masslive – march 17, 2023

‘Deceptive’ sports betting ads in Mass.: What one lawmaker would like to do about them

A state lawmaker is taking aim at what he describes as “deceptive” sports betting ads by proposing to bar sportsbooks from using language in advertisements publicizing promotional bets that misrepresent a person’s chance of winning.

Sen. John Keenan filed the bill (S 182) in mid-January to combat what he says is a wave of misleading and deceptive advertisements that indirectly target young people in Massachusetts. And Keenan said if lawmakers do not act now, officials “are at risk of losing control of the industry.”

Axios – March 17, 2023

Lawmakers aim to crack down on vaping black market

Driving the news: State Sen. John Keenan and state Rep. Marjorie Decker filed a bill last month to increase sales taxes even more on cigarettes and vaping products.

Keenan, one of the key lawmakers behind the 2019 law, tells Axios he’s also asking Senate leaders for more state funding for the Massachusetts Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program, which runs awareness campaigns about health defects tied to smoking.

Plus: Keenan says he’s prepared to take on opponents trying to roll back the restrictions passed in 2019, like one bill proposed last session to repeal the menthol cigarette ban.

What they’re saying: “We just want to make sure we’re getting to as many people as possible with information that shows how dangerous these products are, how addictive these products are and how the industry, I believe, continues to target younger people,” says Keenan, a Quincy Democrat.

NBC10 Boston – March 16, 2023

March Madness Is Underway With Legal Sports Betting in Mass.

“It just seems to be everywhere… We’re trying to convince people that you can bet five dollars, for instance, and lose and yet still win. And we all know that’s not how it works. We all know, in the long run, the house always wins.”

masslive – january 20, 2023

Beacon Hill staffers get new chance to unionize this session

State Sen. John Keenan and Rep. Patrick Kearney filed legislation that would clarify ambiguous state statute around collective bargaining for public employees, allowing staffers in both the Massachusetts Senate and House of Representatives to unionize.

“I strongly believe that all workers should have the opportunity to join or form a union. Unions have always led the fight for good wages and benefits, safe and family friendly workplaces, and so many other worker protections and workplace improvements,” Keenan, a Quincy Democrat, said in a statement Friday. “I filed this bill because our valued, dedicated, and talented legislative staff have expressed a desire to form a union — this legislation would give them full opportunity to do so.”

The Bay State Banner – December 14, 2022

Report calls for increase in rental assistance

State Sen. John Keenan, who co-chairs the legislature’s Joint Committee on Housing, says he supports expanding the state’s rental voucher program, citing benefits to the commonwealth on top of helping households stay housed.

“People can’t afford housing, and they move out of the commonwealth, and that denies us workers,” says Keenan. “And with a very expensive housing market, it makes it very difficult to draw workers to the commonwealth at every level.”

Keenan says that despite the high price tag for adopting universal rental assistance, there is an appetite within the legislature for action, and he expects legislation expanding the MRVP program to come before his committee in the coming session.

WBUR – September 15, 2022

Public utilities chief defends agency’s oversight of T safety 

The head of the state agency that oversees MBTA safety matters took questions from legislators on Beacon Hill Wednesday, after a federal report found the Department of Public Utilities failed to use its authority to address major issues facing the beleaguered transit system.

State Sen. John Keenan, vice chairman of the Legislature’s joint transportation committee, told DPU Chair Matthew Nelson that Keenan feels a strong “sense of urgency” regarding the T.

“Safety doesn’t happen overnight, but you know what? … People die in an instant on our MBTA, and we have to recognize that,” Keenan said.

Boston Globe – August 12, 2022

Revenge porn does real harm to real victims. Why won’t the state Senate act?

Guess he must have missed the words offered on the Senate floor by Senator John F. Keenan, who briefly tried to attach the revenge porn bill to an unrelated bond bill when he said he had indeed heard from his Quincy constituents who told him their stories.

“We probably all have stories, but the fact is, there is not much people can do now under existing law. …It’s a loophole we absolutely should close. We should close it on behalf of all the victims who’ve come forward, and all the victims who have not.”

