Senator Rausch State House Briefing Part 2, Chapter 13 (February 17, 2021)
It was great to see many of you last month at Virtual Town Hall! We had a terrific turnout of more than 100 people and discussed a wide range of policy areas and aspects of the legislative process. For those of you who missed it, feel free to join me in office hours or stay tuned for the next one!
With just over 5 months left in this legislative session, lawmaking is in full swing on Beacon Hill. I have been hard at work as Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture, advancing bills concerning sustainability, environmental justice, and more. I've also been advocating for the legislation I filed, and I am pleased to share that 11 (and counting!) of my bills earned favorable committee reports and are moving forward to the next stage of the legislative process! More details on that below.
I was also proud to vote YES on a few key bills that came to the Senate floor. We passed a supplemental COVID-19 spending bill investing another $101 million in our communities to boost access to rapid tests, high quality masks, and vaccines, and shore up the emergency paid sick leave fund. The bill also included a requirement for a vaccine equity plan, derived from my COVID-19 Vaccine Equity Act. While the Governor signed the bulk of that bill into law this week, he vetoed and filed amendments on four key elements, including the vaccine equity component and the February 28 deadline for masks, testing, and vaccine accessibility. I also voted YES for the PACT Act, a comprehensive bill designed to lower prescription drug costs for our Commonwealth's families. Among other things, the PACT Act would cap insulin costs at $25 per 30-day supply and ensure that patients can get their medicines at their pharmacies of choice. I anticipate many more bills to come to the floor shortly, so stay tuned.
Read on for more about legislation on the move, rich local stories for Black History Month, State House reopening, and office hours. For real-time updates, please follow me on Twitter and Facebook. If you are a constituent and need assistance, please don't hesitate to contact me and my team via phone (617-722-1555) or email (email@example.com). We are here to help.
I wish you and your loved ones strength, health, resilience, and joy.
Yours in service,
Senator Becca Rausch
February has been a busy month for policy work. Joint Rule 10 day is the deadline by which every committee must take some kind of action on every timely filed bill. If you want to learn more about the process, check out my Low Budget Beacon Hill video on how a bill actually becomes a law. I'm proud to share that many of my bills were reported favorably out of committee:
S.142| An act providing a bill of rights for people experiencing homelessness S.142
S.143 | An act providing for diaper changing stations in public buildings and accommodations
S.382 | An act relative to celebrating and teaching Native American culture and history
Protects people experiencing homelessness from discrimination in housing, employment and voter registration.
Requires gender-neutral, semiprivate baby diaper changing stations in public buildings and accommodations.
Requires development of educational curriculum teaching Massachusetts tribal history and issues.
Establishes a state program to enable recycling of child passenger restraints.
Updates existing sexual assault confidentiality statute to extend protections to records of licensed mental health counselors.
Prohibits discrimination on the basis of a person's height or weight.
Gives municipalities the option to conduct remote town meetings.
Ensures that pregnant inmates will not be shackled while giving birth or receiving post-partum care.
Requires the department of corrections to provide health, contraception, and sex education to inmates at women's correctional institutions.
Updates birth certificates to recognize all families and advance equity and inclusivity.
Creates energy use standards for large non-residential buildings in Massachusetts.
Several of the bills I filed received extensions in their respective committees, meaning they are still under active consideration, so I'm looking forward to additional favorable reports in the weeks ahead. Updates to come!
My team and I host virtual office hours every month. Residents from any part of the Norfolk, Bristol and Middlesex District, as well as residents of the Norfolk, Worcester and Middlesex District (which takes effect in January 2023), are welcome to share their questions and opinions on state issues with me and my team via video chat or phone call.
Upcoming virtual office hours: Monday, March 7, 5-6 PM Monday, April 4, 5-6 PM
Our mailing address is: The Office of Senator Becca Rausch Massachusetts State House, Room 218 24 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02133