Dear Friends,
While it seems a lifetime ago now, the first quarter of 2020 was quite busy for me as a member of the Legislature, until life as we knew it came to an abrupt stop as the pandemic ravages. I realize that everyone's attention is rightly focused on the enormous public health challenge before us, however, I believe it is important to keep you updated on the work of the Legislature and my own endeavors as your State Representative. I have kept this update brief and yet I hope it is informative.
The  Governor delivered his annual State of the State address in January and I was honored to be among the legislators selected to escort Lt. Governor Karyn Polito and the constitutional office holders to the House Chamber. I was pleased that Governor Baker lauded the work that Lt. Governor Polito has done across the Commonwealth and especially in the efforts to address and diminish Sexual and Domestic Violence. It was great to have Shrewsbury Town Manager Kevin Mizikar and SELCO General Manager Michael Hale in the Gallery during the Governor's speech.

In February,  the Joint Committee on Ways and Means, of which I am a member, kicked off the first of eight statewide hearings on the FY21 $44.6 billion budget filed by the Baker-Polito Administration. The hearings are an opportunity for the various executive offices and secretariats to present to lawmakers their priorities as expressed through their budget requests and lawmakers an opportunity to question the funding requests. We were unfortunately unable to hold the last two of our hearings due to COVID-19.

Conversations with Hannah

Selectman Beth Casavant sat down with me in January to record an episode of "Conversations with Hannah", where we discussed the end of the first year of the 190th Legislative Session and some of the major legislation passed. You can watch that episode here.
I also recorded a show a COVID-19 focused show this past week that provides an update on the Commonwealth's response to this devastating pandemic. You can watch the episode here.

Special Commission Appointments

Massachusetts Commission on Unaccompanied Homeless Youth
In January the House Minority Leader Bradley Jones appointed me to serve as a member on the Commission. I will work with other legislators, state officials, formerly homeless youth and advocacy groups to identify ways to improve access to housing and services for Massachusetts residents under the age of 25 who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. 
Special Commission on Family Care and Child Care Services
Governor Baker appointed me as his designee on the Special Commission tasked with examining similar state and federal laws to see if it is possible to offer Massachusetts candidates for state, county and municipal offices the option to use campaign funds for childcare expenses.

Beacon Hill Update

UMass UWiL
It is always exciting to meet with the amazing young women in the UMass Women in Leadership program. UWiL helps prepare students for public leadership and the students met with various legislators and leaders at the State House as part of their experience to learn more about public service.  
Mass. Academy of Math & Science
Faculty, staff and students from the Mass. Academy of Math & Science at WPI presented outstanding research learning projects at the State House in January. The passion and hard work that went into the projects was evident and exemplified the great teaching and learning that goes on at Mass Academy. Shrewsbury and Westborough residents, including Alex Nedelescu, Lance Wong, Daniel Simpson, Suhani Amin, Arun Chintalapati, Neha Perumal, Andrew Youssef, Anusha Loganathan, and Zoie Leo, were among the excellent and knowledgeable presenters. 
American Heart Association 
The American Heart Association hosted their annual Go Red for Women State House event to draw attention to the #1 killer of women. Cardiovascular disease kills one woman every 80 seconds and takes more lives than all forms of cancer combined, yet prevention can save 80% of women from suffering this deadly disease. Please encourage all women you know to get screened and prevent heart disease!  

Briefings & Legislative Forums

COVID-19 Oversight Hearing
The Joint Committee on Public Health, of which I am the Ranking Minority House member, held an oversight hearing on March 4th on Massachusetts' Preparedness and Response to the COVID-19 Outbreak.  The hearing featured three panels with representatives from the Department of Public Health, medicine and academia, and local and community public health. The panels provided information and insight on four critical questions:
  • Current efforts to track, contain and respond to the virus in Massachusetts, both by the state government and the broader health care system;
  • The Commonwealth's capacity to respond to foreseeable and unforeseeable challenges;
  • Any potential gaps in resources of which the Legislature should be aware and work to fill; and
  • Efforts to ensure a unified response to COVID-19. 
The Joint Committee provided an overview of the panel's testimony to Legislators as well.

Route 20 Corridor Master Transportation Plan
While I could not attend as the House was still in formal session that evening, MassDOT hosted a meeting at the Shrewsbury Public Library to give a presentation on the final Shrewsbury Route 20 Master Plan Report that I had requested they undertake and which was completed after nearly four years of study, analysis and planning. You can view and download the report  here  and under the "What would you like to do?" header you can click on "View the Executive Summary and Master Plan Report." The Executive Summary and Report are available by clicking on the respective links. Please note that the Master Plan is broken up into four separate files. The plan will be implemented over time as project funding becomes available and as new developments along Route 20 are permitted.

