I hope this legislative update finds you all well and that you are all enjoying the holidays so far! I wanted to provide you all with a recap of my actions these last few months of 2021.
I was very proud to support a bill allocating funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and FY21 surplus. Funded at $4 billion, the bill addresses disparities exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, aiming to facilitate recovery through one-time investments in housing, environment and climate mitigation, economic development, the workforce, health and human services, and education.
City of Woburn and Town of Reading Direct Funding:
- $125,000 for the installation of accessible and inclusive equipment at public playgrounds in the City of Woburn.
- $125,000 to implement the recommendations of the City of Woburn’s report from the Massachusetts Downtown Initiative Local Rapid Recovery Program to improve the economic and physical conditions of the downtown.
These investments are aimed at helping our communities and the Commonwealth recover from the economic and social challenges of the past two years. I was pleased to partner with the Woburn delegation to be able to direct some of these resources to support the small business community by helping the City of Woburn implement plans to improve the economic and physical atmosphere of downtown. I was also pleased to file an amendment to allocate monies that will help make some of our playgrounds fully accessible for all children.
The Reading Delegation was able to direct some of these resources to support the town’s effort to conserve Open Space and provide additional access to the Town Forest:
- $150,000 appropriation will assist the town with the acquisition and development of a parcel of land in the Meadow Brook Country Club area. Town Meeting and the Reading Select Board recently approved the purchase of this land to preserve it as open space and to secure an easement that will provide public access to the Town Forest.
The major state-wide investments in the bill are for health care $964 million, housing $624 million, $500 million for premium pay awards and $500 million for the unemployment insurance system to help small business UI rates. The bill also allocates $414 million for infrastructure, $389 million for education, $267 million for economic development, and $124 million for human services.
The construction of this bill was an inclusive and open process that included six public hearings after receiving more than a thousand pieces of testimony. The bill also allocates $5 million for the Inspector General’s office to create a public database and website to track total spending.
A full recap of ARPA funding can be found under the “News” tab at www.RichHaggerty.com.
Woburn Public Library Board of Trustees Legislation (H3820)
This home rule petition does away with the practice of life-time trustees and allows the Mayor, with the confirmation of the City Council, to fill vacancies on the Board of Trustees of the Woburn Library Corporation.
Changing City Council members from Alderman to City Councilor (H3947)
The bill updates the official title of members of the Woburn City Council from “Alderman to “City Councilor”. Thank you to my colleagues Senator Friedman, Representative Ciccolo, Mayor Galvin, and the members of the City Council for helping to draft and codify these petitions into law.
Genocide Education Bill
This landmark education bill defines genocide and requires middle and high schools in the Commonwealth to learn about genocide in their curricula. The legislation also creates a trust fund for use in developing a genocide related curricula and for teachers’ professional development. This law is critical in order to teach the next generation about these dark moments in our history, in the hope they will be remembered and never repeated.
Updating Cage-free Standards
In October I was proud to join the House in passing H.4194, An Act upgrading hen welfare and establishing uniform cage-free standards, which updates a 2016 passed ballot initiative regarding the prevention of cruelty to farm animals.
The bill updates floor space requirements for certain cage-free housing systems, expands covered products to include egg products, authorizes the Department of Agricultural Resources to promulgate rules and regulations and participate in enforcement, and extends the implementation date of the ban on the sale of covered pork products by one year. Making sure we do not have an egg shortage, which could drive up costs for consumers, is a paramount concern. House and Senate Conference Committee members are working out the differences between the two bills now.
As Vice-Chair of the Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Business I have hosted a series of listening sessions for members of the legislature to hear directly from the small business community; including the Mass. Auto Dealers Association and Franchising 101. We are now in the planning stages to meet with local chambers of commerce and local community development corporations.
As a member of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utility, and Energy I had the opportunity to get an up-close view of Orsted’s Block Island Wind Farm recently. The Commonwealth continues to be a national leader in clean energy and this educational exercise to tour the turbines harnessing wind power in Rhode Island was exceptional. Together Vineyard Wind and Mayflower Wind in Massachusetts will be able to power 1.2 million homes – and we’re just getting started! Together we can utilize clean-energy and create a clean-energy job sector right here in the Commonwealth.
Delegation Support Letter for Killiam School in Reading
I was happy to join with the Reading State House Delegation to support the Killiam Elementary School’s application to the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA) program to make critical updates to the school to provide a more safe, accessible learning environment for both students and staff.
