that updates the existing statute relative to English language education in public schools to encompass the latest and best practices serving English Language Learners (ELLs) and to recognize the value of bilingualism as a skill essential to improving career and college readiness and competiveness in the global economy.  
An Act for language opportunity for our kids (S.2125), also known as the LOOK Bill, removes the current mandate requiring schools to use Sheltered English Immersion (SEI), or English-only programs, as the default ELL program model, thereby giving schools the flexibility to establish programs based on the unique needs of their students. 
“The current one-size-fits-all model has proven a failure over the past decade plus at teaching English – period,” said Senator Sonia Chang-Díaz (D-Jamaica Plain), the Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Education. “For the sake of our ELL students, our school budgets, and our workforce, we need to do something different. S.2125 will empower parents and trust educators to make informed decisions about appropriate tactics for a 6 year-old with some English exposure versus a 12 year-old who has received little formal schooling. And in this precarious moment for our country, the bill recognizes that bilingualism is a strength—not a problem to be cured.”
“By allowing parents and local school districts the flexibility to choose the most effective programs to cater to the specific needs of their students is not only good public policy but also what is best for our students to be successful,” said Senate President Stan Rosenberg (D-Amherst).  “We live in a global community and we must be able to adapt to the changing needs of our communities in a thoughtful and constructive way.  This bill achieves that purpose.” 
“To ensure that every child in the Commonwealth receives the high quality education that he or she deserves, we must rethink the way we approach educating our English language learners,” said Senator Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett), the lead sponsor of the bill.

Sánchez Nominated To Be Chair of House Ways and Means Committee

Massachusetts Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo has nominated state Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez to chair the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. "I'm incredibly humbled to be nominated for Chairman of Ways and Means by Speaker DeLeo. Having chaired committees on public health and HCF (Committee on Health Care Financing), I hope to use this post to protect those most in need of it -- like many of my constituents -- while being thoughtful about our state finances and the MA economy. I know that we're going to be able to work hard and make a difference in people's lives," said Sanchez in a comment to Jamaica Plain News. The House Ways and Means Committee is crucially important to the state government in regards to fiscal affairs and policy-making.