FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 17, 2017
BOSTON – Representative Joan Meschino (D-Hull) joined with her colleagues in the House to pass comprehensive criminal justice reform legislation that will lead to a more equitable system by supporting our youngest and most vulnerable residents, reducing recidivism, increasing judicial discretion, and enhancing public safety.
“This landmark legislation will make our criminal justice system significantly more equitable while enhancing public safety through a series of workable, real-world solutions,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo. “I am proud of the unprecedented reforms we’ve made to support our youngest and most vulnerable residents, particularly children facing adversity and individuals of all ages battling addiction. I am grateful for the dedication and insight of Chairwoman Cronin, and I thank Chairman Sanchez, Leader Mariano and Chief Justice Ireland for their guidance.”
"Through a number of practical and progressive reforms, this bill takes steps to improve the criminal justice system,” said Representative Meschino. “We have updated and improved our laws, made the system more equitable, and are giving people opportunities to rebuild their lives after incarceration, while also ensuring public safety. This comprehensive and workable bill will have a meaningful impact on the criminal justice system.”
For the first time in the history of Massachusetts, this legislation would establish a process for expunging criminal records. Courts will now be able to expunge certain juvenile and young adult (18-21) records, and records in cases of fraud or where an offense is no longer a crime. The legislation also bars third-party data companies from disseminating expunged records.
This legislation reflects a balanced, modern, smart-on-crime approach to sentencing. It eliminates mandatory and statutory minimum sentences for many low-level, non-violent drug offenses. At the same time, it bolsters the House’s multi-tiered approach to the opioid epidemic by creating the nation’s strongest law for trafficking Carfentanil and by strengthening the Fentanyl trafficking law. The legislation also toughens penalties for repeat offenders convicted of operating under the influence (OUI).
As part of the House’s focus on combatting the opioid epidemic and providing healthcare parity, this legislation requires district attorneys to create pre-arraignment diversion programs for military personnel, veterans, and individuals with addiction or mental health issues. It removes the age restriction to participate in a diversion program, as they are currently only available to defendants 22 and under. The bill also establishes restorative justice as a voluntary pre-arraignment program.
The House has a longstanding legacy of supporting the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable children, particularly those facing trauma and adversity. Accordingly, this bill raises the minimum age of criminal responsibility from seven to ten and decriminalizes a first offense misdemeanor if the punishment is a fine or imprisonment for not more than six months. The legislation establishes a Juvenile Justice Policy and Data Commission, which will make the state eligible for additional federal funding, and a Childhood Trauma Task Force to study and recommend gender responsive and trauma-informed approaches to treatment of youths in the juvenile justice system. The bill also extends Good Samaritan protections to alcohol incapacitation for individuals under 21.
Following reforms in 2010 and 2012, this legislation again updates the Commonwealth’s criminal offender record information (CORI) system to help individuals secure gainful employment and housing:
- Reduces the wait time to seal a conviction from ten years to seven years for a felony, and from five years to three years for a misdemeanor.
- Allows a conviction for resisting arrest to be sealed.
- Expands the ability of an applicant with a sealed record to be able to answer “no record” on housing applications.
- Creates an appeal process for applicants who have been denied a professional license due to a sealed record of a conviction.
- Establishes protections for businesses and landlords who shall be presumed to have no notice or ability to know about criminal records that have been sealed or expunged.
This legislation updates the Commonwealth’s bail system and enhances judicial discretion by requiring a judge to take a person’s financial resources into account when determining bail. Fines and fees could be waived if they would make it impossible for an individual, their immediate family or their dependents to meet basic food, shelter and clothing needs.
The legislation sets a limit on how long an inmate can be held in segregation (solitary confinement) without review and bans segregation for pregnant women and juveniles. It also creates a Segregation Review Board to ensure appropriate oversight of the use of segregation. Additionally, the bill creates a process and establishes an independent board for terminally ill inmates to petition for medical parole.
The legislation raises the threshold for larceny to qualify as a felony from $250 to $1,000. It also creates the crime of solicitation that is tied to the severity of the underlying crime.
