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Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Hi friends,

The weather is starting to turn, and the COVID-19 infection curve is moving in the right direction. Remember, we all need to keep up our physical distancing and mask-wearing best practices to keep the COVID contagion trend moving downwards. 

I have some additional exciting news: tomorrow I will testify before the Joint Committee on Election Laws in support of my 2020 Vote by Mail Act. Senate Chair Barry Finegold will livestream the hearing via his Facebook page. I will be speaking at approximately 1:45 p.m. Please tune in!

I encourage you to submit your own written testimony by emailing the Committee Chairs, Senator Finegold ( and Representative Lawn ( Testimony must be submitted by 5 pm this Friday, May 13.


Also tomorrow, the Senate will hold its first ever formal session via remote voting. (Remember that you can always tune in to watch session via livestream at!) This is a notable advancement. At the core of our representative democracy is engaged debate by legislators and voting on the record. Tomorrow’s session brings us one step closer to the debates we need on several complex bills still pending, including the election reforms we will discuss during tomorrow’s hearing. While we have passed several important bills during the pandemic so far, we’ve had to do it all with unanimous support. We are now at the point where we might not have complete consent, and that’s not a bad thing -- in fact, it’s a healthy part of our democracy -- but we have to have the process to make it happen, even during a public health crisis.
As always, my team and I are here for you. Call us at 617-722-1555 or email me directly at and one of us will get back to you as quickly as we can. Please follow me on Twitter and Facebook for real-time updates.

Wishing you and your families strength, health, and resilience. 
Yours in service,

Senator Becca Rausch

Here are a few additional updates about our state-level efforts to combat COVID-19:

  • Massachusetts’ Four-Phase Reopening Overview: On Monday, Governor Baker announced a four-stage reopening sketch for Massachusetts, which was formulated with the state's reopening advisory board. The first bits of reopening might come as early as next week, subject to critical public health indicators and mandatory workplace safety standards. This diagram highlights the reopening stages:

  • Improved COVID-19 Data Collection Passes the Senate: On Monday, the Senate passed legislation to require improved data reporting on COVID-19 by the executive branch. Among other requirements, the bill as advanced by the Senate would add data on coronavirus transmission in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and state and county correctional facilities to each of the daily updates. All of these facilities have been hotspots for outbreaks, and we cannot mitigate what we don’t measure. Senator Rausch secured language in the bill to ensure the data will be downloadable and accessible. The bill also creates a task force to make policy recommendations to address health inequities, magnified by COVID-19, for communities of color, LGBTQ individuals, and other marginalized groups. Finally, thanks to an accountability amendment offered by Senator Chang-Diaz and cosponsored by Senator Rausch, the bill requires the Baker administration to describe the actions it is taking to address the health disparities identified through the data collection. Earlier today, the House sent the bill back to the Senate, but without any of the data requirements for elder care facilities. If you would like to advocate for the inclusion of this data to support and protect our seniors and their families, you should contact your State Rep.
  • Health Connector special enrollment period ends May 25: In response to the coronavirus outbreak, an extended health insurance enrollment period is available through May 25, 2020 for qualified Massachusetts residents who are uninsured. More information, including how to enroll, resources for the recently unemployed, and assistance with premiums for those facing hardship, can be found here
  • Have you filled out the 2020 Census? The census count determines the amount of federal funding that Massachusetts receives to support so many important things: schools, roads, fire departments, hospitals, health care programs, and much more. Every person that isn’t counted translates to a loss of roughly $2,400 in federal funds, every year, for a decade. The COVID-19 pandemic negatively impacts our ability to collect accurate and complete census data, so If you haven't already, fill out the census for everyone in your household and remind your friends and family to do the same!
  • Listening session on COVID-19 and older adults: As the Senate Vice Chair of the Joint Committee on Elder Affairs, I will participate in a Committee listening session this Friday, May 15, at 1:00 p.m. to address the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on our Commonwealth’s elderly population. People wishing to testify must sign up in advance but anyone may watch via zoom (link will be posted by Friday at 12:00 p.m.) or Facebook live. Written testimony will be accepted until 9:00 a.m. on Monday, May 18.
  • COVID by the Numbers: Every day, the Department of Public Health issues a comprehensive dashboard of data, including a breakdown of coronavirus cases by county and other demographic distinctions. Town and city level data is updated weekly.
Staying Happy and Healthy While at Home

We can all attest to how tough this has been on ourselves and our families (shoutout to all the other parents of young kids… hang in there!). My staff and I compiled a list of ways to find some exercise and mindfulness during these difficult times:
  • Check out free mindfulness and meditation resources with Smiling Mind, available both online and a mobile app. 
  • Start a 30 day yoga practice from home.
  • Take a look at some of the parks around Massachusetts that are currently open to the public, including our district’s very own Bristol Blake State Reservation in Norfolk!
  • Enjoy a free workout! The OUT Foundation and OUTWOD have launched daily classes for and by the LGBTQ+ community, highlighting queer and trans instructors from across the US and Canada each week.
  • Invite your friends and family from far and wide for a game of online pictionary or codenames.
My next Virtual Office Hours will be next Friday, May 22, 10 AM - 12 PM.

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 over Google Hangouts, Skype, and phone calls. Office hours are available to discuss any matter and are not limited to discussions about COVID-19.
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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