Green Infrastructure Efforts Letter
Citing President Biden’s ambitious and necessary goal of having a 100% carbon-free energy grid by 2035, I wrote a letter to Senators Markey and Warren encouraging them to help get Massachusetts up to speed on renewable energy development and green infrastructure construction
I have recently joined the newly established Massachusetts Legislative Caucus on Cancer Awareness, which provides a forum to discuss and promote research and development of innovative therapies, and the delivery of efficient, high value cancer care to mitigate some of the economic and public health burdens on State agencies and those impacted by cancer.
Seeing our economy increasingly digitalize, I accepted an invitation to join the Massachusetts House of Representatives Blockchain Technology Caucus, which provides a forum for members to study the emerging role of blockchain technology, and other forms of distributed ledger technologies, in shaping public policy in the Commonwealth.
1st annual Woburn Community Housing Workshop
In November, my office partnered with Mayor Galvin, Councilor Jeff Dillon, SCI Woburn, Metro Housing|Boston, and the Woburn Senior Center to host the first ever Woburn Community Housing Workshop at the Woburn Public Library.
The in-person event provided dozens of families critical resources to help them avoid eviction, address any rent payment concerns, along with assisting those in need of resources like food and heating assistance. The caseworkers on scene helped residents complete Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) applications and had translation services available for the Portuguese and Spanish speakers that attended.
A special thank you to Councilor Dillon and Anthony Langone in my office for helping organize and make this event a huge success for the residents of our city.
Thanksgiving Basket Giveaway
Another event I was happy to help sponsor for a second year in a row at the Hillview Country Club was the Thanksgiving Basket Giveaway to seniors in the Reading Community. Together with Rep. Brad Jones’ office and other members of our community we put together and gave away hundreds of baskets, ensuring many senior and vulnerable members of our community had food on their tables this Thanksgiving.
Woburn Common Menorah Lighting Ceremony
This month I was happy to take part in the 2nd annual Menorah Lighting Ceremony on Woburn Common. It was great to support our Jewish community in our City and thank you to all the residents and city officials who attended.
Vaxess Technologies Ribbon Cutting
I had the pleasure joining local and state officials at the ribbon cutting ceremony in October for Vaxess Technologies in Woburn. At its new location in Cummings Park, the company plans to manufacture tens of thousands of doses of breakthrough vaccine patches per year. Their manufacturing line will also support clinical trials for Vaxess’ seasonal flu vaccine, with a COVID-19 vaccine program also in pre-development stages.
Woburn increasing has been a hub for the life science industry in the Commonwealth and our country. I will continue my efforts to support the growth of the industry in our City, which provides high paying jobs and numerous other benefits to our residents.
9/11 20th Anniversary
On the somber 20th anniversary of 9/11, the Woburn Lions and their youth organizations did a wonderful job honoring this important day and unveiling a fitting Bob Shure designed memorial to all those lost on that fateful day. I was proud to share a few remarks at this moving event, and thank you to Mayor Galvin, our elected officials, first responders, students, and the public for participating in such a moving ceremony. I was also pleased to join the Reading community on the Common to honor this special day by listening to student speakers read their essays on “Light in the Darkness”, hearing from the Reading Community Singers, and local bands.
We are living through challenging times, both economically and health wise. My office stands ready to help in any way we can, and as many of you have learned over these last few years my Legislative Aide Anthony Langone is always there to assist and walk you through anything that may be troubling you.
We also continue to host office hours sessions with the community, and we hope you can join us for one of our upcoming sessions
- Thursday, January 21st at 11:30am
- Virtual Via Zoom; sign-up required
- Friday, February 18th at 11:00am
- Dunkin’; 880 Main Street, Woburn, MA 01801
- Thursday, March 24th at 11:30am
- Virtual; Via Zoom; sign-up required
These sessions are a great opportunity for us to speak directly on the issues concerning you most, and I stand ready to listen and help in any way I can.
Our office is also currently searching for motivated, civic-minded individuals interested in a Winter legislative internship opportunity. 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 from working constituent cases, scheduling, legislative research, database management, to communications and social media assignments, along with attending various meetings and hearings.
If you ever have any questions or are looking to sign-up for one of our upcoming office hours or looking for info for an internship opportunity, please reach out to Anthony at Anthony.Langone@mahouse.gov or call (617) 722-2090.