Representative Haggerty, Woburn Delegation Deliver $300,000 for Hurld Wyman Elementary School Park Redevelopment as Part of Economic Development Bill

BOSTON – The Massachusetts Legislature on Thursday, November 3, 2022, passed a wide-ranging $3.76 billion relief package to provide targeted energy assistance, support ongoing transportation needs, and invest in the state’s small businesses, caregivers, health care system, affordable housing, and efforts to fight climate change. Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington), Representative Michelle Ciccolo (D-Lexington), and Representative Richard M. Haggerty (D-Woburn) joined their colleagues in the Legislature to support the legislation.

“As an alumni of the Hurld School, I was pleased to help direct these resources towards the Hurld Park Project, which will offer beautiful open spaces for our residents and children, and will help address the flooding challenges in the area,” said Representative Haggerty, “Most importantly, this Bill ensures our Commonwealth remains focused on job creation and economic growth while helping residents with their home heating bills this winter, encourages housing creation, and provides additional support for our human service workers.”

In addition to $3.76 billion in direct investments, this legislation ensures that the Commonwealth responsibly pays for the historic $3 billion one-time tax relief that will be returned to an estimated three million taxpayers over the coming weeks. Combined, this $6.76 billion in tax relief and direct investments will provide much-needed breathing room for families, small businesses, and individuals feeling the pinch of inflation. Notably, the bill closes the books on Fiscal Year 2022 and dedicates $500 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, leaving a balance of $1.74 billion in federal resources for future use.

A brief summary of funding included in the bill is below:

Over $600,000 in local investments in Woburn, including:

  • $300,000 for the Hurld Wyman Elementary School Park redevelopment
  • $200,000 for Food Link
  • $100,000 for Social Capital Inc.

Over $1.4 billion invested to support health and human services programs, including:

  • $350 million for hospitals that have become fiscally strained during the pandemic
  • $225 million for rate increases for human service workers and providers
  • $200 million for COVID-19 response efforts
  • $195 million for nursing facilities and rest homes
  • $80 million for Community Health Centers
  • $20 million to reduce gun violence and related trauma throughout the Commonwealth, including:
    • $3 million for a grant program to support school safety infrastructure improvements
    • $2 million to provide behavioral health-related supports and resources in schools to reduce instances of gun violence
  • $20 million to bridge impending federal cuts to Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) programs and maintain critical victim service programs
  • $17.5 million for reproductive and family planning services
  • $14 million for facilities that treat individuals with an alcohol or substance use disorder in the Commonwealth
  • $5 million to support harm reduction efforts and services to address substance use disorder in the Commonwealth
  • $2.5 million for grants to support the nursing workforce talent pipeline

$540 million invested to support clean energy and climate resiliency initiatives, including:

  • $250 million to accelerate and support clean energy initiatives, including:
    • $100 million to promote and accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles, through the MOR-EV program as well as supports for the expansion of electric vehicle charging infrastructure
    • $100 million for ports and port infrastructure to support the clean energy economy
    • $50 million for the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center to accelerate the transition to and expansion of renewable energy
    • $175 million for the conservation and improvement of publicly owned lands and investments in green spaces, with an emphasis on investments in environmental justice communities
  • $115 million for the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust, including:
    • $15 million for planning and implementing water pollution abatement project in watersheds designated as nitrogen-sensitive areas

$409.5 million invested to support affordable housing, including:

  • $304.5 million to support and boost housing production, including:
    • $100 million for the Commonwealth Builder Program to support the production of for-sale, below-market housing to expand homeownership opportunities for first-time homebuyers and socially disadvantaged individuals in communities disproportionately impacted by the 2019 novel coronavirus pandemic
    • $100 million for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund established to support the creation and preservation of affordable housing
    • $100 million to support the production of workforce housing
  • $50 million for the Equitable Developers Financing Program to support the development of new housing in certain underserved communities
  • $25 million for regional low-threshold housing to support individuals experiencing homelessness or housing instability and who struggle with substance use disorder
  • $20 million for housing options and additional support services and resources to address the needs of immigrants and refugees
  • $10 million for public housing redevelopment

Over $500 million invested to support early education, economic development, workforce development and community support initiatives, including:

  • $153 million for small businesses grant relief, including $45M for minority, women, and veteran owned businesses.
  • $150 million for early education and care providers through the continuation of the Commonwealth Cares for our Children (C3) stabilization grant program, including $60 million for subsidized providers.
  • $112 million to support the MBTA’s ongoing efforts to address the Federal Transportation Administration’s staffing and safety directives
  • $100 million for the state’s Unemployment Insurance Trust fund to offset estimated overpayments made during the course of the pandemic
  • $75 million for investments in broadband infrastructure and access across the commonwealth
  • $57 million for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), ensuring relief to families facing rising energy costs.
  • $50 million to promote the attainment of debt-free higher education for students pursuing careers in high-demand industries, such as health care, education, and cybersecurity
  • $25 million for food security infrastructure grants
  • $12 million to support the agricultural and blue economy sectors
  • $2.5 million for computer science teacher development

 

Representative Haggerty, Reading Delegation Deliver $175,000 for Town Projects as Part of Economic Development Bill

BOSTON – House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading), State Representative Richard M. Haggerty (D-Woburn), and State Senator Jason Lewis (D-Winchester) have secured $175,000 in state funding for the Town of Reading to help support a series of local initiatives as part of a comprehensive economic development bill recently finalized by the House and Senate.

