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EDITOR’S NOTE: Office hours for state Sen. Ed Kennedy (Democrat — Lowell) will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 26 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the J.V. Fletcher Library.
State Sen. Ed Kennedy visited the WestfordCAT studio on Feb. 7 to highlight some of the bills he’s shepherding.
As state Senator for the First Middlesex district, Kennedy’s territory stretches from Pepperell to Lowell, with Westford, Dunstable, Tyngsborough, and Groton in between. [Continue below]
Kennedy is carrying a load of bills that fall into several categories, including public safety. “An act prohibiting gunfire directed at dwelling houses” is aimed primarily at Lowell where there have been 96 incidents in which gunfire was directed at homes in the city, according to Lowell Police.
A related bill is called “An act relative to the discharge of firearms, large capacity weapons, rifles, shotguns, sawed-off shotguns or machine guns without regard for the risk of harm; penalty.” This bill updates the law.
Other categories of bills Kennedy is behind or involved with include food and agriculture. One would standardize labeling of food products to mitigate consumer confusion and reduce waste. He also has an environmental bill that would generate an investigation and study about recycling old mattresses. The bill says that almost everything inside a mattress, from the springs to the padding, is recyclable.
Kennedy is also focused on reducing the cost of college tuition.
“I think you’re seeing a lot of states trying to come up with solutions to student debt,” he said.
Proposed is a bill encouraging employers to claim a tax credit equal to the loan payments it makes on behalf of its employees up to $2,000.
A second tuition-related bill would allow graduates of Massachusetts colleges and universities that remain in the commonwealth to receive a state income tax credit.
“It’s made a negative impact on our economy…” said Kennedy, referring to educational loans with high interest rates. “I think it’s one of the reasons why people are getting married later…I do think the solution to student debt should come out of Washington, but it’s not.”