Since John’s time being elected to the Massachusetts Senate in 2010, he has had the honor to work on several important pieces of legislation, particularly on substance use and public health. Here are some highlights of legislation that he has passed:


Substance Use

Public Health

Local Funding

Bonding Committee

Tobacco Legislation

  • Proud to have been the principal author and sponsor of An Act Modernizing Tobacco Control, first in the nation legislation banning all flavored e-cigarette/vaping products and all flavored tobacco products in Massachusetts. 

Other Substance Use Legislation

  • Drafted several sections of An Act for Prevention and Access to Appropriate Care and Treatment of Addiction, focusing on required insurance coverage for non-opioid alternative pain management treatments, partial fill of opioid prescriptions, insurance coverage for naloxone, induction of medication assisted treatment in emergency departments, and use of medication assisted treatments in state and county correctional facilities. 
  • Drafted several sections of An Act Relative to Substance Use, Treatment, Education and Prevention, focusing on provision of non-opioid alternatives, mandating insurance companies to report coverage denials for medical and behavioral health claims to assess parity, creating Pain Management Access Program for physicians, adding Gabapentin to the list of monitored drugs, establishing prescribing protocols, requiring the Department of Public Health to release de-identified data for research, and making MA the first in the nation to:
    • Allow patient use of non-opiate directives
    • Permit partial fill of prescriptions
    • Establish prescriber trend notifications
    • Create statewide Drug Stewardship Program  
  • Conceived and co-authored legislation creating a Sober Home Certification Program, which was included in Section 37 of the FY15 Budget, and which is now considered a national model 
  • Authored An Act Requiring Certain Reports for Opiate Overdoses, which commissioned a detailed study, a first of its kind in the nation, requiring the collection of multi-source data to establish the prescribing, treatment, incarceration, and other relevant history of each person suffering a fatal overdose in 2014, and to identify risk indicators to inform future approaches to addiction; the collection of data has expanded and is regularly reported by the Department of Public Health 
  • Led the call for an upgrade to the Commonwealth’s Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) and advocacy for necessary appropriations, resulting in Massachusetts Prescription Awareness Tool (MassPAT), which was released for use in October 2016 
  • Drafted several sections of an Act to Increase Opportunities for Long-Term Substance Abuse Recovery, focusing on creation of a drug formulary of chemically equivalent abuse deterrent opioid medications for substitution for non-abuse deterrent formulations, insurance coverage for abuse deterrent opioid formulations, reporting of overdose death data to MedWatch, authorizing the emergency scheduling of dangerous synthetic substances, and improving insurance denial data collection 
  • Co-Authored An Act Relative to Prescription Drug Diversion, Abuse and Diversion, which established automatic enrollment in the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) for all physicians and dentists; required prescribers to check a patient’s PMP record before writing an opiate prescription; required pharmacies to submit to State and Local Police any report of lost or stolen controlled substances; prohibited the filling of opiate prescriptions from states outside of New England; directed the Department of Public Health to create an educational pamphlet on addiction risks, and required pharmacists to distribute it with each schedule II or III opiate prescription; required that all written prescriptions be issued on tamper resistant forms meeting federal guidelines for Medicaid written prescriptions; added a number of identified hazardous “Bath Salts” substances to Schedule I; required providers to give notification and educational materials to parents whenever a minor receives emergency treatment for a drug or alcohol overdose; codified the authority of MassHealth to establish a “Lock In” program that monitors for signs of doctor shopping or pharmacy shopping; and, established the Prescribing Best Practices Working Group (later renamed the Joint Policy Working Group) to review and make recommendations on prescription drug abuse 

