Massachusetts Legislature Passes ARPA, FY21 Surplus Spending Bill

(BOSTON) - On Monday, December 13, 2021, Governor Baker signed An Act relative to immediate COVID-19 recovery needs (H.4269,) which allocates $2.55 billion in federal funding granted to the Commonwealth for COVID-19 relief from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and $1.45 billion in surplus tax dollars from fiscal year 2021.  Advanced by the Massachusetts legislature in early December, the bill allocates $4 billion in critical investments to sectors including housing, health care, mental and behavioral health, climate preparedness, education, and workforce development. “A once-in-a-generation opportunity to invest in communities, this legislation serves to uplift the residents by strengthening existing programs and services,” said Representative Meschino (D-Hull).  “I am eager to see the positive impact that these relief dollars will have in our district and across the Commonwealth in support of our main street economies.” The legislation includes several initiatives from Representative Meschino’s legislative agenda. An Unemployment Insurance Overpayment . . . Read More

2021-12-22T18:41:47-05:00December 22nd, 2021|Other Topics|

Redistricting Brings Changes to Third Plymouth District

(BOSTON) - Last week, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed legislation, An Act relative to establishing representative districts in the General Court (H 4217,) that established new political boundaries for all 160 House districts.  The Third Plymouth District, represented by State Representative Joan Meschino (D-Hull), will be comprised of the Towns of Hingham, Hull, and Cohasset.  The district now includes all precincts in Hingham.  Precinct 3 in North Scituate will be part of the Fourth Plymouth district. After conducting and releasing the U.S. Decennial Census, Massachusetts is constitutionally mandated to change its House, Senate, Governor's Council and Congressional district boundaries based upon the census data.  These changes are meant to align districts with population shifts and provide equal representation to the Commonwealth’s citizens.  As with each redistricting cycle, public participation played an integral role in this year’s process.  Residents of the Commonwealth had numerous opportunities for public participation, including . . . Read More

2021-10-25T17:40:01-04:00October 25th, 2021|Other Topics|

Representative Meschino Bill in Relation to Waivers for Non-Fault Overpayments Receives Support from AFL-CIO, GBLS in Hearing

(BOSTON) - This week, State Representative Joan Meschino (D-Hull) testified in support of An Act relative to waivers for non-fault overpayments (H4202) to streamline and enhance the standards to determine whether the collection of overpaid state and federal unemployment benefits accrued in 2020 and 2021 will be waived. The bill supports the Commonwealth’s workers and their families by providing clear guidance to the Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) on the process and standards to consider no-fault waiver requests. After filing the bill last month, the bill was promptly assigned to the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development and a hearing was held on Tuesday, October 19, 2021. During the hearing, Representative Meschino, Hannah Tanabe of Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS), and John Drinkwater of AFL-CIO, spoke to the significant burdens that the clawback of overpayments have created for the Commonwealth’s workers, through no fault of their own. To . . . Read More

2021-10-22T15:51:24-04:00October 22nd, 2021|Other Topics|

Broad Coalition Urges Support of Legislation to Expand Supportive Housing and Services

Press Release by United Way (BOSTON) – A broad coalition of 70 housing advocates and providers, healthcare institutions, and nonprofit and philanthropic leaders today urged the Joint Committee on Housing to favorably report out new legislation sponsored by State Representative Joan Meschino (D-Hull) that would transform the Commonwealth’s homeless response system and advance long-term housing solutions throughout Massachusetts. House Bill 3838 – An Act to create and implement a Massachusetts Flexible Housing Subsidy Pool Program to address the medically complex needs of disabled men, women, and children experiencing homelessness – would create a new Massachusetts Flexible Housing Pool (MFHP) – a nimble pot of public and private resources to help meet the complex housing and health needs of individuals, youth, and families experiencing homelessness. The goal of this bill is to expand supportive housing and services for adults, youth, and families experiencing homelessness, and enable funds to get out . . . Read More

2021-10-13T11:07:45-04:00October 12th, 2021|Other Topics|

Representative Meschino Files Bill in Relation to Waivers for Non-Fault Overpayments

(BOSTON) - Last week, State Representative Joan Meschino (D-Hull) filed An Act relative to waivers for non-fault overpayments (HD4461) to streamline the standards that determine whether the collection of overpaid state and federal unemployment benefits accrued in 2020 and 2021 will be waived.  The bill supports the Commonwealth’s workers and eases the strain placed on the Department of Unemployment Assistance by an unprecedented number of waiver applications.  Unemployment insurance (UI) benefits provided, and continue to provide, critical support for workers and their families throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.  Millions turned to UI to pay for basic living expenses, which in turn sustained the Massachusetts economy as the money claimants received flowed back into their communities.   However, many workers are now being asked to repay tens of thousands of dollars in “overpaid” benefits, nearly all of which were made through no fault of the worker.  Overpayments were in fact often caused . . . Read More

