Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Representative Kane Appointed To Commission On Malnutrition Prevention Among Older Adults

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) has appointed State Representative Hannah Kane (R-Shrewsbury) to serve as his designee on the Commission on Malnutrition Prevention Among Older Adults.

Established in 2016, the 17-member Commission is responsible for studying the effects of malnutrition on older adults and determining the most effective strategies for reducing it. As part of its directive, the Commission works to develop policies promoting proven, effective malnutrition prevention interventions, including community nutrition programs, medical nutrition therapy and oral nutrition supplements.

“Hannah has done a tremendous amount of work over the years to address the many challenges posed by hunger and food insecurity,” said Representative Jones. “Her dedication to finding solutions to these problems will be a real asset to the commission as it works to identify ways to protect older residents from the negative health impacts associated with malnutrition.”

Members of the Commission include representatives from the Executive Office of Elder Affairs, the Department of Public Health, the Department of Transitional Assistance, the Department of Agricultural Resources, the Massachusetts Dietetic Association, and the Massachusetts Association of Councils on Aging, Inc., as well as individuals working within the health care and home care industries. The Commission is required to file an annual report with its findings and recommendations by December 31.

Representative Kane is a Co-Founder and a Co-Chair of the first in the nation Food System Caucus (FSC), which is the second largest caucus in the Massachusetts Legislature. She also serves as the House Minority Leader’s designee on the Massachusetts Food Policy Council and is a member of Governor Baker’s Food Security Task Force, which was created in response to the challenges COVID-19 has created for the state’s food production and distribution system

In 2016, Representative Kane was presented with the Worcester County Food Bank (WCFB) Harvester Award in recognition of her partnership with the WCFB to help feed hungry people today, while working to create hunger-free communities of tomorrow. In March of 2019, Hannah was recognized by the Worcester County Bar Association as a Public Official of the Year for her bi-partisan work on the Healthy Incentives Program, which helps SNAP clients maintain a more nutritious diet with access to fresh fruits and vegetables locally grown. Her annual charity golf tournament, which is now in its seventh year, has raised over $327,000 for non-profit organizations in her district, including St. Anne’s Human Services/Food Pantry and the Westborough Food Pantry.

“A driver in much of my work in food policy and public health policy is a strong belief that good nutrition is one of the best forms of preventative healthcare we can promote. Malnutrition is a serious issue affecting many older adults in our state,” remarked Representative Kane. “I am grateful to the Minority Leader for appointing me to this Commission so I can use the knowledge I have acquired in my work thus far to continue to advance a healthier Commonwealth for all.”

Representative Kane is currently the Ranking Minority Member of both the Joint Committee on Public Health and the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing. She also serves as a member of the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery, as well as the newly-formed Joint Committee on Racial Equity, Civil Rights and Inclusion.

Representative Kane represents the Eleventh Worcester District, which is comprised of the town of Shrewsbury and precincts 4 and 5 in Westborough. She was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2015.

Friday, March 5, 2021

Representative Xiarhos Serving On Special Commission Studying Qualified Immunity

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) has announced the appointment of State Representative Steven Xiarhos (R-West Barnstable) to serve on a special legislative commission that will investigate and study the impact to the administration of justice of the qualified immunity doctrine in the Commonwealth.

Created as part of the new policing reform law signed on December 31, the commission will look at the origins of qualified immunity and how it is currently interpreted by the state’s courts. The commission will also analyze the legal and policy rationale for the qualified immunity doctrine, as well as its legal and policy impact.

The qualified immunity doctrine, which dates back to a 1967 U.S. Supreme Court case, protects police officers and other government officials from being subject to civil suits for actions taken when discharging their official duties, unless it can be shown that their actions violated “clearly established” statutory or constitutional rights. It is designed to protect public officials from frivolous lawsuits when acting in good faith.

“Steve has an extensive background in law enforcement and is very familiar with the qualified immunity doctrine,” said Representative Jones. “I am confident he will help the commission conduct a complete and thorough examination of how qualified immunity is applied and what changes may be needed to ensure that it provides protections for both government officials and the general public.”

Xiarhos is one of 8 legislators serving on the 15-member commission, which will be led by the House and Senate chairs of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary, Representative Michael Day (D-Stoneham) and Senator Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton). The commission will also include a member of a police officers’ union, a member of a firefighters’ union, and a retired justice of the appeals court, who will all be appointed by Governor Charlie Baker; as well as the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, Inc.; the president of the Massachusetts Bar Association; the executive director of the Massachusetts Municipal Association, Inc.; and the president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People New England Area Conference.

The commission will file a report on its findings and recommendations, including any suggested legislation, by September 30, 2021.

A Gold Star Father and 40-year veteran of the Yarmouth Police Department, Xiarhos retired as the department’s Deputy Chief of Police on December 8, 2019. He was elected to the House of Representatives in November of 2020, and represents the Fifth Barnstable District, which is comprised of Precincts 11 and 12 in Barnstable; Precincts 1, 2 and 7 in Bourne; the town of Sandwich; and Precinct 9 in Plymouth.