Representative Haggerty attends the NuPath Job Camp Graduation

 

Representative Haggerty speaking at the NuPath Job Camp Graduation

WOBURN – Representative Richard M. Haggerty (D-Woburn) recently spoke at the annual NuPath Job Camp Graduation ceremony. He praised the graduates for their hard work and determination in completing the rigorous 9-month program. Representative Haggerty also commended NuPath for their important work in the community. NuPath’s Job Camp program provides job training and employment readiness skills to individuals with disabilities to help them achieve greater independence and community inclusion through meaningful work opportunities.

Representative Haggerty attends Woburn Memorial High School Civics Project Showcase

Representative Haggerty speaking to WMHS students at the Civics Project Showcase

WOBURN – Representative Richard M. Haggerty (D-Woburn) recently attended the annual Civics Project Showcase at Woburn Memorial High School (WMHS). The event highlighted the outstanding work of students who participated in the school’s civics education program.

“The Civics Showcase never fails to impress me with the depth of understanding and innovative solutions presented by the students,” said Representative Haggerty. “Their projects demonstrate a deep understanding of the challenges we face and a commitment to finding innovative solutions. It is inspiring to see the students so engaged in the democratic process and working to make a positive change in their communities and beyond.”

The showcase provides an opportunity for students to present their research, findings, and proposed solutions to various issues affecting their local community, state, and nation. The projects covered a wide range of topics, including environmental conservation, social justice, public health, and government policy.

As the keynote speaker, Representative Haggerty spoke about the diverse ways in which students can engage in active citizenship, such as voting, volunteering, advocating for change, and organizing community events. He emphasized the importance of bridging divides and working together to address the challenges of our time. The Representative commended the students for their hard work and encouraged them to continue their involvement in shaping the future of their community and nation. He had the opportunity to speak with individual students about their projects and discuss the importance of civic engagement.

The event is part of WMHS’s ongoing efforts to promote civic education and encourage student participation in the democratic process. The school’s civics education program aims to equip students with the knowledge, skills, and values necessary to become informed and active citizens.

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Representative Haggerty attends Woburn’s Wear Orange Event

WOBURN – State Rep. Richard M. Haggerty (D-Woburn) joined Woburn Mayor Michael Concannon, members of Woburn City Council and School Committee, and Woburn Memorial High School students for the city’s Wear Orange proclamation reading. The event, held in honor of victims and survivors of gun violence, aimed to raise awareness about this pressing issue, promote firearm safety and pay tribute to the lives forever changed.

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Reading awarded $8,100 in state fire safety grants

BOSTON – House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading), State Representative Richard M. Haggerty (D-Woburn) and State Senator Jason M. Lewis (D-Winchester) joined with Reading Fire Chief Gregory Burns this week to announce the Reading Fire Department has been awarded $8,100 in state grants to provide fire safety outreach to local students and older residents.

Reading received $5,700 as part of the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services’ Student Awareness of Fire Education (SAFE) program, which was created in 1995 to help fire departments partner with their local public schools to teach students in grades pre-K through 12 about fire safety. An additional $2,400 has been allocated to the Reading Fire Department under the Senior SAFE program, which was established in Fiscal Year 2014 to help fund fire safety presentations at local senior centers and councils on aging, as well as home visits to assist seniors with installing smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

“The SAFE and Senior SAFE Grant Programs provide valuable funding that allow firefighters to deliver fire safety and home safety presentations to our children and seniors,” said Chief Burns. “Our children and seniors are most at risk during fires and other emergencies and this program allows firefighters to provide lifesaving instruction to our most vulnerable populations.  I would like to thank Representative Jones, Representative Haggerty and Senator Lewis for their support of this important grant program.”

“The SAFE program and the Senior SAFE program both offer valuable insight and education to some of our most vulnerable residents so they can stay safe in the event of a fire,” said Representative Jones. “These two programs help the Reading Fire Department to deliver important fire safety messaging and training directly to students and seniors. This is another terrific example of a state-municipal partnership that benefits all residents of the Commonwealth.”

“The SAFE and Senior SAFE grant programs provide critical support to our local fire departments, enabling them to deliver life-saving education to our communities,” said Representative Haggerty. “This funding helps the Reading Fire Department promote and implement fire safety and prevention initiatives, designed for school-age children and older adults, ensuring that our most vulnerable residents have access to the knowledge and resources they need to stay safe.”

