Beach Goers Create Interactive Art on the Shore with Andres Amador on Nantasket Beach

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(HULL)- On Saturday, July 21st, intertidal sand artist Andres Amador made extraordinary art in the sand at Nantasket Beach in Hull as part of Save the Harbor/Save the Bay and the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR)’s Better Beaches program. This program has brought the California-based artist to Boston for several years to create interactive art on the region's public beaches.

This year in Hull, Amador led a sand-raking workshop in the morning. Participants included Bart Blumberg of the Hull Artists Association and Chris Maher of the Hull Cultural Council. In the afternoon, community members had a chance to participate in a collaborative community mural on the sand. The theme for the day was "sea life" and beach goers created fish, sea horses, sharks, jelly fish, and more across several hundred feet of Nantasket Beach.

“It was great fun for beachgoers, young and old, to share in the joy of creating art in the sand,” said Representative Joan Meschino (D-Hull). “I applaud Save the Harbor/Save the Bay and the Better Beaches program for finding creative and new ways to engage beachgoers with the natural environment and with each other through artistic expression.”

Legislature Passes Balanced Budget; Targets Local Aid, Education and Opioid Epidemic

(BOSTON) – Representative Joan Meschino (D-Hull) joined her colleagues in the Legislature on Wednesday, July 18, 2018, to enact a $41.88 billion Massachusetts state budget for FY19.

The budget features no new taxes or fees and directs a $367 million deposit into the Stabilization Fund to ensure the Commonwealth’s fiscal health and to protect Massachusetts’ future. The budget also prioritizes our cities and towns, education and those most in need of help.

In recognition of the state’s strong support for education, the Legislature approved an unprecedented $4.9 billion in Chapter 70 education funding, which represents an increase of 3.4 percent over the previous fiscal year and increases funding for teacher health care costs by $39 million. Education funding also features $319.4 million to fund the Special Education Circuit Breaker, $90 million for Charter School Reimbursement, $68.9 million for Regional School Transportation and $5 million to fund the Preschool Partnership Initiative.

The budget reflects the Legislature’s commitment to ensuring the wellbeing of children and families by lifting the cap on benefits for children of low income families. This change takes effect in January 2019. The budget also provides $2.5 million for continued support for early childhood mental health consultation services and $20 million to support high-quality Early Education and Care (EEC) programs. The budget also provides $10 million to create an EEC workforce development initiative to tie professional development and higher education opportunities more closely to our community colleges.

As part of an ongoing effort to ensure access to safe and affordable housing for the most vulnerable Massachusetts residents, the budget provides $100 million for the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP), $32 million for the HomeBASE program, $20 million for the Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) Program and establishes a $5 million rapid homeless rehousing program.

To address the ongoing opioid epidemic, the budget includes $142 million for the Bureau of Substance Addition Services to create five recovery centers in Massachusetts. The budget features $5 million to support community-based treatment program, $4.9 million for step-down recovery services and $1 million to provide increased access to Narcan to first responders.

In an effort to preserve outdoor spaces and protect our natural environment, the budget includes $900,000 for the maintenance, operational and infrastructure needs of the metropolitan beaches, including Nantasket Beach Reservation in Hull.

“The budget we enacted supports our local municipalities, and invests in people and services,” said Representative Meschino. “I am proud to see the Legislature put together a budget that prioritizes our constituents, and is fiscally sound.”

In addition the budget includes the following provisions highlighted below.

  • With the goal of creating an accessible economy to all workers, the creation of a pilot program to promote employment in state contracts with persons with disabilities.
  • Requiring the Administration to acknowledge and sometimes waive the unique tax burden on small businesses with high-turnover workforces that are the hardest hit by the Employer Medical Assistance Contribution (EMAC) Supplement assessment.
  • Creates an Office of Health Equity to address social determinants of health and environmental justice to improve health outcomes among people of color.
  • Expands access to non-profits working with the state to discounted Naloxone, helping to make it more available at a lower cost.
  • Establishes of a permanent Tax Expenditure Unit in Department of Revenue that would examine the usefulness of every tax credit on an ongoing basis – to ensure our tax payers are receiving worthwhile returns on their investments.

For the 3rd Plymouth District, the budget provides funding for:

  • An Aquatic Weed Harvester for Cohasset
  • Animal Control in Cohasset and Hull
  • Structural repairs of the Whitney Wharf in Hingham
  • A behavior health program through Manet Community Health Center in Hull
  • Main street economic development and storefront improvements in Hull
  • Scituate Community Christmas, Inc.
  • A mobile de-watering pump for Scituate Fire Department

The budget also provides increased Chapter 70 funding and Unrestricted General Government Aid for Cohasset, Hingham, Hull, and Scituate. In addition, it provides increased state aid for public libraries, and increased funding for Mass Cultural Council.

