Tell the FDA to Make Our Medicine Cabinets Safe!

Generic drugs make up 80% of all prescriptions filled in the United States. But in 2011 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that generic drug makers are not responsible for updating their safety labels to warn of newly discovered risks and as a result cannot be held accountable in court if their drugs injure or kill Americans.

Consumers are left in a dangerous Generic Drug Safety Loophole with safety labels that are not reliable and their access to justice denied.

There is good news: The FDA has a proposed a plan to fix the problem! But it is under attack from the generics industry.

We need your help to close the Generic Drug Safety Loophole!

Sign the new Take Justice Back petition.

We have launched a new petition to the FDA to remind them that safety is an issue that simply cannot wait. Already, more than 21,000 people have called on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to restore generic drug accountability – and we need you to add your name to the growing list!

Sign the new Take Justice Back petition.

Together we can prescribe accountability to the generic drug industry!

Thank you –

The Take Justice Back Team

PS: After you sign the petition, make sure to share it with your friends on Faceboook.

 

777 6th Street NW, Suite 200 | Washington, DC 20001 | 202-965-3500

BoS on 4/21

Tuesday April 21, 2015 @ 7:00 PM
AGENDA (SUBJECT TO CHANGE)
Discussion and review of 2015 Annual Town Meeting Articles


KENNETH P. FEENEY
Superintendent

TOWN OF MEDFIELD
Office of

SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC WORKS
MEDFIELD, MASSACHUSEITS

March 11, 2015

The Board of Selectmen,

The following equipment listed is qualified for Chapter 90 funding.

Due to the limited capital budget funds, these larger equipment replacement costs have not been
funded for a number of years.

The cost to maintain these items is becoming prohibitive and their need as front line equipment is
imperative.

Therefore, I am requesting that we use Chapter 90 funds to replace them.  The current Chapter 90 balance is $1,782,000 dollars.

CAT 906: $78,900, transferring skid steer to Water Dept.

Elgin Sweeper: $190,000, with trade of 1999Elgin Sweeper

MACK six wheel: $142,051, with trade of 1979 MACK

John Deere Roadside Mower: $116,000, with trade of 1999 John Deere

Totaling: $526,951

Sincerely,
Kenneth P Feeney
DPW Superintendent

Warrant Committee positions on ATM articles

The Warrant Committee is in favor of all the annual town meeting warrant articles, except the following articles:

34 – new zoning definition of a half story – they had a tie vote

38 – traffic study for South Street intersection with Rte. 27 – they recommend dismissal

39 – Community Preservation Act – they recommend dismissal

On article 23 for funding construction of Straw Hat Park, they voted 5-2 in favor of funding only half the amount needed this year.

The selectmen take positions on the warrant articles at our meeting next Tuesday.

MMA on House budget

The annual state budget process starts with the Governor’s proposed budget, followed next by the House version, then next by the Senate version, and the final result from the House/Senate committee set up to resolve the two versions.  This year we are now up to the House version, and below is the Massachusetts Municipal Association’s comments on that House version.

To put state aid to towns in its recent context, while the state revenues have now recovered to be above the levels existing before the Great Recession, the state’s revenue sharing aid to municipalities still lags far behind the pre-2007 levels.  The general result of that lower state aid is that the state has effectively transferred to cities and towns the cost of providing the required municipal services.  Towns must then either opt to provide less service, or tax our residents more via property taxes to get the same level of service as before the Great Recession.

If residents do not like their property taxes rising, they should have a discussion with their state legislators to ask for a return to pre-2007 state aid levels.


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

HOUSE BUDGET COMMITTEE OFFERS $38B FY 2016 STATE BUDGET THAT MAKES KEY INVESTMENTS IN MUNICIPAL AND SCHOOL AID
• INCLUDES THE FULL $34M INCREASE IN UNRESTRICTED MUNICIPAL AID (UGGA)
• ADDS $8.3M TO SPECIAL EDUCATION CIRCUIT BREAKER
• RESTORES $5M TO REGIONAL SCHOOL TRANSPORTATION
• RESTORES $18.6 MILLION TO KINDERGARTEN DEVELOPMENT GRANTS
• INCREASES CHAPTER 70 MINIMUM AID TO $25 PER STUDENT
• LEVEL-FUNDS MOST OTHER MUNICIPAL AND SCHOOL ACCOUNTS

Earlier this afternoon, the House Ways and Means Committee reported out a lean $38 billion fiscal 2016 state budget plan to increase overall state expenditures by 2.8 percent, as the state seeks to close a projected $1.8 billion structural budget deficit by restraining spending and eliminating 4,500 state jobs through an early retirement program. The House Ways and Means budget is $100 million smaller than the budget filed by Governor Baker in March.  The full House will debate the fiscal 2016 state budget during the week of April 27.