The bill passed the House 144-9. The vote follows unanimous passage of a separate criminal justice bill on Monday (commonly referred to as the Council of State Government bill) designed to complement the House’s comprehensive bill. The CSG bill allows individuals to earn early release by participating in recidivism-reduction programs.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 27, 2017
HINGHAM – Representative Joan Meschino (D-Hull), alongside her colleagues, Senator Patrick O’Connor (R-Weymouth), Representative James Murphy (D-Weymouth) and Hingham Veterans’ Service Officer, Keith Jermyn hosted a Veterans’ Town Hall event this Thursday at Hingham Town Hall.
The event offered an opportunity for veterans, active duty military personnel, veterans’ organizations, and their dependents from across the South Shore to gather and hear from legislators, local officials and the Secretary of the Executive Office of Veterans’ Services, Francisco A. Ureña on the state of Veteran Affairs in the commonwealth. Veterans' were able to ask questions about veterans' benefits and services.
"I would like to thank all of the veterans who joined us at this town hall event," said Representative Joan Meschino. "Hearing from local veterans about the challenges that they currently face will enable my office to better serve our vets moving forward. I look forward to a continued conversation."
“Our Community should do all that they can for those who serve our great country,” stated Representative Murphy. “It was an informative and open discussion about the issues facing our nation’s veterans today.”
Senator Patrick O'Connor represents the Plymouth and Norfolk District, which includes the towns of Cohasset, Duxbury, Hingham, Hull, Marshfield, Norwell, Scituate, and Weymouth
Representative Meschino represents the 3rd Plymouth District, which includes the towns of Cohasset, Hingham, Hull and north Scituate.
Representative James Murphy represents the Fourth Norfolk District, which includes the towns of Hingham and Weymouth.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 30, 2017
BOSTON – Senator Walter F. Timilty (D-Milton) and Representative Joan Meschino (D-Hull) today announced the formation of the Fair Skies Caucus. The caucus will bring together legislators from both the Massachusetts State Senate and the Massachusetts House of Representatives that represent districts affected by overflights from local airports, including Logan Airport, Worcester Airport, and Hanscom Field.
As the Senate chair and House chair, respectively, Timilty and Meschino aim to encourage bipartisan and bicameral collaboration on legislation and budget matters relevant to the caucus and its members. The caucus will unite the advocacy efforts of its individual members in order to more effectively collaborate with Massport and other agencies.
“It is my strong belief that an equitable solution to the problem of airplane noise must be implemented,” said Timilty. “Communities across the Commonwealth experience the constant barrage of noise and the public health risks associated with airplanes flying overhead at all hours of the day and night. The Fair Skies Caucus will bring together my colleagues on Beacon Hill as we work toward an equitable solution that disperses the burden among neighboring communities. I commend Representative Meschino for her leadership, and I look forward to our continued partnership.”
“The formation of the Fair Skies Caucus is a welcome step toward achieving equitable and safe strategies to mitigate noise and air pollution,” said Representative Meschino. “By leveraging our shared interests, the Caucus can more effectively support the Community Advisory Council’s work with Massport to research and implement equitable noise mitigation strategies. I applaud Senator Timilty for his leadership in this area, and I look forward to our ongoing collaboration.”
In addition to creating a forum for legislators to work jointly on issues pertaining to airplane noise, the caucus will allow for increased collaboration with members of the Massport Community Advisory Committee (Massport CAC). The Massport CAC, comprised of representatives from 35 communities, serves as the voice of communities affected by Massport operations.
By optimizing advocacy efforts, the caucus will work to find meaningful solutions to an issue affecting communities across the Commonwealth.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 26, 2017
BOSTON – Representative Joan Meschino (D-Hull) joined her colleagues in the Massachusetts Legislature recently to pass a bill that fully implements consumer access to adult-use marijuana while creating a robust public health and safety framework.
This legislation maintains the personal use provisions outlined in the 2016 ballot initiative. Adults 21 and older can use marijuana and possess up to one ounce in public and ten ounces at home. They may possess six plants per person but no more than 12 plants or ten ounces per residence.