House Bill 5374, An Act relating to economic growth and relief for the Commonwealth, was enacted by the House and Senate on November 3 and is now on Governor Charlie Baker’s desk for his review and signature. The bill represents a compromise reached by a six-member House and Senate conference committee that has been in negotiations since July attempting to resolve the differences between earlier versions of the bill approved by both legislative branches.

The Reading legislative delegation noted that House Bill 5374 will provide the town with:

  • $25,000 for accessibility improvements and expansion of the Reading Community Garden located at the Mattera Conservation Area;
  • $25,000 to expand the Reading Food Pantry and help address food insecurity issues in the community;
  • $25,000 for the Reading-North Reading Chamber of Commerce to support its work on behalf of the local business community; and
  • $100,000 to implement a rapid recovery plan for downtown Reading to help stabilize existing businesses and attract new businesses and development to the area

“I was pleased to partner with the Reading delegation to be able to direct these resources to support the small business community by helping the town implement plans to improve the economic and physical atmosphere of downtown. Furthermore, the financial assistance for our Chamber of Commerce will give them additional tools to help small businesses recover, hire, and grow,” said Representative Haggerty. “Most importantly, this bill ensures our Commonwealth remains focused on job creation and economic growth, while helping residents with their home heating bills this winter, encourages housing creation, and provides additional support for our human service workers.”

House Bill 5374 is funded through a combination of federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money and surplus state budget dollars. Earlier versions of the bill had proposed using bond proceeds to fund various local and statewide projects, but those items had to be dropped from the final bill because a roll call vote is required to authorize bond funding, which can only happen during formal sessions, which ended on August 1.

Representative Haggerty, Reading Delegation Secure Passage of Green Communities Legislation

BOSTON – House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading), Representative Richard Haggerty (D-Woburn), and Senator Jason Lewis (D-Winchester) have successfully secured changes to a 2008 law that will make it easier for the town of Reading and other communities serviced by municipal light plants to participate in the Green Communities program.

House Bill 4351, An Act relative to municipal light plant participation in Green Communities, was enacted by the House and Senate on September 22. Signed into law by Governor Charlie Baker on September 29 as Chapter 230 of the Acts of 2022, the bill revises the 2008 Green Communities Act to the benefit of communities like Reading who will now be able to tap into critical funding resources through the program.

Designated Green Communities are able to access grant funding to help reduce their energy usage and costs by implementing clean energy measures in their municipal and school buildings. Established in 2010 with 35 municipalities designated as participants, the Green Communities program has since grown to include 286 cities and towns, but communities like Reading that are serviced by municipal light plants have faced significant barriers in joining the program.

In order to be considered for a Green Community designation, municipalities must comply with five requirements. These include approving zoning in designated locations for the “as-of-right” siting of renewable or alternative energy generating facilities; adopting an expedited application and permitting process; adopting a plan to reduce their energy consumption by 20 percent over a five-year period; committing to purchasing fuel-efficient vehicles for its municipal fleet whenever “commercially viable or practicable”; and adopting the state’s “stretch” energy code.

The Town of Reading has been working with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council and its local Climate Advisory Committee since 2020 to pursue a Green Community designation. The Town is currently in compliance with most of the required criteria but is still working on finalizing its energy reduction plan.

For Reading and other communities with a regional municipal light plant, there is an additional requirement for Green Community designation. The previous law required every participating community serviced by a municipal light plant to agree to paying a surcharge to the Renewable Energy Trust Fund before they could be named a Green Community and access funding. The changes implemented by Chapter 230 will allow these communities to opt into the surcharge on an individual basis.

“This legislation will allow Reading, as well as other communities serviced by municipal light plants, the opportunity to participate in the Green Communities program and to utilize the critical funding resources that the program provides,” said Representative Haggerty. “This effort makes clear our community’s commitment to a clean energy future as well as our commitment to building a clean energy economy with high-paying jobs. I thank the Reading Select Board, Town Meeting, and my colleagues in the legislature for putting Reading in a position to access additional state funding.”

 

Reading Awarded $2.1M State MVP Grant for Flood Reduction, Stormwater Storage at Maillet, Sommes and Morgan Conservation Area

BOSTON – House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading), State Representative Richard M. Haggerty (D-Woburn), State Senator Jason M. Lewis (D-Winchester), and Reading Town Manager Fidel Maltez joined with the Baker-Polito Administration today to announce the Town of Reading has been awarded a Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) grant in the amount of $2,116,578 for flood reduction measures at the Maillet, Sommes and Morgan Conservation Area.

Governor Charlie Baker, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, and Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Beth Card unveiled the list of municipal recipients for the 2023 MVP Planning and Action Grants in Williamsburg on August 30. A total of $32.8 million in grants being distributed in this latest funding round, including $32.6 million in MVP Action Grant funding for 73 municipal projects and $157,700 in MVP Planning Grants for six communities.

