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  • Massachusetts State House

    Massachusetts State House

  • Senator Richard J. Ross

    Senator Richard J. Ross

Senator Ross in the News

Senator Ross in the News

Read about Senator Ross in the news and view press releases on legislation, upcoming events and community updates.
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Inside the State House

Inside the State House

Read about legislation that Senator Ross has sponsored and view upcoming events taking place at the State House.
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Senator Ross on the Go

Senator Ross on the Go

View photos of Senator Ross at the State House and at events throughout the Norfolk, Bristol and Middlesex District.
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Looking for Senator Richard Ross’ campaign website? Click the link below to visit and learn more about Senator Ross on the campaign trail.
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Hello Friends,

Welcome to my State Senate website! Here you will find legislative and local updates, important state resources, and information on the ways that my office may be able to assist you. It is a true honor to represent the residents of the Norfolk, Bristol and Middlesex district in the Massachusetts Senate. I encourage you to keep me informed of the issues that are most important to you, and to sign up for my newsletter to receive periodic updates from my Senate office.



Richard J. Ross Signature

Richard J. Ross

State Senator

Small Business Spotlight: GravOxy Fitness, Natick

Small Business Spotlight: GravOxy Fitness, Natick

April 27, 2016

With the owner of GravOxy, Joanne Schmalenberger and her son Kyle Sheppard.

With the owner of GravOxy, Joanne Schmalenberger and her son Kyle Sheppard.

This past year a number of new remarkable businesses have opened across my district. Recently, I had the pleasure of touring a new and unique fitness facility in Natick called GravOxy. Founded by Joanne Schmalenberger back in October, the GravOxy fitness regimen employs the use of trampoline-like devices called Rebounders which offer a simpler, reduced impact workout over traditional exercises. Although the exercises at GravOxy are quite different than what you would expect at a gym, they can be just as beneficial to your long-term health.

Born with a disorder of the lymphatic system, Joanne understands that typical gyms are not for everyone. With that in mind, she set out to establish a program that would include people at all skill and health levels, while still providing them with a “comfortable challenge.” The result of her hard work was GravOxy ensuring that workouts are tailored specifically to each person and are “interesting and challenging” for all participants.

Since opening their doors last year, GravOxy has held group classes each day, as well as individualized classes. From children to seniors, GravOxy offers programs for people of all age groups. Additionally, Joanne holds “Reboundology” classes which enable students to train others by using GravOxy techniques.

It was wonderful to meet Joanne, and her son Kyle Sheppard, at GravOxy in Natick and have the opportunity to tour this fantastic new wellness outlet available to my constituents. Joanne has dedicated her life to wellness education and fitness training and I am excited to see where she continues to take this great small business.

For more information on the GravOxy studio, or to sign up for one of their classes,  please visit

Small Business Spotlight, GravOxy Fitness Studio, Natick (3)Small Business Spotlight, GravOxy Fitness Studio, Natick (2)


Small Business Spotlight: Sugar Shoppe, Franklin

Small Business Spotlight: Sugar Shoppe, Franklin

March 11, 2016

With Corey and Courtney Nappa, owners of Sugar Shoppe.

With Corey and Courtney Nappa, owners of Sugar Shoppe.

Sugar Shoppe in Franklin has only been open for a few months, but in a short amount of time it is already a local hit. The owners, Corey and Courtney Nappa, have put a unique twist on the traditional candy shop. While they stock all of your favorite confectionaries, like penny candies, fudge, jelly beans, and truffles, they also give all net proceeds to a charity they started, Make Change for Change.

Their mission as a small business and a charity is to ensure that our children have a roof over their heads and do not go hungry. At Make Change for Change Corey and Courtney believe that “children are the foundation of our future” which is why the funds raised from Sugar Shoppe help to provide housing for families in need as well as gift baskets for the homeless.

With such a fantastic vision, service, and vast selection of treats, customers are eager to give back to their community. The Nappas’ candy knowledge is unparalleled and as an up and coming business they encourage customer input and feedback. Additionally, if your favorite candy is missing, just let them know and they will order it for you.

