Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Franklin Cultural District: #artshappenhere outlook for the weekend

Farmers Market and Concerts on the Common roll around again for this weekend.

Thursday, August 18

8:30am - Town Council Office Hours (Franklin Senior Center) 

6:00pm - Charlie Rock (live music) (La Cantina Winery)

7:00pm - 350 Mass Greater Franklin Node (virtual meeting)

Friday, August 19

Town Common
Town Common
2:00pm - Farmers Market (Town Common)

3:00pm - Concerts on the Common: Box Groove (Town Common)

3:30pm - Farmers Mkt Fun: Make your own compass (Town Common)

4:00pm - Food truck: Gotta Q Smokehouse BBQ (Town Common)

5:30pm - Concerts on the Common: Jesse Liam Band (Town Common)

6:00pm - Mike & Missy Music (live music)  (67 Degrees Brewery)

67 Degrees Brewing
67 Degrees Brewing
6:00pm - Steve Doglio (live music)  (La Cantina Winery)

7:50pm - Movie Night: "Spider-Man" (Town Common)

Saturday, August 20

10:00am - Franklin Historical Museum (always free)

La Cantina Winery
La Cantina Winery

4:00pm - David Rak (live music)  (La Cantina Winery)

6:00pm - Kendo Music  (live music)  (67 Degrees Brewery)

8:00pm - John Logan - Magic with The Beatles

Sunday, August 21

1:00pm - Franklin Historical Museum (always free)


The Franklin Art Association Art Gallery remains open during business hours at Escape into Fiction (Main St, Franklin)

Find the full calendar

If you have an event to add to the calendar, you can use the form to submit it for publication:

The Town meeting calendar is found

The School district calendar is found


Franklin Cultural District: Arts are happening here!
Franklin Cultural District: #Artshappenhere

Annual Report of Franklin Public Schools - FY 2021

Note: FY 2021 is last year (July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021). The report was prepared to cover the business for the FY 2021 period. This year’s report FY 2022 (July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022) is in preparation now and is normally available for distribution at the polls for the November election.

Message from School Committee Chair
It has been a year of challenge as the COVID-19 pandemic threw the world an extraordinary curveball. Our staff, students and family members came together in a spirit of cooperation, kindness and fortitude. It is an honor for us to serve such a caring, vibrant community, that is Franklin.

A Message from the Superintendent
The 2020-2021 school year was a historic one as schools all across the world navigated school in ways never imagined. Following school closures in the spring of 2020, Franklin Public Schools approached the 2020-2021 school year planning for three instructional models: in-person, remote, and a combination of the two (hybrid). We did so with great uncertainty – we did not know where the pandemic would lead over the course of the year.

FPS began the year in a remote setting while educators became more comfortable with the core mitigating health and safety practices: mask wearing, physical distancing, and hand hygiene. In the fall, successive grade levels of students returned to school in a hybrid fashion with classes split between in school and home learners who alternated. It was truly amazing
to watch educators attend to the learning needs of students in their classroom and at home. This type of instruction does not compare to the value of in-person learning, however our dedicated teachers approached the challenge with the utmost dedication out of concern
for their students. As the peak of the virus waned in the spring and with the advent of vaccines, the district shifted to in-person learning in April, which was a relief to all. Over the course of the year, approximately 15% of FPS students chose to remain fully remote while
learning from FPS educators.

These new labels for instruction don’t fully reflect just how transformed teaching and learning was during the past year and how difficult it was for faculty, staff, administrators, students and families alike. Educators incorporated instructional technology in meaningful and  impactful ways to a degree we have never seen. Our educators did a fantastic job teaching our remote only students, adapting curriculum and instruction to a fully remote environment. Even the in-person experience required adaptation due to the health and safety practices in place throughout the year. The adaptation of instruction was notable in a few subject specific ways. Music and performance-based classes learned remotely at first, then moved instruction
outside, eventually implementing safe practices indoors. Materials intensive courses such as early childhood/elementary, science, art, and physical education had to be significantly adapted to reduce shared use of materials. Our athletics program fielded teams using a modified sports schedule and altered rules for play and spectators in order to keep students
playing but safely.

Through it all, our educators prioritized relationships with students and families as a way to support the social-emotional and academic growth of each child. The pandemic affected every system we have in place and administrators had to adapt policies and practices from arrival and dismissal of students, to lunch and recess, to bus riding, to communication channels, and
more. Our cafeteria staff worked diligently to make and modify the serving of breakfast and lunch for students, which was free for all. The district added numerous additional health measures including medical waiting areas, contact tracing and quarantine requirements, and COVID-19 testing. The stress of keeping everyone healthy and safe weighed heavily on the minds and hearts of our administrators and school nursing staff.

