Today, the House of Representative voted affirmatively on the conference committee report on the American Rescue Plan Act. The product of a significant deliberative process, including 6 public hearings and substantial debate in the House, Senate and Conference Committee, the final legislation directs $4 billion in funding we received from the federal government. This bill makes investment across Massachusetts with a focus on equity and communities hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic in 7 distinct buckets: public heath, housing, environment & climate change mitigation, economic development, workforce, health and human services, and education.
Specifically, the bill will invest $200M in fundamental public health, aligned with the goals of the State Action for Public Health Excellence (SAPHE) legislation. As so many of you know, this has been a major focus of my work in both policy and budget. It also includes $1.25M for the Needham Housing Authority to be utilized as it improves deeply affordable housing for our friends and neighbors in Needham.
This bill is the conference report, which means it was negotiated between the House and Senate. It now goes to the Senate for acceptance and then to the Governor to be signed into law. To view the final bill, click here.
- In Needham, on Tuesday, December 7 the Town of Needham will be holding a Special Election for the Select Board. The League of Women Voters of Needham has assembled an online resource for this election. This one-stop site includes the Voter Guide, in which candidates answered eight questions, recordings of Candidates Night and interviews, voting information, and public service announcements. The League does not support or oppose candidates—it supports voters as they make informed voting decisions.
- In Dover, there will be a tree lighting event at Powisset Farm on Saturday, December 4 from 3:00 – 5:00 PM. At this event you can enjoy the Solstice Storywalk, make a craft, enjoy farm-fresh food, and sip on some hot chocolate. This event is free and open to the public. The Town will not be holding a tree lighting this year. For more information, click here.
- In Medfield, the Cultural Alliance of Medfield will be holding their annual Holiday Stroll and Sale on Friday, December 3 from 4:00 – 9:00 PM. This event features 40 artists at three indoor sites, food trucks, carolers, ice sculpting demonstration, MEMO’s outdoor tree lighting ceremony, and more. For more information, click here.
- On Tuesday, I testified in support of my legislation, H.3655, An Act to support military personnel and families. This legislation ensures resources are used appropriately to support military members of our communities and their families. Specifically, this bill improves equity and oversight of the Massachusetts Military Family Relief Fund by transferring overnight of the fund from the Executive Office of Administration and Finance to the Department of Veterans’ Services (DVS) to establish appropriate oversight authority and allows DVS to select non-profit organizations to administer funds for a period of two years. To read my written testimony, click here.
- This week, I submitted written testimony to the Joint Committee on Children, Families, and Persons with Disabilities in support of H.225, An Act regarding the use of aversive therapy. This legislation bans the use of aversive therapy, including electric shocks, at any facility in Massachusetts, protecting our most vulnerable populations with severe emotional and developmental disorder from this abuse. To read my written testimony, click here.
- On Wednesday, I submitted testimony in support of the Safe Communities Act, H.2418, An Act to protect the civil rights and safety of all Massachusetts Residents. This legislation promotes public safety and public health for all the residents of the Commonwealth by ensuring basic rights are protected during interactions with law enforcement and court officials. To read my testimony, click here.
- The Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism is launching a new round of grant applications for the Travel and Tourism Recovery Grants. Funding is available to public agencies, municipalities, and non-profits located in and serving Massachusetts and is funded by the Tourism Trust Fund. Applications for these grants are due January 19, 2022 at 5:00 PM. For more information, click here.
- The Executive Office of Technology Services and Security has opened applications for the 2022 Municipal Cybersecurity Awareness Training Grant Program. This program helps local government and public school districts improve overall cybersecurity posture through end-user training, evaluation, and threat simulation. The application period closes on December 17. For more information, click here.
- COVID-19 boosters vaccines are available for all Massachusetts residents aged 18 and over:
- The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 booster is now available to all individuals who received a Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 single dose vaccine at least two months ago.
- The Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 booster is available to all individuals six months after receiving the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.
- If you are eligible, you may find a location through VaxFinder or by calling the COVID-19 Vaccine Resource Line at 2-1-1. For more information on the COVID-19 booster, click here.