Dear Friends,

I hope this update finds you well. The past few weeks have been extremely busy for our family. Maddie and I drove down to Baltimore in late May to move her out of her dorm, a vastly different experience from the controlled chaos of late last summer when Jim and I moved her in for her first year. Maddie and I were the only people on her floor in her dorm during her 4-hour move out window, and while extremely well-organized by Loyola, it was eerie and sad to be on a desolate campus. 
 
Our family also got to celebrate Caitlin graduating from Shrewsbury High School and looking forward to attending Endicott College in the fall to study Criminal Justice. While the usual graduation celebratory events were curtailed or changed, our family will always treasure the memory of "The Last Ride" that gave students and their families an opportunity to drive through Shrewsbury High School with educators, staff and administrators cheering students and celebrating their milestone achievement. 
 
And while Patrick is excited for summer vacation to officially begin mid-day Tuesday, I am struggling to accept that my youngest will be a freshman in high school! All three kids are very much hoping to be on campus and in the classroom for the beginning of the next school year.


These past few weeks have also been emotionally challenging and introspective for all of us. On Thursday June 4th, I released statement to the community regarding the murder of George Floyd.


"Today the House of Representatives joined with the NAACP in a moment of silence for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, in honor of the life of George Floyd, and his last horrific moments on earth, as he begged for mercy, and received none.

Tragically, Mr. Floyd's death was not a singular instance of taking the life of a black person, a fellow citizen of our country, it is an injustice and indignity suffered far too long by far too many. Dr. King's statement that he hoped for the day that black children would be judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character, still remains an unfulfilled hope for many black parents. In a nation that professes to provide equal rights for all citizens, we still have miles to go. The promise and the premise of our nation is out of reach and unfulfilled for some, and when the rights of any American citizen is denied, the rights of all of us are also vulnerable.

And as my father recently wrote in a message to his school community, 'It is never a time to be silent on this topic. These rights are threatened for all of us when the words and actions of others seemingly give license for this abhorrent behavior. The children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren of all Americans, at levels nuanced to their age and circumstance, wonder and worry about what to make of it all. What does this portend for them, for their family, for society, and for their future? It is difficult enough for adults to comprehend, even more so for the young, the most precious among us.'

As a mom, I have watched my children try to navigate the complexities of this moment, from attempting to comprehend why someone in a position of authority could take a life in bold daylight over the course of 8 minutes and 46 seconds with no-one intervening to stop the heinous murder, to how to show support for the black lives matter movement and take action to say that we can and must be better as a nation and as a people. I am proud of my daughter who has organized a peaceful protest this week-end in Shrewsbury and at the same time I worry that those who perpetrate violence as a means to sow discord are actively seeking ways to further divide us.

As a woman of faith, who serves on the board of Andover Newton Seminary and was raised to believe that we are all God's children, I cannot comprehend how one can cavalierly take a life and why the color of our skin has so often determined the outcome of our lives. And while I understand that I have been fortunate to never know the pain that so many fellow Americans have experienced, I don't take comfort in that and I recognize the inequity.

As a citizen of our country, I look to our leaders for leadership and empathy, sense and purpose to this long struggle we have failed so many times, and to illuminate a path forward. When our nation comes to crossroads, it is imperative that those who have accepted the burdens of office do not falter.

As a legislator, I have focused my work each and every day on improving all people's lives. I have long understood the many ways in which racial disparities shine most flagrantly - from the impact of social determinants on public health, to educational opportunity and achievement, to lack of access to food, to the significantly higher infant and maternal death rates. I have tried to be part of legislative efforts to tackle these issues, and yet I know there is more I can do and will do.

And I know from the many emails sent to me from residents of Shrewsbury and Westborough that so many yearn to be part of moving our community, Commonwealth and country forward to a more just society, to a place where we realize Dr. King's dream, not just write about it. While it is easy to lay blame at the feet of others, each and every one of us, each and every day, has a responsibility to commit ourselves to making our country more just and live up to the ideals our nation was formed on. There is not one to do list, there is not one action to take. It is not the responsibility of one profession, one race or one person - it is a burden we all share."