Families experienced great pressures, particularly with students learning remotely at home while parents/guardians juggled their work and parental responsibilities. Families simultaneously feared for the safety of children and family members while also experiencing frustration with restrictions in place.

We also acknowledge that there are members of our community, both families in the community and some of our own FPS staff members, who struggled with job insecurity during this difficult time. FPS is here to support you; we thank the many community group partners who we work with in doing so.

With the close of the 2020-2021 school year, we say goodbye to the Davis Thayer Elementary School. The School Committee engaged in an 18-month study that included an understanding of the enrollment forecast for the district and a study on the educational adequacy of the
building. The enrollment forecast demonstrated a decrease in enrollment over the past decade and an enrollment forecast showing that the elementary population is likely to be relatively stable over the next decade. The Facilities Analysis report noted how the school is not accessible for those with mobility impairments, lacks modern security and safety features, and other structural challenges like small classrooms and instructional space on the second floor.
After much discussion, the School Committee approved the school for retirement at the end of the school year. We spent the spring planning for and implementing a transition of students to the Keller Elementary School, a process currently underway. Despite some excitement about
attending a new school, we also acknowledge the sadness and loss that comes with the closure of a beloved school that has served generations of Franklin school children since 1924.

Our educators also mobilized with greater urgency to expand our work in the area of cultural proficiency. The concept of being a culturally proficient school system is not new. We have incorporated objectives within our District Improvement Plan for several years towards this goal. We have, however, increased our efforts to support each child by affirming diversity, fostering of inclusion, and pursuing equity. Some examples include a revision of our discipline
practices to focus on Restorative Justice, expansion of literature that includes diverse characters, professional development for educators on interrupting microaggressions, and lessons to teach students about the history and meaning behind the new State and Federal Juneteenth holiday. The district’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee will continue this work in the 2021-2022 school year.

I must thank our Town Administrator and the Town Department Heads for their collaboration and cooperation this year. Notably, the Facilities Department stepped up tremendously supporting us with extensive cleaning practices, Personalized Protective Equipment (PPE), the extensive moving and storing of furniture and the installation of UVGI systems in the HVAC, which is unparalleled in other towns and schools. The Technology Department mobilized like never before, supporting the expansion of 1:1 Chromebooks for all students, expanded software, and increased Internet bandwidth. The Board of Health served as an excellent
partner and resource as we navigated the pandemic together.

The collective efforts of the Franklin school community is in service to our students and our vision of their success and achievement of the skills as outlined in our Portrait of a Graduate. This portrait outlines the five essential skills students practice from PreK through graduation and beyond. Developed by community consensus, it was adopted in the fall of 2020 by the School Committee. We noted that these skills will be all the more important as our students
navigate the world following the pandemic. Among these skills are self- and social awareness, cultural competency, perspective taking, relationship building, applying historical knowledge to current situations, multiple literacies including digital and financial, consensus building, and innovative problem-solving. I believe that we will return in the fall and proceed 
forward stronger together. We will take time to reflect both individually and collectively. We will focus on relationships. We will assess our students’ needs and respond in order to continue to promote their growth socially and emotionally as well as accelerate their
learning on grade level standards.

As we return, there will be some things about school that will be changed forever. I do not pretend to know what all of these are but I do know two. The use of instructional technology is here to stay and we must support that with the right hardware, software, professional development, and coaching. The second is the relationship a student has with an adult in their
school building. We have long held a belief on the importance of relationships within the school setting. The pandemic has shown us the deep meaning behind the teachers, the counselors, the administrators, the staff getting to know each child, affirming their identity, and helping them to grow. While Chromebooks can do a lot, they do not replace the relationships that are foundational to it all.

Sara E. Ahern, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

There is more to the Franklin Public Schools section of the Annual Report, please visit the full report and find the remainder of the section on page 182

The full Annual Report for 2021 can be found

The collection of Annual Reports can be found online

Annual Town Report Of The Town Clerk’s Office - FY 2021
Annual Report Of The Town of Franklin - FY 2021

Annual Report Of The Veterans’ Service Officer - FY 2021

Note: FY 2021 is last year (July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021). The report was prepared to cover the business for the FY 2021 period. This year’s report FY 2022 (July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022) is in preparation now and is normally available for distribution at the polls for the November election.

The Veterans’ Service Officer (VSO) serves veterans and their dependents in recognition of their service to our nation. Responsibilities of the VSO include educating veterans and their dependents about the benefits available to them, dispensing state sponsored veterans’ benefits under M.G.L. Chapter 115 and assisting veterans and their dependents or survivors in obtaining state and federal benefits or entitlements which they have earned.