“This bill reflects a commitment to legalizing adult-use marijuana while upholding our duty to ensure safety and effective management,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D-Winthrop). “In addition to the rigorous product testing and security measures, I believe that the independence of the Cannabis Control Commission will allow this new industry to be implemented in a safe manner that works for all residents, not just the marijuana industry.”
In an effort to support the Commonwealth’s municipalities and allow for the creation of local bylaws and ordinances, this legislation includes compromise language regarding local control.
- If a municipality voted in the negative for the 2016 marijuana ballot question, the decision to prohibit or restrict marijuana establishments will be determined by the municipality’s governing body until December 2019
- If a municipality approved the 2016 marijuana ballot initiative, the number of marijuana establishments can only be limited through a local referendum.
“This bill integrates several key components from both the House and Senate proposals,” said Representative Meschino. “Most notably, it allows for municipalities to retain local control and to manage the marijuana industry in their own communities. Additionally, this bill protects Massachusetts’ youth by allocating industry revenues to substance addiction prevention and treatment, as well as early intervention services through school grants.”
To promote strong oversight and accountability for the regulation of adult-use marijuana, this legislation creates an independent five-member Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) which will be housed under the Office of the State Treasurer. The CCC will be charged with overseeing the application and licensing process, including a review of the integrity of licensees, their financial stability and qualifications both during the application process and on an ongoing basis. It will promulgate regulations for the implementation, administration and enforcement of adult-use marijuana, and will make regular inspections of licensees.
The CCC will study participation and, if needed, adopt diversity licensing goals to provide meaningful participation of communities disproportionately affected by cannabis prohibition and enforcement and development training programs to achieve impactful industry participation by minority individuals, women and veterans. This legislation removes the head start for businesses already licensed for medical marijuana so that all individuals and businesses have a fair shot at entering this industry. The CCC will be required to encourage participation by farmers and small businesses, including providing lower priced licenses and the ability to form cooperatives to small cultivators.
The composition of the CCC reflects the broad expertise and autonomy necessary to regulate this new industry including appointees with expertise in public health, public safety and corporate management. These appointments will be made by the governor, attorney general, treasurer, respectively.
This legislation prioritizes consumer safety and public health. As such, this bill includes the strongest testing standards in the nation and gives the CCC oversight of testing laboratories. It requires all labs to be independent from marijuana establishments and mandates alignment with pharmacy standards for purity. While the legislation maintains the personal use provisions, it also adds liquor license penalties for sales to people under 21 including social host language.
Under this legislation, the CCC will consult with the Department of Public Health (DPH) and the Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) to establish standards for the cultivation, processing, manufacturing and distribution of marijuana, including guidelines for food products.
The CCC will also establish standards for packaging, potency or dosing limitations, seed to sale-technology and security for cannabis licensees. Requirements include:
- Certified child-resistant packaging and opaque containers.
- Regulations regarding advertising, marketing and branding, including:
- Advertising is only permissible in markets where at least 85 percent of the audience is over 21;
- A product cannot be identified as safe other than CCC-regulated labeling.
- Bans retail shops near school zones.
- Licensees must have a publicly available software application to track and trace all marijuana cultivated, process, or manufactured, from seed-to-sale.
- Edible marijuana products will have a single serving limit of 10 mg of THC and cannot resemble any non-marijuana food product currently sold.
- Labeling to indicate that a product is or contains marijuana, and the amount of THC in the product.
The total taxes and fees collected from recreational marijuana can add up to 23 percent. State revenues collected from the marijuana excise tax, as well as fees generated from application fees, will be directed to the newly-established Marijuana Regulation Fund. The Fund will finance the CCC and the designated programs outlined below. Any additional money will revert to the General Fund.
- Substance addiction prevention and treatment;
- Substance addiction early intervention services through school grants;
- Public safety including an awareness campaign established by the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security;
- Public health
- Programing for restorative justice, jail diversion and workforce development for economically-disadvantaged individuals in communities disproportionately impacted.
Up to 6 percent of gross sales, up to 3 percent from the local optional tax and up to 3 percent for the optional impact fee, will go to the host community. 6.25 percent is the sales tax, which goes to the transportation fund, the school building fund, and the general fund.