Over the course of the last few weeks I have talked to many people in Shrewsbury and Westborough. I have participated in a peaceful protest in Shrewsbury and attended vigils held in Shrewsbury and Westborough. I have been inspired by our young people who have worked to help our communities stand together and I have been moved by the number of people coming out in solidarity. I have stressed in all my interactions that the place we find ourselves in today, the place we all agree is not reflective of who we strive to be as a nation, is not t he responsibility of one profession, one race or one person; it is a burden we all share. We all need to be careful that we do not make sweeping and generalized statements that lump all police officers into one bucket and disparage those whose have worked hard to uphold our common values in their professional and personal capacities as police officers and members of our communities. This does not mean there is not more we can do, but as my legislative colleague and former member of the State Police Rep. Tim Whelan noted in his Facebook post the other day "the wholesale attacks on the integrity and honor of all who serve is wrong." Let's work together to become a nation reflective of our shared vision and be mindful of the powerful words written in Dr. King's "Letter from Birmingham Jail" in April 1963:  "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly." 

Shrewsbury Town Elections
This Tuesday, June 16th, the polls will be open from 12pm to 8pm. I am grateful to all who are running to serve in various capacities and Jim and I are excited that Madison is running to be a Town Meeting Member for Precinct 5! We also both strongly support Beth Casavant and Moe DePalo for re-election to the Board of Selectmen. There are three candidates running for the two open seats and I believe that Beth and Moe have each served our community with a keen understanding of the pressing issues, listened to all perspectives offered by town residents, and improved the methods of communication for municipal operations. The next few years will be very difficult due to the precipitous drop in tax revenue brought on by the economic impact of the pandemic and we will need the strong leadership of Beth and Moe to help shepherd our community through the difficult decisions ahead.  Please join me in supporting Beth and Moe, and if you live in Precinct 5, please consider a vote for Maddie for Town Meeting Member!
 
Please see the below updates on the Commonwealth's COVID-19 response since my last update.
 
COVID-19 Data
The Department of Health (DPH) updates the MA DPH COVID-19 Dashboard daily around 4pm. The dashboard includes trend data in a variety of areas (information on case rates, testing, geography of confirmed cases, etc.), death related data, and specific data on COVID-19 hospital census information, nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, nursing homes (with known clusters) and PPE distribution. Find the dashboard, as well as the weekly city and town data  here.


Positive Trends
The June 5th DPH COVID-19 report moved the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations into "positive trend" status for the first time since the crisis began. Testing capacity and the rate of positive tests have already been moved into the same positive trending status. Healthcare system readiness, contact tracing capabilities, and the number of COVID-19 deaths all remain classified as "in progress" as of June 12th. Since mid-April, the 7-day average for the positive COVID-19 test rate is down 88%, the 3-day average of hospitalized patients is down 65%, and the number of hospitals in surge is down 76%.
 
COVID-19 Probable Cases
As of June 1st, the Commonwealth began reporting "probable" COVID-19 cases and deaths. Patients with a positive molecular test for COVID-19 are counted as confirmed. Patients with a positive serology/antibody test and either COVID-like symptoms or likely exposure to COVID-19 are counted as probable cases. Patients who did not have a lab test but whose death certificate listed COVID-19 as a cause of death are counted as probable deaths. Probable cases are included in all counts from March 1st onward.


Congregate Care Data
DPH has recently incorporated data on DCF/DDS/DMH/DYS/MCB/MRC group homes and congregate care facilities into its weekly report, typically released on Wednesdays. The first data report of its kind was released on May 27th.
 