In addition to my responsibilities to the veterans of Franklin, I serve as the Veterans’ Services Advocate for Norfolk County and as the VSO for the Town of Avon. Norfolk County is the only county in the Commonwealth to have an individual dedicated to Veterans’ Services. Through an agreement between the Town and the County, I am able to continue to support the VSO’s in the 28 cities and towns of Norfolk County while primarily servicing the Franklin veterans’ community.

As our veterans and their dependents/survivors age, there are more demands for benefits provided by the Commonwealth’s Department of Veterans’ Services and the U. S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs. During the past year, there has been an increase in the number of Franklin veterans who have recently completed their military service.

It is very important that veterans and widows identify themselves on the town census. This information enables the VSO to identify services available to them. I encourage all veterans and widows/widowers of veterans to contact the Veterans’ Services Office.

The VSO attends as many civic events as possible during the year at schools and civic groups. The VSO is always willing to attend an event to speak about veterans, veterans’ benefits, the military experience or to support a patriotic event. I invite other veterans to attend such events. If you are interested in attending any event, please contact our office. I also work with Boy Scouts and other students who are interested in community service projects when they are available.

Franklin Veterans’ Council
The Franklin Veterans’ Council meets on the third Thursday of the month at 7:00 pm, at the Franklin Senior Center. The Council stopped meeting during the closing of the Senior Center, but resumed meetings either in person or via video meetings. Dates, times and meeting locations are posted on the Veterans’ Services web page. All veterans and any interested individual or organization are welcome to attend. This group serves as a communications outlet for veteran and military-related events and activities in the community as well as an opportunity for veterans to obtain information about state and federal benefits and changes. The Council is chaired by the VSO.

Franklin Veterans Memorial Walkway
Families may continue to honor their veterans and active duty family members by purchasing an engraved brick for the Memorial Walkway on the Town common. Bricks are installed on the Walkway prior to Memorial Day and Veterans’ Day each year. In May, a Franklin High School fundraising group (BALT) made a donation to the Walkway fund which was used to purchase bricks for those Franklin fallen heroes who did not have an engraved brick on the Walkway. The administrative processing of the brick orders and installation is handled by the Veterans’ Services Office. Brick order forms are available in the Town Hall and Senior Center lobbies and on the Veterans’ Services page on the Town website.

Veterans’ Coffee Socials
The Veterans’ Coffee Socials continued to grow as an opportunity for veterans to have a cup of coffee, tea or water together and to talk with other veterans. The socials are held the first Wednesday of the month at 10 the Senior Center. The VSO joined in to provide updates on benefits when needed. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Coffee Socials were held virtually via Zoom at the regularly scheduled days and times. We must recognize the wonderful team at Starbucks which attends all of our socials and provides coffee and pastry when we are able to meet together. Starbucks team members continued to join our socials via video when the Senior Center was closed.

Veterans’ Day Program
Due to the pandemic, we were unable to host the annual Veterans’ Day Luncheon. In lieu of an event, we videotaped a Veterans’ Day program which aired on Franklin’s All Access Community TV. Several Franklin veterans volunteered to speak about what Veterans’ Day means to them and what it means to be a veteran. Many thanks to Chris Flynn of Franklin TV for videotaping and producing this program.

Memorial Day
The annual Memorial Day Breakfast and parade were cancelled due to the pandemic. Local veterans and boys and girls scout groups placed memorial wreaths at Dean College, St. Mary’s and Union Street cemeteries and at the war memorials on the Town Common.

Thank you to Rabbi Thomas Alpert, Rev. Kathy McAdams, Father Brian Manning, American Legion Commander John Milot, VFW Commander Larry Bederian, State Representative Jeffrey Roy, writer Angela Baker, CSM (Ret) Herman Anderson, the American Legion Rifle Squad, members of VFW Post 3402, Franklin Facilities and the Franklin Police Department for their participation in the Memorial Day observance on the Common which was held in remembrance of our deceased veterans. Thank you also to Franklin veteran Steve Pezzella who sang the National Anthem at the ceremony which was videotaped by Chris Flynn and aired on Franklin’s All Access Community TV. The names of Franklin veterans who had passed since last Memorial Day were read during the ceremony. I also made remarks about Veterans’ Services including: VA benefits, the Chair of Honor, the Veterans’ Council, our Coffee Socials, Purple Heart Day and our Monuments Restoration project.

Purple Heart Community
Franklin is a Purple Heart Community. This designation demonstrates that our town recognizes and honors Franklin service members who received the Purple Heart award for being wounded or killed in enemy combat. Our office has created a registry of Franklin residents who are Purple Heart recipients. We will recognize those recipients on August 7, National Purple Heart Day, each year. Signs have been installed at the town’s entry points, designating Franklin as a Purple Heart Community. If you or a family member from Franklin is a Purple Heart recipient, please contact our office.