H. 3400, the House Ways and Means budget, provides strong progress on many important local aid priorities, including the full $34 million increase in Unrestricted General Government Aid that the Governor proposed and communities are counting on. The House W&M Committee would increase funding for several major aid programs, by adding $8.3 million to the Special Education Circuit Breaker, restoring $18.6 million to Kindergarten Development Grants, restoring $5 million to Regional School Transportation, and increasing Chapter 70 minimum aid from $20 to $25 per student.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO SEE THE UNRESTRICTED GENERAL GOVERNMENT AID AND CHAPTER 70 AID AMOUNTS FOR YOUR COMMUNITY AS PROPOSED IN THE HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE BUDGET

$34 MILLION INCREASE IN UNRESTRICTED MUNICIPAL AID
In a major victory for cities and towns, H. 3400 (the HW&M fiscal 2016 budget plan) would provide $979.8 million for UGGA, a $34 million increase over current funding – the same increase proposed by Governor Baker.  The $34 million would increase UGGA funding by 3.6 percent, which is 75 percent of the projected 4.8 percent increase in state tax collections next year.  This would be the largest increase in discretionary municipal aid in nearly a decade.  Every city and town would see their UGGA funding increase by 3.6 percent.

$8.3 MILLION INCREASE INTENDED TO FULLY FUND SPECIAL EDUCATION CIRCUIT BREAKER
In another victory for cities and towns, House leaders have announced that they support full funding for the Special Education Circuit Breaker program.  Their budget plan would provide $261.7 million, an $8.3 million increase above fiscal 2015, with the intention of fully funding the account.  This is a vital program that every city, town and school district relies on to fund state-mandated services.

RESTORES $5 MILLION TO REGIONAL SCHOOL TRANSPORTATION
Last November, former Gov. Patrick used his 9C budget powers to eliminate the $18.7 million increase regional school transportation reimbursements that the Legislature originally enacted for fiscal 2015, reducing the final amount to $51.5 million.  The Governor proposed level funding at $51.5 million.  Recognizing the importance of this funding, the House Ways and Means Committee budget would restore $5 million to bring regional transportation reimbursements up to $56.5 million.  The MMA will work to continue building on this welcome increase.

RESTORES $18.6 MILLION TO KINDERGARTEN DEVELOPMENT GRANTS
The House Ways & Means budget would restore $18.6 million to the Kindergarten Development Grant program.  The Governor’s budget would have eliminated all funding, and House leaders want to level fund the current appropriation, at least for the next year.  This is an important account, because eliminating the $18.6 million would have jeopardized expanded kindergarten programs all throughout the state.

CHAPTER 70 MINIMUM AID WOULD INCREASE TO $25 PER STUDENT
The House budget committee is proposing a $108.2 million increase in Chapter 70 education aid, with a provision providing every city, town and school district an increase of at least $25 per student.  This is $2.9 million more than the recommendation in the Governor’s budget submission.  The budget would continue to implement the target share provisions enacted in 2007.  Because most cities and towns only receive minimum aid (245 operating districts in cities, towns and regions would only receive minimum aid), the MMA will work to build on this progress and will continue to advocate for higher funding.

McKINNEY-VENTO REIMBURSEMENTS WOULD INCREASE BY $1 MILLION
The House Ways and Means Committee budget would add $1 million to increase reimbursements for the transportation of homeless students to $8.4 million, the same funding level proposed in the Governor’s budget.  While the account remains below the full reimbursement called for under the state’s unfunded mandate law, it would be the first increase since fiscal 2013.

CHARTER SCHOOL REIMBURSEMENTS UNDERFUNDED
Under state law, cities and towns that host or send students to charter schools are entitled to be reimbursed for a portion of their lost Chapter 70 aid.  The state fully funded the reimbursement program in fiscal 2013 and 2014, but is underfunding reimbursements by approximately $34 million this year.  Both the Governor and the House Ways and Means budgets would level-fund charter school reimbursements at $76.8 million, which would guarantee another major shortfall in fiscal 2016, and result in cutbacks for the majority of students who remain in the traditional school setting.  Increasing this account will be a top priority during the budget debate.