Suffrage Centennial Displays
The M assachusetts  Caucus of Women Legislators celebrated women and 100 years of suffrage with a display of Suffrage Centennial Display Panels depicting key leaders in the suffrage movement. Current women leaders in the House and Senate also spoke of historical women who helped shape the landscape for women to vote.

Dunkin' Meeting
I attended a very informative meeting at the invitation of local franchisee owner Rob Branca with Dunkin' Brands corporate leadership and franchisee owners in Massachusetts to discuss issues and opportunities they see ahead. 

Legislative Update

Transportation Revenue Bill
In early March I opposed a House-backed proposal to raise the gas tax and implement additional policy changes that would collectively increase taxes on Massachusetts residents and employers by more than $600 million a year. Under the bill, the motor vehicle excise tax would rise from 24 cents per gallon to 29 cents per gallon, while the tax on diesel would increase to 33 cents per gallon. Currently set at $456, the corporate minimum excise tax would also be replaced by a nine-tier structure that would result in some businesses paying a minimum excise tax as much as $150,000. Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) would see an increase of the current 20 cents per ride fee, to $1.20 and $2.20 depending whether the ride was non-shared or luxury. I opposed this legislation as I believe it will adversely impact the state's taxpayers and hinder job growth, and the Baker-Polito Administration has indicated that the taxes were not needed to fund the transportation improvements planned and underway.
Transportation Bond Bill
The House passed a multi-year transportation bond bill that provides more than $18.2 billion in funding authorizations for municipal infrastructure projects and improvements to the state's transportation system. During the floor debate, I successfully secured funding for several local projects, including $1.4 million for the reconstruction of the Toblin Hill Bridge in Shrewsbury and working with my House colleagues who represent Westborough, Reps. Dykema and Gregoire, we secured $250,000 for parking improvements at the Commuter Rail Station in Westborough. We also secured an amendment creating a multi-stakeholder standing working group to investigate, develop, implement and coordinate a mitigation plan for the Allston I-90 corridor before and during the 10-year construction of the Allston Multimodal Project.  The bond bill, paid for through existing revenues, is currently pending in the Senate.

Nicky's Law
On January 15th the House of Representatives unanimously passed the sadly necessary "Nicky's Law" which will establish a registry of caretakers found to have substantiated abuse against persons with intellectual disability or developmental disability. As a Trustee of Seven Hills Foundation and a member of the Human Rights Core Committee I was critically aware of the necessity for this registry and proud to have been a cosponsor of this legislation. I am deeply appreciative of the advocacy work done by many, including the lead sponsor of the Senate bill Senator Mike Moore. The legislation has been signed into law by the Governor.
Municipal Public Health Services
At the end of February, the House took up a bill I co-filed with Rep. Denise Garlick on strengthening the local and regional public health system in the Commonwealth and it received a unanimous vote in the House. H4503, legislation that was the outcome of an 18-month Special Commission I served on, will make the public health system more efficient and effective. It provides for dedicated workforce training and planning and implementation support in advancing shared services across multiple municipalities. Shrewsbury is a part of the 7-member Central MA Regional Health Alliance and that shared services arrangement is one of the successful models that other cities and towns can adopt to increase their public health services capacity. The legislation passed the Senate in March and we are now working out a few differences in the bills and hope to get this legislation to the Governor's desk soon. 

Host Community Agreements
The House passed H4367, An Act relative to host community agreements, in February. The legislation gave the explicit authority to the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) to regulate host community agreements. I opposed this legislation as I believe the existing law, which I helped write, already provides the CCC the ability to ensure that the agreements comply with the law, and I believed that this legislation weakens local control. I was able to secure passage of an amendment that clarified that marijuana establishments may provide additional donations not stipulated in a host agreement if they chose to do so. The legislation is now pending in the Senate.
Local Affordable Housing Legislation
Senator Mike Moore  and I testified together before the Joint Committee on Housing on a home rule petition we filed at the request of the town of Shrewsbury, S2389, that would classify manufactured/mobile homes as affordable under Chapter 40B that have been located in the same location for more than 20 years. 

Speaking Opportunities

Westborough's Mill Pond School Student Council
I loved the opportunity to talk with the members of  Westborough's  Mill Pond School first Student Council about how to be an effective representative of the constituents you are serving. The fourth, fifth and sixth grade students had terrific questions and were excellent listeners and I was grateful for the chance to spend time with these eager young learners and leaders.

Corridor 9/495 Regional Chamber of Commerce Legislative Breakfast
Corridor 9/495 Regional Chamber of Commerce hosted their annual Legislative Breakfast in January.  We had a good discussion on pressing issues before the Legislature including transportation, workforce development, housing and climate change. I am always eager for opportunities to hear directly from the business community.  

Business and Government Forum on Congestion and Transportation
The Worcester and Marlborough Regional Chambers of Commerce hosted a Business and Government Forum in February on Congestion and Transportation. Representative Carolyn Dykema and I served on the panel along with MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak, Keolis General Manager/CEO David Scorey and MassHighway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver. The discussion focused on congestion occurring in the MetroWest and Central MA regions and Greater Boston, the work to make the T more reliable and expand capacity, plans to expand parking and the major transportation projects coming up including the I-495/I-90 Interchange and the decade long Allston Multimodal construction project.

MassBio Rare Disease Day 
February is Rare Disease Month and I was honored to speak to the more than 500 attendees at the  MassBio  Rare Disease Day forum on H4268, legislation that I filed with Representative Joe McKenna to create a Rare Disease Advisory Council in the Commonwealth. The forum included a panel of young patients with rare diseases - it was inspiring and I was amazed listening to them speak about their own journeys and how they are working to help others who are battling rare disease. I am thrilled to have the support of MassBio on this piece of legislation, as well as my bill to increase the access to cancer clinical trials.

Local Grants/Awards

Shrewsbury and Westborough Fire Departments Receive Grants
The Baker-Polito Administration awarded Westborough $4,565 and Shrewsbury $5,663 in SAFE (Student Awareness of Fire Education) grants, and $2,552 for Westborough and $2,730 for Shrewsbury in Senior SAFE grants.
Shrewsbury and Westborough Businesses Receive Training Grants
Four local businesses have received training grants from the Baker-Polito Administration to help improve productivity and competitiveness. 
  • CSI MFG, Inc. in Westborough received $44,800 to train 45 workers and anticipates adding 2 jobs by 2021.
  • Inteplast Engineered Films in Westborough received $143,000 to train 64 workers and anticipates adding 14 jobs by 2021.
  • Metso in Shrewsbury received $227,000 to train 450 workers by 2021.
  • MLS Property Information Network in Shrewsbury received $89,600 to train 59 workers and anticipates adding 3 jobs by 2021.
Community Events, Town Celebrations & Recognitions

New Shrewsbury and Westborough Firefighters
Selectman Beth Casavant and I visited with Shrewsbury's four new firefighters who started their training in January thanks to a successful grant application the Fire Department and the Town submitted to the federal governments. Congratulations and thanks to Firefighters Connor Jordan, Alex Milosz, Mike Penney and Craig Mawdsley for choosing a career in public safety!

Congratulations also to  Westborough  Fire Department Captain Edward Manion and Lieutenant Roger Busha who were officially promoted at a Selectmen's meeting, along with welcoming to Firefighter Mark Williams! Thank you all for your selfless commitment to public safety!
Celebrating Retired Shrewsbury Library Director Ellen Dolan
Ellen Dolan served as an exemplary Shrewsbury Public Library Director for 15 years and she retired earlier this month. In January Ellen was honored with the SYFS Harry S. Cutting, Jr. Award for her commitment to community service and her leadership as an award-winning librarian who made our library a welcoming beacon for our community and town center. We also had a wonderful retirement celebration that highlighted Ellen's 15 years in  Shrewsbury  and 40 years working in a profession that she was passionate about. We have been so fortunate to have Ellen's leadership and she leaves a legacy of a beloved community library for future generations to enjoy!

Project 351 Ambassador
Each city and town have one 8th grade student represent them as a year-long Project 351 Ambassador. These young, quiet leaders, selected by educators in their community, unite for a year of service and a year of growth in their own leadership capabilities and together their impact across the Commonwealth is enormous. I was excited to present Emma Keeley,  Shrewsbury's  Project 351 Ambassador, with a citation from the House of Representatives in front of her team at Oak. I acknowledged Emma as exactly what personifies an Ambassador - a kind and compassionate student who exemplifies humility and gratitude. I am excited to present a citation soon to Westborough's Project 351 Ambassador.

Beal Topping Off
On a beautiful and very COLD! morning we celebrated the topping off of the new Beal elementary school. I expressed my gratitude to all the construction workers who have been out there every workday this winter - our project is on-time for a fall 2021 opening and on-budget!