2021-09-20T15:41:22-04:00September 20th, 2021|Other Topics|

Bill Supporting Parents Running for Public Office Receives Backing from Legislators and Advocates at Hearing

(BOSTON) – At a hearing held yesterday by the Joint Committee on Election Laws, legislators and advocates testified on behalf of H.769/S.475, An Act supporting parents running for public office filed by Representatives Joan Meschino (D-Hull), Representative Mike Connolly (D-Cambridge) and Senator Patricia Jehlen (D-Somerville). The legislation would allow donated campaign funds to be used to pay for child care expenses. Consistent with federal law and similar to legislation passed in seventeen other states, the proposed legislation would update campaign finance law to cover child care expenses that would not exist but for the candidate’s campaign. By removing one of many barriers parents and guardians face as they seek opportunities in public service and by making the pathway to elected office more accessible, this legislation will result in a more diverse and inclusive candidate pool. These companion bills are refiles and were endorsed this year by the Massachusetts Caucus . . . Read More

2021-09-16T16:12:31-04:00September 16th, 2021|Other Topics|

Representative Meschino Joins Fellow Legislators and Officials to Rally Against Scituate Coast Guard Station’s Closure

(BOSTON) - Last week, State Representative Joan Meschino (D-Hull) spoke alongside members of the federal delegation, Massachusetts State Senators and Representatives, and town officials at a rally held Tuesday, August 31st to advocate for the preservation of the U.S. Coast Guard’s seasonal station in Scituate. On June 9th, the U.S. Coast Guard announced its intention to shutter four seasonal stations across the United States, including the Scituate station, arguing that boating safety improvements and better response times have made the station “redundant.” The station, which usually remains open from Memorial Day to Labor Day through peak boating season, provides critical lifesaving and rescue services to the South Shore communities. During the rally, legislators and officials highlighted the benefits the station offers and the drawbacks its closure could precipitate, chief among them the potential for adverse effects on public safety. In boating accidents and incidents in which every minute matters, . . . Read More

2021-09-08T16:05:28-04:00September 8th, 2021|Other Topics|

Representative Meschino’s Priority Legislation Receives Key Endorsements

(BOSTON) – This summer, Representative Meschino’s (D-Hull) priority bills have received endorsements from influential caucuses and advocates. Representative Meschino’s top priority piece of legislation, An Act to create access to justice (H. 1792), was endorsed by the Massachusetts Bar Association’s House of Delegates on May 19th.  This legislation would empower an individual to seek redress against discrimination by government policies; it would restore the right of an individual to bring a claim in state court when a government policy creates disparate impact, an unintended discriminatory effect on individuals of a protected class.  The bill would provide access to justice for numerous constituencies, including people seeking to enforce environmental justice, language access, fair housing, equitable healthcare, and access to high-quality education. “The Massachusetts Bar Association is pleased to proactively partner with members of the legislature to create a more level playing field for victims of discrimination,” said Martin W. Healy, . . . Read More

2021-08-23T16:35:35-04:00August 20th, 2021|Energy + Environment, Other Topics, Public Health|

Bill Introduced by Hingham Youth Gets Broad Support at Hearing

(BOSTON) – At a hearing held last week by the Joint Committee on Election Laws, legislators and advocates testified on behalf of H.815/S.483, An Act relative to youth voter engagement filed by Representatives Joan Meschino (D-Hull) and Senator Patrick O’Connor (R-Weymouth). The legislation would allow seventeen year olds who will be eighteen by the general election to vote in the preceding primary, encouraging young people to develop strong voting habits early. These companion bills are refiles and were supported by dozens of letters by young people from a broad array of communities last session. This bill was initially introduced to Representative Meschino two summers ago by Samantha Bevins, a Hingham resident headed to Dartmouth this fall. Concerned that she would not have a voice in the primary election to select the party nominee for the presidential election, Samantha proposed filing legislation to make her and other voters in this . . . Read More

2021-07-07T14:33:34-04:00June 29th, 2021|Other Topics|

Legislators and Advocates hold Briefing for Legislation that Supports Community Media

(BOSTON) – Last week, legislators, advocates, and Massachusetts residents attended a legislative briefing for H.130/S.2200, An Act relative to a streaming entertainment operator’s use of the public rights-of-way/An Act relative to digital entertainment on public rights of way, jointly filed in the House by Representatives Joan Meschino (D-Hull) and Paul Tucker (D-Salem) and in the Senate by Senator Jason M. Lewis (D-Winchester). The bill would use funding from a new fee to support community media. In the 3rd Plymouth District, our community media centers are vibrant hubs of connectivity. In addition to covering news and providing trainings for residents interested in media, our media centers offer opportunities for public engagement and chances to learn about arts, culture, and history. During the pandemic, community media was critical to our efforts to stay connected and informed on the local level, and our centers continue to do great work as we emerge . . . Read More

2021-06-21T16:41:17-04:00June 21st, 2021|Other Topics|
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