Volume 4, Issue 3 | March 25, 2022
Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I hope this finds you healthy and well. This newsletter includes an update on groundbreaking offshore wind legislation passed by the Massachusetts House of Representatives, highlights from St. Patrick's Day, selected news from the district, and a brief public health update.

As always, constituent service is our top priority. In April, I will host three in-person office hours. If you cannot attend scheduled office hours, you are welcome to contact my staff to schedule a meeting.

Very truly yours, Joan
Grant Applications for Small Business Relief Open Through April 4
In February, the Baker-Polito Administration announced $75 million in new grant funding to support Massachusetts small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The new grant programs are part of the plan to spend $4 billion in American Rescue Plan funding that was signed into law by Governor Charlie Baker in December 2021.

The funds will be administered through two different grant programs, the New Applicant Grant Program and the Inclusive Grant Program.

Applications must be submitted by April 4, 2022.

For more information on eligibility and to apply, visit EmpoweringSmallBusiness.org.
Celebrating Women's History Month
This March, we celebrate Women's History Month. I hope you take this opportunity to reflect on the achievements of the countless women from generations past whose shoulders on which we stand today.

On Twitter this month, the Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators is offering a great opportunity to learn about the 60 women currently serving in the State House and Senate. Only 221 women have ever served in the Massachusetts State Legislature, compared to over 20,000 men.
House Passes Groundbreaking Offshore Wind Legislation
On March 3, 2022, I joined my House colleagues in a vote to pass H.4515, An Act advancing offshore wind and clean energy, which makes historic investments in and establishes incentives for increased offshore wind development in the Commonwealth. This legislation offers a unique opportunity to invest in the Commonwealth’s clean energy future, to strengthen workforce development, and to work towards the goals set forth in the 2050 Next Generation Climate Roadmap.

The legislation would establish a $50 million tax incentive program for capital investments and employment in the wind sector, fund wind technology and innovation through utility bill surcharges, create new environmental and fishing industry-related requirements for offshore wind projects, and institute important cost containment safeguards for the wind energy bidding process. 

In addition, the legislation directs electric utilities to develop grid modernization plans and submit them for review, and the bill calls for a study conducted by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) to examine the viability of a solicitation for energy storage installations. The bill also supports the creation of job training pilot programs in the wind sector and directs DOER to engage in a competitive solicitation process for offshore wind energy transmission proposals to support generation projects.

Announced as a priority for Speaker Mariano during a boat tour of the Block Island Wind Farm attended by members of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy, An Act advancing offshore wind and clean energy aims to re-establish the Commonwealth as a leader in offshore wind energy production.

The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.
Bills Establishing Women's History Trail Program, Prohibiting Discrimination Based on Natural and Protective Hairstyles Pass House of Representatives
Marking March as Women’s History Month, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed legislation on March 17 that would create a Women’s Rights History Trail program, promoting education and awareness of the struggle for women’s rights in Massachusetts. The House also passed legislation that would prohibit discrimination based on natural and protective hairstyles.

An Act relative to the creation of a women’s rights history trail, H.4555, would require the secretary of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, in conjunction with executive director or the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism to develop and implement a Women’s Rights History Trail program that designates properties and sites as historically and thematically associated with the struggle for women’s rights and suffrage. The Women’s Rights History Trail Task Force would research, solicit public input, and make recommendations for sites, properties, and attractions to be included in the Women’s Rights History Trail program.

An Act prohibiting discrimination based on natural and protective hairstyles, H.4554, would define natural hairstyle in statute, prohibit discrimination in schools, employment, housing and business, and ban school policies that restrict natural and protective hairstyles. This legislation would also expand criminal law prohibiting assault and battery for purposes of intimidation to include natural hairstyle and adds natural hairstyle to hate crime data collection and reporting requirements.

Both bills now move to the Senate for consideration. 
Irish Minister of Education Visits House of Representatives on St. Patrick's Day
During formal session on St. Patrick's Day, the House of Representatives had the honor of welcoming Ireland’s Minister for Education, Norma Foley. Minister Foley addressed a wide range of topics in her speech, from Ireland's efforts to support Ukraine to the strong, ongoing relationship between the Commonwealth and Ireland.
Representative Joan Meschino, Education Minister of Ireland, Norma Foley, and Representative Josh Cutler pose for a photo following Minister Foley's remarks shared with the House of Representatives on St. Patrick's Day.
Rep. Meschino and House Chair of the Joint Committee on Housing, Chairman Jim Arciero, Host Briefing for Legislation Establishing Supportive Housing
This week, I joined my colleague and House Chair of the Joint Committee on Housing, Chairman Jim Arcierio, to host a briefing on a bill I filed that aims to provide permanent supportive housing to chronically homeless men, women, and children. An Act to create and implement a Massachusetts flexible housing subsidy pool program to address the medically complex needs of disabled men, women and children experiencing homelessness in Massachusetts, H.3838, will braid private and public funding sources and streamline the administration of services to adults, youth, and families experiencing homelessness.

