Public Health

Massachusetts House Passes Legislation to Establish an Effective and Equitable Local Public Health System

BOSTON - This week, State Representative Joan Meschino (D-Hull) joined her colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives to pass legislation designed to strengthen local and regional public health and ensure that every resident has access to foundational public health services, regardless of where they live, through the Department of Public Health’s (DPH) State Action for Public Health Excellence (SAPHE) program established by the Legislature in 2020.  Across the Commonwealth, there are hundreds of local public health boards with varying degrees of expertise and bandwidth depending on the size and wealth of the community in which they are located. These boards are tasked with functions as diverse as restaurant inspection, sanitary code enforcement, emergency preparedness, and disease control. This legislation builds on the 2019 recommendations of the Special Commission on Local and Regional Public Health and the SAPHE 1.0 legislation passed in early 2020 by establishing a statewide standard . . . Read More

2022-07-29T13:21:50-04:00July 29th, 2022|Public Health|

House of Representatives Passes Groundbreaking Mental Health Legislation

(BOSTON) - On Thursday, June 16, Joan Meschino (D-Hull) joined her colleagues in the House of Representatives to pass H.4879, An Act addressing barriers to care for mental health  on a unanimous 155-0 vote.  The bill aims to bolster mental health services in the Commonwealth by taking steps to address mental health parity, increasing access to youth behavioral health care, implementing the federally created 988 crisis hotline, and addressing emergency room boarding, in addition to several other updates related to behavioral health care and substance use disorder treatment. Some highlights in the legislation include: Taking a major step toward implementing and enforcing mental health parity, the concept that insurance coverage for mental health care should be equal to insurance coverage for any other medical condition; Expanding insurance coverage of critical behavioral health services, including annual wellness exams comparable to existing annual physical exams; Requiring MassHealth to cover postpartum depression . . . Read More

2022-06-17T12:15:40-04:00June 17th, 2022|Public Health|

Representative Meschino Joins MA Hunger-Free Campus Coalition Press Conference

(BOSTON) – This week, Representative Joan Meschino (D-Hull) joined the Massachusetts Hunger Free Campus Coalition, Senator Harriette Chandler (D-Worcester), Senator Joan Lovely (D-Salem), Representative Andy Vargas (D-Haverhill), and Representative Mindy Domb (D-Amherst) for a press conference in support of legislation (H.1368/S.2811) that will establish a hunger-free campus program.  The bill would create an Office of Capacity Building Services within the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education to offer funding, technical assistance, and grant opportunities to campuses that hope to address food insecurity. The legislation will also incentivize campuses to leverage existing resources and maximize enrollment in federal nutrition programs. Additionally, the bill will push campuses to create student-led food insecurity task forces designed to explore anti-hunger initiatives that can be considered for grant funding. Representative Joan Meschino (D-Hull) supports this bill as a logical next step following her successful advocacy for legislation she filed with Senator Lovely, An Act establishing . . . Read More

2022-06-03T15:06:49-04:00June 3rd, 2022|Other Topics, Public Health|

Plymouth County Announces Substantive Test Kit Procurement for Municipalities

(BOSTON) - On January 21, Plymouth County Chair Sandy Wright informed Plymouth County legislators that Plymouth County has secured nearly 400,000 COVID-19 antigen rapid tests to be distributed in the County’s municipalities this week.  Plymouth County was able to secure these test kits using the last of its money from the CARES Act. Though cases in the most recent surge of COVID-19 have recently peaked and numbers have begun to decline again, test kits remain in high demand throughout the Commonwealth.   Municipalities represented by Representative Meschino received the following allocation of kits and tests:  Hingham: 8,370 kits with 16,740 tests; Hull: 3,690 kits with 7,380 tests; and Scituate: 6,570 kits with 13,140 tests. “Adequate COVID-19 test kit availability continues to be a pressing issue on the South Shore and across the Commonwealth,” said Representative Joan Meschino (D-Hull).  “I am so appreciative of Plymouth County officials for the foresight and . . . Read More