Veterans Call
“Veterans Call” is a TV program for and about veterans hosted by the VSO and airs on Franklin’s All Access Community TV station. Program topics have included Social Security and Mass Health. Taping of programs was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but have resumed. If you have program suggestions, please contact the VSO.

Chair of Honor
The Chair of Honor resided at the Franklin Senior Center most of this year. We look forward to rotating the chair through other Town buildings and schools soon.

Display Case at the Town Hall
Our office maintains the veterans’ display case in the Town Hall lobby. We update the display several times a year. The displays focus on Veterans’ Day, Memorial Day and other veteran-centric historical events as well as feature veterans in our community. If you have ideas for our display case, please contact our office.

Other Events and Activities
There is now a designated VETERAN parking space in front of the Franklin Municipal building.

I am happy to report that our office applied for and received an $18,338 Massachusetts SHRAB (State Historic Records Advisory Board) Grant in April 2021. Funds from this grant will be used towards the Military Monument Restoration Project on the Town Common which is scheduled to begin in the fall.

Our office has started a learn-to-play-guitar program for veterans which meets on Tuesday evenings at the Senior Center. The program, called Tune It Out, is loosely based on the Guitar4Vets program. Research suggests that active music engagement reduces anxiety, increases relaxation levels and improves overall well-being. Franklin Music instructor Jamie Barrett is giving introductory lessons along with several other volunteers. We are very grateful for
Jamie’s commitment to this program as well as the generous donations of guitars and funds we have received from members of the community. Veterans may call the VSO to sign up for classes.

COVID-19 Response Activities
The COVID-19 pandemic created challenges for our veterans and our office. We coordinated the delivery of over 100 boxes of food to needy veterans and families as everyone settled into our new and hopefully temporary routines. We are most thankful to our veterans and other volunteers who assisted with our food pick-ups and deliveries.

Community Support
Veterans’ Services thanks these faithful supporters:
The Franklin Garden Club for the care and maintenance of the Veterans’ Memorial on the Town Common.
Elks Lodge #2136, BPOE, for their continued support of Franklin’s veterans including the sponsorship of the Veterans’ Day Luncheon, and the veterans’ fuel assistance program. Elks Lodge #2136 conducts numerous events during the year in support of our veterans in local VA facilities.
VFW Post 3402 for their assistance with the placement of flags on the graves of our deceased veterans for Memorial Day, their donation of poppies and their ongoing support and attention to Franklin’s veterans.
American Legion, Edward L. Grant, Post 75 for their support of our veterans and their participation in our Veterans’ Day and Memorial Day events. Post 75 visits local private medical and VA facilities to support and recognize our veterans. Members of Post 75, led by John Hefele, are also volunteering their time to spruce up veterans’ gravesites at St. Mary’s cemetery.
The Friends of Franklin Elders for their support of activities for our veterans.
The staff of the Franklin Senior Center for their daily support of the Veterans’ Services Office.
Franklin High School music department for the support of our events.
The many departments in the Town of Franklin that support our veterans’ programs. It is a total town team effort to accomplish all that we do.
The citizens of Franklin for your support of our veterans and active duty service members.
Although, federal and state definitions of veterans are very specific as to time and component served for qualification for benefits, I hold to this definition of a veteran:
A veteran is someone – whether active duty, retired, National Guard or Reserve, served one day or twenty years – who at one point in their life wrote a blank check made payable to the Government of the United States of America for an amount of “up to and including my life.”
If you are a veteran or a family member of a veteran and have a question or need any assistance, please contact our office. If you know of a veteran who may need a little support or just someone to talk with, contact our office.

Thank you for your service.

I am honored to serve Franklin’s veterans and their families. 

Respectfully submitted,

Dale L. Kurtz
Veterans’ Service Officer

The full Annual Report for 2021 can be found

The collection of Annual Reports can be found online

Annual Report Of The Veterans’ Service Officer - FY 2021
Annual Report Of The Veterans’ Service Officer - FY 2021

350 Mass Greater Franklin Node, Virtual Meeting, Thursday, August 18, 7:00 PM

350 Mass Greater Franklin Node, Virtual Meeting, Thursday, August 18, 7:00 PM
350 Mass Greater Franklin Node, Virtual Meeting, Thursday, August 18, 7:00 PM

Our next 350 Mass Greater Franklin Node meeting will be on Zoom, this Thursday, August 18, 7:00-9:00 pm. (We schedule two hours to leave time for discussion and conversation, but we understand if you need to sign off early.)

Zoom link for the meeting, August 18, 7:00-9:00 pm.
Meeting ID: 889 2460 7755
Passcode: 350ma
Dial-in +1 646 876 9923

During the meeting, our agenda will include an update on the outcome of climate bills in the state legislature, actions to promote national and regional changes, and local developments.

Regarding the successful campaign to pass our state's climate bill, An Act Driving Clean Energy and Offshore Wind, please read the statement by 350 Mass Political Director Cabell Eames.  