Given the difficultly of detecting if someone is driving under the influence of marijuana or other narcotics, this legislation establishes a special commission to conduct a comprehensive study and make recommendations regarding enforcement.
Under this legislation, the medical marijuana program will be updated and brought under the auspices of the CCC. This consolidation will help ensure a timely launch by streamlining oversight and leveraging existing experience and resources.
For the first time, industrial hemp will be statutorily recognized as an agricultural product that may be cultivated, possessed, processed, bought or sold, and researched. MDAR will oversee industrial hemp as an agricultural product. Any person growing industrial hemp must be licensed by MDAR.
The bill will be sent to the Governor for his signature
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 10, 2017
On a clear day, you can stand atop Allerton Hill and view nearly the whole town: down Nantasket Beach towards Cohasset and out across the Atlantic Ocean, with lobsterman skirting the horizon of Hull Bay. Hull, Massachusetts, a narrow peninsula jutting out from the mainland just south of Boston proper, has always held a strong connection to the ocean and Nantasket Beach has long been a treasured destination for those in the region hoping to get closer to the sea.
Despite a celebrated history, Nantasket Beach has recently been suffering a fate like that of many beaches across the Commonwealth. Many of our state's beaches have been slowly, and quite literally, losing ground to rising sea levels and increasingly frequent, intense storms. On Nantasket, the beach’s seawall protects the town from pounding surf and storm surges; yet, accelerates the beach’s erosion over time. Photos from the early days of iconic Paragon Park only confirm this fact: the ocean is slowly but surely encroaching on the shoreline and the beach is slowly but surely being scoured away.
The town of Hull has been forward thinking about its coastal issues and released its first Coastal Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Study, prompting similar studies in neighboring towns. Familiar locations such as Cohasset Harbor and Hingham Square are also threatened; adaptation studies predict inundation during storm surges and rising tides. The consensus is the continued, unchecked effects of sea level-rise will have severe impacts on the homes, business, and natural resources of our coastal communities.
Yet we have reason to be hopeful, as there is proven economic potential embedded in climate change mitigation. The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center reports that more than 100,000 residents hold clean energy jobs in Massachusetts. These jobs fuel an $11.8 billion industry, cover 2.5% of the Gross State Product and make up 2.9% of the state’s workforce. What's more, the clean energy sector continues to grow each year. And this doesn’t even begin to consider how clean energy enervates other business sectors.
Hull has taken great strides transitioning into clean energy. Today, the town is proud to host Hull Wind I and Hull Wind II, which collectively generate an impressive 12% equivalent of its total energy use. Together, these turbines produce 660 Kilowatts and 1.8 megawatts of clean, renewable electricity. Since coming online, they have produced over 29 million kilowatt-hours. This is equal to removing CO2 emissions from over 2 million gallons of consumed gasoline, over 4,000 cars on the road, or nearly 2,220 homes.
But of course, it is hard to ignore the opportunity of clean energy when the waves are quite literally pounding at your door. Ultimately, it was the ocean that prompted Hull residents to ask the inevitable question: what can we do to protect our community? To answer, Hull made a community commitment to clean energy. And the economic benefits have followed – low, stable electric rates, tourism from across the globe, energy conferences, and new ideas for innovation. Though Hull is only a small community, it is also a community on the front lines, experiencing firsthand the impacts of climate change and sea level rise. Through this they have come to recognize that investing in clean energy and climate change mitigation can preserve key economic drivers, like their popular beaches, and open the door to future economic growth fueled by innovation.
Although only a few fond remnants of Paragon Park can still be spotted along Nantasket's shores, the town continues to draw hundreds of thousands of people year round. Hopefully, visitors will be able to enjoy this thriving oceanfront long into the future, and the area will continue to reap the economic benefits. In the end, it will be up to us.
State Representative Joan Meschino represents the Third Plymouth district, which includes Cohasset, Hingham, Hull and North Scituate. Meagan Greene is the program director of the Alliance for Business Leadership.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 26, 2017
COHASSET – Representative Joan Meschino (D – Hull) convened seniors, service providers and advocates for a focus group this week to discuss ongoing issues facing seniors in her communities. The meeting, Representative Meschino said, will play an important role in shaping her advocacy for seniors through the ongoing legislative process and the upcoming state budget debate.