Reading’s MVP grant will be used to commence construction of a stormwater wetland system at Maillet, Sommes and Morgan, which will help to create additional offline stormwater storage, reduce inland flooding both locally and in downstream communities, and improve water quality. The project, which is expected to get underway in the spring of 2023, will also improve stream bank stabilization and ecological stability while enhancing open space development and trail connectivity.

Since 2018, Reading has been a member of the Resilient Mystic Collaborative (RMC), a partnership of 20 communities working together to address climate risk mitigation. Town officials have also been working in collaboration with the Mystic River Watershed Association to develop solutions for managing stormwater flooding.

“Reading understands that this is truly a regional issue that impacts multiple communities and requires a shared response,” said Representative Jones. “When all levels of government and local stakeholders work together to achieve a common goal, good things happen. This grant award is a testament to Reading’s perseverance and commitment to taking a proactive approach to increase stormwater capacity and mitigate the impacts of climate change.”

“This MVP grant is vital to our community and is an important step to address flood concerns and support stormwater management, as well as the overall effects of climate change,” said Representative Haggerty. “I want to thank the local and state officials who have prioritized this local project including Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito, and the entire Reading Delegation.”

“I’m delighted to see Reading leading the way in identifying this wetlands site as an important resource for the community and the entire Mystic River watershed, and putting together a strong plan to secure this sizable state grant,” said Senator Lewis. “The state legislature has prioritized funding for the MVP program because we understand how critical it is for local municipalities to receive both technical and financial assistance to help mitigate the growing impacts from climate change, such as increased flooding and ecological damage.”

“Our Reading team is excited about this historic grant award. We want to thank our State Delegation for their continued advocacy for Reading and our Governor and Lieutenant Governor, for the Commonwealth’s funding that will make this resiliency project a reality. This project will provide local benefits but will also help our entire watershed manage stormwater. These nature-based solutions are critical as we address the impacts of climate change in our region,” said Town Manager Fidel Maltez.

In April of this year, the Reading legislative delegation submitted a letter of support on the town’s behalf to Congressman Seth Moulton requesting a federal Community Projects grant to help fund this project. On August 2, Congressman Moulton joined with the delegation and other local officials in Reading to announce that he had secured preliminary approval for $1.5 million in federal funding as part of the FY2023 Appropriations Subcommittee bill.

Created as part of a 2017 Executive Order issued by Governor Baker, the MVP program provides communities with funding and technical support to identify climate hazards, develop strategies to improve resilience, and implement priority actions to adapt to climate change. Communities can apply for funding to complete vulnerability assessments and develop action-oriented resiliency plans. Communities that complete the program and become certified as an MVP community are eligible for MVP Action Grant funding and other opportunities through the state.

Since its creation in 2017, $100 million in municipal grants have been awarded through the MVP program.

 

Representative Haggerty Accepting Applications for Fall 2022 Legislative Internships

BOSTONState Representative Richard M. Haggerty (D-Woburn) is searching for motivated, civic-minded individuals interested in a Fall legislative internship. Representative Haggerty proudly represents the people of the 30th Middlesex District of Massachusetts, which includes the City of Woburn and Town of Reading.

Interns will have the rewarding opportunity to experience policymaking, politics, and government through participating in the day-to-day functioning of a State Representative’s office. Interns will report mainly to Nicole Redigan, Legislative Aide to Representative Haggerty, and will be responsible for assisting with a variety of tasks ranging from constituent correspondence, scheduling, legislative research, database management, to communications and social media assignments. They will also have the opportunity to attend various events such as hearings, meetings, and listening to guest speakers, while gaining the satisfaction of serving the Commonwealth along with adding beneficial experience to their resume.

Interested applicants should have the following:

• Excellent written and verbal communication skills
• A high level of attention to detail
• Able to conduct themselves and dress professionally
• Respect for confidentiality
• Proficient with Microsoft Office and Zoom applications.

Those with a particular interest in communications, public relations, graphic design, video production or social media should indicate so in their application. Applicants should send a resume with a brief cover letter of interest to Nicole.Redigan@mahouse.gov. References should be available upon request and if potential applicants have any questions, please call (617) 722-2460

Representative Haggerty, Massachusetts Legislature Pass Legislation to Foster Greater Equity in Cannabis Industry

State Representative Richard M Haggerty (D-Woburn) recently supported, An Act relative to equity in the cannabis industry, which is legislation that encourages and facilitates participation in the cannabis industry from communities disproportionally harmed by marijuana criminalization by creating a Social Equity Trust Fund. The bill also strengthens the host community agreement process and clarifies procedures for permitting social consumption sites.

“This legislation will help make sure our cannabis industry is property regulated, equitable, and safe,” said Representative Haggerty. “It also updates our regulations for individuals with past cannabis related charges so they have a path forward in expunging their criminal records and so they can move on with their lives.”

Establishes the Cannabis Social Equity Trust Fund
This legislation creates a trust fund to make grants and loans to social equity program participants and economic empowerment priority applicants, which will give entrepreneurs from communities that have been disproportionately harmed by marijuana prohibition and enforcement better access to grants and loans to get their businesses off the ground.

Fifteen per cent of the revenue collected from the sale of marijuana and marijuana products must be transferred to the Cannabis Social Equity Trust Fund, which will be administered by the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (EOHED), in consultation with a newly created Cannabis Social Equity Advisory Board.

Clarifies the Host Community Agreements Process
The legislation clarifies the Cannabis Control Commission’s (CCC) role in reviewing and approving host community agreements (HCA), which are executed between marijuana businesses and their host municipalities. It authorizes the Commission to prioritize social equity program businesses and economic empowerment priority applicants for expedited review.

The legislation also clarifies the scope of HCAs and adds new criteria, such as:
•No host community agreement can include a community impact fee that is beyond the business’s eighth year of operation.
•The community impact fee must be reasonably related to the actual costs required to operate a cannabis business in a community.
•The CCC must review and approve each host community agreement as part of the license application and renewal process.
•All host communities must establish procedures and policies to encourage full participation in the regulated marijuana industry by people from communities that have been disproportionately harmed by marijuana prohibition and enforcement.

Clarifies the Local Social Consumption Approval Process
The social consumption policy, which would allow the sale of marijuana and marijuana products for consumption on the premises where sold, is authorized by existing law. However, this legislation amends it to ensure proper procedures are taken regarding local initiative petitions. Under this legislation, as an alternative to local initiative petitions, a city or town may also allow for social consumption sites through the passage of a by-law or ordinance.

Expedites the Expungement Process
For individuals seeking to expunge a record for previous offenses that are now decriminalized, this legislation requires the court to order the expungement of the record within 30 days of the request and expunge records for possession of marijuana or distribution of marijuana based on the now legal amount.

This legislation was sent back to the legislature signed (in part) by the Governor with amendments and is currently pending.

Representative Haggerty, Massachusetts House Pass Legislation to Establish An Effective and Equitable Local Public Health System

State Representative Richard M Haggerty (D-Woburn) recently supported legislation designed to strengthen local and regional public health and ensure that every resident has access to foundational public health services, regardless of where they live, through the Department of Public Health’s (DPH) State Action for Public Health Excellence (SAPHE) program established by the legislature in 2020.

“This legislation recognizes that local Boards of Public Health are on the front lines everyday of keeping people safe and healthy in our communities.” said Representative Haggerty, “We all relied upon these professionals during this pandemic and this legislation helps these institutions to be better equipped to deal with the next public health emergency. Making sure these responders have the tools and expertise they need to keep our community safe is a top priority.”

Across the Commonwealth, there are hundreds of local public health boards with varying degrees of expertise and bandwidth depending on the size and wealth of the community in which they are located and are tasked with functions as diverse as restaurant inspection, sanitary code enforcement, emergency preparedness, and disease control. This legislation builds on the 2019 recommendations of the Special Commission on Local and Regional Public Health and the SAPHE 1.0 legislation passed in early 2020 by establishing a statewide standard for those boards and the services that they provide; dedicating state funding; creating a uniform data collection and reporting system; providing training and technical assistance to public health professionals to meet educational and credentialing standards; and establishing more effective and efficient methods of delivery for public health services.

Specifically, An Act relative to accelerating improvements to the local and regional public health system to address disparities in the delivery of public health services seeks to strengthen local and regional public health in the following main ways:

Establishes minimum public health standards for every community
●Clarifies that the SAPHE program should provide every resident with foundational public health services, including services to improve racial and health equity; assist boards of health to adopt practices that improve the delivery of services; develop state-wide standards for services; and provide resources for boards of health, including workforce credentialing standards and professional development
●Requires boards of health to comply with the standards for local foundational public health services including inspections, epidemiology and communicable disease investigation and reporting; permitting and other local public health responsibilities; workforce education, training, and credentialing; and contributing required data
●Allows boards of health to comply with standards either individually or through cross-jurisdictional sharing of public health services
●Requires the standards foundational public health services developed by the SAPHE program to be consistent with the recommendations of the June 2019 report of the special commission

Provides training and technical assistance to public health professionals to meet educational and credentialing standards
●Mandates that DPH, with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), provide no cost public health educational and training opportunities and technical assistance to municipal and regional public health officials and staff

Dedicates state funding
●Requires DPH to provide funds to boards of health for grants and technical assistance to municipalities with limited operational capacity; competitive grants to increase the delivery of services across three or more municipalities; non-competitive funding to ensure all residents of the state receive foundational public health services that meet or exceed the required standards

Creates a uniform data collection and reporting system
●Mandates that DPH and DEP develop systems to increase standardization of public health reporting and systems to measure standard responsibilities of boards of health. This data should be made public where feasible under privacy requirements
●Authorizes DPH to coordinate affected boards of health and share data, if there is an outbreak of disease or other public health situation that impacts more than one board
●Requires DPH and DEP to biennially report on the impact of the SAPHE program and the status of local public health systems and their ability to meet the requirements of this act
●If DPH and DEP determine a failure to meet the standards constitutes a threat to public health, they must notify the appropriate board of health and request that the board take action. DPH may restrict future funding if the actions are not sufficient to protect public health

Establishes more effective and efficient methods of delivery for public health services
●Requires DPH to hold public hearings to identify ways to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the delivery of local public health services, and to report to the Legislature with an analysis of needs, opportunities, challenges, timeline, and cost analysis for the implementation of the SAPHE program
●Revives and extends the Special Commission on Local and Regional Public Health and requires them to review the changes made in this act to the SAPHE program and available funding

The 25-member Special Commission on Local and Regional Public Health was established in 2016 and found that many of Massachusetts’ 351 individual boards of health are often unable to meet statutory requirements and lack the capacity to meet rigorous national public health standards. In response, the commission developed recommendations, known as the Blueprint for Public Health Excellence, which served as the basis for SAPHE 1.0 to encourage regional collaboration and planning.

In December 2021, the Legislature approved over $200 million in American Rescue Plan Act and FY21 surplus funding to support local and regional public health infrastructure. The FY23 budget signed today includes $15 million for grants to support local and regional boards of health, furthering the Legislature’s continued efforts to build upon the successful State Action for Public Health Excellence (SAPHE) Program. 

This legislation was sent back to the legislature unsigned by the Governor with amendments and is currently pending.

Representative Haggerty, Massachusetts Legislature Pass $11.3 Billion Transportation and Infrastructure Bill

State Representative Richard M. Haggerty (D-Woburn) is pleased to announce that the transportation bond bill was enacted by both the Massachusetts House and Senate recently. It authorizes over $11.3 billion for transportation and infrastructure projects, including $400 million for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) to address ongoing safety concerns identified by the Federal Transit Administration’s Safety Management Inspection and $275 million for the East-West passenger rail project.

“This bill is a substantial investment in the transportation and infrastructure needs of the Commonwealth and will help us to leverage federal infrastructure dollars to make substantial improvements to our roads, bridges, electric charging stations, and transit systems.” said Representative Haggerty, “Residents expect, and quite frankly deserve, a transportation network that is safe and reliable. I fully recognize the failings of the MBTA and these resources, if implemented correctly, will help address the immediate and long-term safety concerns plaguing our transit system.”

Other highlights of the bill include:

•$3,500,000,000 for projects funded with discretionary federal grant funds, including funds from the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
•$2,812,457,157 for projects on the interstate and non-interstate federal highway system
•$1,375,000,000 for sustainable transit system modernization and rail improvements
•$1,270,000,000 for non-federally aided roadway and bridge projects and for the non-participating portion of federally aided projects
•$145,000,000 for multi-modal transportation planning and programming
•$114,100,000 for the Airport Improvement Program
•$85,000,000 for pavement and surface conditions on non-federally aided roadways
•$82,000,000 for rail improvements
•$64,900,000 for projects of regional transit networks and facilities
•$25,501,000 for the Mobility Assistance Program
•$25,000,000 for pavement and surface conditions on municipal roadways
•$25,000,000 for grants to Transportation Management Associations
•$20,000,000 for grants to municipalities under the Complete Streets Funding Program
•$10,000,000 for a public realm improvement program

To promote the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), the bill also includes $175 million for the development and implementation of programs to promote, establish or expand public electric vehicle charging infrastructure, the development and implementation of incentive programs promoting e-bikes and public transportation, replacement of high-emissions vehicles, electric vehicles for hire and carsharing, electric school buses, electric short-haul freight and delivery trucks, and for other pilot projects that focus on equity and inclusion while reducing emissions.

The bill makes significant reforms to address the severe safety concerns around the MBTA. The bill mandates the MBTA to establish and maintain a three-year safety improvement plan with measurable safety objectives for the agency, and it directs the MBTA to contract with an independent third-party auditor to conduct annual safety audits. To ensure transparency around the MBTA’s safety, the bill directs the MBTA to submit a monthly, publicly available report containing all the incidents, accidents, casualties, and hazards affecting any of its modes of transit. In addition, the MBTA is required to develop and implement short-term, medium-term, and long-term plans for how each line of the commuter rail system can be fully integrated into the Commonwealth’s transportation system and contribute to the productivity, equity, and decarbonization efforts of the MBTA as a whole.

Other policy provisions related to the MBTA include requiring the authority to provide parking alternatives to commuters when it demolishes or reconstructs parking lots or garages it operates; to hold a mandatory, 30-day appeal process during which the authority must confer with the municipality’s planning officials to explore alternatives when there is a bus route service elimination; and to develop an updated service and operational plans for established and potential water transportation routes involving passenger ferry service.

Additionally, the bill:

•Creates a special commission on mobility pricing to investigate, study and make recommendations on the development and deployment of comprehensive and regionally equitable public transportation pricing, roadway pricing and congestion pricing.
•Creates a commission to investigate and receive public testimony concerning public entities with the ability to design, permit, construct, operate and maintain passenger rail service that meets the standards of at least one of the final alternatives set forth in the East-West Passenger Rail Study Final Report.
•Regulates the use of e-bikes to encourage their adoption and authorizes municipalities and the state to adopt ordinances or regulations concerning the use of such e-bikes on bike paths and bikeways.
•Requires transportation network companies to submit data related to pre-arranged rides for the purposes of congestion management.
•Requires MassDOT, in consultation with the comptroller, to create a website to report on expenditures from this act and any project receiving federal funding from the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
•Requires MassDOT, in consultation with the Executive Office Energy and Environmental Affairs (EOEEA), to study the feasibility of wildlife crossing projects for the purpose of establishing and maintaining these projects.
•Authorizes the MassDOT to create positions and hire staff for the purpose of conducting research and policy analysis for the MBTA board of directors.

This legislation was sent back to the legislature unsigned by the Governor and is currently pending.

Representative Haggerty Releases Summer 2022 Legislative Update

I hope this update finds you all well! With summer in full swing, I hope you and your loved ones have been able to get outside and enjoy the weather and festivities. I want to provide you all with another update of some of the actions taken by my colleagues and myself at the state level as I continue to work on your behalf.

Highlights

Unrestricted Aid and Education (Chapter 70) Funding
In July, the Governor signed the FY23 budget. After strong advocacy in the House my colleagues and I passed the budget back in April. Funded at $52.7 billion, the conference budget continues my strong commitment to cities and towns, and included significant investments in health care, education, housing, and workforce development, among other priorities. This budget responds to the needs of residents and makes targeted investments to support families in the Commonwealth. Notably, Woburn will receive a 30% increase in state education funding.

WOBURN
Chapter 70: $12,693,670
Unrestricted Aid: $6,935,100

READING
Chapter 70: $11,171,799
Unrestricted Aid: $3,755,416

I was also happy to announce further funding for Woburn and Reading in Fiscal Year 2023.

WOBURN
– $100,000 for the Woburn Public Library Foundation for enhanced children’s learning
– $25,000 for the Rumford Historical Association for maintenance and refurbishment at the Count Rumford Birthplace in preparation for the 250th anniversary of the Revolutionary War

READING
– $25,000 for the Reading Memorial High School Robotics Team
– $50,000 for the Reading Fire Department for the purchase of a ladder truck
– $25,000 for repairs to the rock walls at Memorial Park

Better Bus Project – Save the 354!
In May, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) released its Better Bus Project proposal which would have direct impacts on the bus routes in Woburn and Reading – as well as nearly all communities serviced by the MBTA. I met with representatives from the MBTA and explained my strong opposition to the plan to do away with the 354 bus that currently serves as the ‘rapid route’ from the Woburn area to State Street in Boston. Over the course of the summer, there have been several virtual and in-person public hearings held. I was happy to join so many constituents who showed up to voice their concerns. In early July, my colleagues and I sent a letter to the MBTA regarding the proposal and shared our opposition to the elimination of the 354 Bus servicing Burlington, Woburn, Stoneham, and Medford Center. All in all, the 354 is crucial to our residents, our businesses, as well as our community’s long-term economic competitiveness and I will continue to voice the frustration of our shared communities.

Women’s Reproductive Rights
The Legislature passed, and the Governor signed, legislation that provides legal protections to abortion providers, out-of-state patients and insurers, mandates insurance coverage with no cost sharing for abortion-related care and expands access to emergency contraception. I support a woman’s right to choose and I support safe, legal access to reproductive health care in our country. The decision by the Supreme Court in June takes away a fundamental right of the people to make their own health care decisions and will endanger lives by forcing unsafe health care options upon women. We all must stand together to fight for women to have control of their own bodies.

Legislation
During this time, I was able to work to pass several bills that directly affect Woburn and Reading.

Our Veterans
I was proud to support An Act Relative to Military Spouse Licensure Portability, Education and Enrollment of Dependents (The SPEED Act), which addresses the Commonwealth’s most immediate needs in the veteran community, makes necessary updates to service member quality-of-life issues, including supporting military families who relocate to the Commonwealth with expedited licensure and school enrollment, creating education awareness programs and establishing the Massachusetts Medal of Fidelity. This bill will allow those who have served our nation to access educational opportunities more easily in the Commonwealth, will educate our service members on the dangers posed by open burned pits, and will further our efforts to properly recognize the sacrifices of these individuals.

We also passed oversight legislation that goes a long way in better protecting our veterans who are served by the Soldiers Homes. The inexcusable loss of life at these veteran’s homes during the COVID pandemic shone a bright light on the failings of the leadership structure at these institutions. This legislation, accompanied with the bond authorization to rebuild these antiquated facilities, will help our Commonwealth provide the best possible care for the men and women who have served our nation honorably. Notably, the Veterans Services Director, who directly oversees the superintendents of the Holyoke and Chelsea Soldiers’ Homes, will be elevated to a cabinet position.

These pieces of legislation build upon the Commonwealth’s proud history of supporting our military men and women – and will help make sure these heroes receive the support they deserve.

I was proud to support An Act Addressing Barriers to Care for Mental Health. This comprehensive legislation addresses longstanding issues with our behavioral health care delivery system. The bill focuses on acute psychiatric care and crisis response, youth behavioral health initiatives, community-based behavioral health services, investments in the workforce, and enforcement of existing behavioral health parity laws and represents yet another step towards meeting the mental health needs of residents, and particularly children, in the Commonwealth. In part due to the challenges of the last few years, we all recognize the increasing demand for these services. We must continue to advance measures that require us to deal with crisis response in the mental health sector and that includes helping to address the labor shortage, valuing behavioral health as we do physical health, and better support for young people living with behavioral health challenges.

I was pleased to support An Act Relative to Step Therapy and Patient Safety. This legislation limits the use of step therapy protocols, in which insurance companies refuse to pay for the prescription drugs prescribed by a patient’s health care provider until the patient first tries cheaper, and oftentimes ineffective, alternatives. The legislation establishes exceptions a patient can use to avoid their insurer’s step therapy protocol and requires both MassHealth and commercial insurers to provide a clear and transparent process for patients and their care team to request an exception.

In Mid-July, I was proud to announce that Reading would receive $100,000 in funding for the Track Road neighborhood, under the FY23 Municipal Small Bridge Program. With these resources, our community will be able to help reconstruct the bridge over Walkers Brook on Track Road. I look forward to continuing to support the community’s efforts in rebuilding these small bridges that serve as vital links for area neighborhoods.

I was pleased to support An Act Driving Clean Energy and Offshore Wind. The legislation bolsters green transportation, green buildings, electric vehicle charging stations, and clean power production, including offshore wind, solar, storage and networked geothermal, while creating thousands of new jobs and economic benefits in the process. This bill builds upon the Next Generation Climate Roadmap bill, which we passed earlier this legislative session and overhauled the state’s climate laws by putting Massachusetts on a path to reach net-zero limit on greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This bill makes clear the Commonwealth’s commitment to a clean energy future as well as our commitment to building a clean energy economy with high paying jobs. This is yet another example where our public policy creates a path towards real energy independence, bolsters green job creation, supports moving our transportation sector away from fossil fuels, encourages clean wind energy, updates our electrical grid, and incentivizes all of us to move towards greener, cheaper energy policy.

I was proud to support An Act Regulating Sports Wagering, which would authorize and regulate sports betting in the Commonwealth. The legislation authorizes the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to grant in-person licenses at gaming establishments, including casinos, racetracks, and simulcast facilities, as well as mobile licenses through mobile applications or digital platforms. This legislation will generate an estimated $60 million in annual tax revenue for Massachusetts, in addition to collecting up to $70 to $80 million in initial licensing fees, which must be renewed every five years. The revenue collected will be distributed to municipalities, and for economic, workforce, education, and public health priorities. Our residents have been traveling to bordering states for years to place their sport wagers. This bill offers residents the opportunity to place sporting bets in our state rather than going to one of the other thirty states where it is legal, includes proper safeguards, helps get sports betting out of the shadows, and any revenue collected would benefit Massachusetts residents.

On July 31, 2022, the Legislature’s final version of the Transportation Bond bill was enacted by both the House and Senate. It authorizes over $11.3 billion for transportation and infrastructure projects, including $400 million for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) to address ongoing safety concerns and $275 million for the East-West passenger rail project. This bill is a substantial investment in the transportation needs of the Commonwealth and will help us to leverage federal infrastructure dollars to make substantial improvements to our roads, bridges, electric charging stations, and transit systems. Residents expect, and quite frankly deserve, a transportation network that is safe and reliable. I fully recognize the failings of the MBTA and these resources, if implemented correctly, will help address the immediate and long-term safety concerns plaguing our transit system.

An Act Relative to Accelerating Improvements to the Local and Regional Public Health System addresses disparities in the delivery of public health services. The bill aims to establish minimum standards for local public health departments, create a unified standard public health reporting and data collecting system, and advance the capacity of state and local public health departments. This legislation recognizes that local Board’s of Public Health are on the front lines everyday of keeping people safe and healthy in our communities. We all relied upon these professionals during this pandemic and this legislation helps these institutions to be better equipped to deal with the next public health emergency. Making sure these responders have the tools and expertise they need to keep our community safe is incredibly important.

An Act Relative to Equity in the Cannabis Industry encourages and facilitates participation in the cannabis industry from communities disproportionally harmed by marijuana criminalization by creating a Social Equity Trust Fund. The bill also strengthens the host community agreement process and clarifies procedures for permitting social consumption sites which was passed by the voters back in 2016. This legislation will help make sure the cannabis industry is properly regulated, equitable, and safe. It also updates our regulations for individuals with past cannabis related charges so they have a path forward in expunging their criminal records so they can move on with their lives.

Community Events

Pride Flag Raising
“Equality is the soul of liberty”. I was proud to stand with the LGBTQ community and raise the Pride Flag in Woburn. It was a great turnout to show support for this important group who need our strong support!