Sugar Shoppe has been one of my favorite stops on my Small Business Spotlight; a true beacon of hope in our community. If you would like to get involved and help volunteer with Make Change for Change email Courtney at

For more information on Sugar Shoppe, please visit

Small Business Spotlight, Sugar Shoppe, Franklin


Legislature Passes Substance Addiction Legislation to Enhance Continuum of Care and Prevention Efforts

March 10, 2016

Boston – Senator Richard J. Ross joined the Massachusetts Legislature today in passing substance addiction legislation that enhances intervention, prevention and education efforts, including the creation of a framework to evaluate and treat patients who present in emergency rooms with an apparent overdose.

This new practice, which will be covered by insurance, is designed to ensure the proper assessment and discharge of patients who seek voluntary treatment. If a patient refuses treatment, information on health and community resources will be provided. This framework reflects the 2012 University of Miami Medical School findings that voluntary treatment is more effective and affordable than involuntary commitment.

“In 2014, I was honored to work with my colleagues to ensure that men and women across Massachusetts had access to treatment and care to fight addiction. The bill we finalized today builds off of those provisions, focusing on education and prevention,” said Senator Ross. “The opioid epidemic has gravely impacted our communities and families, but this legislation gives our schools, public safety officials, and health care professionals the tools they need to combat the spread of opiate abuse across the Commonwealth. I am proud of the bipartisan support and the commitment from the Baker Administration to saving lives; this bill will truly make a difference.”

The bill limits first-time opiate prescriptions to seven days for adults and all opiate prescriptions for minors to seven days, with exceptions for chronic pain management, cancer, and palliative care. Practitioners must now check the prescription monitoring program (PMP) each time they prescribe any opiate and correspondingly note that in the patient’s medical records.

From its discussions with numerous stakeholders and recovery groups, the Legislature recognizes the importance of empowering individuals as they grapple with addiction. As a result, this bill establishes a non-opiate directive form, allowing patients to include a notation in their records that they shall not be offered opiates. It also provides the option of a “partial fill” which allows patients, in consultation with their doctor, to request a lesser amount than indicated on the script; however, this language is permissive and pharmacists may use their discretion.

In an effort to build upon current prevention efforts, the legislation updates current law – which requires all public schools to have a policy regarding substance abuse education – by directing schools to report their plans to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). DESE will then consult with the Department of Public Health (DPH) to provide recommendations that will assist schools and ensure they are providing effective and up-to-date education. Additional education materials will be provided to all student-athletes.

Schools will annually be required to conduct a verbal substance abuse screening in two grade levels. These screenings are subject to appropriate ages and include an opt-out provision for students and parents. Additionally, school districts implementing alternative substance use screening policies may opt out of the verbal screening tool requirement.

To ensure that unused medications are safely collected and disposed of, this legislation requires manufacturers of controlled substances in Massachusetts to participate in either a drug stewardship program or an alternative plan as determined by DPH.

Over the past few years, the Legislature’s efforts related to substance addiction have focused on behavioral health and the prevalence of co-occurring disorders. This legislation requires the Health Policy Commission to conduct a study on access to dual-diagnosis treatment in the Commonwealth for children, adolescents and adults. To help ensure parity between behavioral and physical health care, the legislation also requires insurance companies to report annually on their denied claims.

This bill also:

  • Requires that contact information for all insurers be posted on the bed-finder tool website and updates the law to ensure the site is available 24 hours a day;
  • Requires that patients being discharged from substance addiction receive information on all FDA-approved medication-assisted therapies;
  • Ensures civil-liability protection for individuals who administer Narcan;
  • Updates the training guidelines for all practitioners who prescribe controlled substances;

This legislation follows a 65.2% increase in substance addiction funding since FY12 and the landmark substance addiction law passed in 2014 which, for the first time, mandated detox and stabilization coverage. The two bills are intended to complement each other and reflect a consensus-driven approach.

Please contact the office of Senator Ross with any questions or concerns at (617) 722-1555 or