“Too many seniors are forced to choose between staying in their homes, paying for their medical care and keeping food on the table. Still more have difficulty accessing transportation and staying connected with their community,” said Representative Meschino. “I’m looking forward to working with local advocates and providers in order to meet the needs of our older residents.” Representatives from the Hull Senior Center, Cohasset Elder Affairs, Hingham Elder Services, Scituate Council on aging, Linden Ponds, and Wellspring were all in attendance.
“As the House of Representatives prepares to take up the state budget next month, I am particularly concerned about protecting services for seniors,” said Representative Meschino. “Cutting or underfunding vital programs that provide housing, fuel assistance, transportation, food assistance, and other services will devastate seniors who are already struggling to balance their needs with their checkbooks. I will continue to work alongside advocates and other members of our communities as I fight for more funding and effective services for our district.”
Seniors represent about one in six residents of the Third Plymouth District, which Representative Meschino has represented since her swearing in this past January. The district consists of Hull, Cohasset, Hingham, and North Scituate.
Prior to her election last year, Representative Meschino served as Executive Director of the Massachusetts Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, a public interest law center that promotes equal rights and opportunities for Massachusetts residents. She has also served on the Hull Board of Selectmen, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council's Executive Committee, the Metropolitan Beaches Commission, and the Hull Capital Outlay Committee.
This meeting was one part of a longer listening tour that the Representative will be continuing over the course of her term. She plans to use these meetings as opportunities to listen to her constituents, to gain insight into the broad range of issues they face, and to better understand what role she may play in working to combat these issues.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 25, 2017
BOSTON - Representative Joan Meschino (D-Hull) received her official House committee assignments for the 190th General Court of the Commonwealth. The three joint committees will enable the Representative to be an influential voice on a key set of issues that are importance to the 3rd Plymouth District and the larger South Shore economic region. The committees she has been assigned to are:
Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Businesses
Joint Committee on Telecommunication, Utilities and Energy
Joint Committee on Transportation
House Committee on Post Audit and Oversight
“I’m eager to serve both our communities and the Commonwealth on these four committees” said Representative Meschino. “The committee assignments provide me with the opportunity to advocate for relevant and urgent issues for our district.”
“I am particularly eager to serve on the Joint Committee on Transportation. As the South Shore continues to develop, reliable and affordable transportation is of utmost importance,” said Representative Meschino. “I look forward to working with the Commonwealth to improve its struggling transportation system and to continue my strong advocacy for reliable transportation to support our region’s economic development, a top priority for me.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 23, 2017
BOSTON - Representative Joan Meschino (D-Hull) was proud to join more than 175,000 women at the Women's March in Boston on Saturday. Marchers from all over Massachusetts and New England assembled in solidarity with women in over 600 sister marches across the world. The March, which advocated for a host of social justice, environmental, and women’s issues, was an important first step toward unifying our communities and creating positive change through grassroots engagement.
Representative Meschino attended to show support of not only the women of the 3rd Plymouth district, but of the entire Commonwealth and country.
Representative Meschino said, “It was an honor to stand side-by-side with the women of my community on this historic day to call for respect, dignity, and equality for women. This march stands as a testament to our ability to organize in an impactful and peaceful way.”
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, and Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, and Attorney General Maura Healey addressed the crowd. Also in attendance was Representative Stephen Lynch.
In her continued effort to advocate for women’s issues, Representative Meschino participated on a panel Thursday night sponsored by the Women's Bar Association in partnership with the Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus entitled, "Running for Office: The Inside Story." The event - which was was well attended by both women and men seeking to run for public office - focused on the issues that women have faced in the political world.
Representative Meschino was one of four panelists who discussed their experiences in politics and the challenges they have faced along the way. Other panelists included, Lydia Edwards who ran for the First Suffolk and Middlesex Senate District; Lori Ehrlich, State Representative for the Eighth Essex District; and Brianna Sullivan, who ran for State Representative for the First Essex District. The event was coordinated by Ann Bookman, Director at the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy at UMASS Boston.
