Saturday, January 5, 2013

Thursday, January 3, 2013

By Michael Hartwell

BOSTON — “Transporta­tion” was the big issue talked about Wednes­day while the chambers of the Statehouse were packed tight with fam­ily members and staff for the Senate and House inaugu­rations.

Rep. Thomas Golden said his top priority will continue to be treating mental health and substance abuse with the same parity as physical health.

The Lowell Democrat — the dean of the city’s Statehouse delegation, starting his 10th term — said he rejects suggestions that mentally ill people are more likely to be violent and present a danger to the public.

“You cannot equate them,” Golden said. “There are many, many people that just need a little bit of assistance.”

Golden said people with problems related to mental health and substance abuse, which can be related, are not getting the appropriate treatments they need, and he wants to increase funding.

Other issues Golden will prioritize this term include changing government bid processes to favor small local businesses, putting potential term limits on judges by requiring a reappointment by the Governor’s Council every seven years, and Internet safety.

He said Internet safety includes doing more to stop ID theft, as well as targeting sexual predators by changing the legal definition of “enticement” to include people who pose as children online and contact real children.

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© 2013 lowell sun 01/03/2013

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