Remember that you can stay involved and receive updates from 350 Mass via the Climate Weekly email. Sign up here.
Learn more on the 350 Mass website.

We hope you can join us Thursday at 7:00 pm. We'll send a reminder on Thursday.

Thank you for your commitment to the struggle for a transition to a just, equitable, and clean energy economy.

Node Co-coordinators,
Carolyn Barthel
Ralph Halpern

Ralph Halpern
781-784-3839 (h)
339-203-5017 (c)

Zoom Presentation - Discrimination During the Job Search - August 17,2022


Southwick Public Library



Discrimination During
the Job Search


Career Coach Ed Lawrence


Wednesday August 17th: 6:30 pm


Have you encountered discrimination during your job search?

Would you recognize subtle discrimination against you?


Join us as we discuss the many forms of discrimination you may encounter
during your job search.


We will define common terms such as prejudice, discrimination, and stereotype. We'll discuss protected groups and self-fulfilling prophecies.


You'll hear the cost to society.


And most importantly, we'll tell you what can do when you encounter discriminatory practices.


To Register: Contact the Southwick Public Library.

Email -         Phone: 413-569-1221


Ed Lawrence
Certified Interview Coach
Authorized DISC Administrator
Member, CPRW Certification Committee 

Governor Baker Signs Legislature’s Expansive Mental Health Bill

Law will further equitable access to mental health care for residents

Today (08/16/2022), legislative leaders and advocates joined Governor Baker for the ceremonial bill signing of the Mental Health ABC Act: Addressing Barriers to Care, comprehensive legislation to continue the process of reforming the way mental health care is delivered in Massachusetts, with the goal of ensuring that people get the mental health care they need when they need it.  The Governor officially signed this legislation into law on August 10, 2022.

The Mental Health ABC Act 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 legislation includes a wide variety of reforms to ensure equitable access to mental health care and remove barriers to care by supporting the behavioral health workforce.  

"One moment, many years ago, I made the split-second decision to share the story of my family's struggle with mental illness—a moment of vulnerability and honesty that has become a movement, as more and more people stand up and speak up for accessible, high quality mental health care," stated Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). "We all deserve to have access to the mental health care we need, when we need it, and I am thrilled to see comprehensive mental and behavioral health care reform signed into law. I'd like to thank my colleagues in the Senate—especially Senators Cyr and Friedman—Speaker Mariano and our partners in the House, and Governor Baker, as well as the countless individuals, families, advocates, providers and others who have stood up for the idea that mental health is just as important as physical health, and to everyone who has fought for mental health care reform in Massachusetts and never gave up."

"Simply put, this legislation will move us closer to treating mental and physical health equally, as it builds upon our long-standing efforts to improve our behavioral health care delivery system," said House Speaker Ronald J. Mariano (D-Quincy). "I'm incredibly proud of the fact that this legislation will help to address the behavioral health crisis that so many of our residents are currently experiencing, especially young people. I want to thank my colleagues in the House, Senate President Spilka and our partners in the Senate, and Governor Baker for prioritizing increased support for the Commonwealth's mental health infrastructure."

"Today's ceremonial bill signing signifies a vital stride toward transforming mental health care in Massachusetts," said Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro), Senate of the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery. "By signing the Mental Health ABC Act into law, we codify and affirm that mental health is just as essential as physical health and take a leap forward to ensure that all people in Massachusetts can access the mental health care they need and deserve. I am deeply grateful to Senate President Karen Spilka for her leadership and example, to Senators Friedman, Rodrigues, and Tarr for their efforts in this most urgent endeavor, and to Representative Madaro for his partnership."

"Too many people in communities across the Commonwealth struggle to get the mental, emotional and behavioral health care they deserve," said Representative Adrian C. Madaro (D-Boston), House Chair of the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery. "This legislation helps reduce barriers to resources, support, and treatment residents need for their overall wellbeing. It enables enforcement of existing parity laws, enhances emergency response services and acute psychiatric care, develops programs to strengthen the workforce, and invests in mental health. Importantly, our legislation also creates initiatives to address the unique mental health needs of young people. This legislation is the first step in addressing the structural deficits in our mental health care delivery system by prioritizing the people it serves and the people who make it work."

"The health care system in Massachusetts is only as strong as its weakest link, and for far too long, mental health care has been overlooked and underfunded," stated Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington), Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing. "This law confronts this reality with the most comprehensive mental health care action the Commonwealth has seen in recent years, and it builds off of the historic investments we made in this care system over this past two-year legislative session. Of particular importance to me, this bill will finally provide the state the tools it needs to enforce existing mental health parity laws and it will address the emergency department boarding crisis that is impacting too many of our children and their families. I have long believed that Massachusetts should deliver affordable, high quality, and accessible care to its residents, and this includes mental health care."