Civics Showcase at Woburn Memorial High School
It was my pleasure to address the Juniors at Woburn Memorial High School as part of the Civics Showcase. The student’s projects were very well thought out and they had inspiring ideas on how to improve our community, our schools, and our Commonwealth. I reminded the students, “The responsibility of advanced citizenship is to not turn away but rather to engage in trying to bring people together to solve the challenges of our time. That is going to be your responsibility.”

Phoenix Tailings Facility Tour
Thank you to the Phoenix Tailings team for a great tour of their Woburn-based facility!
Phoenix Tailings is a Woburn startup company that is one of the world’s only sustainable and environmentally friendly producer of rare earth metals. Massachusetts has always been at the forefront of new technological developments and green technology is no exception. As we switch our economy over to electric power, there will be a huge demand for rare earth metals as a component in batteries, magnets, and additional essential parts of wind turbines, electric cars, electronics like laptops and smartphones, and many other products. Thanks to Phoenix Tailings, we can refine these rare earths sustainably – with zero direct carbon emissions and no toxic waste – so we are not building clean technology with dirty components.

Juneteenth
It was wonderful to celebrate Juneteenth and recommitting ourselves to the work of equality in our communities and our nation. Very moving remarks by Michael Curry. Special shoutout to Social Capital, Phil Gordon and all the organizers! Proud to join you!

Gun Violence Awareness
I was proud to support H.4879, An Act Addressing Barriers to Care For Mental Health. This bill initiates a public awareness campaign on the Commonwealth’s red flag laws and extreme risk protection orders (ERPOs) that limit access to guns for people at risk of hurting themselves or others. Back in June, I joined the public on the Woburn Common as part of the MA “Wear Orange” event for gun violence awareness. We can take common sense steps to keep us all more safe – this bill is one such measure.

Woburn Breakfast Lions Event
It was a pleasure to attend the Woburn Breakfast Lions Club’s 36th Anniversary Celebration and Installation of Officers event. Thank you to outgoing President, Richard Capistran, for your service and dedication and many congratulations to successor, Kenneth Lorenzten, on your election!

Reading’s Erin Gaffen Recognized
I was proud to nominate Erin Gaffen of Reading as a member of the 2022 Class of Commonwealth Heroines. In Late June, the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women recognized the honorees at a in-person celebration in Boston. Thank you, Erin, for your continued contributions and dedication to the Reading community!

State House Tours
It was my pleasure to be able to host several constituents, this summer, at the Massachusetts State House for tours. In addition to a great group of Woburn Scouts, I was also happy to welcome Jeff and Ian Johnston to also discuss the steps the House has recently taken to further support mental health needs of the residents of the Commonwealth.

Final Thoughts
There is still plenty of work to be done, and my office stands ready to continue working hard on behalf of the residents of the 30th Middlesex District. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to my office by phone at (617) 722-2460 or email my Legislative Aide, Nicole Redigan, at Nicole.Redigan@mahouse.gov.

Representative Haggerty, Massachusetts Legislature Legalize Sports Betting

BOSTON – Monday, August 1, 2022 – Earlier this week, State Representative Richard M. Haggerty (D-Woburn) and the Massachusetts Legislature passed An Act regulating sports wagering, authorizing and regulating sports betting in the Commonwealth. The legislation authorizes the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to grant in-person licenses at gaming establishments, including casinos, racetracks, and simulcast facilities, as well as mobile licenses through mobile applications or digital platforms. This legislation will generate an estimated $60 million in annual tax revenue for Massachusetts, in addition to collecting up to $70 to $80 million in initial licensing fees, which must be renewed every five years. The revenue collected will be distributed to municipalities, and for economic, workforce, education, and public health priorities.

“I was pleased to support a bill that allows sports betting in the Commonwealth,” said Representative Haggerty. “Our residents have been traveling to bordering states for years to place their sport wagers. This bill offers residents the opportunity to place sporting bets in our state rather than going to one of the other thirty states where it is legal, includes proper safeguards, helps get sports betting out of the shadows, and any revenue collected would benefit Massachusetts residents.”

An Act regulating sports wagering includes a 15 percent tax on in-person wagering and a 20 percent tax on mobile wagering. The legislation creates the Workforce Investment Trust Fund & the Youth Development and Achievement Fund which will receive 17.5 percent and 1 percent, respectively, of the revenue generated by the taxes and licensing fees. The rest of the funds will go to the existing Gaming Local Aid Fund (27.5 percent), the Public Health Trust Fund (9 percent) and the General Fund (45 percent.)

•The funds in the Workforce Investment Trust Fund will be used to develop and strengthen workforce opportunities for low-income communities and vulnerable youth and young adults, including to promote stable employment and wage growth.

•The funds in the Youth Development and Achievement Fund will provide financial assistance to students enrolled in and pursuing a program of higher education, and for after school and out of school activities.

The legislation will also allow betting on college sports, except for Massachusetts schools, unless they are participating in a tournament. People must be 21 years old or older to bet. As directed through this legislation, the Gaming Commission will be conducting a study into the feasibility of allowing retail locations to operate sports wagering kiosks.

Having been passed by the House and Senate, An Act regulating sports wagering now goes to Governor Baker for his signature.