Proud to have the endorsement of Salisbury, Newburyport and Amesbury police chiefs.

Proud to have the endorsement of the Amesbury Fire Department.

THANK YOU Newburyport, Salisbury and Amesbury for the award again this year. It is a privilege to serve you in the State House.

“With all that we have accomplished so far, I could 
not have asked for a better partner on these issues than Jim Kelcourse.” Governor Charlie Baker

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LATEST UPDATES

James Kelcourse
James KelcourseOctober 23, 2019 at 11:53pm
Representative Kelcourse supports comprehensive reform bill to promote education equity and accountability

BOSTON – State Representative James Kelcourse, Amesbury, is supporting legislation that calls for a seven-year, multi-billion dollar investment in the state’s public schools to help ensure that all Massachusetts students have access to a quality education.

House Bill 4137, An Act relative to educational opportunity for students, seeks to implement the recommendations of the Foundation Budget Review Commission, which determined in its 2015 report that the state is underfunding public education by as much as $1-$2 billion a year. The bill, which was approved by the House of Representatives on a vote of 155-0 on October 23, represents the first major change to the education funding formula since the passage of the 1993 Education Reform Act.

In keeping with the Commission’s recommendations, the Student Opportunity Act revises the state’s funding formula to specifically address the needs of English learners, low-income students, special education programming, and the municipal costs associated with employee and retiree health care benefits. It also raises the annual cap for school building assistance projects to $800 million, with future caps adjusted for inflation, while providing expanded funding for out-of-district special education transportation costs and establishing a timeline for fully funding charter school reimbursements.

Representative Kelcourse noted that House Bill 4137 also sets strong accountability standards for school districts. The bill authorizes the Commissioner of Education to establish statewide targets and annual benchmarks to address persistent disparities in student achievement, and requires school districts to develop 3-year plans to meet these targets. School districts will also be required to submit annual reports to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to demonstrate that they are making progress in closing existing opportunity gaps among students.

The Student Opportunity Act also:

• establishes an educational mandate task force to review existing state mandates placed on public schools and districts that are not fully funded by the Commonwealth;
• creates a Data Advisory Commission to ensure that resources are allocated effectively at the district and school levels;
• sets financial literacy standards as a statewide educational goal so that all public elementary and secondary school students have an understanding of personal finances; and
• establishes a Twenty-First Century Education program, along with an Advisory Council and Trust Fund, to provide competitive grants to public schools and districts to help address achievement disparities and increase efficiencies.

The proposed reforms included in House Bill 4137 would be phased in over a seven-year period, beginning in Fiscal Year 2021, with the changes fully implemented by 2027.

The Senate previously approved its own version of the education reform bill. A six-member conference committee will now be appointed to work out the differences between the two branches’ proposals, with the goal of producing a final bill that can be sent to Governor Charlie Baker for his signature
James Kelcourse
James KelcourseOctober 17, 2019 at 8:08am
Representative Kelcourse supports municipal disaster relief, early voting as part of $636M supplemental budget

BOSTON – State Representative James Kelcourse, Amesbury, is supporting the creation of an emergency fund to provide disaster relief to cities and towns.

The Emergency Relief and Immediate Commonwealth Assistance Trust Fund, which will be administered by the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), will set aside up to $500,000 annually to facilitate state and local response efforts to natural disasters and emergencies. The proposal is one of many policy and funding initiatives included in a $636 million supplemental budget approved by the House of Representatives on October 16.

House Bill 4127 also creates a $2.5 million reserve to assist Cape Cod communities impacted by the tornado that hit the area on July 23, 2019. This reserve will help municipalities cover qualifying expenses that were not eligible for federal funding.

In addition to the disaster relief funding, the supplemental budget includes provisions allowing for early voting in the 2020 Massachusetts Presidential Primary, which will take place on March 3. Eligible voters will be able to cast ballots one week prior to the primary, beginning on Monday, February 24 and ending on Friday, February 28. A total of $750,000 is set aside in the bill to compensate cities and towns for the additional costs associated with early voting.

House Bill 4127 also moves the date of the 2020 state primary from September 15 to September 1. The date change is needed to comply with federal and state laws governing the deadlines for delivering ballots to U.S. military personnel serving overseas; filling vacancies caused by the death, withdrawal or ineligibility of candidates; and holding recounts.

Representative Kelcourse said the supplemental budget also takes steps to maintain the state’s positive financial rating by authorizing the deposit of approximately $400 million into the Stabilization Fund, bringing the fund’s balance to $3.2 billion. This money can be used to mitigate the impact of cuts in essential state services and programs in the event of a future economic downturn.

The supplemental budget also:

• authorizes $5 million from the Water Pollution Abatement Revolving Fund to be used for public school deleading projects, including grants;
• provides $5 million to the Department of Agricultural Resources for spraying to reduce the risk of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), a mosquito-borne virus that has claimed the lives of four Massachusetts residents this year;
• allows the Department of Energy Resources to expend Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) funds to support the electric vehicle incentive program by providing consumers with rebates between $2,500 and $5,000 for the purchase or lease of battery electric vehicles, fuel cell electric vehicles and zero-emissions vehicles;
• provides $8.4 million for the testing of water supplies for potential per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination and for grants to treat affected drinking water systems;
• transfers $20 million to the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust to remediate PFAS contamination of public water supplies; and
• establishes a 19-member task force to review and investigate PFAS water and ground contamination across the Commonwealth, with a report to be filed with the Legislature by December 31, 2020.

The supplemental budget now heads to the Senate for further action.
   

MEET JIM

As a resident of the district since childhood, I understand the unique promise our community offers to everyone who lives, works or visits here. As a small business owner, husband and father of two young boys, I also know the challenges that we face in continuing to realize that promise for ourselves and the generation to come.

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CAMPAIGN ISSUES

EDUCATION

Education will always be a top priority of mine. As a member of the Joint Committee on Education, I will work with the Administration and leadership to ensure that funding for our schools continues to increase as it has over the last 2 years.

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CONSTITUENT SERVICES

As your State Representative, I have worked tirelessly to make sure that you are well-represented on Beacon Hill.

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JOBS & ECONOMY

As a small business owner, I understand what it takes to be self employed in today’s competitive economy.

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ELECTION COUNTDOWN

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