Press Releases:

May 25, 2023

Senate Passes FY24 Budget, Adopts 12 Sen. Keenan Amendments

March 6, 2023

Sen. Keenan files 47 Bills for the 193rd General Court

November 15, 2022

Norfolk & Plymouth Communities Receive $2.4M in Economic Growth and Relief Bill

November 2, 2022

Massachusetts Passes Protections For MS Patients 

August 17, 2022

Norfolk & Plymouth District to Receive $2.5M in Bond Bill

August 12, 2022

Massachusetts Passes Major Clean Energy Legislation 

July 28, 2022

Commonwealth Passes FY23 Budget 

July 15, 2022

Norfolk & Plymouth Communities Receive Millions in Authorizations in Transportation Bond Bill 

July 14, 2022

Senate Passes Legislation Expanding Protections for Reproductive & Gender-Affirming Care

July 7, 2022

Senate Passes Early Childhood Care & Education Bill 

May 31, 2022

State Senate Passes FY23 Budget, Adopts 15 Sen. Keenan Amendments

May 6, 2022

Senate Passes Work and Family Mobility Act 

April 29, 2022

Senate Passes Sports Wagering Bill 

April 28, 2022

Sen. Keenan Joins Advocates to Call for Increased Resources for Sober Housing 

April 19, 2022

Senate Passes Landmark Climate Legislation

April 5, 2022

Governor Baker Signs $1.67 Billion Supplemental Budget

February 9, 2022

Legislature Approves Nero’s Law

January 11, 2022

Senator Keenan Reflects on 2021 Highlights

In the News:

Commonwealth Magazine – june 1, 2023

A race to keep up – or to the bottom? Lottery bets big on $50 scratch ticket, online games.

“The state lottery is asking to proceed with online gaming, knowing that gambling is highly addictive. It hits the same receptors in the brain as does an opioid,” Keenan said in a floor speech on behalf of his budget amendment, which was rejected in a voice vote. “My vision of the Commonwealth does not include an increasing number of gambling products and endlessly advertising them, knowing that they lead to addiction, to bankruptcy, to divorce, and to suicide. And yet that seems to be where we’re headed.” 

Keenan said he doesn’t necessarily fault Goldberg and lottery officials for latching on to new developments like online lottery to pump up revenue. “It is their mission, it’s what they’re chartered with and they do it well,” he said in an interview. “I think it’s beyond their purview to determine what role gaming should play in society. It rests more with legislators and policymakers.”

Keenan and other critics say online lottery would only compound problem gambling in the state, opening a new front among young people, a group that is particularly susceptible to addiction driven by the “immediate gratification” that is only a few taps away on their phone. 

NBC Boston – May 8, 2023

Proposal to Install Narcan Inside Red Line MBTA Stations

“It takes only 3-5 minutes for someone who’s experiencing an overdose to have irreparable brain damage, and so it’s so important to administer naloxone within 3 to 5 minutes to save someone’s life,” said Kohli.

The idea is now a bill sponsored by Sen. John Keenan D, which if passed, would allow for an 18-month pilot program.

“We’re asking that the MBTA provide a report to show how it works out and if it works as we suspect then we will be looking to expand it across the entire MBTA system,” Keenan told NBC10 Boston. “This is a way to at least prevent overdose deaths.”

The Patriot Ledger – May 7, 2023

Quincy senator pushes for Narcan at MBTA stations: ‘No different than a defibrillator’

Sen. John Keenan, D-Quincy, is sponsoring a bill that would create an 18-month pilot program equipping Red Line stations with three boxes of naloxone, an opioid overdose reversal nasal spray, along with instructions on how to use it in the event on an emergency. MBTA staff would be responsible for replacing the missing drug, known commercially as Narcan, if it has been used.

“People may be in the train station and may be in a situation where they could overdose, and having the Narcan available could save a life. It is no different than having a defibrillator available in public areas. We thought it was a good idea,” said Keenan.

The idea came from a group of students at Harvard, who noticed there were a cluster of opioid overdoses happening around the nearby public transit station. The study they looked at, done by the Cambridge Public Health Department, pointed out that 10% of all opioid overdoses patients were picked up by an ambulance in a T station.

WGBH – APril 21, 2023

Does online sports betting in Massachusetts need more regulation?

Is the industry’s quick start cause for celebration or concern? Talking Politics host Adam Reilly is joined by state Sen. John Keenan, who believes sports betting still isn’t regulated as tightly as it should be. He’s introduced legislation that would make several promotional practices that are standard industry practice illegal in Massachusetts.

Boston25 News – April 11, 2023

Selectmen, no more: Hanover among Mass. towns to adopt gender-neutral titles for governing board

Now, a bill before the Massachusetts Senate aims to change “the board of selectmen of the town of Hanover to a select board.”

The word “Selectmen” would be replaced with “Select board member,” according to the bill filed by Sen. John Keenan and state Rep. David DeCoste.

“Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the executive 127 body of the town of Hanover, previously known as the board of selectmen, shall be known as the 128 select board and shall have the powers and authority of a board of selectmen under any general 129 or special law,” the bill states.

The Boston Globe – March 27, 2023

As sports betting ads push the limits, regulators need to push back

Others on Beacon Hill are also asking whether Massachusetts Gaming Commission members are doing their jobs as regulators — and deciding they are not.

“Based on the amount of advertising, the tone and tenor, I don’t think so,” state Senator John F. Keenan of Quincy told the editorial board. “We have some catching up to do.”

Keenan has filed a bill that would add bonus promotions, same-game parlays, odds boosts, or promotions that are billed as risk-free, no sweat, or free to what’s prohibited under Chapter 93A of the state’s consumer protection law.

Added Keenan, who voted to legalize sports betting, “We’re not saying ‘don’t bet’. We’re trying to rein in an industry that has taken advantage of the situation.”

WGBH – March 24, 2023

Sports betting ads are everywhere. Are those promotions really risk-free?

“For those that have struggled with addiction relative to gambling, can you imagine the situation they are in right now?” state Sen. John Keenan said on Greater Boston. “Everywhere they turn they are just being hit with this advertising.”

Keenan said sports betting ads have almost become inescapable, appearing on everything from trash cans to billboards. He said the constant exposure becomes an issue for those at risk of addiction and those who have struggled with gambling addiction in the past.

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.