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Senator Rausch State House Briefing   
Part 2, Chapter 12 (January 10, 2022)   

Dear friends,   

I hope you had a joyful holiday season and a positive start to the new year. 2021 was certainly a challenging year for many of us. Now in the heart of the legislative session, I remain deeply committed to advancing equity, transparency, and justice through policies that keep you and your family safe during this pandemic and delivering top-notch constituent services to our district alongside my team. 

In this newsletter you will find a 2021 Beacon Hill Roundup, an invitation to my 2022 Virtual Town Hall and monthly office hours, and a snapshot of upcoming community events in our district.  

With the current record surge in COVID-19 cases, I strongly encourage everyone to get vaccinated and boosted if you have not yet done so, wear a mask whenever you are in a public space, practice physical distancing, and limit your social engagements to small groups, held outdoors. As always, if you or any of your loved ones in my district have fallen on hard times, please do not hesitate to reach out to my office. My office line is 617-722-1555 and my email is becca.rausch@masenate.gov. We are here to help.  
  
Wishing you and your family strength, health, resilience, and joy throughout the year.    
  

Yours in service,  

Senator Becca Rausch   

 Senator Rausch’s 2021 Beacon Hill Roundup

I am very proud to have accomplished so much on behalf of my constituents this last year in the Senate, including a robust COVID-19 response, billions of dollars invested into our Commonwealth’s communities, and advancing critically needed reforms through the legislative process on Beacon Hill. 

COVID-19 Safety: My top priority has been keeping you and your family safe throughout this crisis. Last year alone, my team and I worked on over 500 constituent cases – including nearly 200 COVID-19 unemployment cases – helping individuals receive the supports they deserve, especially during these difficult times. I hosted monthly virtual office hours, senior coffees, and two youth legislative forums for middle and high schoolers in my district to remain accessible to my constituents even while physically distant.  

Getting the second dose of my COVID-19 vaccine at Gillette Stadium. Thank you to all the healthcare workers for keeping us safe over the last two years! 

I also worked in partnership with my legislative colleagues, frontline community organizations, and public health experts to pressure the Baker Administration to implement policies to keep our communities safe and local economy afloat through this crisis. Some of our victories included universal masking in all K-12 schoolspaid time off for families and caregivers taking children to COVID-19 vaccination appointments, and implementing a COVID vaccine pre-registration system for mass vaccination sites.  

 
Funding our Communities’ Recovery: The Legislature passed a $4 billion bill to allocate federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to support our continued recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. This bill makes equitable investments within communities disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, delivering broad spectrum supports to health care, mental and behavioral health, housing security, our environment, and workforce development. I was proud to secure numerous amendments to support our district and the Commonwealth at large, including supporting women re-entering the workforce, providing post-traumatic stress care for medical personnel, and $1,000,000 in investments for local housing, transportation, and water infrastructure in our district.

Attleboro pride flag raising ceremony, June 2021.

I’m also proud of the outcomes of the FY 2022 budget deliberations that will support our communities, schools, families, and small businesses. I secured $250,000 for projects across our district in addition to a number of statewide budget victories: a pilot program for a statewide youth mental health support text line administered by Samaritans, Inc.; funding for the Department of Public Health to hire personnel with expertise in combatting vaccine hesitancy; funding for diversity, equity, and inclusion work in our district; as well as funding for New Hope’s new domestic violence shelter and the construction of an updated facility for the Attleboro Center for Children.

Legislative Victories: The gears of the legislative process are turning, and many bills are moving through their respective committees. Every bill timely filed this session must be reported out of committee by February 2, 2022, so we can expect an increase in floor votes and bills headed to the governor’s desk in the coming months. 

Standing alongside Governor Baker at a ceremonial bill signing for the Genocide Education Act last December. 

This year the Senate advanced some game-changing bills. We passed the VOTES Act, a comprehensive elections reform package which will increase voting through election day voter registration, permanent mail-in voting, improved jail-based voting access, and stronger government elections infrastructure. I filed numerous progressive amendments to this bill and will remain steadfastly committed to additional equity-centered expansions to our elections infrastructure, including setting minimum ratios for ballot drop boxes, creating paid time off for voting, and allowing voters to permanently sign up for mail voting rather than having to re-enroll every year. We also passed the Mental Health ABC Act, which will improve access to culturally competent care, support and boost our Commonwealth’s mental health care workforce, reduce barriers to emergency treatment, and more. These two bills now await action by the House. 