“Though women have made great strides in breaking into the political sphere over the last few decades, there is much work to be done.” Said Representative Meschino. “Events such as this are essential in that they encourage women to get involved in politics. We deserve more women in politics.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 9, 2017
MARSHFIELD—Representative Joan Meschino (D-Hull) joined her colleagues, Senator Patrick O’Connor (R-Weymouth), and Representatives Jim Cantwell (D-Marshfield) and Josh Cutler (D-Duxbury), to meet with state agency officials and South Shore public safety officials to discuss issues of winter preparedness. Coming at the tail end of Massachusetts's first serious winter storm, this preparedness meeting proved timely. Among the topics discussed were what resources are available to communities, how communities can request support, and how communities can promote individual preparedness for winter storms.
The meeting, held at Ventress Hall in Marshfield, provided an opportunity for key state agencies, local public safety officials, utility companies, and other entities to describe their role and responsibilities in preparation for and during winter storms. Furthermore, these agencies were able to relay the challenges they frequently encounter as well as how to best support town officials and residents.
Representative Joan Meschino (D -Hull) said, “As our coastal communities continue to feel the effects of climate change, sea level rise, and worsening storms, it will be increasingly necessary that we encourage the communication and situational awareness needed to ensure that our communities are prepared for anything that may come our way. This meeting was a great first step forward.”
“It is great to have so many stakeholders and emergency preparedness personnel come together to discuss the challenges our coastal storms can present, said Senator Patrick O’Connor. “Each year as the intensity of our winter storms increase, proper communication and preparation becomes even more valuable. I’m sure everyone that attended this meeting walked away with some great information.”
“As always, I continue to be impressed by the great work our town officials perform as they organize and implement safety precautions in preparation for and duration of a storm event,” said Rep. Jim Cantwell. “Our community public safety experts are true professionals who are well prepared to address the challenges of winter storms and totally supportive of all our residents.”
"This meeting exemplifies the dedication our local public safety officials have when preparing for emergencies. Our local officials continuously improve on their already outstanding preparedness practices to ensure our communities are ready for the inevitable winter storms" Rep. Cutler said.
Also in attendance was the Secretary of Public Safety and Security, Dan Bennett, as well as the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) Deputy Director Christine Packard. Secretary Bennett and his staff provided an overview of services that the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS) can provide towns. Deputy Director Packard spoke to the process by which resource requests from towns are addressed.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 17, 2016
Contact: Laura Burns
HULL— “Senior citizens who’ve contributed to the vibrancy of their communities for decades are entitled to support and assistance that will help them continue to thrive,” said Joan Meschino, Democratic nominee to succeed former State Representative Garrett Bradley. Her plans focus on senior tax credits, transportation, and senior centers.
Meschino will continue Bradley’s practice of mailing an annual reminder of allowable state income tax deductions. “Every year, some seniors are surprised to learn they can claim a refundable credit for real estate taxes on their state income tax returns,” said Meschino. “Garrett Bradley’s annual informational mailer has helped many seniors claim credits for which they qualify.”
In addition to making seniors aware of existing programs, Meschino said she will work to help towns revise tax structures to help them remain in their homes and not be priced out of neighborhoods they’ve called home for many years. “Property tax bills are among their greatest challenges,” said Meschino. “I don’t think we’ve done everything we can to alleviate this burden. Seeking new help for seniors is a major goal for me.”
Access to adequate and appropriate transportation is another challenge for seniors who reside in suburban neighborhoods, said Meschino. “I will work to protect funding for The Ride because many seniors depend on this MBTA program for shopping, medical appointments, and social activities that contribute to their continued physical and emotional well-being,” she said. “I will work closely with state agencies to implement creative solutions to their transportation challenges.”
Meschino said she’ll help the senior centers in Hingham, Hull, Cohasset, and Scituate meet 21st century needs. “Hingham is planning a new, expanded senior center. I pledge to help make it a reality,” she said. “I’ll support the senior centers in our district to ensure they continue their good work.”