This iteration of the budget is now with the Governor for his consideration.                                                                                       

House Passes Automatic Voter Registration Bill

(BOSTON) - Representative Joan Meschino (D-Hull) joined her colleagues in the House of
Representatives on Wednesday, June 27th to pass legislation establishing an automatic voter
registration process for the state of Massachusetts. With the implementation of automatic voter
registration, the legislature sought to facilitate civic engagement for the 700,000 residents of
Massachusetts who are eligible to vote but are unregistered.
“The democratic process requires broad civic engagement that reaches across all demographics
to ensure that all are represented and heard.” said Representative Meschino. “Automatic voter
registration is a simple and convenient registration process that will promote participation among
all eligible citizens.”
The bill, H.4320, An Act relative to automatic voter registration, contains provisions that would
link voter registration to initial applications and information updates to the Registry of Motor
Vehicles and MassHealth. Rather than requiring eligible voters to opt-in to register, this
provision would instead create an opt-out process for eligible residents who may not wish to
register to vote. If passed by the Senate and signed into law, the measure would take effect
January 1, 2020.

Scituate Woman Kim Stewart Honored as Unsung Heroine

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 26, 2018

BOSTON – State Representative Joan Meschino (D-Hull) was honored to attend the fifteenth
annual Unsung Heroines celebration at the Massachusetts State House. Through the Unsung
Heroine award, the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women honors women in the
Commonwealth who work hard every day to serve their communities, dedicating their time and
effort to the betterment of all of our lives across the state. This award is intended to celebrate
women whose work often goes unrecognized, for their leadership and volunteerism.
Kim Stewart of Scituate was nominated and honored with the Unsung Heroine award by State
Representative James M. Cantwell (D-Marshfield). Ms. Stewart has served for 22 years as the
Scituate Animal Control Officer, and was named the 2017 Animal Control Officer of the Year by
the Animal Rescue League in Boston and the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of
Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA.) In addition to her work with animals, Ms. Stewart has dedicated
time to the people in her community, serving as co-chair of the Scituate Community Christmas,
which provides gifts and assistance to families facing economic hardships. Ms. Stewart also
serves on the Board of the Scituate Alliance of Natural Disaster Services (SANDS), providing
assistance to residents during natural disasters. Representative Meschino and Representative
Cantwell presented Ms. Stewart with a joint citation to commend her for her dedication to the
community of Scituate.
“I am delighted to see the Kim Steward recognized as an Unsung Heroine for the years of service
towards her community,” said Representative Meschino. “She has served both the people and the
animals of Scituate, and the Commonwealth at large, with compassion and empathy.”
A complete list of this year’s honorees is available by contacting the Commission; to request this
list or for additional information please contact the MCSW at 617-626-6520 or
mcsw@state.ma.us.

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Cohasset Woman Christine Murphy Honored as Unsung Heroine

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 26, 2018 

BOSTON – State Representative Joan Meschino (D-Hull) was honored to attend the fifteenth
annual Unsung Heroines celebration at the Massachusetts State House. Through the Unsung
Heroine award, the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women honors women in the
Commonwealth who work hard every day to serve their communities, dedicating their time and
effort to the betterment of all of our lives across the state. This award is intended to celebrate
women whose work often goes unrecognized, for their leadership and volunteerism.
Christine Murphy of Cohasset was nominated and honored with the Unsung Heroine award by
Representative Meschino. Ms. Murphy has significantly contributed to the community, serving
as a board member of the Cohasset Social Service League, where she worked to establish a brand
new senior center in the town. Following this, Ms. Murphy turned her attention towards the
addiction crisis, establishing the Safe Harbor Cohasset Coalition and designing programming
dedicated to promoting drug prevention among local youth. Ms. Murphy was also responsible for
securing a grant from Drug-Free Communities, allowing her to hire a full time professional staff
to manage Safe Harbor Cohasset.
“I am proud to see Christine Murphy celebrated as an Unsung Heroine,” said Representative
Meschino. “She has done so much to promote the betterment of Cohasset through her
community initiatives and could not be more deserving of this title.”
A complete list of this year’s honorees is available by contacting the Commission; to request this
list or for additional information please contact the MCSW at 617-626-6520 or
mcsw@state.ma.us.

