Public Health

Representative Meschino to Refile Civil Rights Bill After Compressor Station Incident

(BOSTON) -  State Representative Joan Meschino (D-Hull) declared her intention to refile an important civil rights bill next legislative session in response to the gasket failure which allowed hundreds of thousands of cubic feet of methane gas to escape from the Weymouth Compressor Station into the adjacent residential community on Friday, September 11, 2020. Despite strong opposition by residents, local, state and federal elected officials, public health officials, and environmental advocacy groups, Enbridge began testing the compressor station facilities last week.  Instantly, the communities’ worst fears were realized, as a gasket failure released a significant amount of methane gas into the community at ground level.  The geographic and meteorological characteristics of the Fore River Basin pushed the escaped methane gas into the basin and trapped it on the ground preventing the gas from dispersing. Both Enbridge and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection released statements confirming the accident occurred. . . . Read More

2020-09-18T16:58:11-04:00September 18th, 2020|Energy + Environment, Public Health|

Representative Joan Meschino Submits Comments to MassDEP Advocating for Public Health Considerations Near the Compressor Station

(BOSTON) - State Representative Joan Meschino (D-Hull) added her name to a long list of commenters this week in response to the public comment period issued by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) regarding the Weymouth Compressor Station. At stake are two different issues, both with real public health impacts on the surrounding community. The first centers on MassDEP’s acceptance of a fossil fuel-powered motor as the best available control technology (BACT), when an electric motor drive would offer a cleaner alternative. The second involves MassDEP’s proposed placement, expected measurement capabilities, and delayed timeline for situating a permanent air quality monitoring station near the Compressor Station site. Yet to be installed, the monitoring station will be less effective in measuring pollutants in the proposed site than in others nearby and may not have the full measuring capabilities to capture 1-hour NO2 emissions and to observe local meteorological conditions. . . . Read More

2020-09-17T16:01:05-04:00September 17th, 2020|Energy + Environment, Public Health|

House Passes Telehealth Bill

Bill Will Facilitate Telemedicine and Strengthen Community Hospitals (BOSTON) – State Representative Joan Meschino (D-Hull) joined her colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives in passing a bill that will enable patients to access healthcare services via telemedicine and provide vital funding to community hospitals in the midst of COVID-19. An Act to promote resilience in our health care system (H.4916) mandates telehealth coverage for primary care services, behavioral health, and chronic disease management – all areas that have experienced success with remote care in recent months – for at-home patients. It enables telehealth in the provider-to-provider context for all healthcare services, including when delivered to a patient located in a healthcare facility. The bill also authorizes the Health Policy Commission to issue recommendations on future telehealth services for at-home use. Under the bill, insurers must cover services delivered by a wide range of technologies, including audio-only telephone calls, but . . . Read More

2020-09-09T11:54:05-04:00August 14th, 2020|Public Health|

House Passes Bill to Address Racial Inequities in Maternal Health

BOSTON - Representative Joan Meschino (D-Hull) joined her colleagues in the House this week to pass a bill aimed at eliminating racial inequities in maternal health. An Act to reduce racial inequities in maternal health will create a special legislative commission to make recommendations that reduce or remove the kind of racial inequities that result in women of color dying of pregnancy-related causes at more than double the rate of white women. The commission will gather information and raise awareness of this systemic societal problem, in addition to reporting on barriers to equitable maternal care and best practices for remedying inequities. “As the legislature considers issues of racial justice, this focus on maternal health will help lift up women of color, for whom the burdens of racial and gender discrimination have shaped inequities in health care,” said Representative Meschino. “The commission created in this bill will put forward life-saving solutions . . . Read More

2020-08-29T10:24:18-04:00July 2nd, 2020|Public Health|

Legislature Approves Fall Elections Bill

This week, Representative Joan Meschino (D-Hull) and her colleagues in the House and Senate voted to approve the final conference committee report on a bill to help support safe elections in Massachusetts this Fall. H4820, An Act relative to voting options in response to COVID-19, expands the options for both mail-in voting and early voting in person for the 2020 state primary and general election. It additionally provides for public health safeguards for in-person voting, accessibility to voting options for persons with disabilities, equity in access to polling places, early tabulation of ballots by the clerks, and no-excuse early voting by mail for elections through the end of 2020. This legislation protects voters and the integrity of our democracy by ensuring that all voices in the Commonwealth are heard despite the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19. “The right to vote is one of our core democratic foundations,” said Representative Meschino. “The . . . Read More

2020-08-29T10:25:16-04:00July 2nd, 2020|Other Topics, Public Health|

House Passes Measure to Provide More than $1 Billion in Federal Reimbursement for COVID-19 Needs