“Fire safety education and prevention resources are crucial to keeping our community safe, especially for young people and older residents,” said Senator Lewis. “I’m very pleased that the Reading Fire Department will receive state support to keep up their great work educating the public about fire prevention and safety.”

The Reading Fire Department is one of 214 municipal fire departments in Massachusetts to receive grant funding for Fiscal Year 2024. A total of $1.6 million was awarded this year, with $1,138,565.58 distributed through the SAFE program and $492,179.29 distributed through the Senior SAFE program. Both programs are funded through legislative earmarks provided to the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security and are administered by the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services.

“Fire safety education is a smart investment in the safety of our residents and the livability of our communities,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Security Terrence Reidy. “Children and older adults are historically the most at risk in a fire, but the SAFE and Senior SAFE grants are helping to provide them with the tools to protect themselves and their families.”

“I’m deeply grateful to the trained firefighter-educators who are the backbone of the SAFE and Senior SAFE programs,” said State Fire Marshal Jon M. Davine. “They’ve reached hundreds of thousands of youngsters and seniors with lessons that have prevented untold tragedies. I truly believe these grants are a key factor in making Massachusetts one of the most fire-safe states in the nation.”

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Woburn awarded $9,800 in Students Awareness of Fire Education (SAFE) and Senior SAFE Grants

BOSTON – Representative Richard M. Haggerty (D-Woburn) is pleased to announce that the Woburn Fire Department (WFD), thanks to WFD’s efforts, has been awarded a $7,200 FY24 Student Awareness of Fire Education (SAFE) Grant and a $2,600 Senior SAFE Grant, totaling $9,800, from the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security’s (EOPSS’s) Department of Fire Services (DFS). The Woburn Fire Department was one of 214 municipal fire departments across the Commonwealth to receive funding as part of the grant programs allocation of over $1.6 million. These competitive grants support fire and life safety education for school-age children and older adults.

“I want to congratulate the Woburn Fire Department for securing the grant awards,” said Representative Haggerty. “The SAFE grant program has a long-standing history of providing critical support to our local fire departments, enabling them to deliver life-saving education to our communities. This funding plays a vital role in promoting fire safety and prevention initiatives, specifically designed for school-age children and older adults, ensuring that our most vulnerable residents have access to the knowledge and resources they need to stay safe.”

Since 1995, the Department of Fire Services’ Student Awareness of Fire Education grant program has supported firefighter-educators in delivering age-appropriate fire safety education to children and teens throughout Massachusetts. In that time, the number of child fatalities due to fires has decreased to historically low levels, from two dozen or more annually to nearly zero for three consecutive years.

In 2014, DFS launched the Senior SAFE program, which is geared toward another vulnerable population – older adults, who face a disproportionate risk of death or serious injury in a fire.

The S.A.F.E. and Senior SAFE programs are funded through legislative earmarks to the Executive Office of the Public Safety & Security, and they are administered by the Department of Fire Services.

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Massachusetts House passes Major Health Care Legislation

BOSTON – State Representative Richard M. Haggerty (D-Woburn) was pleased to join his colleagues in the House of Representatives to pass “An Act enhancing the market review process”. The comprehensive legislation aims to restore stability to the health care system, bolster accountability within the industry, and control health care spending to ensure that everyone in Massachusetts has access to quality, affordable health care. The bill also includes important updates to how the Commonwealth regulates and monitors the health care market, informed by the Steward Health Care crisis.

“This comprehensive health care legislation is crucial in our ongoing efforts to provide every resident of our Commonwealth with access to the high-quality, affordable care they need and deserve,” said Representative Haggerty. “By implementing stronger oversight measures, tackling rising costs, and supporting our vital independent community hospitals, we are taking significant steps to strengthen our health care system. I am proud to support this important piece of legislation, which builds upon our state’s long-standing commitment to ensuring accessible and affordable health care for all Massachusetts residents.”

The legislation continues the House’s commitment to bettering the Commonwealth’s health care system, as was demonstrated during the passage of Massachusetts’ landmark health care reform laws of 2006 and 2012.

Strengthening oversight

To prevent hospitals and other providers from exploiting the same gaps in the state’s regulatory structure that Steward Health Care exposed, the bill makes important updates to the Commonwealth’s laws that govern the oversight of hospital systems and other provider organizations.

The House legislation:

  • Increases transparency related to the corporate structure of hospitals and other provider organizations by requiring disclosure of significant for-profit investment, including any private equity investments, and empowers the state’s Center for Health Information and Analysis (CHIA) to gather more financial data on hospitals and other provider organizations
  • Enhances penalties for failure to comply with data reporting requirements, including increased financial penalties, adverse consequences for licensure, and withholding approvals of future projects
  • Empowers the Health Policy Commission (HPC) to scrutinize certain transactions more closely for anticompetitive impacts, such as significant equity investments that result in a change of ownership or control of a hospital, conversion of a hospital from a non-profit to a for-profit entity, and a significant transfer of a hospital’s assets
  • Expands the Attorney General’s authority to seek information from significant equity investors, real estate investment trusts (REITs), and management service organizations as part of that office’s statutory authority to monitor and investigate health care trends, and exposes entities with an ownership or controlling interest in a provider organization to potential liability under the state’s False Claims Act if the entity knew, but did not report, that a provider organization was defrauding MassHealth, for example

The bill also makes important reforms to prevent acute care hospitals from selling their most valuable asset, their land, to REITs. When Steward sold their hospital properties to Medical Properties Trust (MPT) in 2016 for $1.25 billion, Steward agreed to lease back their former properties from MPT for exorbitant rents, syphoning away important resources and depriving the hospital operations and patients from needed investments. The House bill prohibits the future leasing of land from REITs for the operation of a hospital’s in-patient facilities and requires increased disclosure of other lease arrangements as part of the licensure process with the Department of Public Health (DPH).

In response to the tragic death of a patient at one of Steward’s hospitals, the bill also improves patient safety by ensuring that DPH is notified if a hospital’s medical or surgical supplies are at risk of repossession because of a hospital’s financial condition. The bill requires a secured creditor or vendor of medical equipment to notify the hospital and DPH of a possible repossession of equipment 60 days before the intended repossession.

Addressing the rising cost of health care

To address the rising cost of health care in Massachusetts, the bill reforms the HPC and the health care cost growth benchmark by establishing a benchmark-setting process that is more responsive to market pressures, while also raising expectations on providers to meet the Commonwealth’s cost containment goals:

  • Reconstitutes the HPC board from 11 to nine members who have more current, relevant experience and insight into the trajectory of the health care market
  • Establishes a Technical Advisory Committee within the HPC to adjust the benchmark based on market conditions, such as inflation, labor and workforce development costs, and the introduction of new pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and other health technologies
  • Changes the current annual benchmark to a three-year benchmark beginning 2026-2029 which will allow health care entities greater flexibility to address unexpected expenses, and give the HPC greater insight into longer-term trends
  • Gives the HPC increased enforcement authority when a health care entity exceeds the benchmark, and when a first performance improvement plan (PIP) is not successful, by allowing the HPC to suggest elements of a new PIP and to conduct Cost and Market Impact Review (CMIR), which may result in a referral to the Attorney General

The bill also establishes a dedicated Division of Health Insurance (DOHI) to review health insurance rates for affordability for consumers and purchasers of health insurance products. Currently, the same state agency that reviews auto insurance policies reviews health insurance, an insurance product that is essential to the well-being of residents and an important aspect of one of the Commonwealth’s largest economic sectors. This bill raises the assessments on insurance companies to pay for increased staff to give health insurance products the scrutiny they deserve.

Protecting independent community hospitals and slowing further market consolidation

This legislation includes several policies to advance the House’s long-standing policy goal of protecting low-cost, high-value health care providers and of avoiding further market consolidation by larger hospital systems.

The bill establishes and integrates a Rate Equity Target within the benchmark enforcement process for insurance companies, with the goal of raising the reimbursement rate for historically poorly reimbursed acute care hospitals. The bill incentivizes insurance companies to pay these hospitals no less than 15 percent below the average reimbursement rate for hospitals in the insurance company’s network during the first three-year benchmark cycle from 2026 to 2029. Thereafter, the bill guarantees a minimum percentage increase in a hospital’s reimbursement rate as a percentage of the health care cost growth benchmark.

This up-front investment by commercial insurers will provide needed resources for low-cost providers for the long-term benefit to the health care market given that, if such hospitals were to close or merge with a larger hospital system, total health care costs in the Commonwealth would inevitably increase.

The bill, via an amendment from Representative Frank A. Moran, also provides a Medicaid rate enhancement for a similar group of hospitals, based on a hospital’s percentage of patients that are public payers and their relative commercial reimbursement rate as compared to other hospitals.