COVID-19 Reporting Law
On June 7th, Governor Baker signed into law House Bill 4672, which requires Commonwealth elder care facilities to make daily reports on their COVID-19 cases. The bill also creates a task force to recommend ways to address health disparities during the pandemic, including why communities of color have been hit hard by the virus and how best to fix this moving forward. The task force must report its findings and recommendations by August 1st. The task force is also charged with making recommendations to improve safety for:
  • Essential workers
  • People living in group homes or congregate housing
  • Incarcerated individuals
  • Individuals with underlying health conditions
  • Residents of cities or neighborhoods disproportionately affected by COVID
Federal Testing Plan
On June 3rd, the Baker-Polito Administration provided an update on the Commonwealth's recently submitted plan to the federal government to expand testing for symptomatic individuals and their close contacts and to upgrade the state's epidemiological technology infrastructure. Key points from the Governor's announcement:
  • DPH is taking steps to expand lab testing capacity at the State Lab. Currently, the State Lab can process 1,000 tests/day. The Department will install two platforms, one to increase diagnostic tests by 1,300 molecular tests/day, and one to conduct up to 1,600 serology tests/day.
  • To better identify communities that have limited access to testing, DPH will create Strategic Testing Program Expansion (STEP) sites.
  • The goal is to open 20 STEP sites by the end of July for areas with a high number of COVID-19 cases where there isn't a sufficient testing capacity and "testing deserts."
Nursing Home Visitation
As of June 3rd, family visitation restrictions at nursing homes, rest homes, and assisted living facilities eased to allow for scheduled outdoor visits. Guidance includes the following information, however, please check with the facility you wish to visit for additional information:
  • No more than two people can visit an individual resident at one time, and visits must be pre-scheduled and occur in designated outdoor spaces.
  • Every visitor will pass through a temperature screening before being allowed access, and anyone showing a fever at or greater than 100.0 F or who is also showing symptoms of COVID-19 will not be allowed to visit the resident.
  • Guests are required to wear a face covering during the entirety of their visit and must maintain at least six feet of distance between themselves and the resident as well as any healthcare professional present.
  • A healthcare professional employee of the facility must be present for the entirety of the visit.
  • If a visitor develops symptoms of COVID-19 within 48 hours, they must alert the facility.
Phase II Re-opened June 8th
Phase II, Step One of reopening began on Monday, June 8th. Phase II is divided into Step One and Step Two. Step Two's start date will be announced at a later date and, as all phases and steps, depends on public health metrics. All businesses and sectors allowed to open in Phase II must comply with the Mandatory Workplace Standards, as well as follow sector-specific guidance. The following businesses were able to reopen in Step 

One of Phase II, with limitations:
  • Retail, with occupancy limits
  • Restaurants, outdoor table service only
  • Hotels and other lodgings, no events, functions, or meetings
  • Warehouses and distribution centers
  • Personal services without close physical contact, such as home cleaning, photography, window washing, career coaching, and tutoring
  • Post-secondary, higher-ed, vocational-tech, and occupation schools for the purpose of completing graduation requirements
  • Youth and adult amateur sports, with detailed guidance
  • Outdoor recreation facilities
  • Professional sports practice, no games or public admissions
  • Non-athletic youth instructional classes in arts, education, or life skills and in groups of less than 10
  • Driving and flight schools
  • Outdoor historical spaces, no functions, gatherings, or guided tours
  • Funeral homes, with occupancy limits
The following businesses may reopen in Step Two of Phase II, date TBA:
  • Indoor table service at restaurants
  • Close-contact personal services, with restrictions, including:
    • Hair removal and replacement
    • Nail care
    • Skin care
    • Massage therapy
    • Makeup salons and makeup application services
    • Tanning salons
    • Tattoo, piercing, and body art services
    • Personal training, with restrictions
Routine in-person, elective, non-urgent healthcare services such as office visits, dental visits, vision care, and behavioral health may resume on June 8th, Elective cosmetic procedures and in-person day programs are not allowed to resume until Phase III. Telehealth must continue to be used as much as possible.
 
You can see the full reopening plan, including the descriptions of the four phases,  here . If you are a small business/organization concerned about availability of PPE and cleaning supplies, please visit this portal where you will be able to identify and contract with suppliers directly . The Baker-Polito Administration continues their commitment to hearing feedback from MA residents, business owners, workers, and anyone who would like to contribute comments, concerns, or ask questions regarding re-opening. This feedback form can be submitted here .
 
Food System Caucus Briefing
On June 10th, I joined Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Katie Theoharides and Department of Transitional Assistance Commissioner Amy Kershaw to deliver an update to legislators on the work of the Food Security Task Force, which I have served on for the past few months. The briefing held by the Food System Caucus focused on the newly created $36M COVID-19 Food Security Infrastructure Grant Program, the Healthy Incentives Program (HIP), and the arrival of EBT Online Purchasing to the Commonwealth.
 