Boston Globe – July 19, 2022

‘What good does it do to keep the public in the dark?’ Lawmakers grill state’s top transportation officials in safety oversight hearing

Senator John Keenan, a Quincy Democrat and vice chair of the committee, cited the 2019 outside safety review panel report that found a “culture of blame and retaliation” in which workers did not feel comfortable raising safety concerns to management.

masslive – June 16, 2022

State Senate passes bill banning prison, jail construction in Massachusetts for 5 years

Keenan said he agrees the state should have fewer correctional facilities and incarcerated people, and should have more diversion and behavioral health programs. But the state does have old facilities, he said, and at some point officials are “going to have to address that.”

“Over the next five years, we should be planning and designing and contemplating that and then look to construction — responsible construction — that’s consistent with all of our goals, which is to limit incarceration,” the Quincy Democrat said.

Masslive – June 09, 2022

Driver’s licenses for immigrants without legal status in Massachusetts becomes law; Beacon Hill overrides Gov. Charlie Baker’s veto

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, echoing the governor’s rhetoric, told his colleagues Thursday that, “I truly wish we had taken a different path.” The bill poses an “incredible threat to the integrity of the electoral process.”

But Sen. John Keenan refuted Baker’s logic, as he emphasized Green Card holders are already permitted to apply for driver’s licenses.

“We all know that noncitizens in Massachusetts can get driver’s licenses and have been getting driver’s licenses, so why is it a problem now?” Keenan asked on the Senate floor. “Why is the registry all of a sudden today incapable of handling the review of documents?”

WBUR – May 12, 2022

Home inspectors urge state board to clarify law on shortcut inspections they say put consumers at risk

Sen. John Keenan, senate chair of the legislature’s Joint Committee on Housing, in an interview said the board has “fairly broad discretion in determining the activities that somebody who possesses a license can engage in.”

An inspection with no report “runs afoul of the statute and the regulations,” he said, but the regulations don’t spell out what inspectors cannot do.

Commonwealth Magazine – March 24, 2022

Wind down of housing assistance raises concerns

The governor, in his version of the supplemental budget bill, allocated $60 million for housing assistance programs, to ensure tenants maintain access to RAFT through the end of the fiscal year in June, once the federal program winds down. The House version of the bill upped that to $100 million. Amendments senators will consider during Thursday’s debate, including one introduced by Housing Committee chair Sen. John Keenan, a Quincy Democrat, would double the amount to $200 million.

Another amendment introduced by Keenan would increase the maximum per-family benefit from $7,000 to $10,000 a year.

Lowell sun – march 3, 2022

Local legislators tour housing projects in Devens

Eldridge made it clear that, no matter what may or may not happen at Vicksburg Square, communities around the state must continue to face the state’s affordable housing crisis head on. Likewise, and while he was impressed with the successes in Devens, Keenan stressed that communities must continue in those efforts.

“As Senate chair of the Joint Committee on Housing, I have appreciated the opportunity to see promising projects promoting more accessible, affordable and equitable housing,” Keenan said. “Communities need to continue to address Massachusetts’ housing crisis.”

WBZ newsradio – December 13, 2021

VOAMASS Unveils Newly Renovated Men’s Hello House Near Mass And Cass

For State Senator John Keenan, this cause is personal. He spoke about his father needing this kind of treatment and said these men are real people in need of real assistance.

“They are not dead ends,” Keenan said. “I have talked to so many over the years and I would tell you what has impressed me most is that when somebody goes through treatment and recovery, when you see who they are, it is absolutely amazing.”

WBUR – November 22, 2021

Somerville and Boston want rent control, but Beacon Hill could get in the way

“One of the concerns about rent control — and I will do more research on this — is that you’re not creating any more housing,” Keenan said.

Though Keenan agreed rent control could help reduce the rents for some tenants, he argues it could drive up the rents for others. Keenan said he’s looking forward to learning from both sides at a Jan. 11 hearing on housing bills, including some related to rent control.

Quincy Patriot ledger – September 27, 2021

Quincy State Sen. John Keenan pushes for more affordable healthcare

BOSTON – State Sen. John Keenan touted his proposed healthcare affordability bill on Monday during a briefing by advocacy group Health Care for All. The group released the results of a survey showing more than half of the Bay Staters who responded – more than 1,000 – have had trouble paying for healthcare in the past. 