"With this legislation, the House and Senate make an important investment in mental health care—and in the mental and behavioral health workforce," said Representative Denise C. Garlick (D-Needham), Chair of the House Committee on Bills in the Third Reading. "Every aspect of this bill is rooted in the fact that we support and strengthen health care workers through a focus on health equity, equitable reimbursement, and supporting those who support providers. Every resident will benefit from a stronger workforce providing care."

"This bill takes major and necessary steps to advance and strengthen the delivery of mental health care in our Commonwealth, by securing parity with physical health care, moving pediatric mental health patients expeditiously from emergency departments to more appropriate treatment settings. I am pleased that amendments that I offered to address mental health needs of police, firefighters, EMTs, and other first-responders are included as well as the requirement that online portals with updated information and resource will be available in real-time," said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R- Gloucester), a member of the conference committee. "These and other components of the bill make the identification and treatment of mental health in our Commonwealth stronger, better, and more effective so that people in need of care can better access essential resources in the right place and provided by the right people."

"This legislation is a sea-change, greatly improving access to mental and behavioral health services and addressing some of the most challenging aspects of delivering this critical health care to all," stated Representative Hannah Kane (R-Shrewsbury). "Far too many families have seen loved ones suffering and unable to access the short and long term care they need to get well and be well, my family included. I am grateful for the work of the conferees and the leadership of the Legislature." 

The following are features of The Mental Health ABC Act:

  • Guaranteeing Annual Mental Health Wellness Exams. This law mandates insurance coverage for an annual mental health wellness exam, comparable to an annual physical. 
  • Enforcing Mental Health Parity Laws. This law provides the state with better tools to implement and enforce parity laws by creating a clear structure for state agencies to receive and investigate parity complaints and ensure their timely resolution.
  • Initiatives to Address Emergency Department Boarding. This law creates online portals that provide access to real-time data on youth and adults seeking mental health and substance use services and includes a search function that allows health care providers to easily search and find open beds using several criteria; requires the Health Policy Commission (HPC) to prepare and publish a report every three years on the status of pediatric behavioral health as the youth boarding crisis is particularly acute; requires the Center for Health Information and Analysis (CHIA) to report on behavioral health needs; updates the expedited psychiatric inpatient admissions (EPIA) protocol and creates an expedited evaluation and stabilization process for patients under 18.
  • 988 Implementation and 911 Expansion. This law increases access to on-demand behavioral health care through the implementation of the nationwide 988 hotline that will provide 24/7 suicide prevention and behavioral health crisis services and expands 911 to bridge the gap until 988 is implemented.
  • Red Flag Laws and Extreme Risk Protection Orders. This law initiates a public awareness campaign on red flag laws and extreme risk protection orders (ERPOs) that limit access to guns for people at risk of hurting themselves or others. 
  • Reimbursing Mental Health Providers Equitably. The law requires an equitable rate floor for evaluation and management services that is consistent with primary care. 
  • Reforming Medical Necessity and Prior Authorization Requirements. This law mandates coverage and eliminates prior authorization for mental health acute treatment and stabilization services for adults and children and ensures that if a health insurance company intends to change its medical necessity guidelines, the new guidelines must be easily accessible by consumers on the health insurance company's website. 
  • Creating a Standard Release Form. This law directs the development of a standard release form for exchanging confidential mental health and substance use disorder information to facilitate access to treatment by patients with multiple health care providers. 
  • Increasing Access to Emergency Service Programs. The law requires health insurance companies to cover Emergency Service Programs (ESPs), community-based and recovery-oriented programs that provide behavioral health crisis assessment, intervention, and stabilization services for people with behavioral health needs. 
  • Expanding Access to the Evidence-Based Collaborative Care Model. The law expands access to psychiatric care by requiring the state-contracted and commercial health plans to cover mental health and substance use disorder benefits offered through the psychiatric collaborative care model. 
  • Reviewing the Role of Behavioral Health Managers. The law directs the Health Policy Commission (HPC), in consultation with the Division of Insurance (DOI), to study and provide updated data on the use of contracted behavioral health benefit managers by insurance carriers, often referred to as 'carve-outs.'
  • Tracking and Analyzing Behavioral Health Expenditures. The law directs the Center for Health Information and Analysis (CHIA) to define and collect data on the delivery of behavioral health services to establish a baseline of current spending and directs the Health Policy Commission (HPC) to begin tracking behavioral health care expenditures as part of its annual cost trends hearings. 
  • Establishing an Office of Behavioral Health Promotion. The law establishes an Office of Behavioral Health Promotion within the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) to coordinate all state initiatives that promote mental, emotional, and behavioral health and wellness for residents. 
  • Increasing Access to Care in Geographically Isolated Areas. This law directs the Department of Mental Health (DMH) to consider factors that may present barriers to care—such as travel distance and access to transportation—when contracting for services in geographically isolated and rural communities. 
  • Enhancing School-based Behavioral Health Services and Programming. This law enhances school-based behavioral health supports, increases access points for effective behavioral health treatment by limiting the use of suspension and expulsion in all licensed early education and care programs and public schools, and creates a statewide technical assistance program to help schools implement school-based behavioral health services.
  • Increasing Access Points for Youth for Effective Behavioral Health Treatment. The law requires behavioral health assessments and referrals for children entering the foster care system and establishes an interagency review team to ensure young people with complex behavioral health needs are assisted quickly and with cross-agency support and coordination.
  • Expanding Insurance Coverage for Vulnerable Populations. This law ensures individuals over 26 years old who live with disabilities can remain on their parents' health insurance.
  • Creating a Roadmap on Access to Culturally Competent Care. Under this provision, an interagency health equity team under the Office of Health Equity, working with an advisory council, will make annual recommendations for the next three years to improve access to, and the quality of, culturally competent mental health services. Paired with the Legislature's ARPA investment of $122 million in the behavioral health workforce through loan repayment assistance programs, this roadmap will make great strides toward building a robust workforce reflective of communities' needs. 
  • Allows for an Interim Licensure for Licensed Mental Health Counselors. The law creates an interim licensure level for Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHCs) so that they can be reimbursed by insurance for their services while obtaining supervised practice hours towards full licensure and be eligible for state and federal grant and loan forgiveness programs.
  • Expanding Mental Health Billing. This law allows clinicians practicing under the supervision of a licensed professional and working towards independent licensure to practice in a clinic setting.
  • Updating the Board of Registration of Social Workers. The law updates the membership of the Board of Registration of Social Workers to clarify that designees from the Department of Children and Families (DCF) and Department of Public Health (DPH) be licensed social workers. 