RESPECTfully Forum with Students at Oak Middle School
On Valentine's Day I joined Lt. Governor Karyn Polito at Oak Middle School to talk to students about Healthy Relationships. The RESPECTfully campaign launched by the Baker-Polito Administration is the first statewide campaign in 20 years to encourage youth to understand what a healthy relationship looks like and what are the signs of unhealthy ones. The Oak students did a terrific job sharing their own perspectives and ideas of how best to share this message with other students!
Dr. Ruth Potee Presentation
In early March nationally recognized speaker Dr. Potee presented "Under Construction - What every parent must know about your tween's/teen's brain development," a forum I sponsored and SYFS and SCAPE (Shrewsbury Coalition for Addiction, Prevention and Education) co-hosted. This community awareness on adolescent brain development and its impact on teen risk taking, including alcohol, vaping and substance abuse is a critical primer for parents and middle and high-school students, and I encourage anyone who missed it to watch it here.

Local Events, Meetings and Initiatives

Spending time in Shrewsbury and Westborough supporting local initiatives, attending events and speaking on issues important to our community are the most rewarding aspects of being State Representative. Here is a sampling of initiatives and events from the last few months.
  • Westborough Boy Scout Troop 100 has three new Eagle Scouts! Congratulations to Chad Buccella, Navdeh Bimrah and Nathan Wright and also to Shrewsbury Troop 114's newest Eagle Scout Kevin Welch!
  • The Shrewsbury Education Foundation awarded the Shrewsbury High School Unified Club with the Community Service Award this year, acknowledging the tremendous commitment the Club made to ensuring the opportunity for all to participate in high school extracurricular activities and sports. So proud of all the young people who worked hard to be inclusive and to Shrewsbury High School for being one of 179 schools nationally to be recognized for their commitment to opportunity for all students. 
  • I enjoyed congratulating all of the Westborough Economic Development Committee Award Recipients celebrated at the 6th annual event. I applaud Westborough for celebrating the success of the businesses and individuals contributing to the expanding economic footprint and thriving local economy. It was terrific to join Lt. Governor Polito and my Legislative colleagues in thanking all the town officials, the EDC and the local businesses who make Westborough a great place to live and work!
  • The 15-40 Connection presented their 3 Steps Detect education program on how to detect cancer early to allShrewsbury High School students in early March. Friends and family of Michael Bodge, a 28-year old SHS graduate who died of testicular cancer, set up the fund to support early cancer detection programs. Early detection saves lives but far too often young people dismiss warning signs. This free program helps students understand that persistent changes to their health that last 2-weeks should trigger a visit to a doctor to get checked out. While young people often feel invincible, cancer isn't discriminating and early detection is the best chance at a full recovery. Find more info on the free program and how to bring it to your school here. 
  • I joined Suzanne Remington's family and friends to congratulate her for being named CASA's Champion for Children "Volunteer of the Year"! Suzanne's heart is enormous and the vulnerable children in the care of DCF she listens to and advocates for have a force of nature on their side. Suzanne's is a bright light in their challenging young lives and her impact is immeasurable and I was thrilled to be on hand to see Suzanne receive this well-deserved award.
  • I was honored to attend the MA Chiefs of Police Association annual Legislative Breakfast with the outstanding Chiefs of Police for Shrewsbury Chief Jay Hester and Westborough Chief Jeff Lourie. I am always grateful for their leadership in our communities and for the selfless work of all our police officers and patrolmen to keep us safe!
  • It was a pleasure to join the Westborough Cultural Council at the Grant Reception to celebrate this year's 26 grantees. I am grateful to the Cultural Council for their commitment to enhancing cultural awareness and celebrating the arts in our community and I am proud to be a sponsor of Arts in Common!
  • Representatives Carolyn Dykema, Danielle Gregoire and I updated the Westborough School Committee on the major education legislation signed into law late last year, the Student Opportunity Act, and we also provided them with an overview of the Governor's proposed FY21 budget. We are honored to represent Westborough, a community that has an excellent education system and a commitment to keep improving the student learning experience.
  • In February I met with the Shrewsbury Housing Authority Commissioners at one of their monthly board meetings to discuss questions they had raised on the implementation of a new statewide system "CHAMP" for placing housing applicants. The Commissioners and I continue to be concerned that with the implementation of the new state-wide portal, accessing housing in the Shrewsbury Housing Authority is becoming increasingly difficult for local applicants to secure. 
  • Lakeway Business District held their General Meeting in early February. Proud to be a member!
As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to me or my Legislative Aide Anna Darrow. While the State House is currently closed to the public, Anna 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 Anna's email is and is her cell number is 802-373-2294. We always welcome your thoughts, perspectives and questions and please know that it an amazing honor to serve as your State Representative. 
Blessings to you and your family as you celebrate Passover and Easter. 

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

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