Last session, I spoke on the Senate floor to support a bill requiring genocide education in all Massachusetts public schools before the end of high school. I am proud that the legislature sent this bill into the Governor’s desk this term, and he signed it into law.

Moving forward: There is still so much work to be done. This session I filed 40 forward-thinking bills on election reform, good governance, public health, reproductive justice, climate action, and intersectional justice and equity, and I will work to shepherd these bills through the legislative process. As the Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture, I am also committed to working diligently on issues of climate change and environmental justice.

Period Equity Rally hosted on Beacon Hill by Youth for Period Equity and two all-star high schoolers in my district, Hannah Schwichtenberg and Ames Hwang.

It is my great honor to serve the Norfolk, Bristol and Middlesex District in the Massachusetts State Senate, and I promise I’ll keep putting my proven leadership to work. Please reach out to me if you have fallen on hard times and need assistance, have thoughts on policy, or want to check in. I also invite you to join me for my district-wide virtual town hall conversation on January 24 at 7 PM to continue this conversation and share your priorities for 2022 with me. Sign up at https://tinyurl.com/rauschtownhall. 

I look forward to everything we will accomplish together in the year ahead. Let’s get it done. 
 

Virtual Town Hall with Senator Rausch 

January 24, 2022 from 7 - 8 PM on Zoom 

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER




Join me for a virtual town hall this January to reflect on the past year and share your priorities for 2022. The event will begin with a short briefing about my work on Beacon Hill then open up for a discussion and question and answer period with constituents. 
 
This event is open exclusively to the community members of Attleboro, Bellingham, Dover, Franklin, Medfield, Milford, Millis, Natick, Needham, Norfolk, North Attleboro, Plainville, Sherborn, Wayland, Wellesley, and Wrentham. 

If you have any questions, please email Alana Westwater,
Director of Internal-External Relations, at alana.westwater@masenate.gov. 

Remembering Shirley Owen

Last month, we lost a member of our Franklin community. Shirley Owen was a dedicated and loving mother of two kids, active in the town’s schools, and beloved by many. Her family is safe, but their home was set ablaze the night she was murdered. My heart is heavy for her family and for the entire Franklin community as we mourn her loss. 
 
If you are currently experiencing domestic violence, you are not alone. My team and I have compiled a list of resources if you need support, legal aid, or emergency shelter, as well as resources for your mental health through these difficult times.

May Shirley‘s memory be a blessing. I promise to continue advocating for protections for survivors of domestic violence and intimate partner violence prevention at the statewide level. 

Where's Becca?

December was a busy month in our district! 
Check out a few (but not all!) of my appearances on the map below: 

Upcoming District Events
 

Attleboro Be Heard 
Tuesday, January 18, site and time TBD 


The Community Coalition for Education will hold an Open Forum on January 18. Attleboro community members, students, families, and elected officials are encouraged to attend and share their experiences in engaging with Attleboro Public Schools. Stay up to date and receive all information on the event by joining the Be Heard mailing list. Questions can be directed to beheard@attleboroschools.com

Wrentham: I-495/I-1A Public Hearing 
Wednesday January 26 at 6:30 PM 


A Live Virtual Design Public Hearing will be hosted on the MA Department of Transportation to present the design for the proposed of Route I-495/Route-1A Ramps Reconstruction project in Wrentham, which will include shared use pedestrian and bicycle accommodations.  All views and comments submitted in response to the hearing will be reviewed and considered to the maximum extent possible. Register for the event here.  

Needham: So You Want to Talk About Race Book Discussion 
Thursday, January 27 at 7 pm 


The Trustees of the Needham Free Public Library, Needham Diversity Initiative, and the Needham Human Rights Committee will host a Zoom discussion of the book, So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo. The event is free and open to the public and will be held Thursday, January 27th at 7 pm. Register for the event here.  
 

Virtual Evening Office Hours 

 

Sign up for a 15-minute appointment here.    

My team and I host virtual office hours every month. Residents from any part of the Norfolk, Bristol and Middlesex District, as well as residents of the new Norfolk, Worcester and Middlesex District (which takes effect in January 2023), 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.    
    
Upcoming virtual office hours:    
Monday, February 7, 5-6 PM 

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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