Public Health

Legislature Passes Legislation to Extend Unemployment Benefits to 17,000 Low-Income Recipients

(BOSTON) – State Representative Joan Meschino (D-Hull) along with her colleagues in the Massachusetts Legislature on Monday, October 26 passed An Act relative to additional unemployment benefits for the neediest recipients currently excluded from the Lost Wages Assistance program, which would enhance unemployment benefits for 17,000 people in Massachusetts by as much as $1,800 each. “We have heard from many residents how important the extra $300 weekly benefit has been during the pandemic,” said Representative Meschino. “Expanding the Lost Wages Assistance program to include all who receive unemployment benefits is especially important to sustain our residents during the devastating socioeconomic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.” The legislation authorizes an increase to unemployment compensation for every recipient in Massachusetts not receiving at least $100 in weekly benefits. This enhancement would apply retroactively to approximately 17,000 recipients. The Governor signed the legislation into law on Monday.

2020-10-30T13:51:29-04:00October 30th, 2020|Public Health|

Representative Meschino Reiterates Importance of Mitigation and Environmental Justice in Transportation and Infrastructure Improvement Projects

(BOSTON) – When it comes to resilience in the face of the climate crisis, Representative Meschino’s (D-Hull) focus is forward, stressing the importance of public health and environmental justice as a lens for transportation policy. Internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles cause 43% of Massachusetts’ carbon emissions and contribute to both climate change and local air pollution. Strong transportation policy supports Massachusetts economic recovery and is a means for reducing carbon emissions, mitigating harm to the environment, and protecting public health. The importance of such measures is magnified by the current public health crisis—the pandemic. However, just as the Baker Administration has proceeded further in reopening the Massachusetts economy, the MBTA has begun outlining plans to reduce or potential eliminate service in response to low ridership during the pandemic. The stated intention is to evaluate all routes on two axes: the degree to which a population serviced by the route . . . Read More

2020-09-30T16:56:05-04:00September 30th, 2020|Energy + Environment, 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|
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