Keenan’s bill, dubbed the More Affordable Care Act, would eliminate copays for service and treatments among certain chronic conditions that disproportionately affect people of color. It would also lower premiums for adults and small businesses by creating a reinsurance program to share the cost risk of very sick patients. The bill also aims to slow the rate of rising healthcare costs through state benchmarks and stronger rate reviews for insurers.

WBUR – September 8, 2021

Mass. Renters On The South Coast Were Twice As Likely To Be Evicted, Despite Federal Moratorium

The other tool the government created to prevent evictions during the pandemic was an expanded rental assistance program, which tenants in southeastern Massachusetts were far more likely to use than the federal eviction moratorium. The court will often dismiss an eviction if the government is willing to pay the landlord what they’re owed in full.

So far, landlords recouped at least $268 million during the pandemic from federally funded rental assistance programs in Massachusetts. But nearly three-quarters of the money allocated for the programs has yet to be spent because of lack of awareness or difficulty accessing the program, an issue playing out across the country.

“We still have a lot of work to do,” said John Keenan, a Massachusetts state senator who chairs the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Housing. “The money’s just not getting where it should go, and if it did, we wouldn’t have the increased number of evictions in some areas.”

Commonwealth Magazine – July 27, 2021

Baker official pitches housing plan to close racial home-ownership gap

As the state is experiencing soaring home prices, Sen. John Keenan, a Quincy Democrat, asked Kennealy if there is any data on the impact of home buyer assistance programs – which are meant to increase the pool of buyers – in an environment where there is such limited inventory. Keenan questioned whether that would raise prices further, and suggested it might make sense to focus on housing production before homebuyer assistance.  

Kennealy responded that the administration is mindful of that concern, but feels it is “really important to do both.” “Clearly, it’s a question of balance,” Kennealy said.

Quincy patriot ledger – july 9, 2021

South Shore officials blame Purdue Pharma following $4 billion settlement

State Sen. John Keenan, a Quincy Democrat, is calling for individual members of the Sackler family to face criminal charges for their role in the opioid epidemic. 

“While the bankruptcy court settlement announced today is substantial, I believe that members of the Sackler family who directed and profited from the marketing of oxycontin should face federal criminal charges as well,” Keenan said in a statement.

Weymouth and Quincy are among more than 1,700 other communities across the country that collectively are suing 16 drug manufactures and distributors who officials say promoted opioids.

Quincy Patriot Ledger – July 1, 2021

More Affordable Care Act addresses lessons learned during the pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic revealed and amplified deep inequities in our health care system, and the Commonwealth, despite previous successes in expanding health care, was not immune. Massachusetts must pave the way in addressing extreme health care costs and their underlying causes. The More Affordable Care Act, currently before the Legislature, poses solutions to some of the greatest challenges in health care and should pass this session.   

Conversations I have had with constituents through the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted important elements of challenges relative to coverage and cost: the unique struggles of small business owners, marginalized groups, and individuals in low-income living situations. Health care costs and related access issues that already posed problems only got worse during the pandemic.

CommonWealth Magazine – June 29, 2021

Plan pitched to lower consumer health care costs

Consumer advocacy organization Health Care for All is pushing a proposal introduced by Rep. Christine Barber, a Somerville Democrat, and Sen. John Keenan, a Quincy Democrat, which would take steps to reduce out of pocket costs. Most significantly, it would require insurers to cover care without copays for seven chronic conditions that disproportionately affect low-income communities of color. They are: diabetes, asthma/COPD, hypertension, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, opioid use disorder, and bipolar disorder/schizophrenia. 

Barber said these diseases were picked because of their prevalence in poor communities of color. She compared the bill to provisions in the Affordable Care Act that required preventive care to be covered without copays, to make it easier for people to obtain basic care that prevents expensive complications.

Commonwealth magazine – january 28, 2020

Senators, unions push back against more T privatization

MBTA UNIONS and their legislative supporters launched a full-court press at Monday’s meeting of the Fiscal and Management Control Board to block efforts by the transit authority to buy 60 new buses and turn them over to a private contractor to operate and maintain.