Public Health Legislation

Hinton State Laboratory Institute in Jamaica Plain
  • Secured $6 million for the DMH Adult Community Services to create new community placements for discharge ready individuals, who otherwise had to remain in DMH continuing care beds
  • Drafted amendment included in FY17 budget, creating commission to review specialty drug dispensing and patient safety 
  • Drafted several sections of An Act Relative to the Reduction of Gun Violence, focusing on school safety, suicide awareness and prevention training for school personnel, suicide data collection, and verification of receipt of license application 
  • Co-Authored An Act Relative to Pharmacy Practice in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, legislation regulating the practice of pharmacy compounding in response to the New England Compounding Center meningitis outbreak that killed 64 people and caused serious illness to hundreds  
  • Drafted amendments adopted in An Act Improving the Quality of Health Care and Reducing Costs Through Increased Transparency, Efficiency and Innovation, ensuring that the definition of “emergency medical condition” includes behavioral health and substance abuse emergencies for purposes of parity 
  • Lead advocacy for modernized public health laboratory, resulting in planned renovation of Hinton Laboratory  
  • Drafted the Jail Diversion Community Safety Initiative amendment to support approaches that promote access to mental health treatment rather than arrest or jail, and provide resources to develop prevention and intervention programs.

Local Funding

John is always looking for ways to support the city of Quincy and the towns of Abington, Braintree, Holbrook, and Rockland. Here is funding he has secured over the years to benefit communities in his district:

Fiscal Year 2021

  • $500,000 for business development, infrastructure and streetscape improvements equally divided to Abington, Braintree, Holbrook, and Rockland and Wollaston Center in Quincy
  • $2,500,000 for the design, renovation or construction of the pier and docks at Squantum Point Park and for the establishment of a ferry service in the city of Quincy
  • $5,000,000 for parking and traffic improvements equally distributed to Abington, Braintree, Holbrook, Quincy, and Rockland
  • $30,000,000 for a ferry construction and improvement grant program
  • $200,000 for my district for extraordinary costs necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • $20,000 for funding of a public health nurse to assist in COVID-19 contact tracing, vaccination site planning and preparation and mobilization for COVID-19 vaccine distribution planning in the town of Abington
  • $100,000 to Braintree for the prevention and mitigation of COVID-19, for the purchase of personal protective equipment, and for the enhancement of remote and hybrid learning
  • Funding for the seventh consecutive year for the Quincy Fire Department Hazardous Material Response Team, following a risk analysis by the city of Quincy, which identified the department’s most pressing need is still an increased hazardous response program

Fiscal Year 2020

  • $450,000 to study and implement expanded access to urgent care and behavioral health services in Manet Community Health Centers in the South Shore region
  • Study of appropriate fire suppression systems in historical sites
  • Roof repairs for senior centers
  • Improvements at housing authorities and town halls
  • Upgrades to communications systems for fire stations in Plymouth County

Previous Fiscal Years (FY19-FY13)

  • $100,000 to Manet Community Health Center to expand the integration of behavioral health into their primary care setting, by adding clinicians at the CHC’s primary care locations
  • Roadway safety equipment for Abington, a voiced priority for town leadership
  • ADA compliant dog park in Braintree, prompted by community organizing and town support
  • Community historical celebrations and structural safety assessments of historical landmarks
  • Improvements at housing authorities and town halls, namely Holbrook Town Hall
  • $245,500 for costs associated with restoring sea-run fish to the Fore River Watershed, reconnecting the Great Pond Reservoir to Marine water for the first time in over 200 years  
  • Increased funding for the Head Start program, including the Quincy Head Start program, from $8 million to $9 million to reach children at a critical age and provide education, health, nutrition, and parental involvement services for low-income children and their families
  • Expansion of an emergency radio communications network used by fire departments in Plymouth county
  • Continued improvements to public safety and town halls
  • Improvements to Squantum Point Park and Pier to enable ferry service in Quincy and connect this area more conveniently to major area routes
  • Curriculum development for public schools
  • Study of improvements and redesign of the Rockland Veterans Memorial Stadium, a project with strong town support
  • Support for Quincy Asian Resources, Inc., a not-for-profit organization that provides programs and services including adult education programs, youth development and mentoring, bilingual social services, a free legal clinic, and more 
  • Improvements to the Braintree Department of Elder Affairs

Bonding Committee Legislation

As chair of the Bonding Committee from 2015-2018, John reviewed, amended as necessary, and helped pass the following bills: