Volume 3, Issue 9 | January 29, 2021
Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Looking ahead, 2021 is full of promise. The legislative session is underway. We took our first two votes this Wednesday. First was to extend the House emergency pandemic rules so we can conduct legislative business through 7/31/2021. Second was to vote to enact The Next Generation Roadmap. The bill is now on the Governor's desk. We continue to be busy working closely with our local municipalities to secure vaccines for our communities. As always, constituent services are our top priority. We continue to work remotely and our office is fully functioning. Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of assistance.

Very truly yours, Joan Meschino
COVID-19 Vaccination Updates
Beginning Monday, February 1st, residents age 75 and older are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine in Massachusetts. Right now, and until more vaccines are readily available, there will be a very high demand for a limited number of appointments through the online platform. More mass vaccination sites will be announced soon in other locations.

If you’re now eligible, you can visit www.mass.gov/COVIDVaccine to schedule an appointment.

Be sure to check with your local town, too. Cohasset, Hingham, and Hull have only line registration pages to administer the vaccine to local residents.

You can also use this link to the COVID-19 vaccine map to find the closest vaccination centers and schedule an appointment.
New Grant Programs for COVID-Affected Industries
Travel And Tourism Recovery Grant Program: 
The Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism has opened the Travel and Tourism Recovery Grant Program. This program contains one million dollars, provided by the Tourism Trust Fund, dedicated to marketing projects that support the My Local MA campaign, enhance tourism recovery, and have the potential to increase non-resident visitation.
  • Applications for the competitive funding grant opened on January 22nd, 2021 and applications are due on February 15th, 2021. Awards will be announced in March.
  • Interested parties should read the RFR and submit an application.

Regional Pilot Project Grant Program:
The Regional Pilot Project Grant Program promotes regional recovery from the economic impacts of the 2019 novel coronavirus through partnerships. Funded with the support of the FY21 Budget appropriation, the program is open to municipalities, public entities, or exempt 501(c) organizations. The goal of this program is for municipalities and organizations to work together to create solutions for recovery in their specific economies. 
  • Applications for the program opened on January 22nd, 2021 and they will close on February 10th, 2021.
  • Interested parties should read the RFR and submit an application.

Mass Cultural Council Festivals Program:
The Festivals Program provides $500 awards to festivals taking place between March 1st and August 31st, 2021. These awards help festivals programmers meet the needs of producing, promoting, and developing festival audiences. In this round, festival producers may apply for a grant to support producing an on-line or in-person festival or for audience development and engagement activities. There will be an informational session held virtually for prospective applicants on February 4th. 
  • Applications close on March 15th, 2021.
  • Interested parties should read more and apply here.
Health Connector Extends Open Enrollment Until Mar. 23
Residents who need to buy health insurance will now have until March 23 to get coverage through the Massachusetts Health Connector's open enrollment period. Open enrollment was originally scheduled to end last Saturday, January 23. The two-month extension will give people, particularly those harmed economically by the COVID-19 pandemic, extra time to make sure they are covered. Click here to begin the enrollment process.
COVID-19 Testing Pilot Launched for Child Care Programs
On Monday, Massachusetts announced the launch of a pilot COVID-19 testing program dedicated to providing on-demand PCR testing to child care providers and the families they serve to ensure easy access to testing when there is suspected COVID-19 exposure. 

In addition, the Department of Early Education and Care is dedicating $8 million in state and federal funds to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) to distribute to child care providers at no cost. Child care providers will be able to order up to a one-month supply of PPE, including masks for children and adults, gloves, hand sanitizer, and other supplies.
Outdoor Wi-Fi Map Provided by MA Public Libraries
Massachusetts public libraries were quick to act when COVID-19 shut down indoor use, pivoting to continue to serve their communities in a safe manner. Enabling and strengthening outdoor Wi-Fi, or leaving the signal on all night, is one of the many ways that libraries have adapted services even while their buildings are closed.

The Board of Library Commissioners have developed an interactive map to help residents locate libraries with outdoor Wi-Fi access. Residents can browse the map, or enter their location to find libraries near them offering outdoor Wi-Fi. The map also lets users know if a library PIN is needed, any necessary login information, and where the best signal is located.
Savvy Senior Consumer Day
Join Attorney General Healey and staff for an overview of our actions and programs to assist seniors affected by scams/fraudulent activities during the COVID-19 pandemic. At this brief online summit, seniors and service providers will learn about preventive measures, a variety of protection guidelines, and assistance available that can be used to assist seniors in our communities across the Commonwealth.
The Savvy Senior Consumer Protection Day Virtual Summit will take place on
  • Tuesday, February 23, 2021 from 10:30 a.m – 12:00 p.m. Please register here.
RMV Extends Dedicated Senior Hours Thru End of March
The RMV has announced it will continue to offer designated Wednesday appointment hours for customers 75 years of age or older through March 2021. Individuals in this age group are required by state law to renew their Massachusetts driver’s license in-person. Beginning in February, the RMV will also be expanding the license renewal appointments available for these customers to include registration and title services and transactions.
Below are the options for seniors to schedule in-person appointments during designated service hours:
  • If you are a AAA member, you may make a reservation now to renew your driver’s license/ID or conduct certain other transactions at a AAA location. Visit aaa.com/appointments to schedule your visit.
  • If you are not a AAA member, visit Mass.Gov/RMV to make a reservation to renew or conduct most other transactions at an RMV Service Center. Visit the Make/Cancel a Reservation transaction tab in the MyRMV Service Center and select “Senior Transaction” for all available RMV transactions. Reservations can be booked two weeks in advance.
Contact the RMV for assistance: MassDOTRMVSeniors@dot.state.ma.us or 857-368-8005.
Rep. Meschino Speaks at MA Appleseed Press Conference
Rep. Meschino spoke at an event for the Massachusetts Appleseed Center for Law and Justice regarding language access. During the event, she spoke about the bill she is planning to file with Representative Adrian Madaro, titled An Act to create access to justice.

“Disparate impact discrimination is discrimination, regardless of intent. Our bill enfranchises those who are discriminated against to take legal action in defense of their civil rights. Access to state courts is essential to safeguard the civil rights of Massachusetts families, and Representative Madaro and I look forward to introducing the bill in the coming weeks," said Rep. Meschino.
We Continue Holding Office Hours Virtually!

We continue to hold office hours via Zoom! Please call the office at 617-722-2320 or email to reserve a time slot in the new year:

  • Monday, February 1, 4-5 PM
  • Monday, February 8, 4-5 PM
  • Tuesday, February 16, 4-5 PM
  • Monday, February 22, 4-5 PM

To learn more about our constituent services, please visit our website.
Important Links and Resources

  • MEMA has developed an interactive map showing the locations of COVID-19 testing sites around the Commonwealth.

  • HandholdMA.org website for parents of school-aged children in Massachusetts concerned about their child's mental health.

  • Massachusetts residents can seek COVID-19 testing through the Stop the Spread Initiative which provides free testing in high-priority locations.

  • DESE's report on the number of positive COVID-19 cases in schools.

  • SafeLink 24/7 Crisis Hotline for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault: 877-785-2020.

Stay Informed
Visit your town websites to learn the most recent information, local services, and guidance from our municipal officials.

State Resources

Federal Resources
Constituent Questions | 617-722-2320 | Office Contact Information
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