"During a national mental health emergency, Massachusetts leaders in the Legislature, Administration, and healthcare community joined to craft, pass, and sign landmark legislation to address equitable access to behavioral health care in the Commonwealth," said Danna Mauch, President and CEO of the Massachusetts Association for Mental Health (MAMH). "MAMH applauds the pacesetting institution of universal payor participation in and coverage for annual mental wellness exams, 24/7 telephonic behavioral health help line, comprehensive crisis services, behavioral health urgent care, and collaborative care as part of roadmap for reform."

"The passage of An Act addressing barriers to care for mental health signals the Commonwealth's ongoing commitment to improving mental health care access and quality for Massachusetts residents," said Lydia Conley, President/CEO of the Association for Behavioral Healthcare (ABH). "This landmark law will help individuals experiencing a mental health crisis, reduce emergency eepartment boarding, and ensure that parity laws are followed and enforced. ABH is grateful for the continued leadership of the Senate, House, and Governor in driving forward important reforms with the urgency these issues demand." 

"The collaboration between the Administration and the Legislature to pass the 2022 Mental Health law has been extraordinary," said Mary McGeown, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (MSPCC). "This landmark law creates vital tools and strategies to help families, schools and communities respond to the current child mental health crisis and to address long standing gaps in access to care. As part of the leadership team of the Children's Mental Health Campaign, we are thrilled to see these meaningful reforms signed into law today." 

"On behalf of the National Association of Social Workers - MA Chapter, we are thrilled this landmark mental health legislation has been signed into law," said Rebekah Gewirtz, Executive Director of NASW-MA. "We are especially encouraged that the new interagency health equity team will work to support a more diverse behavioral health workforce that represents communities served and that will better ensure culturally competent care. Passage of this law will go a long way to improving the quality of life for all Massachusetts residents at a time of such acute and pressing need for critical behavioral healthcare services." 

"This is a groundbreaking day for mental healthcare in the Commonwealth," said Steve Walsh, President and CEO of the Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association. "Our hospitals and health systems applaud leaders in the Senate, House, and Baker Administration for making it possible. This law is grounded in systemic changes to guarantee long-promised parity, bolster the behavioral health workforce and—perhaps most critically—better address the mental health needs of children. Behavioral health has been a top priority of every healthcare organization in Massachusetts since before the pandemic began, and they remain deeply committed to ensuring that every community member has access to the resources and care they need." 

"Access to quality mental health care has never been more important," said Dr. Sandhya Roa, Chief Medical Officer of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. "This legislation is the culmination of years of work by policymakers and stakeholders to reform the mental health delivery system across the Commonwealth. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts applauds this thoughtful, evidence-based approach to increasing capacity, improving integration with physical care, and making targeted investments to better serve our residents." 