PAYMENTS-IN-LIEU-OF-TAXES (PILOT), LIBRARY AID ACCOUNTS, METCO, AND SHANNON ANTI-GANG GRANTS
The House budget committee’s proposal would level fund PILOT payments at $26.77 million, continue to fund library grant programs at $18.5 million, and restore funding for METCO to $19.1 million.  All three of these accounts are funded the same in both the Governor and House Ways and Means budgets.  However, the HW&M budget would reduce Shannon Anti-Gang Grants to $5 million, a $2 million reduction.

CPA – Lexington’s experience

Interesting insights below into the Community Preservation Act, by Lexington’s Capital Expenditure Committee, which in hindsight rued its opposition to the CPA, given how much state money they got.

The CPA is all about getting the state matching money – because that state money in turn lowers our property taxes (if we eventually spend for open space, historic preservation, and affordable housing).

Medfield has adoption of the CPA as a question at its annual town meeting on 4/27/15, at 7:30 PM in the gym at MHS.


 

LEXINGTON CAPITAL EXPENDITURES COMMITTEE
STATEMENT TO TOWN MEETING
April 6, 2011
(edited for length)
When Lexington’s Town Meeting considered adopting the Community
Preservation Act in 2005, the Capital Expenditures Committee unanimously
recommended its rejection, primarily citing concerns about “crowding” out
future Proposition 2½ override votes. With 20:20 hindsight, the present
committee, 4 of the 5 members still being the same as 6 years ago, will be the
first to admit that we were wrong. I will have more to say on that topic in a
minute.
State Match
Clearly, the most important aspect of the CPA is the State “match”. Since
ratification, Lexington has received $6.4M in matching funds and we expect
approximately $859,000 more in the upcoming fiscal year. That yields an
effective State-match rate of about 50% over those five years. While the trend
in matching percentage has been downward since the 100% match in our first
year of adoption, the most likely scenario is that the matching funds remain
strong enough to justify continued CPA project funding in Lexington. And
because we are at the maximum surcharge level Lexington receives a higher
matching percentage rate than towns with a lower surcharge level.
Proposition 2½ Debt Exclusions
Some of the CPA projects we have funded in Lexington over the past several
years would, by policy, have been performed using Proposition 2½ Debt
Exclusions if the CPA had not been adopted here. This is because not only is
it difficult to find that much money in the “regular” tax levy, but it also
implies widespread consensus by virtue of passing a voter referendum. So by
obviating the need for debt exclusions for eligible big-ticket items like land
purchases, the CPA has provided a more flexible funding environment.
This flexibility and streamlining can be considered a positive in that it has
created a debt exclusion-free environment for CPA-eligible projects.
Regarding Lexington’s recent CPA land purchases, it is arguable that the
CPA aspect of their funding has saved the taxpayers money. Clearly there is
the obvious state match to consider. But there is also the aggressive bonding
taken by the Town with the recommendation and approval of the finance
committees. Of the three major CPA land purchases, one was cash and two
were financed with 3 year front-loaded bonds. Had any of these been funded
using debt exclusions, the bonding would almost certainly have been for a
much longer term and therefore would have cost the taxpayers tens of
thousands of dollars more in debt service.
Project Diversity
The CPA has allowed Lexington to advance several projects which would not
normally be on the Town’s agenda. For example, the Lexington Historical
Society has received funds for restoring the Hancock-Clarke House and
Munroe Tavern. And funding has been approved for several affordable
housing projects which normally would have been difficult to fund with tax
levy monies. These projects count favorably against our Chapter 40(b)
threshold.
Impact of a Reduction
CPA-related projects in Lexington would look quite different should a
reduction of our 3% surcharge prevail. A cursory scan of the projects that
have been funded over the last five years indicates that most of those would
not have been funded if the only revenues available had been from a 1%-
surcharge. Moving forward with a reduced surcharge, it is clear that large
land and affordable housing purchases will be far less likely to occur, and if
they do, they will likely require the use of long-term bonding, a policy which
contradicts our past tendency to thoughtfully use short-term bonding for CPA
monies when debt funding has been necessary. Further, a reduced surcharge
will eliminate significant contributions towards Town projects creating the
possibility of deferred or eliminated projects, and/or future debt exclusions.
Crowding
As I mentioned before, prior to Lexington’s adoption of the CPA in 2006, this
Committee had been concerned that once the taxpayers had experienced the
additional demand of the CPA surcharge, it would “crowd out” their support
of Proposition 2½ operating overrides and debt exclusions. We were wrong in
this assumption. So far, that crowding effect has not materialized. In fact,
while there was split support for the four overrides in June 2006 before any
CPA surcharge appeared on tax bills, in Jun 2007, after the CPA surcharge
appeared on the bills, there was support for both a $4 million override for the
schools and a $27 million debt exclusion for the public works facility. The
current 3% rate creates a relatively minor impact on the average tax bill and
won’t present a crowding factor. Additionally on the topic of crowding, it can
be reasonably argued that the CPA funding at the current percentage has
actually reduced the number of overrides and debt exclusions, and will
continue to do so.
Project Costs and Matching Funds
Based on the most recent State-matching funds rate, the taxpayer presently
pays only 78 cents on the dollar of every CPA project. That number is 67
cents on the dollar if you take the overall matching rate over the past five
years. Undeniably, there are some projects that have been advanced by the
CPC over the past five years that were not unanimously supported by the
CPC and Town Meeting. That’s nothing new. Very rarely does Town
Meeting show unanimous support for any given year’s capital docket.
Nevertheless, the CPA has funded many beneficial and positive projects in
Lexington. If they weren’t positive, a majority of Town Meeting members
wouldn’t have approved them. And the fact stands that Lexington has already
received $6.4 million of CPA matching funds; make that $7.3 million with
this year’s match.
Capital Advocacy
It is this Committee’s job to advise Town Meeting on matters related to
capital spending in Lexington. The Capital Expenditures Committee believes
that the CPA at the current 3% surcharge level and State match have been
beneficial to Lexington’s capital agenda and we unanimously oppose
reduction of the percent 3% surcharge.

