Volume 5, Issue 1 | January 27, 2023
Dear Friends and Neighbors,

2023 is already off to an exciting start--this newsletter includes announcements about my priority bills for this term, highlights from a selection of recent events and announcements relevant to the district, and a brief public health section. If you would like to review the accomplishments of the previous 192nd Legislative Session, please refer to this newsletter from August of 2022. Please continue to be on the lookout for our press releases to stay up-to-date.

As always, serving our constituents is our top priority. In February, 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
Representative Meschino Files Priority Legislation for 193rd Legislative Session
This term, I filed several bills to advance a wide range of policy initiatives, including legislation to drive the transition to clean energy, to secure sustainable revenue for community media centers, to foster permanent supportive housing for chronically homeless people, and to minimize trauma on children in the foster care system, among others.

Our first of three pieces of priority legislation this term is HD.3005, An Act creating a climate bank in Massachusetts. A climate bank or “green” bank develops ways to finance clean energy adoption, which would drive the shift toward a clean energy future. This work builds on the Legislature's passing of my previous bill The 2050 Roadmap.

The second priority legislation that I filed is An Act to modernize funding for community media programming (HD.215). This bill would ensure that local cable and community media centers continue to be financially sustainable. Last session, the legislation gained widespread bipartisan support from over 60 legislators and received further praise from community media centers and advocates across the Commonwealth.

The final major bill, An Act to create and implement a Massachusetts Flexible Supportive Housing Subsidy Pool Program (HD.216), would braid public and private funding streams to better meet the needs of homeless individuals, families, and unaccompanied youth. Cosponsored by 18 lawmakers last session, the legislation made it out of both the Housing and Healthcare Financing Committees in the 192nd Session.

All bills will soon be assigned to a committee for review and initial disposition. Each and every bill will have a public hearing. Hearings are scheduled by subject matter, typically beginning in the spring, and will be conducted throughout the 193rd Session.

If you would like to track specific bills and their progress through the Legislature, please visit https://malegislature.gov/ and make an account at the top right corner of the webpage. My staff is able to help track bills as well--feel free to contact our office with any questions.
DTA Connect Mobile App Updates Coming Soon
Starting February 16, 2023, the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) Connect mobile app and online portal are aligning. This change expands the number of clients who may be able to utilize the app now. In addition, there are currently some features that are only available online that are not available on the app.

Additional features that will now also be available on the mobile app include checking SNAP eligibility, applying for SNAP and cash benefits, and completing SNAP recertifications. Finally, the agency is also launching a new webpage at Mass.gov/DTAConnectHelp. Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office staff with any questions.
MassHealth Redeterminations Beginning in April 2023
As part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023, the federal government has ended the continuous coverage requirements that prevented a member’s MassHealth coverage from ending during the COVID-19 emergency. Beginning April 1, 2023, all current MassHealth members will need to renew their health coverage to ensure they still qualify for their current benefits. These renewals will take place over 12 months. In order to reduce the number of qualified members that lose their coverage, MassHealth is working with the Massachusetts Health Connector, Health Care For All, and other partners to make sure members know how to renew their coverage and are aware of other affordable health coverage options if needed.

Again, please feel free to contact my office with any questions about the renewal process.
COVID SNAP Extra Benefits Ending In February 2023
The recently passed Congressional Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 also ends the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) extra temporary benefits, known as SNAP Emergency Allotments, as of February 2023. This means that households who collect this extra SNAP benefit will receive their last payment on March 2, 2023.

Households can tell DTA about changes in personal circumstances by uploading information via the agency’s free mobile app and online portal DTA Connect, calling the DTA Assistance Line at 877-382-2363, visiting a local DTA office, or working with one of the department’s over 100 SNAP outreach partners. My Legislative Aides also have a strong understanding of the resources available to SNAP beneficiaries; please reach out with any questions in this time of transition.
2023 Better Beaches Grant Application Now Open
Save the Harbor and the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) will be granting more than $300,000 to groups and creatives with fun, unique ideas to bring free public events to our region’s beaches this summer. In 2022, Save the Harbor’s Better Beaches Program leveraged nearly $270,000 to 68 organizations in nine waterfront communities from Nahant to Nantasket. In turn, those organizations ran 188 events, including festivals, movie nights, concerts, beach parties, fitness classes, sailing and kayaking sessions, speaker series, and summer programs.

Save the Harbor will be accepting Requests for Proposals (RFP) via a Google Form until March 13th at https://www.savetheharbor.org/better-beaches. Organizations and individuals are both eligible to apply. The Better Beaches Grants Committee will review the proposals and notify you of their decisions by April 7th, 2023.

Please contact Maya Smith at smith@savetheharbor.org with any questions or to talk about your great idea!
Representative Meschino Sworn In for Fourth Term in House of Representatives
On January 4, 2023, I was officially sworn in for my fourth term in the House of Representatives. I was honored to have my sister Jill by my side during the inaugural session. I look forward to continuing to serve the residents in Hingham, Hull, and Cohasset. Below are some photos from the House Chamber.
Left: Representative Meschino takes an oath to swear into the 193rd Legislative Session.