SNAP Online Purchasing
As of May 29th, MA residents who receive SNAP benefits can use their EBT card to buy food online from Amazon and Walmart. Find out more information, including whether or not your household is eligible for SNAP benefits  here .
 
Food Security Infrastructure Grant Program
On June 11th, the Baker-Polito Administration announced the launch of the Food Security Infrastructure Grant Program as part of an ongoing effort to support the food industry and combat food insecurity in the Commonwealth. The grant program will fund projects that support farms, fisheries, and other local food producers as well as reduce food insecurity. The program has been allotted $36M in funding and applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Approved projects will be reimbursed upon completion. Find out more information and view the application  here .




 
The MA EBT vendor was unable to change the automated prompts you hear when you call to PIN a card, and unfortunately, some of the automated instructions are inaccurate for P-EBT cards. Instead, please follow the steps below:
  • Call the EBT card phone number on the back of your P-EBT card: 800-997-2555.
  • Enter your P-EBT card number (it is an 18-digit number).
  • You will then be prompted incorrectly to enter the last four digits of your social security number. Do not enter the last four digits of your social security number. For the P-EBT cards, you must enter the last four digits of your child's case number that was provided on the DTA letter you received in the mail or retrieved through the link above.
  • Then enter your child's date of birth using a two-digit month, two-digit day and four-digit year.
For more information, click  here  or call Project Bread's FoodSource Hotline at 800-645-8333.
 
Types of Unemployment Benefits
Traditional benefits through the Department of Unemployment (DUA): Individuals who are out of work from a W-2 job can apply for these benefits. Apply and learn more  here .
 
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits: On April 20th, PUA benefits became available for MA residents who are gig economy workers, independent contractors, or self-employed, or who those have a limited work history and who were therefore ineligible for regular unemployment benefits. The new federal PUA program, created in the CARES Act by U.S. Congress, provides up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits for these individuals who are unable to work because of a COVID-19-related reason. Applicants can learn more  here .
 
If you are receiving PUA benefits, it is important to note that while the benefits are taxable, the state is not taking the taxes out before giving you your check. Therefore, individuals receiving PUA benefits should make sure they are putting some of the money away for taxes. At the end of the year, the state will send a form asking you to file your taxes and claim that money. 
 
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) benefits: On May 20th, these benefits became available for MA residents. PEUC provides up to 13 additional weeks of benefits to an individual who exhausted all rights to any regular unemployment compensation and who meets other eligibility requirements of the CARES Act. Claimants may be eligible for these federal benefits and these benefits are now available through UI online. Please visit this link for more information .
 
All individuals receiving regular unemployment benefits, PUA benefits, and PEUC benefits will also receive an additional $600/week on top of the benefits they are already collecting as part of the federal CARES Act. The CARES Act, signed into law by President Trump on March 27th, 2020, marks the largest expansion of assistance for the Commonwealth's workforce since the Great Depression.
 
Unemployment Scam
Multiple constituents have reached out to my office concerned because they received notice their PUA claim had been processed, even though they never applied for PUA. The Command Center released in their nightly report on Thursday the 28th information about an ongoing unemployment fraud crime scheme: Criminal enterprises in possession of stolen personal information from earlier national data breaches have been attempting to file large amounts of illegitimate unemployment claims through the Mass DUA system. As a result, DUA has started to implement additional identity verification measures that will temporarily delay the payment timeframe for many unemployment claims in the state.
 
If you think someone may have filed a false unemployment claim using your identity, click  here  to fill out the fraud reporting form and see additional information on steps to take to protect your personal information from criminals.
 
Unemployment Benefit Extensions
On May 26th, Governor Baker signed a bill into law to help employers and claimants with unemployment benefits. Senate Bill 2618 does the following:
  • Expands the maximum allowable claims period from 26 weeks to 30 weeks for any week in which claims exceed 100,000
  • Exempts employers' experience ratings from impacts of COVID-19 and the state of emergency
  • Lifts a cap on dependency benefits that currently stands at 50%
Requirements for Employees to Return to Work
Some businesses trying to re-open are having difficulty bringing workers back. If an individual's work requires them to be physically present in the workplace, and the individual does not have a reasonable reason for failing to report to work, the employer may lawfully terminate them. General fear of being exposed to COVID-19, without more, is not considered a reasonable basis for refusing work. However, if your refusal to return to work is reasonable, you will remain eligible for unemployment. Determining what is "reasonable" is a fact-specific inquiry. The employee's own health situation is an important consideration, as are the work conditions and the job the employer offers, including whether employees work with or near other employees or members of the public. Further information and a series of helpful FAQs can be found  here .
 
