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News Briefs: Pignatelli co-hosts electric vehicle briefing; Harrington endorses criminal justice reform bill

Legislators spoke not only to electric vehicle technology, but also to state policy and programs that support the transition to electric vehicles.

Pignatelli joins colleagues in hosting electric vehicle briefing, ride and drive event

Boston — Tuesday at the State House, Reps. William “Smitty” Pignatelli, D-Lenox; Jonathan Hecht, D-Watertown; Joan Meschino, D-Hull; Solomon Goldstein-Rose, I-Amherst; and Jack Lewis, D-Framingham, hosted an electric vehicle ride and drive event. The day began with a morning briefing, which highlighted the benefits of electric vehicles, showcased the advancements made in electric vehicle technology over recent years and addressed the future of electric vehicles in the Commonwealth.

Legislators spoke not only to electric vehicle technology, but also to state policy and programs that support the transition to EVs, such as the Massachusetts Electric Vehicle Incentive Program, which helps businesses, cities, towns and agencies install charging stations; and MOR-EV (Massachusetts Offers Rebates for Electric Vehicles), which offers consumers a rebate for purchasing or leasing an EV.

The briefing brought in a diverse set of speakers including Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton; Ceres state policy director Alli Gold Roberts; Basim Motiwala, government relations at Honda; and Karsten Barde, new customer offerings at National Grid.

After the briefing, legislators, State House staff and media were invited to test drive some of the vehicles, which included a BMW i3, a Nissan Leaf, a Chevy Bolt, a MINI Cooper Plug-In, a Hyundai Ioniq, a Tesla Model X and a hydrogen fuel cell Honda Clarity.

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Andrea Harrington

District attorney candidate Harrington endorses criminal justice reform bill

Pittsfield — Andrea Harrington, a Democrat running for Berkshire County district attorney, has endorsed S.2371, the sweeping criminal justice reform bill passed by the Massachusetts legislature last week. The bill is currently pending before Gov. Charlie Baker to sign into law.

Harrington is a member of the Berkshire County Bar Association and Hampden County Bar Association and has extensive experience in criminal law and civil litigation. She is a member of the Richmond School Committee and co-founder of the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus’ Berkshire Committee.

Harrington said, “The criminal justice reform bill will make the Berkshires safer and healthier by attacking the root causes of crime. The bill eliminates many unnecessary and destructive mandatory minimum sentences for low level drug offenses and gives prosecutors and judges greater discretion to employ important diversion programs as an alternative to prison for veterans, and people suffering from mental illness and substance abuse disorders. The bill also includes important measures to reduce recidivism, including an ability for those who have served their sentence to expunge criminal records and cuts down on unnecessary fines and fees which keep people tied to the criminal justice system. Furthermore, it ensures that victims of crime are protected and have access to justice.”

On October 17, 2017, former District Attorney David Capeless signed a letter to the legislature in opposition to the bill.

Harrington calls on Baker to sign the criminal justice reform bill into law as soon as possible and thanks Sen. Adam Hinds, D-Pittsfield, and Reps. John Barrett, D-North Adams; Tricia Farley-Bouvier, D-Pittsfield; and William “Smitty” Pignatelli, D-Lenox, for their support for the legislation.

Harrington grew up in Richmond where she and her husband, Tim, are raising their two sons. Harrington is an attorney at Connor & Morneau LLP in Springfield and has been practicing law for more than 15 years. She has been actively involved in the region, serving as a member her local affordable housing committee and school council, and as an advisory board member of the regional nonprofit BerkShares Inc. Harrington is a graduate of Taconic High School in Pittsfield, the University of Washington and the American University Washington College of Law.

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