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|

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|
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