Shared Streets & Spaces
On June 11th, MassDOT announced Shared Streets & Spaces, a funding program to help cities and towns create safe outdoor spaces and engage residents and businesses in this process. Grants will be administered quickly and on a rolling basis. Types of projects may include improvements to sidewalks, curbs, streets, on-street parking spaces, and off-street parking lots in support of public health. Grants may be as small as $5,000 to as large as $300,000.
 
Restaurant Relief Act
On June 3rd, I joined my colleagues in the House of Representatives to approve a bill that would allow restaurants to begin offering mixed drinks with food takeout orders, and to provide expanded outdoor table service with alcohol, subject to local approval. House Bill 4774, An Act addressing challenges faced by food and beverage establishments resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, would also allow restaurants to delay the filing of meals tax payments collected this year, while capping the fees charged by third-party delivery service companies for online food orders. The bill, which passed the House on a vote of 156-0, still requires Senate approval. The Restaurant Relief Act builds on the guidelines recently issued by Governor Baker for the state's Phase II reopening, which began on June 8th. Phase II allows restaurants to begin offering outdoor dining to customers but continues to prohibit indoor table service for now.
 
Expanded Voting Legislation
On June 4th, I joined my colleagues in the House of Representatives to approve legislation that would allow MA voters to safely participate in upcoming state and local elections using expanded early voting and mail-in voting options. House Bill 4768, An Act relative to voting options in response to COVID-19, was engrossed by the House on a vote of 155-1 and now moves to the Senate for further action. The bill takes the following steps to help minimize the public health risks for voters and poll workers participating in this year's elections:
  • Requires the Secretary of State to mail applications to all registered voters by July 15th, and again by September 14th, so those who wish to do so can request a vote-by-mail ballot for the September 1st primary and the November 3rd general election, respectively
  • Voters must submit a ballot request to their city or town clerk by August 28th for the primary and by October 30th for the general election, using a pre-paid envelop provided with the application
  • To avoid overcrowding at polling locations on election day, completed early voting ballots can be mailed using a prepaid return postage envelop, delivered in-person to the local clerk's office, or placed in a secured municipal drop-box, if one is available
  • Cities and towns will be required to provide early voting hours, including weekend hours, for individuals casting ballots in-person for the primary election from August 22-28, and from October 17-30 for the general election
  • Allows municipalities to eliminate the "check-out" table at polling stations for voters casting ballots in-person on election day
Driver's Ed Legislation
I recently filed HD5109, An Act relative to driver education, which addresses social distancing concerns relative to driver's ed. The legislation would do away with the 6 hours of observation (riding in the backseat while another teen driver drives in a lesson) required for the next year, with an expiry date of June 30th, 2021. This simple, straightforward legislation will eliminate an element of driver's ed that unnecessarily increases the risk of exposure to and spread of COVID-19. I filed the bill after hearing concerns from Alert Driving Academy regarding this requirement. The 12 hours of driving with an instructor and the 40 hours of driving with a parent/adult would remain required and would not be impacted by this legislation. 26 of my colleagues have signed on as co-sponsors.
 
Department of Children and Families
The MA Department of Children and Families (DCF) released a data package to the Committee on Children, Families, and Persons with Disabilities, providing an understanding of COVID-19 has impacted the caseload of the DCF. A summary of findings is below.
  • There was a 47% decrease in 51A intakes comparing the week ending March 7th, 2020, and May 9th, 2020.
  • Data from March 15th to May 2nd, compared to the same time period in 2019 shows a 54% drop in 51A reports filed by mandated reporters. Overall, it is a 51% decrease in 51A reports overall as compared to the same time period last year.
  • The number of children in DCF placement at year-end decrease by 9% from FY 18-19. FY20 reflects a 5% decrease relative to FY19. As of May 10th, there were 8,387 children in placement.
  • On average, there were 271 reunifications per month in FY19. Likely reflecting the impact of COVID-19 - compared to February 2020 - reunifications were down 41% in March 2020 and 59% in April 2020.
It is important to reflect on the fact that just because the number of cases has decreased in DCF data, it does not mean there are any less instances of child abuse and neglect occurring in the Commonwealth than there were before the crisis began. It just means people are not reporting these cases at the same levels as before.
 