Six of the state’s 40 senators and a host of union officials testified before the control board, pressing the panel to invest in its own workforce rather than contracting the work out.  “Do not default to privatization, default to working with your employees,” said Sen. John Keenan of Quincy to rousing applause from union workers in the audience.

wicked local – December 11, 2019

State officials applaud Holbrook students for battle against vaping, tobacco

Holbrook Middle-High School students were invited to attend the signing of an historic bill that changes tobacco control in the state.

The students, including graduate Sarah Ryan who has become a national force on fighting vaping and tobacco, were recognized for the years of effort put in by the Civics Club and the school’s chapter of the 84 Movement.

NECN – november 27, 2019

Gov. Baker Signs Groundbreaking Bill Banning Flavored Tobacco, Vape Products

(VIDEO) Massachusetts became the first state to ban flavored tobacco and nicotine vaping products, including menthol cigarettes, after Republican Gov. Charlie Baker signed into law on Wednesday a bill that’s meant to reduce the appeal of the products to young people amid a rash of illnesses and deaths linked to vaping.

wall street journal – november 27, 2019

Massachusetts Enacts U.S.’s Toughest Flavored-Tobacco Ban

BOSTON—Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker signed into law the nation’s toughest prohibition on flavored tobacco, including a ban on menthol cigarettes.

The new restrictions will put Massachusetts at the forefront of a national crackdown on flavored tobacco in an effort to stop young people from developing tobacco habits. At the federal level, White House support for a ban on sweet and fruity e-cigarettes appeared to be softening after President Trump last week said a prohibition could have dangerous consequences. – november 21, 2019

After Senate vote, Mass. bill to ban flavored tobacco sales heads to governor’s desk

“For far too long, big tobacco has targeted our kids with flavored products,” state Sen. John Keenan, who pushed for the ban alongside state Rep. Danielle Gregoire, said in a statement. “By banning the sale of the flavored products … we are telling big tobacco their days of hooking kids in Massachusetts are over. Hopefully, this effort will serve as a roadmap for the rest of the country.”

boston globe – november 21, 2019

State lawmakers pass nation’s toughest restrictions on sale of flavored tobacco and vaping products

State lawmakers Thursday passed the nation’s toughest restrictions on the sale of flavored tobacco and vaping products, including menthol — a forceful response to an epidemic in which one out of every five Massachusetts high-schoolers use e-cigarettes.

wicked local – november 21, 2019

Holbrook students inspire state anti-tobacco bill

Holbrook teenagers were the inspiration behind a bill passed by the state House and Senate that would ban the sale of all flavored vaping and tobacco products, including mint and menthol. E-cigarettes would be newly taxed under the bill sent Gov. Charlie Baker early Thursday morning in an last-minute burst of lawmaking activity.

wall street journal – november 21, 2019

Massachusetts Lawmakers Pass Bill to Ban Flavored Tobacco, Menthol Cigarettes

Massachusetts lawmakers passed a bill in the early morning hours Thursday to enact the country’s most stringent state ban on flavored tobacco, including menthol cigarettes, in an effort to combat youth tobacco use.

The Democratic-led legislature sent the bill to Republican Gov. Charlie Baker after a final preholiday session at the state capital stretched beyond midnight. The House passed the flavor ban last week, but needed to clear it again after the Senate added some amendments following a long floor debate.

New york times – november 21, 2019

Massachusetts to Ban Menthol Cigarettes as Well as Flavored Vapes

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Massachusetts has moved a step closer to banning all flavored e-cigarettes and tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes, amid a national push to contend with the risks of vaping.

The State Senate followed the House late Wednesday in passing a sweeping ban, which, if signed into law, would make Massachusetts the first state in the nation to bar all flavored vaping and tobacco products. Other states were said to be closely watching the outcome in Massachusetts.

CNN – November 21, 2019

Massachusetts lawmakers vote to ban all flavored tobacco products and tax vaping devices

(CNN) Lawmakers in Massachusetts passed a comprehensive set of tobacco controls early Thursday morning that, if signed into law, will make the state’s tobacco laws among the toughest in the nation.