Thanks to Lyndia Downie of Pine Street Inn, Danielle Ferrier of Heading Home, and Christi Staples of United Way for their remarks in support of this legislation at the briefing and their critical work to end homelessness.

To learn more, you can find press releases related to the legislation here and here.
Rep. Meschino joins Rep. Arciero to discuss H.3838 in a briefing for legislators and staff on March 23.
Rep. Meschino Joins Scituate St. Patrick's Day Celebrations, Celebrates Launch of South Shore Irish Heritage Trail Website
This year's St. Patrick's Day Parade in Scituate was joyous. Thanks to the organizers and to all who joined to celebrate!

I also celebrated the launch of the South Shore Irish Heritage Trail website, which will honor the cultural connections between the Commonwealth and Ireland when it opens in May.  

For years, the Scituate/West Cork Sister City Project has worked to expand its efforts to acknowledge Irish contributions to Scituate beyond the town’s borders, in the hopes of connecting with the nearly 225,000 Plymouth County residents who are Irish-born or of Irish descent. To make these connections, plans for a South Shore Irish Heritage Trail emerged and solidified. The trail aims to both stimulate local economies through tourist visits and educate South Shore communities on the region’s ties to Irish heritage.  

The trail, which includes sites in Weymouth, Hingham, Hull, Cohasset, Scituate, Marshfield, Duxbury, Kingston, and Plymouth, will officially open to the public on May 22, 2022 at 1:00 PM with a celebration at the Morrill Memorial Bandstand on the Cole Parkway, Scituate.  
Rep. Meschino joins Congressman Bill Keating (left) and Selectboard Members from Scituate (right) at this year's parade on March 20.
Hingham High School Veterans Appreciation Club Visits House of Representatives
Today I had the pleasure of greeting members of the Veterans Appreciation Club at Hingham High School during their visit to the State House. The club worked hard this year to raise $1,000 to donate to the Military Friends Foundation, an organization that has provided millions of dollars in direct aid to soldiers. Members of the club were also awarded citations from the Massachusetts House of Representatives and the Senate for their dedication to the club and their critical support of our veterans.
Rep. Meschino joins members of Hingham High School's Veterans Appreciation Club for a photo on the Floor of the House Chamber.
Announcing Office Hours

Constituent services are our top priority. My Chief of Staff, Director of Constituent Services and Communications and I continue to work remotely on Mondays and Fridays. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, a staff member will be present in the State House. I have also returned to hosting in-person office hours in the district.

If you would like to reserve a time slot for virtual office hours or outside of the times listed, please call the office at 617-722-2320 or email my Chief of Staff.

  • Monday, April 4, 10:00 - 11:00 am, Linden Ponds for Linden Ponds Residents
  • Monday, April 11, 9:00 - 10:30 am, Willcutt Commons, 91 Sohier Street, Cohasset
  • Monday, April 25, 4:00 - 5:00 pm, Scituate Library, 85 Branch Street, Scituate

To learn more about our constituent services, please visit our website.
Public Transit Mask Mandate Extended through April 18
The TSA has announced it will extend the security directive for mask use on public transportation and transportation hubs through April 18th. The CDC continues to work with government agencies to help inform a revised policy framework for when, and under what circumstances, masks should be required in the public transportation corridor.

For more information please visit https://bit.ly/34vCtCm.
Households Can Now Order Second Round of Free At-Home COVID-19 Tests
Households can now place a second order of free at-⁠home COVID-⁠19 tests (for a total of 8 free at-home tests per household).

Here is what you need to know:
  • Each order includes 4 individual rapid antigen COVID-19 tests.
  • Orders will ship free.
  • There is a limit of 2 orders per residential address.
  • Learn more and order your tests now at www.covidtests.gov
General Resources

COVID-19 Vaccines

COVID-19 Tests & Cases
  • Find a COVID-19 Test Online
  • DESE's Report on the number of positive COVID-19 cases in schools

Town-Specific Information on COVID-19
Basic Needs
Constituent Questions | 617-722-2320 | Office Contact Information
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