We are halfway through our two year legislative session. It has been a busy first year grappling with the COVID pandemic, while also addressing non-pandemic related concerns facing Massachusetts residents. Below is a list of bills recently approved by the Legislature and signed into law-
COVID-19 Legislation guaranteeing paid sick leave for all employees for COVID related reasons, elimination of taxes on unemployment insurance (UI) for low income residents, freezing the UI rate for employers, extending to-go beverage regulation and outdoor dining though Spring 2022, and allowing local officials to continue to hold public meetings online.
Genocide education legislation was passed and approved and signed in to law. There has been a disturbing trend in the number of students who are unaware of various genocides throughout history. This law aims to correct this concerning pattern. I was pleased to co-sponsor and vote for this bill.
Student nutrition legislation expanded access to free school meals. I was pleased to co-sponsor and vote for this bill.
A new law requires a public notice be issued when sewage is released into local waterways.
The Film Tax Credit was extended to encourage studios to film in Massachusetts.
Redistricting was completed, creating 33 minority-majority districts in the House (up from 20).
Funding for a modern Soldiers Home in Holyoke was approved by the Legislature and governor.
Climate legislation requiring the state to reduce emissions by at least 50% by 2030, 75% by 2040, and 85% by 2050 was signed into law.
Chapter 90 legislation provided funding for local roads ($184,655.00 for Avon, $762,305.00 for Canton, $767,011.00 for Stoughton).
The FY22 Budget and a supplemental budget were approved, bringing funding back to our communities.
Our local communities received the following state funds through various grant programs:
Avon received $177,000 for an emergency water connection, $118,500 to run summer school, $59,480 for the implementation of an e-permitting system, and $200,000 to narrow streets, add pedestrian safety beacons, install new wayfinding, and construct 1,000 feet of a protected shared-use pathway as part of the Safe Streets program.
Canton received $250,000 for improvements to Neponset Street, $100,000 for summer school programming, and $16,805 to expand traffic calming measures that include two additional speed tables, signage, and pavement markings, all proximate to a park and playground as part of the Safe Streets program.
Stoughon received $18,450 for the STARS program for Stoughton schools through the Massachusetts Cultural Council
The ARPA bill to use utilize federal funding was recently approved by the Legislature and signed into law by the governor. It includes:
$75,000 for the Tilden House in Canton
$200,000 for a museum at the Paul Revere Heritage site
$125,000 for a PFAS water treatment system in Canton
$173,000 for a community paramedic in Canton
$250,000 for the Trout Brook well in Avon
$100,000 for upgrades to the water treatment plant in Avon
$150,000 for the Park Street/Campanelli Industrial Park sewer project in Stoughton
$80,000 split between local food pantries, including;
Canton Helpline Food Pantry, Rehoboth Baptist Church of Boston in Canton, Jewish Family and Children Services Inc. in Canton, Avon Baptist Church Food Pantry, Ilse Marks Food Pantry in Stoughton, Immaculate Conception Food pantry in Stoughton, and the Old Colony YMCA in Stoughton.
$388.8 million for statewide and local environmental priorities
$964 million for healthcare
$414 million for infrastructure
$389 million for education
$267 million for economic development
$500 million to replenish the Unemployment Trust Fund to offset businesses’ contributions for unemployment programs
$250 million for behavioral health and substance use disorder treatment services
$150+ million for local and regional public health systems
Over $78+ million to address food insecurity
$500 million for premium pay bonuses for low- and middle-income workers who worked in-person during the COVID-19 State of Emergency
$624 million for housing
$150 million directed for public housing maintenance
$150 million to create permanent supportive housing for chronically homeless individuals, survivors of domestic violence, seniors, and veterans
$100 million for homeownership assistance
$100 million for production and preservation of affordable rental housing for residents of municipalities disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic
You can watch legislative sessions and hearings live by visiting the Legislature's website HERE
You can look up information regarding pending bills HERE
Learn more about the legislative process by using the legislative simulator HERE
Read about the state budget HERE
Look up and compare various state policies by using the National Conference of State Legislatures Website HERE