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House Passes Legislation for Environmental Protection

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
June 19, 2018 

BOSTON – Representative Joan Meschino (D-Hull) joined her colleagues in the House of
Representatives on Wednesday, June 13th to pass legislation authorizing spending on
environmental programs. The bill, H.4599, also known as the Environmental Bond Bill,
authorizes over a billion dollars in funding to protect against the impacts of climate change and
conserve natural resources. The funding and policy proposed in this legislation will reach every
corner of the Commonwealth, from coastal infrastructure to agricultural preservation. The Bond
Bill also invests in water and air quality protection, municipal vulnerability preparedness grants,
and an electric vehicle incentive program. These are critical steps to making Massachusetts a
leader in global climate change solutions, and to preserving our community’s natural assets for
generations to come.
“Climate change and sea level rise are urgent issues that my community faces,” said
Representative Meschino. “I was proud to collaborate with my colleagues to ensure that the state
will be able to allocate the necessary funds to climate change mitigation and adaptation.”
Representative Meschino was able to obtain an authorization of $500,000 for a Regional Hazard
Mitigation Initiative for the towns of Cohasset, Hingham, Hull, and Scituate. This initiative
would coordinate a prioritized regional hazard mitigation plan to improve collective hazard
planning, increase public safety, and streamline emergency response across the 3rd Plymouth
district. This legislation will ensure that we can protect our coastal communities from the
impacts of climate change.

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House Passes Legislation to Support and Honor Military Veterans

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

May 30, 2018

BOSTON – Representative Joan Meschino (D-Hull) joined her colleagues in the House of
Representatives to pass legislation to support Massachusetts’ veterans and military families
including an important provision to make more veterans eligible for property tax exemptions by
relaxing the residency requirements. This bill builds upon the Commonwealth’s legacy as a
national leader for the number of programs and services it offers to military personnel, veterans
and their families.
“I am honored to have had this opportunity to stand for the veterans of the 3 rd Plymouth District
and their families,” said Representative Meschino. “This bill will expand their access to the
support that they deserve.”
“I am immensely proud that Massachusetts ranks first in the nation when it comes to military-
benefit programs and services,” House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo said. “This legislation sends a
message to our heroes and their families that we appreciate their bravery, sacrifice and service.”
The bill provides new financial supports to families including:
Creates a $1,000 active-duty death benefit, in addition to any annuity the person would
have received;
 Increases the amount a deceased veteran’s estate may receive to assist with funeral and
burial expenses from $2,000 to $4,000.

Recognizing that many people who serve in the military have specialized medical training, the
legislation makes it easier for military personnel to become EMTs once they return home.
Lastly, under this legislation every municipality in the Commonwealth will now designate one
parking space at its town or city hall as “veterans-only parking.”

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Rep Meschino Hosts State House Electric Vehicle Ride and Drive Event

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

April 10, 2018

BOSTON – Today at the Massachusetts State House, Representative Joan Meschino (D-Hull) joined her colleagues, Representatives Smitty Pignatelli (D-Lenox), Jonathan Hecht (D-Watertown), Solomon Goldstein-Rose (I-Amherst) and Jack Lewis (D-Framingham), to host an Electric Vehicle Ride and Drive. The day began with a morning briefing, which highlighted the benefits of electric vehicles, showcased the enormous advancements made in electric vehicle technology over recent years, and addressed the future of electric vehicles in the Commonwealth.

The briefing brought in a diverse set of speakers, including Matthew Beaton, Secretary of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs; Alli Gold Roberts, State Policy Director at Ceres; Basim Motiwala, Government Relations at Honda; and Karsten Barde, New Customer Offerings at National Grid.

After the briefing, legislators, State House staff and media were invited to test drive a host of electric vehicles, including a BMWi3, a Nissan Leaf, a Chevy Bolt, a Mini-Cooper Plug-In, a Hyundai Ioniq, a Tesla Model X, and a hydrogen fuel cell Honda Clarity.

“Transportation represents the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in Massachusetts,” said Representative Joan Meschino. “Promoting the continued transition to electric vehicles is one of the most critical steps we can take locally to lower our dirty emissions and to address climate change and sea level rise.”  

Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton said, “Through Governor Baker’s Commission on the Future of Transportation in the Commonwealth, our statewide listening session tour, and regional discussions on this issue, we are working to develop further strategies to reduce emissions from the transportation sector and protect future generations from the impacts of climate change.”

“We support our customers in going electric, and we’ve proposed a range of new products and programs across our service territories to help increase awareness, affordability, and accessibility of EVs and EV charging for all our customers,” said Karsten Barde, Manager of New Customer Offerings at National Grid.