The bill, which made it to Republican Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk after midnight, passed both houses of the state legislature with widespread support — 32-6 in the state Senate, and 127-31 in the state House of Representatives. A final version reconciled between the two chambers passed the House 119-33.

Boston 25 – October 18, 2019

Boston 25 News In-Depth: Vaping crisis

Vaping has become the center of a controversial, nationwide discussion. 

The number of Americans with vaping-related lung disease is climbing every week. The latest numbers from the CDC show 1,479 confirmed cases in the United States; 29 of those cases are in Massachusetts 

Thirty-three people have died nationwide, including one in Mass.

Mass Live – July 21, 2019

‘It infects social groups:’ Vaping and e-cigarette use in schools skyrockets; why you should care

The first e-cigarette Matt Murphy tried was a brick-like device with a large mouthpiece. He took a hit and released an amorphous cloud of smoke, not like the elegant rings that influencers blow out of their mouths in YouTube videos.

Associated Press – July 21, 2019

Flavored Tobacco Targeted In Bid To Stem Youth Vaping

One year after concluding a successful campaign to raise the minimum age for buying tobacco from 18 to 21 across Massachusetts, anti-smoking advocates are now zeroing in on flavored tobacco products like those popular with electronic cigarette users.

Mass live – july 16, 2019

Attorney General Maura Healey says unregulated e-cigarette flavors getting a new generation hooked on nicotine

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey called on state lawmakers to move forward with legislation that bans flavored tobacco products, including vapes, from retailers across the commonwealth.

“The research is clear: flavor in tobacco products increases their appeal to young people and promotes initiation,” Healey said during the Joint Committee on Public Health heading Tuesday afternoon. “The good news is we know what works. We’ve fought Big Tobacco before and won.”

Boston Herald – July 16, 2019

Bill calling for ban on vaping pens would be the nation’s first if passed

Legislation calling for a ban on all flavored tobacco products statewide, including increasingly popular JUUL vape pods, would be the first of its kind in the nation if passed.

“Make no mistake about it, Big Tobacco is now Big Vape,” said state Rep. Danielle Gregoire (D-Marlboro) who is co-sponsoring the bill with state Sen. John Keenan (D-Quincy)

7 News boston – July 16, 2019

State lawmakers call for ban on flavored tobacco

BOSTON (WHDH) – State lawmakers are weighing a ban of flavored tobacco products across Massachusetts, saying officials need to do more to stop kids from vaping, but manufacturers and convenience store owners say they’re already working to prevent youth use.

WBUR – July 1, 2019

Cumberland Farms Sues 6 Mass. Towns Over Flavored Tobacco Ban

Cumberland Farms is suing six Massachusetts towns over new regulations blocking the sale of flavored tobacco products and Sen. John Keenan said the suit is proof of the need for a state law banning products like some of the most popular Juul pods and more.

NECN, The take – June 14, 2019

Lawmakers Push Statewide Ban on Flavored Tobacco Products

State Sen. John Keenan joins Sue to talk about the vaping epidemic in Massachusetts schools and how lawmakers want a ban on flavored tobacco products to cut down on their use.

Patriot Ledger – June 14, 2019

Blood drives for Quincy’s Mighty Quinn are a ‘mission of love’

WEYMOUTH — Outside the Saint Jerome School Friday afternoon was a little girl dressed as a cartoon blood drop, hopping from foot to foot and handing green rubber bracelets to anyone who would take them as a way of greeting and encouraging people to stop by a blood drive to benefit Boston Children’s Hospital.

22 news – June 12, 2019

Athletic agencies team up with lawmakers to discourage teen vaping

BOSTON (WWLP) – More than 20 percent of Massachusetts high school students currently use e-cigarettes and the health risks associated with it could be hurting an entire generation. 

During a news conference on Tuesday organizations like TB12 warned teens about the long term health effects of vaping.

Mass live – June 12, 2019

Vaping is ruining student athletes: ’It’s heartbreaking,’ Massachusetts parents, school officials say

Paul Spear was just started as athletic director at Framingham High School when he heard that students were vaping. All he knew was that a friend mentioned he was using the products to ween off cigarettes.

