Hi Reddit!

I’m Stan Rosenberg, President of the Massachusetts Senate. I’ll be taking your questions for a full hour starting at 11A.M. This week is Sunshine Week, so I would love to talk about government transparency and accountability, as well as what we have done in Massachusetts in the last year to address income inequality & criminal justice reform!

As background, check out what the MA Senate has done over the last year: http://www.stanrosenberg.com/article/senate-accomplishments-2015

Proof: https://twitter.com/SenStan/status/710093905635774464

EDIT: Thanks for chatting with me, Reddit! I had a great time. Look forward to doing this again soon! Follow me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/senatorstanrosenberg or on Twitter: https://twitter.com/SenStan

Comments: 99 • Responses: 19  • Date: 

Pinwurm21 karma

For many people across the state, the issue of legalized recreational marijuana is an important one.

However, the government poorly handled medical. It took years for dispensaries to open up after the laws passed due to all the red tape. Businesses that, had they sold rifles or been liquor stores, or even a clinic prescribing opioids for pain, would've been fine. Patients were frustrated - and many had to continue to buy illegally due to accessibility. It's wasn't easy for city residents, who may not have a car, to get to Salem. I suppose it's better now with the Brookline operation.

Still, many of us are expecting to see legalization on the ballot this year. The 'dangerous gateway drug' rhetoric Mayor Walsh has been politicizing has been overwhelmingly condemned by the medical community.

We see in Colorado and Washington that the potential tax revenue is exceptional - and can be used to help our schools (especially BPS, which is having vital programs cut. See the walk out?), help our infrastructure (the FCMB audit of the MBTA is outrageous), and help with other deficits.

What is your stance on the issue? Not a BS answer, like 'I'll go with the will of the people', but your personal stance?

SenatePresidentStan21 karma

I think that adults should be able to responsibly do what they want. That said, the issue of legalization of recreational marijuana is complicated and there are many issues to consider. Check out the report the MA Senate just released: https://malegislature.gov/Reports

Pinwurm13 karma

Well said, and thank you for taking the time for the AMA today.

I gave the report a glance - and I'll be reviewing it in detail during my lunch hour. So far, it's reasonable.

Also, please thank whoever is in charge for cancelling winter this year.

SenatePresidentStan39 karma

You're welcome - on both the report and winter. It was me. I made the call to cancel.

Norman_Humal16 karma

Hey, thanks for taking the time to do this!

What is your position on the current fiasco in Washington regarding Internet/phone privacy? Do you think it's more important for each individual to have his privacy or do you think the nations security relies on information garnered from people's private communications?

SenatePresidentStan16 karma

We should always tip in the direction of protecting our constitutionally provided rights, which includes the right to privacy. Here's a step the MA Senate took in this direction earlier this year: http://www.massemploymentbizlit.com/2016/01/mass-state-senate-passes-social-media-privacy-protection-legislation/

XpL0d3r6 karma

Social media aside, what are your thoughts on the FBI attempting to gain access to the iPhone via custom firmware? When Comey was asked, he said he wasn't technologically inept to know exactly what the FBI had already tried, but assured they tried all that they could. For example, Comey was asked if the FBI had tried to extract the data from memory, essentially copying the data, and then brute forcing their way in. Comey said nothing other than that if that were an option, his team had already tried it. HOWEVER, it would take months to extract this data -- it's certainly no overnight process. This makes me question whether the FBI's intention is to just access this one phone in question, or if they're using fear / terrorism as a way of trying to convince people that it's ok getting around iPhone encryption, as a whole.

What's your take on this? PS I am from Pittsfield!

SenatePresidentStan15 karma

I think individual privacy is a very important consideration when weighing these decisions. However, I know nothing about the details of this situation. I'd be happy to read whatever you send me - [email protected]

truthaboutcs11 karma

What do you think about the movie Predator?

SenatePresidentStan8 karma

Missed that one - do you recommend it? I'll check it out if it's on Netflix.

truthaboutcs10 karma

It recommends itself by the fact it's the greatest movie of all time. And if that's not enough, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura should convince you.

SenatePresidentStan9 karma

Can't wait to see it!

keluvsorangesoda9 karma

I am glad you are speaking on the topic of government transparency and accountability as well as criminal justice reform. It took me over a year for the DPH to fulfill my request on the Annie Dookhan case. What has been done as far as criminal justice reform goes in relation to that case? (i.e. Do you believe in mandatory minimums? Do you feel drug labs should be independently run aside from the state?)