Legislators spoke not only to electric vehicle technology, but also to state policy and programs that support the transition to EVs, such as the Mass Electric Vehicle Incentive Program, which helps businesses, cities, towns and agencies install charging stations, and MOR-EV (Massachusetts Offers Rebates for Electric Vehicles), which offers consumers a rebate for purchasing or leasing an EV.

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Rep Meschino Leads Push for Electric Vehicles, Charging Infrastructure

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

February 26, 2018

BOSTON - State Representative Joan Meschino joined 37 other legislators who weighed in last week on the allocation of $75 million that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is scheduled to receive from the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust Fund. Members urged the Department of Environmental Protection, which is charged with dispensing the money, to invest in electric vehicle charging infrastructure and invest the balance of the funds in fully-electric transit and school buses.

The money will be received as part of a multi-state settlement with Volkswagen after it used a cheating computer system that ran emissions controls during testing but not during normal vehicle operation. Emissions from these vehicles were 15-40 times the federal Environmental Protection Agency compliance level. Volkswagen has agreed to spend nearly $15 billion on remedial action, including $2.9 billion that is being divided up among participating states and territories.

“The Commonwealth must continue to limit its transportation sector emissions if we are to meet our statutory obligation to combat global warming,” said Representative Joan Meschino (D-Hull). “These funds present a unique opportunity to achieve our emissions reductions goals while also addressing the health and equity issues facing our communities.”

In supporting electric vehicle charging infrastructure, legislators argued that charging stations need to become much more common across the state to give drivers convenient access to charging, overcome ‘range anxiety,’ and raise public awareness about the practicability and feasibility of purchasing an electric vehicle (EV). With a focus on equity, legislators pushed for EV charging at workplaces and multi-unit dwellings, locations more likely to be used by people of modest means without access to charging at home because they lack off-street parking.

Legislators urged the department to dedicate substantial amounts of funding to upgrade transit and school bus fleets to fully electric vehicles. While newer diesel and compressed natural gas vehicles emit lower levels of NOx gases than older models, electric buses emit no NOx at all and would improve air quality in areas that are heavily reliant on public transportation. Though electric buses have higher sticker prices, they have much lower lifetime maintenance costs.

Byron Rushing (D-Boston), House Assistant Majority Leader, voiced his support for the effort, stating: “The Volkswagen settlement money has presented the Commonwealth with a unique opportunity to make progress towards electrifying our transportation sector, essential to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving air quality. If used conscientiously, we can expand electric vehicle access to middle- and low-income drivers and protect our most vulnerable populations, including our children, from the negative health effects of smog.”

The Department of Environmental Protection is in the midst of a stakeholder process to seek further input from the public on projects to fund. To submit comments, please visit http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/massdep/air/programs/vw.html.  

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House Passes Massachusetts Alzheimer’s and Dementia Legislation

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

February 18, 2018 

BOSTON – Representative Joan Meschino (D-Hull) joined her colleagues in the House to pass legislation which establishes an Alzheimer’s Disease Advisory Council. The bill also requires the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) to conduct an assessment on existing state efforts and implement a state plan to address the disease.

There are currently 120,000 individuals in Massachusetts with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia, and experts predict the prevalence of Alzheimer’s will increase 25 percent in the next decade. Currently, more than 300,000 people in Massachusetts act as caregivers to one these patients. In 2017, Medicaid costs for caring for people with the disease totaled $1.55 billion.

“This legislation ensures the Commonwealth’s ongoing commitment to public health,” Said Representative Meschino. “I am proud that the House has chosen to address Alzheimer’s and Dementia and to strengthen our capacity to provide care and ongoing support to the growing number of people diagnosed with these diseases throughout the Commonwealth.”

The legislation creates minimum-training standards for elder protective services social workers and establishes a continuing education requirement for medical professionals to improve the diagnosis, care, and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

In an effort to strengthen a patient’s support network and improve communication, physicians will be granted increased flexibility when sharing medical information with a patient’s family throughout diagnosis and treatment. These changes operate within the existing legal framework of federal and state medical information privacy laws. The legislation also requires a new, one-time continuing education requirement for physicians, physician’s assistants, registered nurses, and practical nurses, which will include training in the diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s.

The Alzheimer’s Disease Advisory Council, established in the legislation, will be required to meet quarterly and will provide EOHHS and the Legislature with recommendations on Alzheimer’s policy, an evaluation of state-funded research, care and programming, and any outcomes of such efforts. EOHHS will create an integrated state plan to facilitate the coordination of government efforts while ensuring that appropriate resources are maximized and leveraged.

The legislation requires hospitals to implement an operational plan for recognizing and managing individuals with dementia. Hospitals must complete and implement their operational plan by October 1, 2021, and provide the Department of Public Health with the plan as requested.

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