(BOSTON) – State Representative Joan Meschino (D-Hull) will continue to pursue a robust legislative agenda following her successes after the recent Joint Rule 10 deadline, in which most Joint Committees must issue their recommendations for the next steps of bills under their review.
Four bills filed by Representative Meschino received favorable reports and will continue to move forward in the legislative process. Highlighting these successes is the Joint Committee on Housing’s favorable report of H.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. This legislation will braid public and private funding to meet the needs of homeless individuals, families, and unaccompanied youth across the continuum of care.
Two of Representative Meschino’s bills before the Joint Committee on Children, Families, and Persons with Disabilities also received favorable reports. An Act to provide notice to counsel of changes in a child’s or a young adult’s placement and other events (H.253) requires the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to provide notice to legal counsel in advance of proposed non-emergency placement changes and to provide prompt notice immediately following an emergency placement, and An Act relative to basing dispositional orders on a child’s best interest (H.3776) eliminates the requirement that a probation officer’s report is filed for every decision regarding placement orders. An Act relative to condominiums (H.3008), which would close a loophole that exempts from assessment land slated to be developed into condominiums, received a favorable report from the Joint Committee on Revenue.
Three of the Representative’s priority bills received extension orders, allowing the Joint Committees extra time to review bills further before issuing their report. These include An Act to create access to justice (H.1792), which empowers individuals to seek redress against discrimination by government policies; An Act relative to a streaming entertainment operator’s use of the public rights-of-way (H.130), which ensures that local cable and community media centers continue to be financially sustainable by including streaming services among those entities assessed a fee for their use of the municipal public rights-of-way; and An Act relative to waivers for non-fault overpayments (H.4202), which expands and shapes the current criteria to evaluate a repayment waiver application and alleviates burdens on the Commonwealth’s residents and the department of unemployment assistance (DUA).
Also receiving extension orders were bills filed by Representative Meschino in the energy and environment space, including An Act relative to an electric transportation future (H. 3541) and An Act promoting zero-emission vehicles (H. 3347), both of which promote the use of electric vehicles in the passenger fleet; An Act to promote electric vehicle fleets by 2035 (H. 3255), which sets targets for achieving the full electrification of public-serving fleets; and An Act relative to building energy and decarbonization (H. 3350), which provides a blueprint for the state’s efforts to actively decarbonize new construction and existing buildings. These bills all remain with the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy.
“I am encouraged by the Joint Committees’ support of and interest in the legislation I have filed this session,” said Representative Meschino. “The bills that have been reported favorably and those that are still under review aim to advance equity, uplift communities, and pursue environmental justice. I look forward to continued partnerships with advocates as we engage in further work to advance these bills.”
Two bills filed by Representative Meschino have already been signed into law. During the summer of 2021, language from a bill Representative Meschino filed jointly with Senator Joseph Boncore (D-Winthrop) was included in a supplementary budget. The legislation, An Act relative to transportation governance (H.3542/S.2266), established a new board of directors to oversee MBTA operations, codifying in statute many of the benefits and positive work of the Fiscal Management Control Board.
More recently passed by the legislature, An Act relative to immediate COVID-19 recovery needs (H.4269) included $2.7 million to establish a state community college campus hunger pilot program that addresses student hunger and food insecurity as obstacles to degree attainment. Originating from a priority bill filed by Representative Meschino (H.1350) and Senator Joan Lovely (D-Salem) (S.847), the program will be administered by the Department of Higher Education and will aim to improve outcomes linked to student food security, including attendance rates, GPAs, persistence through college, and graduation rates.
Summarized in this press release, An Act relative to immediate COVID-19 recovery needs (H.4269) also incorporated elements of H.3838 and H.4202. In addition, other elements connected to H.4202 were included in H.4430, a supplementary budget passed in early February. The supplementary budget contains a section calling for a report of estimates for the number of individuals and cost of overpayments in 2020 and 2021, as well as the number of outstanding and approved waiver requests, appeals, and more.
To find information on the current status of Representative Meschino’s entire legislative agenda, visit malegislature.gov.