MFC bin is back at Shaw’s

This from Susan Maritan –


Food Bin for Medfield Food Cupboard Returns to Shaws Vestibule

and

Mangia Pizza is Holding a Fundraiser for Food Cupboard

 

MEDFIELD, Mass – April 15, 2015:  – Back in October, the Medfield Food Cupboard food donation bin was removed from the entry of Shaw’s Supermarket. It was a corporate mandate, and the Medfield Shaw’s had no alternative but to comply. In response, additional Food Cupboard collection bins were placed at the Medfield Public Library and the Pfaff Center.  While donors have utilized those bins, they are not always as convenient as the Shaw’s bins were. Well, good news! Shaws is once again collecting food for the food cupboard. Please note, there is only one collection spot: at the exit closest to Blue Moon.

 

“For many years the Food Cupboard heavily relied on the donations that residents left at Shaw’s,” said Martha Sherman, President of the Medfield Food Cupboard. “That food was a reliable supplement to the food collected through local food drives and church collections. In the past months, however, since the bin was removed, we at the Food Cupboard definitely noticed the decrease in donations. We are so pleased that Shaws is allowing the bin back into their vestibule area.”

 

The bins that were at the Pfaff Center and Library will remain in place.

 

Citizens interested in supporting the Food Cupboard may do so by placing unexpired, unopened food in the collection locations at the Medfield Public Library, Pfaff Center, Shaw’s, in the baskets in the lobby of the United Church of Christ, or at one of the other Medfield churches.

 

Donations may include, but are not limited to: soup, canned chicken, canned tuna, pasta sauces, cereal, peanut butter, juice, jelly, raisins, and canned fruits and vegetables.

 

“We are also pleased to announce that Mangia Pizza, at 26 Park Street, is holding a fund raiser for the Food Cupboard on April 28 and 29.  A portion of all sales will be donated to the Food Cupboard. We hope people stop in, enjoy some delicious food and support the Food Cupboard at the same time!”

 

The volunteers at the Food Cupboard are continually impressed with the generosity they witness from the community. “The kindness we see from Medfield residents and businesses is heartwarming,” continued Sherman. “We could not operate without the generous donations of our supporters.”

 

The Food Cupboard asks residents to make a note that the Postal Food Drive will be held this year on May 9th. Medfield residents may leave food at their mailboxes Saturday morning, and the postal carriers will pick it up and deliver it to the United Church of Christ where it will be sorted and shelved. Those interested in volunteering for the Postal Drive, please email: info@medfieldfoodcupboard.com and express their interest.

 

Those interested in conducting a food drive in their neighborhood, at their place of business, or in another venue, PLEASE contact Abby Marble, Food Drive Coordinator at 508-359-5370 for tips, timing, and delivery assistance.

 

The volunteers of the Food Cupboard would like to thank all of those who have helped over the years. “When we all work together,” added Sherman, “truly, we can make a difference.”

 


 

House adds to our budget #s

This from John Nunnari today – House added $12K to our #s from Governor’s initial budget –


House budget was released today.

House gave a slight boost in Chapter 70 funding over the governor ($12K).

john

John Nunnari, Assoc AIA
Executive Director, AIA MA