High School Graduation Guidelines
The Department of Public Health and Health and Human Services issued guidance regarding high school graduation to help prevent the spread of COVID-19:
  • Ceremonies held between now and July 18th should be held virtually or in extremely limited other circumstances following safety protocols (e.g., car parades).
  • Ceremonies held beginning July 19th may take place OUTSIDE under the following standards and assuming the public health data supports the continued opening of our state.
  • Any graduation ceremony held outside must be in an unconfined outdoor space that can accommodate social distancing and the flow of air. Tents or other enclosed spaces are not permitted.
  • Schools must communicate in writing to any graduate, their family, school personnel, and others who may attend that if they are feeling sick, are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, or have potentially been exposed to someone with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, they should not attend the graduation ceremony.
  • Persons who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 should be discouraged from attending the graduation ceremony.
  • The outdoor space must have sufficient space to accommodate attendees who are not from the same immediate household spaced at least 6 feet apart..
  • Attendance must be limited to graduates and their immediate family members. Families must sign up in advance of the graduation, and only those who have pre-registered may attend. Children under the age of 5, older adults, and those with vulnerable health conditions should be discouraged from attending.
  • Attendees who are not part of the same immediate household must be seated at least 6 feet apart. Graduates must be seated 6 feet apart.
  • All attendees must wear face coverings before, during, and after the ceremony.
Bottle Redemption
Bottle redemption, which was temporarily suspended to slow the spread of COVID-19 and relieve pressure from overwhelmed grocery stores, resumed on June 5th. Starting June 5th, reverse vending machines (RVMs) opened for use, and over-the-counter returns will resume on June 19th. Both will open with restrictions: customers must wear masks, follow social distancing guidelines, and are limited to 120 returns at a time. Bottles and cans must be empty and rinsed out.
 
RMV Update
The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) announced new initiatives to provide additional flexibility to its customers during the COVID-19 pandemic, including expanded appointment hours at open Service Centers, additional Service Center re-openings, an online Learners' Permit test and exclusive permit appointment hours, online license renewal incentives, new road test and in-car observation protocols for students, and limited supervised driving privileges for eligible teenagers who have turned or are turning 16 between March and June 2020.