By late 2017, a year later, he was seeing student athletes in his office every week who got caught vaping on school grounds. He had to break the news to them and their parents that they were suspended from a series of games or competitions, due to regulations set by the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association.

State house news service – May 20, 2019

Health activists press ban on flavored tobacco, vaping products

BOSTON — Ten months after Massachusetts became the sixth state to raise its tobacco-buying age to 21, Rep. Danielle Gregoire said she has “real hope” a ban on flavored tobacco and vaping products will pass this year or next.

Gregoire spoke at an American Heart Association of Massachusetts lobby day Thursday, urging advocates to share their personal stories with lawmakers.

Holbrook wicked local – May 28, 2019

Holbrook gets a boost in state aid

Holbrook will receive a boost in state aid for fiscal year 2020, according to state Sen. John Keenan.

The state budget includes a 2.7 percent increase in local aid, providing the Town of Holbrook a total of $1,566,803 for to help fund public safety improvements, housing initiatives, community health programs and other local services. The Council on Aging also will receive funding increases.

Boston Globe – May 19, 2019

EDITORIAL: Time to get serious about teen vaping epidemic

Electronic nicotine delivery systems — such as vape pens, e-hookahs, and other forms of e-cigarettes — arrived a few years ago under the guise of providing a less harmful and better smoking experience than traditional cigarettes. E-cigarettes typically have no tobacco and none of the cancerous toxins found in cigarettes. They work by heating a liquid made of nicotine, glycerol, flavorings, and other chemicals. They produce no odor.

Boston HERALD – May 9, 2019

Mass General pediatrician pushes ban on flavored vapes

A Massachusetts General pediatrician warns that kids “don’t really stand a chance” against vape companies like Juul, pointing to marketing tactics that he says are meant to get them hooked on nicotine.

“I see a flood of kids in my practice who are addicted to Juul,” Dr. Jonathan Winickoff said. “It’s extremely scary.”

Patriot Ledger – May 9, 2019

Quincy Sen. John Keenan pushes for ban on flavored tobacco

BOSTON — An epidemic of vaping and e-cigarette use among Massachusetts teens is frightening doctors and advocates, and state Sen. John Keenan, D-Quincy, said he is making it a priority to pass a bill forbidding the sale of flavored tobacco or tobacco products this session.

patriot ledger – April 11, 2019

Abington High one of three ‘Blue Ribbon Schools’ in the state

ABINGTON — The state’s commissioner of elementary and secondary education will visit Abington High School on Friday to congratulate administrators on its designation as a Blue Ribbon School, a national distinction given by the U.S. Department of Education.

Commissioner Jeffrey Riley will join state Sen. John Keenan, D-Quincy, at the high school starting at 1 p.m. to meet with administrators and students in eighth and 12th grades.

boston globe – March 28, 2019

Advocates want ban on flavored tobacco and vaping products

More than 100 cancer patients, survivors, and their family members fanned out across Beacon Hill on Thursday to push for a ban on all flavored tobacco products, including the nicotine liquid used in vaping, as well as steep new taxes on e-cigarettes.

holbrook wicked local – March 22, 2019

Keenan, Holbrook students talk dangers of teen vaping

State Sen. John Keenan met March 5 with members of the Holbrook Middle-High School Civics Club to discuss the increase in teen vaping across Massachusetts.

The Holbrook Civics Club has been working to raise awareness about the health risks associated with e-cigarettes and vape products such as JUUL, and joined Keenan to discuss legislation that would ban the sale of flavored tobacco products statewide.

watd – February 18, 2019

WATD: Beacon Hill: Keenan Discusses Committee Assignments

State Senator John Keenan, represents the Norfolk and Plymouth District, discusses his committee assignments with WATD’s Dan McCready.

WBUR – July 25, 2018

Deal Struck To Protest Consumers Hurt By Data Breaches

A compromise bill filed Tuesday by a House-Senate conference committee would afford Massachusetts residents a year and a half of free credit monitoring services if their personal data and Social Security number are compromised by a data security breach.