SenatePresidentStan5 karma

Disappointed it took so long to fulfill your request - that's why MA Senate passed a comprehensive public records request that addresses the issue of timeliness.

In general, the nation is moving away from mandatory minimums and MA has taken steps in that direction - I think it's the right one.

tamaters18 karma

Are you hiring?

SenatePresidentStan9 karma

No at the moment, but public service is a wonderful calling and I encourage you to keep looking!

Itsalrightwithme8 karma

Mr. Rosenberg: the increase surge in cost of housing in Greater Boston Area -- both for renting and buying -- is of great concern to many residents. What is your opinion on this subject? Do you have a vision on how to address this issue?

Thanks in advance for your answer and for doing this AMA!

SenatePresidentStan4 karma

The high cost of housing is a huge issue here in Boston and across the state. In fact, the MA Senate just released a report about the housing crisis and outlined a vision for potential solutions. You can find the full report here: https://malegislature.gov/CC/WhatsNext

Norman_Humal7 karma

I hate to be the one to ask this, but will we truly see medicinal marijuana dispensaries opening throughout Massachusetts this year? Does the senate see the federal government as a friend or an enemy on this issue?

SenatePresidentStan9 karma

It's taken too long. A number have opened and more are on the way. People will soon have the access that the ballot question promised.

Sirlantedise6 karma

Best place to eat in Boston?

SenatePresidentStan18 karma

My condo! No reservations needed.

ollieav6 karma

okk so transparency and Sunshine week, what have you done to make state government or the Mass Senate more transparent?

SenatePresidentStan7 karma

Here's a report of what we did last year - check out the section on transparency & engagement: http://www.stanrosenberg.com/article/senate-accomplishments-2015

Here are some internal changes that we've made to make our information more accessible: https://twitter.com/SenStan/status/709813944689549312

Early last year, we launched the @MA_Senate Twitter to keep the public informed (you should follow us!)

We also passed a comprehensive public records reform bill which is currently in conference.

Finally, we're always looking for new ways to increase transparency - including a mobile app that's in the works.

taocn6 karma

How is the budget looking?

SenatePresidentStan9 karma

There is a structural deficit, it's going to be a tight budget year. The Governor and Speaker have both said that new revenue is off the table, and under the constitution the Senate cannot initiate new tax revenue.

alucard3336 karma

How's your day going so far? Also your favourite food?

SenatePresidentStan6 karma

The day is excellent so far! My favorite food -- anything Italian!

dafshar4 karma

Hi Mr. Senate President - I was curious to know your thoughts on the very recent appointment of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court, and the US Senate Majority's response to it. Do you think they will prevent his admission, and if they do, is that constitutionally legal?

SenatePresidentStan15 karma

President Obama's nominee deserves a fair hearing and a vote on the floor of the U.S. Senate. Both the President and the Senators will then have fulfilled their constitutional duty. #DoYourJob

CRFyou3 karma

Are you okay with the Boston Bruins trading Lucic?

He did score on the Bruins when he came back to town, that had to sting.

SenatePresidentStan10 karma

Let me check with my staff.

THEY say: "Bruins did what was best for the team in the long run. But he had a good run here"

jdb8882 karma

When do you expect the shoe to drop? It's inevitable that the legislature will have the same kids of public corruption arrests that we see in New York and Illinois, isn't it?

SenatePresidentStan5 karma

No - MA has some of the most comprehensive ethics and campaign finance laws in the country, as well as other forms of disclosure.

[deleted]1 karma


Willpoker2 karma

I guess everyone but me gets their questions answered

SenatePresidentStan3 karma

Sorry - Can't see your question. Looks like it was deleted. Can you please repost it?

Willpoker2 karma

Senator Rosenberg, Good morning, If the BPD Police Commissioner and also the MA Police Chiefs Associations recommend fingerprinting of ride sharing drivers, wouldn't they know best of how to protect the public. I would think that would be a must to any bill about uber or lyft that is up in the Senate. Where do you stand with concerns to this and protecting the public from possible criminals driving young or intoxicated passengers?

SenatePresidentStan5 karma

We should have consistently applied policies across the board for all rides for hire that are based on best practices which promote public safety and consumer protection. If we fingerprinted all cab drivers universally, it would be fair to do it to everyone. But we don't - only one city in MA (Boston) now fingerprints taxi drivers, and they only recently started doing it.