"MAHP applauds the House and Senate for their collaboration and leadership in seeking to improve access to behavioral health care services and treatment. We thank bill sponsor Senate President Spilka for her dedication and leadership," said a statement from the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans (MAHP). "MAHP and our member health plans are pleased to see that the mental health ABC legislation includes important policy solutions to reduce emergency department boarding of patients seeking mental health and substance use disorder services, including codifying the expedited psychiatric inpatient admission process, and ensuring patients have timely access to the behavioral health care they need in the emergency department while in crisis. Our health plans are committed to providing high quality and comprehensive behavioral health benefits, in compliance with state and federal mental health parity laws. We look forward to working with the legislature next session to ensure that the entire health care system treats physical and behavioral health the same." 

"On behalf of our patients, the physicians of the Massachusetts Medical Society extend our gratitude to Governor Baker, and we thank Senator Cyr and our legislators for their leadership in recognizing the importance and urgency surrounding this bill," said Dr. Theodore Calianos, President of the Massachusetts Medical Society. "The COVID-19 public health crisis amplified myriad challenges our patients face in accessing timely, high-quality, comprehensive mental health care, challenges that can be especially insurmountable for the most vulnerable residents of the Commonwealth. Provisions in this bill will empower patients and physicians to make decisions that will more often lead to optimal outcomes for those who need and seek mental health care." 

"With the passage of the Mental Health ABC Act, we are at the dawn of a new day for mental health treatment in the Commonwealth," said Dr. Grace Chang, President of the Massachusetts Psychiatric Society. "We are now leading the nation in parity for mental health care just when it is most needed.  MPS congratulates the Massachusetts legislature on its visionary measure and looks forward to assisting in its implementation." 

Having been officially signed by the Governor on August 10, 2022 the Mental Health ABC Act is now law. 

Franklin TV and schedule for Wednesday, Aug 17, 2022

  • or 102.9 on the FM dial = Wednesday

9:00 AM 12:00 Noon and 6:00 PM Franklin Matters Radio/FPS Voice – Steve Sherlock
Franklin and its local government, services and events  (repeats Saturday at 9 AM)

10:00 AM 1:00 PM and 7:00 PM  The Wonderful World of Wine – Mark Lenzi, Kim Simone    All about wine, its culture, lore and finer points

11:00 AM 2:00 PM and 8:00 PM Franklin Matters Radio – Steve Sherlock
Franklin and its local government, services and events (repeats Saturday at 3 PM)
  • This hour features Part 1 of the 3 part DPW Water Series, all about the water supply from well head to faucet. #588 in the Franklin Matters podcast archives.

  • Franklin All Access TV - Our Public Access Channel (Comcast 8, Verizon 26) = WEDNESDAY

7:30 am It Takes A Village: 40 Percent Club
8:30 am Arts Advocacy Day: Marketing
10:00 am Care For Ukraine
11:30 am Whole Health Visions: Cheryl Bagangan
12:00 pm Brook'n'Cookin: Meatballs
12:30 pm Sandhya: Eclairs
1:00 pm Norfolk County Prevention Coalition: Repeat Offenders
1:30 pm Pizzapalooza: Healthy Pizza Crusts
2:00 pm New England Candlepins: Fall 2019 Show 8
3:00 pm Candlepin New Generation: Spring 2019 Show 2
3:30 pm Veterans' Call: Monuments
4:30 pm ArtWeek: Ed Iannuccilli
6:00 pm Cooking Thyme: Apple Crisp
6:30 pm 4th of July 2022: Mo Bounce
9:30 pm Concerts on the Common: Northeast Groove

  • Franklin Pride TV - Our Educational Channel (Comcast 96, Verizon 28) = WEDNESDAY

7:00 am Public School Concert: Lifelong Music Pt. 2 05-14-19
8:30 am FHS Oskey 2022
10:00 am SAFE Coalition: Youth Sports
11:00 am Public School Concert: FHS Spring Jazz '22
1:00 pm FHS Girls Varsity Soccer: v Milford 10-25-21
3:00 pm Battleship Cove: 3D Print Lab
3:30 pm Public School Concert: MICCA Showcase Pt. 1 03-14-18
5:30 pm FHS Boys Varsity Soccer: v King Philip 10-06-21
7:30 pm Public School Event: Concert Hour Day 1
9:30 pm FHS Varsity Field Hockey: v Central Catholic 11-09-21

  • Franklin Town Hall TV - Our Government Channel (Comcast 11, Verizon 29) = WEDNESDAY

8:00 am Town Council: 07-20-22
2:00 pm Town Council: 07-20-22
7:00 pm Town Council: Live, Chambers, 830 8201 2472

Get this week's program guide for Franklin.TV and Franklin Public Radio ( online 

Franklin.TV and Franklin Public Radio (
Franklin.TV and Franklin Public Radio (