2022-01-28T16:35:54-05:00January 24th, 2022|Public Health|

Massachusetts House of Representatives Passes ARPA Spending Bill

(BOSTON) - At the end of October, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed legislation, An Act relative to immediate COVID-19 recovery needs (H.4219,) that allocates federal funding granted to the Commonwealth for COVID-19 relief from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and surplus tax dollars from fiscal year 2021. Funded at $3.82 billion, the bill aims to close gaps exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, encouraging recovery through one-time investments in housing, environment and climate mitigation, economic development, workforce, health and human services, and education.  After the original $3.65 billion bill was released, more than 1,100 amendments were filed by legislators, and ultimately four consolidated amendments were added to the legislation. The House bill includes $500 million to replenish the Unemployment Trust Fund which will offset businesses’ contributions for unemployment programs. The bill also includes $200 million worth of tax relief for small businesses that paid personal income taxes on . . . Read More

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|

Weymouth and Hingham Receive Shared Streets and Spaces Grant Program Funding

(BOSTON) - House Speaker Ronald Mariano (D-Weymouth), Representative James M. Murphy (D-Weymouth), Representative Joan Meschino (D-Hull), and Senator Patrick O’Connor (R-Weymouth) are pleased to announce Weymouth and Hingham are receiving funding from the Shared Winter Streets and Spaces Program. Weymouth will receive $75,550 and Hingham will receive $150,837. This program is funded through the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT). “I’m glad to help provide state funding that will help cities and towns adapt their streets to ensure safe and accessible transportation,” said Speaker of the House Ronald J. Mariano. “I look forward to seeing these projects enhance quality of life for all road users in Weymouth.” “I am thrilled the town of Weymouth is receiving this crucial funding to advance the safety and proficiency of our roads,” said Representative Murphy. “This money will decrease traffic, reduce environmental impacts and make Weymouth and Hingham a more navigable place for all . . . Read More

2021-04-30T15:28:08-04:00April 8th, 2021|Budget and Grants, Public Health|

Weymouth and Hingham Receive Funding for Fire Safety Gear

(BOSTON) - House Speaker Ronald J. Mariano (D-Quincy), Representative James M. Murphy (D-Weymouth), Representative Joan Meschino (D-Hull), and Senator Patrick O’Connor (R-Weymouth) are pleased to announce Weymouth and Hingham will be receiving funds from the FY21 Firefighter Safety Equipment Grant Program. The Weymouth Fire Department will receive $22,494.00 and the Hingham Fire Department will receive $14,762.38. “Our firefighters risk their lives to keep their community safe,” said Speaker of the House Ronald J. Mariano. “I’m pleased to help provide state funding to ensure their safety and health as they protect their neighbors in Weymouth.” “I am thrilled the towns of Weymouth and Hingham are benefiting from this critical funding to address firefighter job safety,” said Representative Murphy (D-Weymouth). “It is imperative that we provide protective firefighting gear, to ensure the well-being of those who put themselves in harm’s way to help members in our community. This crucial aide will . . . Read More

2021-04-30T15:28:36-04:00April 3rd, 2021|Budget and Grants, Public Health|

Cohasset Awarded $182,500 Grant to Protect Drinking Water from Contaminants

BOSTON, MA – The Town of Cohasset was recently awarded $182,500 to support efforts to address elevated levels of PFAS in drinking water. PFAS compounds are a family of chemicals widely used since the 1950s to manufacture common consumer products and used in some legacy fire-fighting foams. Drinking water may become contaminated if PFAS deposited onto the soil seeps into groundwater or surface water. PFAS have been linked to a variety of health risks, particularly in women who are pregnant or nursing, and in infants. “Municipalities across the Commonwealth need this funding to adequately protect their drinking water from harmful contaminants and ensure the health of their residents,” said Senator Patrick O’Connor (R-Weymouth). “I’m looking forward to seeing Cohasset’s project progress and I appreciate the support the Administration has given to this effort.” “Contamination of public drinking water is of utmost importance to both environmental and public health,” said Representative Meschino . . . Read More

2021-03-24T09:59:39-04:00March 23rd, 2021|Budget and Grants, 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|
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