Senate Unanimously Passes Homeless ID and Relative Adoption BillsThe Massachusetts State Senate unanimously passed legislation to make state identification more accessible to people experiencing homelessness. The Homeless ID Bill grants identification to homeless youth and adults seeks to mend these burdens by waiving fees for people who are homeless. The Relative Adoption Bill allows access to a person attempting to adopt a younger person if they are that person’s brother, sister, uncle, or aunt. Families would be able to stay together under this legislation, creating more a stable home environment.
Senate Passes Mental Health ABC Act 2.0The Mental Health ABC Act 2.0 is driven by the recognition that mental health is as important as physical health for every resident of the Commonwealth and should be treated as such. The bill proposes a wide variety of reforms to ensure equitable access to mental health care and remove barriers to care by supporting the behavioral health workforce.
SENATE APPROVES NERO’S LAWBill creates new protections for law enforcement K9 officersNero’s Law authorizes emergency medical service personnel to provide emergency treatment and transport of K-9 partners. This includes basic first aid, CPR, and administering life-saving interventions such as naloxone.
Senate Passes American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Spending BillBill’s focus is on transformational investments in public health, housing, mental and behavioral health, and the environmentA total of $3.66 billion in spending, utilizing up to $2.5 billion in available American Rescue Plan Act funds and up to $1.45 billion in available Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 state surplus resources. Informed by the testimony heard extensively throughout the public hearing process, which included over 25 hours of public hearings and more than 450 letters of public testimony, the ARPA spending bill supports an equitable recovery for communities hardest hit by the pandemic, while maintaining the flexibility necessary to take advantage of future federal funding opportunities. I was able to secure $1,000,000 worth of earmarks for the following district projects.
Haitian Earthquake RefugeesProvides $8,000,00 to the Immigrant Family Services Institute (IFSI) to provide desperately-needed resettlement services to at least 1,500 hundred newly-arrived Haitian families who have entered with the permission of the U.S. government and are residing in Massachusetts, including funds for direct assistance, administrative services, and legal services.
RPA-Federal Funds Accountability PanelAdds language in Section 92 that would allow 1 member appointed by the Massachusetts Association of Regional Planning Agencies to the 17-member panel of the Federal Funds Accountability Panel.
Whitman World War 1 Memorial ArchThis Memorial was built in 1926 in memory of the Sons of Whitman who made the supreme sacrifice.This amendment would provide $80,000 to the town of Whitman for the relocation of the World War 1 Memorial Arch to the town park.
Clinical Space for substance use services$75,000 for the expansion and renovations of a clinical space for substance use services at the Brockton Neighborhood Health Center.
Economic recovery for vulnerable Families$510,000 for a pilot program for One Family, Inc. to assist residents in the Brockton area in recovering from the economic impact of Covid-19 through the development of individualized education and vocational plans and career coaching.
Schools on wheels$35,000 for the Schools on Wheels of MA for children impacted by homelessness throughout the commonwealth with support with academics, social and emotional growth
Hanson Middle School Soccer Field$200,000 for the improvements to the Hanson Middle School Soccer field to bring the field up to code.
Haitian Community Partners (HCP)$100,000 would fund staffing at the Haitian Community Partners in the city of Brockton.
Senate Passes SPEED Act to Support Military Families Relocating to MassachusettsTo support military families who relocate to the Commonwealth by providing career stability for the spouses of service members and quality education for their children.
- Military Spouse-Licensure Portability
- Expedited Military Spouse Teacher Licenses
- Advanced and Virtual Enrollment for Military Children
- Purple Star Campus Designation
- In-State Tuition Continuity for Military-Connected College Students
SENATE ADVANCES GENOCIDE EDUCATION BILLEstablishes the Genocide Education Trust Fund to educate students on the history of genocideThis bill would establish a Genocide Education Trust Fund to promote and educate middle and high school students on the history of genocide. Funds in this trust would be used for the instruction of middle and high school students on the history of genocide and ensure the development of curricular materials, as well as to provide professional development training to assist educators in the teaching of genocide.Massachusetts State Senate Passes Healthy Youth, Gender ID, and Student Nutrition Bills
Healthy YouthCurrently, when Massachusetts public schools provide their students with health education that covers sexual activity, there is no way to ensure that students are being taught research-informed and comprehensive curricula.Senate Bill 2534 changes this by requiring school districts that offer sex education to follow certain guidelines to ensure students are provided with age-appropriate, medically accurate, and comprehensive information, including the benefits of delaying sex; effective contraceptive use; prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs); healthy relationship and communication skills; consent; and gender identity and sexual orientation.
An Act relative to gender identity on Massachusetts identificationWould provide for a non-binary option other than male or female on birth certificates and driver’s licenses. The bill also directs the state to begin the process of allowing a non-binary option for all state forms and instances where a gender choice is required.
Senate Passes Bill to Authorize $300 Million in Funding for Transportation InfrastructureYesterday, I joined with my colleagues in the Massachusetts State Senate to pass a new bill. The bill authorizes $200 million for municipal roads and bridges through the chapter 90 program and $100 million to support statewide projects to address congestion, support electric vehicle infrastructure, and improve public transit. Authorizes $200 million for municipal roads and bridges through the chapter 90 program and $100 million to support statewide projects to address congestion, support electric vehicle infrastructure, and improve public transit.
The bill includes the following components:$200 million in chapter 90 funding for cities and towns for projects to maintain, improve, and repair roadways, bridges, sidewalks, and bikeways.
- $25 million for the Municipal Small Bridge Program to support replacement or preservation of structurally deficient local bridges critical to local communities and not eligible for existing federal aid programs.
- $25 million for the Local Bottleneck Program to address localized traffic bottlenecks and invest in infrastructure to reduce congestion, improve traffic flow, and reduce idling and greenhouse gas emissions.
- $25 million for Electric Vehicle (EV) infrastructure to support municipalities and regional transit authorities in their efforts to install EV infrastructure and purchase EVs and zero-emission vehicles.
- $25 million for Transit-Supportive Infrastructure to create dedicated bus lanes, enhance bus stops and train stations, support passenger safety, upgrade technology and modernize infrastructure to meet demand and increase the frequency of public transit services, and improve access to public transit.