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November 25, 2020 
 
Dear friends, 

From my family to yours, I wish all of you a safe, healthy, and happy Thanksgiving. This year has certainly been a difficult one for all of us, but there is still so much to be grateful for, from the development of multiple promising COVID-19 vaccines, to the results of this month’s presidential election, to the small moments of everyday joy amidst these challenging times. Our Thanksgiving celebrations this year may be smaller and look different, but they can be just as profound.

On Beacon Hill, the last couple of weeks have been particularly busy as the House and the Senate debated and successfully passed versions of the FY 2021 state budget. This year’s deliberations were challenging due to the global pandemic and related economic downturn, but despite this, there are still tremendous victories to celebrate in the FY 2021 budget, including no cuts to services or education funding, full funding for teenage dating violence prevention, and a quarter of a million dollars for public schools in our district to continue managing learning during COVID-19. The Senate also adopted by a vote of 33-7 an amendment to notably improve abortion access in the Commonwealth. More details on the budget, the abortion access amendment, safe holiday celebrations, and upcoming office hours follow. 

Curious as to how the MA Legislature crafts its annual state budget? 
Check out Episode 1 of Low Budget Beacon Hill with me and Rep. Maria Robinson! 

 

As always, if you or any of your loved ones in my district have fallen on hard times during this pandemic, please do not hesitate to reach out to my office via phone (617-722-1555) or email (becca.rausch@masenate.gov). We are here to help. You can also find robust resources to help you navigate through COVID-19 on my website. 
 

Wishing you and your families strength, health, and resilience.    
 

Yours in service,  

   
Senator Becca Rausch  

The Senate voted unanimously last Wednesday to pass a budget for fiscal year 2021. The Senate iteration of the budget avoids painful cuts and maintains our core services and programs, all while responding to new needs created by the pandemic. I am particularly proud of the Senate’s action on the following statewide and local budget priorities: 

  • Maintaining level funding for Chapter 70 school funding, as well as level funding for grant aid to cities and towns (with increases for inflation), which will help avoid painful cuts in local government services 

  • A year-over-year funding increase of over $132 million to support our early education and care programs, including $15 million for grants to Head Start and a $25 million EEC Workforce and COVID-19 Support Reserve 

  • $17 million to support local Councils on Aging and elder support initiatives  

  • $1 million to support grants for teenage dating violence protection, maintaining a significant increase I successfully secured in last year’s FY20 budget 

  • $250,000 in additional COVID adaptation local aid for public schools in the Norfolk, Bristol and Middlesex District, which I fought for and secured through a successful amendment to the base budget.  

  • Additional conditions on MBTA funding, which will require the MBTA to prioritize restoration or prevention of service cuts using certain future revenues or additional federal aid 

Finally, I was deeply proud to speak (virtually) on the Senate floor and vote in favor of Amendment 180 to advance abortion access in Massachusetts. The Senate adopted the amendment by a 33-7 majority, carrying several of the original components of the ROE Act. This vote was a significant victory for reproductive freedom in our Commonwealth, as the loss of Roe v. Wade on the national level is all but guaranteed.

 
 

This Amendment strikes from our books outdated and confusing language about abortion and the reality of abortion, and replaces it with scientifically accurate terminology. It also strikes multiple medically unnecessary barriers to abortion care and criminal penalties, and creates access in our Commonwealth to abortion care later in pregnancy in the unimaginably difficult circumstance of a fatal fetal diagnosis. Further, this amendment expressly prohibits the Commonwealth and any of its subdivisions from interfering with a person’s personal decision or ability to prevent, commence, terminate or continue their own pregnancy.  

Our work to advance reproductive justice does not end after this victory; I remain all in. 


COVID and the Holidays 


This holiday season poses unique challenges to families across Massachusetts. As important as it is to find meaningful social connection during this pandemic, we also must remain diligent to keep our loved ones and our communities safe amid the growing transmission of COVID-19. 

The safest approach is to avoid gatherings with people outside of your household and use conference calls or video, or other communications instead. If you are attending in-person gatherings with individuals outside of your household, It is essential to practice social distancing, mask wearing, and hand washing. Consider taking your Thanksgiving festivities outdoors, and avoid holding gatherings in crowded, poorly ventilated spaces. Please consult the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Thanksgiving safety guidelines to ensure you and your loved ones stay safe this holiday season.  

With case counts currently higher than the peak of the pandemic’s first wave in Massachusetts (see below), it is vitally important that every single one of us works to prevent the spread of COVID-19 this holiday season. 




You can find more information on COVID-19 in Massachusetts in the weekly and daily reports available at the Department of Public Health’s COVID-19 dashboard

 Office Hours 

 

Sign up for a 15-minute appointment here.    

Residents from any part of the Norfolk, Bristol and Middlesex District are welcome to share their questions and opinions on state issues with me and my team via video chat or phone call. Office hours are available to discuss any matter. 
  
Additional December office hours will be held on the following dates: 

Friday, December 11, 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. 

Friday, December 18, 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. 

Our mailing address is:
The Office of Senator Becca Rausch
Massachusetts State House, Room 218
24 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02133

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Senator Rausch · State House, Room 218 · 24 Beacon Street · Boston, MA 02133-1099 · USA

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