Right: Representative Meschino and her sister Jill pose for a family photo at the Speaker's podium.
Rep. Meschino Attends Regional Inauguration Event with Governor Healey and Lt. Governor Driscoll
On January 3, I joined now-Governor team Maura Healey and Kim Driscoll at the South Shore regional inauguration event at the Boys and Girls Club in Taunton. Looking forward to working alongside these two statewide leaders to support the goals of our coastal towns.
Representative Meschino (left) takes a selfie with Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll (second from left), Governor Maura Healey (second from right), and Representative Adam Scanlon (back right).
Rep. Meschino Honors 3rd Plymouth Residents at MA Center for the Book Awards
On January 18, I had the opportunity to recognize two residents of the Third Plymouth District with Senator Patrick O'Connor at the annual Massachusetts Center for the Book Awards.

Congratulations to award winner Jerald Walker of Hingham and honors recipient Katherine Sherbrooke of Cohasset for their books “How to Make a Slave and Other Essays” and “Leaving Coy’s Hill”, respectively. These books, which share themes of triumph through identity, were honored in the State House for their cultural impact and critical acclaim. Happy reading, and congratulations on making your mark as authors of the Commonwealth’s story!
Left: Representative Meschino presenting honors to Katherine Sherbrooke with Senator O'Connor.

Right: Representative Meschino and Senator O'Connor award citations to Mrs. Sherbrooke and Mr. Walker.
Rep. Meschino Celebrates Residential "Smart Home" Construction in Weymouth
On January 26, I attended a ribbon-cutting and tour of a newly-constructed residential "smart home" hosted by The Arc of the South Shore, a community-based non-profit providing resources for individuals with disabilities. This smart home has updated technological features that allow its residents to exercise self-determination while fostering independence, safety, and improved quality of life.

Thank you to The Arc of the South Shore for your commitment to increased accessibility through technology and to the empowerment of our residents with disabilities.
Left: Representative Meschino joins the ribbon-cutting at the new residential smart home with Senator O'Connor.

Right: Representative Meschino awards a joint citation to The Arc of the South Shore organization.
Announcing Office Hours for February

Constituent services are our top priority. We continue to work remotely on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, a staff member will be present in the State House. On Mondays, I host 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 Legislative Aide.

  • Monday, February 6, 10:00 am - 11:00 am, Linden Ponds, for Linden Ponds residents
  • Monday, February 13, 9:00 am - 11:00 am, Willcutt Commons, 91 Sohier St, Cohasset
  • Monday, February 27, 4:00 am - 5:00 pm, Hingham Public Library, 66 Leavitt St, Hingham

To learn more about our constituent services, please visit our website.
CDC Authorizes Updated Bivalent COVID-19 Booster Shot
The CDC has now endorsed the use of booster shots that are specifically reformulated to combat the two most prevalent Omicron subvariants. The CDC recommends that everyone 12 and older who has not received a vaccine within the past 2 months should get the updated booster. However, people who have recently had a COVID infection may consider delaying the booster by 3 months from symptom onset or positive test (if the infection was asymptomatic) according to the CDC’s vaccine advisers.

Updated boosters for kids younger than 12 will likely be made available later this fall. The push for the updated boosters comes at a good time, as health officials are warning that another spike in COVID-19 transmission is likely this fall as people head back indoors once again. The updated boosters are currently available in Massachusetts.
Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine & Booster
Here are the steps to find a convenient location to get a COVID-19 vaccine and booster:

  1. Visit the VaxFinder tool at vaxfinder.mass.gov for a full list of locations. Residents are able to narrow results to search for locations that are offering vaccines and boosters, with appointments available now for booking.
  2. For individuals who are unable to use VaxFinder, or have difficulty accessing the internet, the COVID-19 Vaccine Resource Line (Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM to 6:00 PM, Saturday and Sunday 9 AM-2 PM) is available by calling 2-1-1 and following the prompts for assistance. The COVID-19 Vaccine Resource Line is available in English and Spanish. Translators are available in nearly 100 other languages.
  3. Parents who prefer to have their adolescent vaccinated by a primary care provider should call their provider’s office directly.

Vaccines are widely available in Massachusetts. Getting vaccinated is the most important thing people can do to protect themselves, their families, and the community.

The COVID-19 booster is safe, effective, and free. People do not need an ID or health insurance to get a booster shot and do not need to show a vaccine card when getting a booster. Additional information on the COVID-19 booster, including FAQs, can be found at mass.gov/COVID19booster.
General Resources

COVID-19 Vaccines

COVID-19 Tests, Cases & Treatment

Town-Specific Information on COVID-19
Basic Needs
  • Tool to find healthy foods
  • Free outdoor Wi-Fi map through the public libraries
  • Eviction Diversion Initiative website with resources for tenants, landlords, and others needing housing assistance
  • SafeLink 24/7 Crisis Hotline for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault: 877-785-2020
  • Mental Health Resources:
  • MassSupport for free mental health support resources
  • HandholdMA.org for parents of school-aged children in Massachusetts concerned about their child's mental health
  • 24-hour Parental Stress Line at 1.800.632.8188, offered through Parents Helping Parents
  • Utilities:
  • The AGO website has a utility FAQ page and consumer flyers with details about available programs to manage bills and prevent shutoff
  • Boating Safety/Vessel Examination:
  • Contact United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Division 12 Commander Matthias Mulvey
Constituent Questions | 617-722-2320 | Office Contact Information
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