The House bill also revisits House legislation passed last session which requires applicants for new ambulatory surgery centers to partner with independent community hospitals if the facility’s primary service area would overlap with that of the independent community hospital. This measure would protect these crucial hospitals from having their most important services syphoned off by surgery facilities that do not provide the same level of community benefit as 24-hour hospitals that offer a more complete range of health care services.

Stability and planning

The bill establishes a Health Resource Planning Council to produce a five-year plan on how to address regional and state capacity issues, which will be housed within a reformed HPC.

The bill recommits to comprehensive state and regional health resource planning, and requires consideration of the state plan in the Determination of Need (DoN) process.

It also creates new license categories for urgent care centers and office-based surgery centers, as well as a new registration requirement for physician practices with more than 10 physicians. The bill also requires physicians to notify patients 90 days prior to terminating a patient-physician relationship, which was partly informed by Compass Medical’s abrupt closure of its physician group practice locations in May 2023.

The bill passed the House of Representatives with a 152-1 vote. It now goes to the Senate for consideration.

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Rep. Haggerty attends Memorial Day Program at the Woburn Senior Center

State Representative Richard M. Haggerty (D-Woburn) along with Woburn Mayor Michael Concannon and other city officials attended the Memorial Day Program at the Woburn Senior Center. The event, hosted by the Woburn Council on Aging and the Woburn Veterans Office, was held to remember, and honor those men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Representative Haggerty expressed his deep gratitude to the brave servicemen and servicewomen who have given their lives in defense of our nation and the world at large.

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Massachusetts House passes Landmark Veterans Legislation

BOSTON – State Representative Richard M. Haggerty (D-Woburn) was proud to join his colleagues in the House of Representatives to pass “An Act honoring, empowering, and recognizing our servicemembers and veterans (HERO Act). The bill honors veterans in Massachusetts by broadening the definition of a veteran, increasing tax credits and state benefits that they are eligible for, and modernizing the services that they rely on. The legislation will impact hundreds of thousands of veterans living in Massachusetts.

“I am proud to support The HERO Act, a very important piece of legislation that shows our unwavering commitment to the well-being of our veterans and their families in Massachusetts,” said Representative Haggerty. “This historic comprehensive bill represents a significant step forward in ensuring that our veterans and their families receive the support, resources, and benefits they so rightfully deserve. From increasing annuities for disabled veterans, providing tax credits to businesses that hire veterans, to requiring the proper recognition of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, we are sending a clear message that the Commonwealth stands with our heroes.”

The HERO Act includes the following changes to veteran benefits:

  • Medical assistance, dental and vision benefits: requires the Secretary of the Executive Office of Veterans Services (EOVS) to provide a medical assistance benefit, behavioral health assistance benefit, and dental benefit beyond other benefits available to veterans, including medical and dental visits, behavioral health assessments, procedures, prescriptions, and costs.
  • Benefits for dependents of veterans: updates the definition of “dependent” to make it gender neutral and include children over the age of 18 that meet the criteria for emancipation. It also expands the pool of coverage by extending benefits to dependents who are mentally or physically unable to support themselves after reaching the age of 23. This section aligns the residential eligibility requirements of the dependent of a veteran with residential eligibility requirements of the veteran, granting benefits to the dependent of a veteran that has resided in Massachusetts for one day prior to applying for benefits.
  • Veteran benefits income eligibility: clarifies that an increase to an otherwise eligible veteran’s income due to a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) made to social security, supplemental security income, or social security disability insurance would not render the recipient ineligible for benefits in the year the adjustment was issued.
  • Annuity for blind, paraplegic or veterans with disabilities: starting July 1, 2024, increases from $2,000 to $2,250 the annuity for blind, paraplegic, or veterans with disabilities. Starting July 1, 2025, increases from $2,250 to $2,500 the annuity for blind, paraplegic, or veterans with disabilities.
  • Massachusetts Veterans Memorial Cemeteries: codifies the authority of the recently created EOVS to operate, maintain and expand the Massachusetts Veterans Memorial Cemeteries in Agawam and Winchendon, and to add new locations, subject to the availability of funds, to meet the needs of veterans and their dependents.
  • Reinstatement of benefits by Veterans Equality Review Board: requires the Veterans Equality Review Board (VERB) to ensure that veterans discharged due to sex, race, color, religious creed, national origin, age, genetic information, ancestry, marital status, disability, or any U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs category eligible for upgrade, receive state-based benefits.
  • Workplace benefits and services poster: the bill requires the Secretary of EOVS, with the Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development, to create and distribute a notice including information regarding the services and resources available to veterans to be posted in the workplace and provided on the employees first day by employers in Massachusetts with more than 50 full-time employees.