The additional service offerings include:
  • Additional Appointment Capacity at Open Service Centers: customers will now be able to make appointment-only reservations between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. at the Service Centers currently open to the general public. The RMV anticipates reopening the South Yarmouth Service Center for appointments on Monday, June 22.
  • Learner's Permit Tests Restart Online with Exclusive Permit-Only Center & Hours: effective this week, customers have been able to make an appointment to once again take their Learner's Permit exam. Applicants will be required to take their Learner's Permit test online at home up to 60 days after completing their appointment in a Service Center. Historically, customers have been required to remain at the Service Center to take the test on classroom computers. Appointments may initially be restricted to teenagers turning 16 between March and June 2020 and who have otherwise had their opportunity to take the permit test delayed. Effective Monday, June 15, the Leominster and Watertown Service Centers will open from 8:00 a.m. -8:00 p.m. strictly for Learner's Permit appointment transactions but permit appointments will be available at other open locations. The RMV also anticipates opening the Danvers Service Center on Monday, June 29, from 8:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. strictly for Learner's Permit appointment transactions.
  • New Protocols for Resuming RMV Road Tests: effective this week, the RMV resumed public road tests, with preference initially for individuals who had their road test appointment in March, April, and May cancelled due to the pandemic. Road tests for new applicants will not be available until customers who had road tests postponed have been given appointments. Customers who have a road test rescheduled are being contacted directly by the RMV with a new appointment. Due to the pandemic, the RMV is implementing new road test protocols, including the exclusive use of only specific state or driving school vehicles. Vehicles will be cleaned after each test and only the customer and the testing official will be inside the vehicle during the test; road test sponsors will be required to wait outside or in their personal vehicles.
The Governor also issued an Executive Order that includes the following:
  • Supervised Driving Privileges Prior to Learner's Permit: eligible teenagers turning 16 between March 1 and June 30, 2020, may be able to apply for a new "Supervised Driving Receipt" (or SDR) prior to their ability to obtain an appointment for their Learner's Permit. Eligible teenagers will be required to have parental / guardian consent to apply and take their learner's permit test online. Printed at home following successfully passing the learner's permit test, an SDR will carry strict requirements, allowing eligible students to practice driving only in Massachusetts, with a Massachusetts driver who is at least 21 years old and has held a valid license for one year. The SDR will also allow an eligible teenager to enroll in a certified driving education and training course and begin their required observation hours but will not count towards a junior operator's required 6-month clean driving record. SDRs will be valid 90 days from the date of issuance and will only be issued through August 12, 2020. Eligible customers that are interested in applying for an SDR should continue to check Mass.Gov/RMV as the RMV anticipates that this application will be available sometime next week. Learner's Permit applications will continue to be processed by appointment only at a Service Center when identity, lawful presence, residency and vision have been verified.
  • $25 REAL ID Upgrade Fee Waiver: over 500,000 Massachusetts residents will need to renew a driver's license this summer and will not need a REAL ID -- which requires an in-person visit to verify lawful presence -- for at least another year due to the federal government's delay of the compliance deadline to October 1, 2021. The RMV is not currently accepting appointments for REAL ID renewal upgrades or amendments. Customers who renew for a 'standard' Massachusetts driver's license or ID card online between today and August 12, 2020, will be able to upgrade to a REAL ID if they need it in 2021 at no additional charge. The cost of a license or ID renewal is $50 for a 'standard' or REAL ID, while the amendment or upgrade fee waived by this Executive Order is $25.
  • In-Car Observation Hours for Junior Operators: statute currently requires junior operators with a learner's permit to complete 6 hours observing another student driver, and 40 supervised driving hours with a parent, guardian or other adult over 21 with a valid license for over one year. The Executive Order will instead allow for 46 hours of supervised driving hours to be completed with a parent, guardian or other adult over 21 with a valid license for over a year, minimizing the need to spend additional time in a vehicle with individuals from different households which is discouraged under the Massachusetts' Reopening Advisory Board's Phase 2 guidance for driving schools.
  • Grace Period for Registration Transfers after Vehicle Purchase: statute currently requires individuals to transfer a registration within 7 days of vehicle purchase. The Executive Order temporary extends this grace period requirement to 21 days.
All RMV customers are encouraged to click here to begin their applications for a learner's permit or SDR, renew their 'standard' license online, make an appointment to visit an open Service Center for other necessary in-person transactions or complete one of over 40 other transactions available online, by mail or by phone.

All customers who have an appointment to visit an RMV Service Center must wear face coverings during their entire RMV visit. No walk-ins are allowed and customers without an appointment will be asked to leave and make a reservation online to return at a future date.

As a reminder, the RMV has extended deadlines to December 2020 for all existing learner's permits that are expiring between March and August 2020. Other credentials such as licenses and registrations also have deadline extensions.

Please find details on these and other credential expiration date extensions and additional information on RMV service offerings during the COVID-19 pandemic here.

Contacting my Office
As a reminder, the State House itself is closed to the public and my Legislative Aide Anna Darrow and I are working remotely. We are fully accessible via email and we are constantly checking our office voicemail. You can reach our office number at  617-722-2810, my cell number is  617-448-7304, and my email is  Hannah.Kane@mahouse.gov. Anna's email is  Anna.Darrow@mahouse.gov and her cell number is  802-373-2294
 
While this email is not exhaustive of all that the Commonwealth is undertaking to battle COVID-19, I hope that the information is relevant and helpful. My prior weekly emails can be found on my website,  www.rephannahkane.com   in the "Updates from Hannah" section and I will continue to post regular updates each day on my State Representative Facebook page.  As we move forward, my emails will be less frequent, as I move back towards my previous pattern of quarterly email updates. As always, I will continue to post regular updates nearly each day on my State Representative Facebook page and please do not hesitate to reach out to be if I can be of assistance.


With sincere gratitude,
Hannah Kane
State Representative
11th Worcester District

Copyright © 2020. All Rights Reserved.