At the State House
Nashoba Valley Chamber Beacon Hill Day
On June 12, the Nashoba Valley Chamber of Commerce (NVCoC) held their annual Beacon Hill Day at the State House. I was happy to meet with Chamber leadership, including NVCoC President Melissa Fetterhoff, as well as small business owners of the 37th Middlesex District to discuss their legislative priorities and their concerns about transportation issues in the District.
Carbon Pricing Briefing
I hosted a briefing in June at the State House for legislators and staff to learn more about my carbon pricing bill, H.2810, An Act to Promote Green Infrastructure and Reduce Carbon Emissions. I was delighted that nearly 100 legislators and staffers attended to learn about the bill. I continue to be encouraged by the support building for my bill as we move through the legislative session.
Every year, the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women honors “Unsung Heroines” across the state who make a difference in their communities. This year, I nominated Lisa Normandin from Lunenburg for this honor. Lisa has worked for the Town of Lunenburg for over 30 years, is an original member of the Lunenburg Turkey Hill Lions Club, and currently serves as the Club’s president. Through the Lion’s Club, Lisa plans fundraising events to benefit the local food pantry they operate, and distributes more than 120 baskets of food to needy families every Thanksgiving. Lisa’s three decades of quiet commitment to bettering her community and helping those in need is why she is deserving of recognition as an Unsung Heroine.
Janus Fix Bill
In June, the House and Senate passed legislation protecting public sector unions following the U.S. Supreme Court’s Janus v. AFSCME ruling. The bill allows public employee organizations in the state to charge non-members for the reasonable costs associated with representing them through the negotiation and grievance processes. The bill was sent to the Governor’s desk, but he returned it, unsigned, with an amendment.
Fair Share Amendment
In a Constitutional Convention on June 12, the House and Senate jointly voted to amend the Massachusetts Constitution to add a four percent surtax on household income above $1 million to fund public education and infrastructure programs. I was proud to vote for the Fair Share Amendment to support education funding reforms and infrastructure improvements in the 37th Middlesex District and across the Commonwealth. The Legislature must again approve the amendment in the 2021-2022 session in order for it to appear on the November 2022 statewide ballot for voter approval.
The Legislature passed a temporary spending measure that was signed into law by Governor Baker as the Conference Committee appointed to resolve the differences in the House and Senate budgets continues its work.
The Joint Committee on Health Care Financing held a hearing on June 11 on more than a dozen bills, including several related to single-payer health care, also known as “Medicare for All”. My co-Chair, Senator Friedman and I, as well as members of the Committee, collected testimony from over 100 people and organizations. We are currently reviewing the testimony and preparing for more hearings in July.
Chan School of Public Health Discussion
At Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, I participated in a discussion with faculty members, including public health experts and economists, as well as Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, Robert DeLeo. We talked about trends in health care spending in the state and nationally, and the policy solutions available to control costs and increase access to high quality care.
Health Center Tours
In June, I toured health centers around the Commonwealth to learn more about health care delivery in Massachusetts. I traveled from Provincetown to Pittsfield and met with health center staff and leadership to learn how different types of communities provide health care services to their residents. I have further visits planned in July to other parts of the state.
In July, I’ll be attending several events in the District, and the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing will hold two more hearings.
Please feel free to reach out to my District office at 978-582-4146 ext. 4, and my State House office at 617-722-2430. You can contact me via email at Jennifer.Benson@MAHouse.gov.
37th Middlesex District