The HERO Act includes the following tax initiatives:

  • Veterans’ property tax abatement and exemptions: creates two local options, a) municipalities may annually increase local property tax abatements for veterans in an amount equal to the increase in cost of living determined by the Consumer Price Index for the year and b) municipalities may offer an additional exemption to veterans that qualify for local property tax exemptions up to 100 percent of the amount of the exemption for which veteran qualifies.
  • Employer tax credit for hiring veterans: increases from $2,000 to $2,500 the amount of a tax credit for each qualified veteran hired by an employer and for subsequent years of continued employment of each veteran. This applies for taxable year 2024.
  • Motor Vehicle Sales Tax exemption: adds veterans with disabilities with a Purple Heart recipient plate to those allowed a sales tax exemption for the purchase of a motor vehicle for personal use.

The HERO Act also includes the following reforms:

  • Recognition day for sacrifice of Gold Star families: annually requires the Governor to issue a proclamation on Memorial Day in recognition of the sacrifices of Gold Star families, and requires certain landmarks and bridges be illuminated in gold on Memorial Day including the Fore River Bridge, Zakim Bridge, and Longfellow Bridge.
  • Flag requirements: requires flags to be flown at half-staff at public buildings and military installations when a military member is killed in active duty, or when the remains of a prisoner of war or a military member that went missing in action return home to Massachusetts, and annually on national POW/MIA day.
  • Creditable service for retirement: requires notice to veterans entitled to purchase creditable service for active time in the Armed Services.
  • Veterans’ license plates: maintains authorization for the Registrar of Motor Vehicles (RMV) to furnish veterans, including prisoners of war and recipients of certain medals, with distinctive license plates and emblems indicating the branch of service, award received, or disability status. The distinctive plates and emblems must be issued without a fee other than the established registration fee for private passenger motor vehicles and motorcycles.
  • DCF 51A reports and notice to military authorities: requires the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to collect information regarding the military status of parents, guardians, and caregivers during an investigation for the abuse and neglect of a child, and provide notice to the appropriate military authorities of allegations of abuse and neglect of a child involving military personnel. Requires the Commissioner of DCF to enter into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the federal Family Advocacy Program (FAP) at military installations in Massachusetts related to sharing information regarding investigations.
  • Alternative therapies for mental health treatments: requires EOVS, in coordination with the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS), to convene a working group to study and make recommendations on the use of psychedelics as an alternative therapy for mental health treatments for veterans.
  • EMT training waiver for veterans: authorizes the Department of Public Health (DPH) to issue a waiver for veterans applying for an emergency medical technician (EMT) certification in Massachusetts if it is determined by DPH that the education and training requirements for veterans and military medics of the US Armed Forces are sufficiently comparable to the requirements for EMTs in Massachusetts.
  • Slot machines: the bill allows certain veteran’s organizations to be approved by the Gaming Commission and their local licensing authority for up to five slot machines on their premises.

Having passed the House of Representatives 156-0, the bill now goes to the Senate for its consideration.

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Massachusetts House passes Information Technology Bond Bill

BOSTON – State Representative Richard M. Haggerty (D-Woburn) joined his colleagues in the House of Representatives to pass Bill H.4642 ‘An Act to provide for the future information technology needs of Massachusetts’, also known as the FutureTech Act. The bill authorizes $1.23 billion in bonded spending and utilizes an additional $400 million in anticipated federal funding to bolster critical information technology projects across the Commonwealth.

“As we continue to navigate an increasingly digital world, it is crucial that we invest in our state’s technological capabilities to better serve our residents, protect their information and remain at the forefront of innovation,” said Representative Haggerty. “The FutureTech Act will not only improve the efficiency of our state agencies but also position Massachusetts as a leader in emerging technologies. By supporting initiatives like the Municipal Fiber Grant Program, we are empowering our local communities to save money and enhance their networks. I am proud to support this forward-thinking legislation that will benefit our residents and ensure that we are prepared to tackle the challenges and opportunities of the future.”

The bill encompasses a range of initiatives designed modernize the Commonwealth’s information technology infrastructure. These measures will enable state agencies to operate with increased level of productivity and efficiency while simultaneously bolstering cybersecurity efforts. By dedicating resources to these technological advancements, Massachusetts seeks to broaden access to vital services and information, ultimately enhancing the digital landscape and user experience for all residents.