BOSTON – This week, Representative Joan Meschino (D-Hull) and her colleagues in the House of Representatives passed a supplemental budget to facilitate allocation of federal CARES Act funding to reimburse communities hard-hit by COVID-19. The spending measure follows the April passage in Congress of the federal CARES Act, which provides federal reimbursement funds for the state to expend on items related to COVID-19. The supplemental budget directs funds to address vital needs including personal protective equipment, field hospitals and contact tracing.  “The House allocation of federal COVID-19 funds is about more than reimbursing the state and our communities for COVID-19 costs,” said Representative Meschino. “It is about shaping investments in public health initiatives and supporting our front-line workers who keep us healthy and safe throughout the pandemic and beyond.” The spending bill includes, among other items: $350 Million for personal protective equipment costs across the Commonwealth; $139 Million for increased . . . Read More

2020-08-29T10:25:37-04:00June 26th, 2020|Budget and Grants, Public Health|

House Passes COVID-19 Elections Bill

BOSTON- On June 4, 2020, Representative Joan Meschino (D-Hull) joined her colleagues in the legislature to pass legislation to expand voting options in the Commonwealth this Fall, in response to COVID-19. The bill, H.4768 An act relative to voting options in response to COVID-19, takes the necessary precautions to ensure that every Massachusetts resident can exercise their right to vote in the state primary and November general election, while prioritizing public health and safety. “The right to vote is one of our core democratic foundations,” said Representative Meschino. “The House established critical steps to ensure that no resident is disenfranchised by the pandemic. ”The legislation will require the secretary of state to mail all registered voters an application to request a ballot to vote early by mail in the state primary and November general elections this Fall.  Applications with instructions will be mailed by July 15, 2020 for the September primary.  . . . Read More

2020-08-29T10:28:21-04:00June 5th, 2020|Other Topics, Public Health|

House Passes COVID-19 Elections Bill

BOSTON- On June 4, 2020, Representative Joan Meschino (D-Hull) joined her colleagues in the legislature to pass legislation to expand voting options in the Commonwealth this Fall, in response to COVID-19. The bill, H.4768 An act relative to voting options in response to COVID-19, takes the necessary precautions to ensure that every Massachusetts resident can exercise their right to vote in the state primary and November general election, while prioritizing public health and safety.  “The right to vote is one of our core democratic foundations,” said Representative Meschino. “The House established critical steps to ensure that no resident is disenfranchised by the pandemic. ” The legislation will require the secretary of state to mail all registered voters an application to request a ballot to vote early by mail in the state primary and November general elections this Fall.  Applications with instructions will be mailed by July 15, 2020 for the . . . Read More

2020-08-29T10:32:16-04:00June 5th, 2020|Public Health|

Massachusetts Legislature Passes Distracted Driving Legislation

(BOSTON) – This week, Representative Joan Meschino (D-Hull) joined her colleagues in the Legislature to enact legislation to ban drivers from using hand-held electronic devices while operating a vehicle unless the device is in hands-free mode. “This measure will increase roadway safety in Massachusetts,” said Representative Meschino. “Distracted driving endangers other drivers, cyclists and pedestrians; I am proud that the House took action on this issue.” The bill defines “hands-free” as a device mode that engages in voice communication with and receiving audio without touching, holding or otherwise manually manipulating a mobile electronic device. Law enforcement officials will issue warnings to drivers for first offenses of the new law until March 31, 2020.   Additionally, this legislation improves transparency in public safety by granting expanded access to traffic stop data.  It has been fifteen years since the last public report on traffic stop data; under this bill the state will be required . . . Read More

2020-08-29T10:33:31-04:00November 22nd, 2019|Other Topics, Public Health|

Massachusetts House Introduces Child Wellness Initiative

(BOSTON) – Last week, Representative Joan Meschino (D-Hull) and her colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives voted unanimously to pass legislation supporting the health and wellness of children across the Commonwealth. This bill is one part of a multi-tiered initiative to address the specific needs of children and adolescents in an integrated fashion.  An Act Relative to Children’s Health and Wellness is part of the comprehensive, session-long House Children’s Wellness Initiative, which aims to break down silos of service to better address the complex health and wellness needs specific to the Commonwealth’s 1.4 million children. The effort seeks to make access to healthcare easier for vulnerable populations, eliminate barriers to care and formulate data-driven recommendations to improve service delivery and system coordination. The initiative supports a holistic approach that provides services early and often – ensuring that children grow up to be healthier, happier and more productive adults.  The . . . Read More

2020-08-29T10:34:49-04:00August 9th, 2019|Public Health|
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