The FutureTech Act not only ensures seamless delivery of crucial government services but also establishes the groundwork for future technological advancements. Among the bill’s key initiatives are the implementation of transformative projects such as the Business Enterprise Systems Transformation (BEST) and the Commonwealth Digital Roadmap. These initiatives are designed to enhance administrative workflows and streamline state operations, thereby fostering a more efficient and effective government.

The bill also supports a new initiative to consolidate and update the Division Occupational Licensing (DOL)’s licensing database. This project will supplant the existing outdated infrastructure, which currently depends on paper files, manual data input and review processes. By modernizing the system, the project aims to address the issue of prolonged application and renewal processing times.

Moreover, the legislation comprises provisions for the ongoing implementation of the Employment Modernization Transformation (EMT), an initiative which will equip both employers and individuals seeking unemployment insurance with a new portal to conduct state-facing employment activities, facilitate a streamlined claims process for uploading information with a mobile-friendly design and increased accessibility features.

In addition to tackling the Commonwealth’s pressing needs, the FutureTech Act adopts a forward-looking approach aimed at establishing Massachusetts as a frontrunner in both existing and emerging technologies. The bill’s allocation of resources for prospective AI initiatives and supporting projects such as the Municipal Fiber Grant Program, not only ensures the state’s current technological competitiveness, but also fosters innovation at the local level, ultimately saving towns and cities money through enhancements to their networks.

Investments include:

  • $750 million to improve service delivery to the public, including:
    • $120 million for Business Enterprise Systems Transformation (BEST)
    • $100 million for Commonwealth Digital Roadmap
    • $240 million for Health Insurance Exchange
    • $90 million for One Health
  • $200 million for technology or telecommunications infrastructure improvements or maintenance, including:
    • $52 million for Employment Modernization Transformation (EMT)
    • $10 million for Integrated Eligibility and Enrollment Program
    • $12 million for Child Care Financial Assistance (CCFA) Modernization
    • $30 million for Electronic Health Records Modernization
  • $200 million to support the security of the Commonwealth’s IT Infrastructure, including:
    • $3 million for Criminal Justice 360 System
    • $5 million DOC Radio Modernization Initiative
    • $17 million Emergency Assistance Family Shelter Technology System
  • $250 million for various strategic initiatives, improvements to business intelligence, and modernization of governmental functions, including:
    • $15 million for Integrated Digital Data Services (IDDS)
    • $13 million for Enhanced Student Financial Aid Access
    • $33 million for Licensing Platform modernization
  • Other projects and items included in the bill:
    • $25 million for AI projects
    • $30 million for Muni Fiber Grants
    • $150 million for local and regional IT security improvements
    • $25 million for Community Compact IT Grants
    • Establishes a new Information Technology Federal Reimbursement Fund to facilitate the use of funds to support health and human services related IT improvements.

The bill passed the House of Representatives 152-2 vote. It now goes to the Senate for consideration.

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Representative Haggerty meets with Saheli

WOBURN – State Representative Richard M. Haggerty (D-Woburn) recently met with the management of Woburn Saheli for an informational session about the organization’s important work. The meeting focused on Saheli’s background and the vital role it plays in providing essential, non-judgmental, and culturally sensitive to domestic and sexual violence victims.

“I was impressed by the breadth of services Saheli provides and their deep understanding of the unique challenges faced by domestic violence survivors in the South Asian, Arabic and other communities,” said Representative Haggerty. “Having resources like Saheli’s counseling, legal advocacy, economic empowerment programs, and emergency shelters is crucial for supporting survivors on their path to safety and self-sufficiency.”

During the informative meeting, Director of Outreach & Prevention Deepali Gulati and program managers provided an overview with a presentation of their hotline operations, support groups, educational workshops, and their emergency shelter program. They also discussed how the organization helps clients navigate the court system, access healthcare, find jobs, and become financially independent. Furthermore, Saheli shared the barriers and cultural stigmas that can prevent South Asian and Arabic survivors from seeking help due to factors like language barriers, economic dependence, and the threat of being ostracized by their communities.

Founded in 1996, Saheli, which means “friend” in several South Asian languages, is a community-based non-profit organization dedicated to empowering South Asian and Arabic survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and trafficking through support services, economic programs, and advocacy. Their comprehensive programs and services aim to meet the specific cultural and linguistic needs of these communities but are also accessible to victims from all cultural backgrounds.

Saheli encourages anyone impacted by domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or trafficking to call their free, confidential helpline at 1-888-472-4354 or email: info@saheliboston.org for support services and resources.

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