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2021-2022 Accomplishments

 PROVEN LEADERSHIP
WORKING FOR YOU

Now in my second term in office, I have worked tirelessly to deliver legislative victories, local funding, and forward-thinking advocacy for you, your family, and our community. Below, I have highlighted some of my top-line accomplishments during the 2021-2022 Massachusetts State Senate session. If you have any questions or ideas about the next big win we can achieve together, feel free to contact me and my team: 

Bringing Beacon Hill to You 

  • My team and I hosted 25 virtual and in-person office hours for constituents, as well as 8 coffee hours for seniors across our district, including in Franklin, Norfolk, Plainville, Needham and online. 

  • In 2021, during the heart of the pandemic, my office worked on over 500 constituent cases – including more than 200 cases to connect people with unemployment benefits. 

  • I created a Small Business Advisory Council comprised of local entrepreneurs across our district to inform my legislative work. 

  • I hosted 3 youth legislative forums and launched a Youth Advisory Council to hear the legislative priorities of our communities’ young folks.  

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Senator Rausch visiting Cold Chain Technologies, a Franklin-based manufacturer.

Jumpstarting our Communities’ Recovery from COVID-19 

The Legislature passed a $4 billion bill to allocate federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to support our continued recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. This bill is delivering broad spectrum supports to health care, mental and behavioral health, housing security, our environment, and workforce development. I was proud to secure numerous amendments to support our district and the Commonwealth at large, including supporting women re-entering the workforce, providing post-traumatic stress care for medical personnel, and $1,000,000 in investments for local housing, transportation, and water infrastructure in our district. 

Securing Millions of Dollars for Your Community 

In the 2021 to 2022 legislative session alone, I secured $25,089,000 for our district to fund a variety of initiatives within our communities. I am committed to putting dollars where our cities and towns say they need it most. Learn more about the investments in your community here.  

Protecting Reproductive Justice in Massachusetts 

For years, I have filed legislation that would make abortion and reproductive health care an explicit right in anticipation of the overturning of Roe v. Wade. I am incredibly proud that my legislative leadership led to the passage of An Act expanding protections for reproductive and gender-affirming care. This is a broad-spectrum reproductive justice package that:  

  • Makes abortion and all reproductive health care an explicit right, and paves a path for people to sue others who interfere with the exercising of that right 

  • Protects providers, residents, and visitors receiving legal health care in Massachusetts   

  • Guarantees access to emergency contraception  

  • Mandates health insurance coverage of abortion and abortion related care at no cost 

  • Allows providers to keep their home addresses confidential for their safety   

  • Ensures access to medication abortion on public college campuses 

Senator Rausch testifying to the Joint Committee on Children, Families, and Persons with Disabilities.

Climate Action 

This session, the Massachusetts Senate led the Legislature in passing nation-leading climate change legislation—twice. An Act creating a next-generation roadmap for Massachusetts climate policy sets a course for Massachusetts to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, and An Act driving clean energy and offshore wind will encourage the use of green energy in key sectors of the Massachusetts economy. My legislative proposal to monitor the carbon emissions of large buildings in our Commonwealth was included in this legislative package. 

Supporting our Communities through the COVID-19 Crisis 

I have been a leading voice in Massachusetts to keep you and your family safe during the pandemic. I am proud to have voted YES for bills that guaranteed COVID-19 emergency paid sick leave to workers and avoided drastic unemployment insurance (UI) rate increases for employers; invested $101 million in tests, vaccines, and masks; and secured other critically necessary measures to support our communities, including eviction protections, skilled nursing in assisted-living facilities, expanded outdoor dining and flexibility for our Commonwealth’s restaurant industry. 

Expanding Access to Mental Health Care 

The legislature passed landmark legislation to provide patients with equitable access to mental health care and support our behavioral health workforce. The Mental Health ABC Act mandates coverage for an annual mental health wellness exam and ensures fair and equitable mental health coverage rates consistent with primary care, protecting patients from unreasonable health care costs. This legislation is being hailed as the strongest mental health access law in the United States. 

Supporting Youth Mental Health 

During one of my youth legislative forums, my young constituents spoke frankly and fearlessly about classmates they lost to suicide, the real concerns about whether or not to seek help for mental health problems, and their clear need for accessible mental health supports. In response, I secured $1,000,000 in the FY '23 Senate Budget to expand the services of Hey Sam, a youth mental health support text line run by Samaritans, Inc.  

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Senator Rausch greeting students from the Newman Elementary school on a school trip to Beacon Hill.

Making It Easier to Cast Your Ballot 

The Governor signed the VOTES Act into law, a comprehensive elections reform package which will increase voting through permanent mail-in voting, improved jail-based voting access, and stronger government elections infrastructure. After authoring a robust slate of elections reform legislation this session, I proudly filed numerous amendments to strengthen this bill and position Massachusetts as a national leader in expanding ballot box access.  

Preventing Gun Violence in Massachusetts

As part of An Act to improve and modernize the information technology systems and capacities of the judiciary, the Legislature took swift action to strengthen the process of acquiring a license to carry a firearm, reducing the loopholes that put our cities and towns at increased risk of gun violence. 

Safeguarding Care for Veterans 

Following the tragic deaths of at least 76 veterans at the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke during the early days of the pandemic, the Legislature passed laws to increase access to long-term care services for veterans across the state. This included the construction of a modern facility for veterans in Holyoke, as well as the development of preventative measures to avoid future tragedies by restructuring the chain of command and increasing public oversight at veterans’ homes. 

Investing in the Commonwealth’s Transportation System 

The Legislature authorized more than $11 billion in bonds for a wide array of transportation infrastructure projects, including addressing safety concerns at the MBTA and bringing $10 million dollars for downtown and road improvements in Wrentham, upgrades to the Franklin Commuter Rail station, and road improvements in Bellingham, Dover, and Medfield. 

Educating Students on Genocide and Human Rights 

In response to growing concerns regarding anti-Semitic incidences in Massachusetts, my colleagues and I passed legislation requiring every middle school and high school in the Commonwealth to teach the history of genocide. This bill establishes a Genocide Education Trust Fund to promote and educate middle and high school students on the history of genocide and provide professional development training to assist educators with their teaching and curriculum development. 

Increasing Student Nutrition through Increased Access to School Meals

 

No family should go into debt for providing their children a nutritious school lunch. My colleagues and I passed a bill helping lower income school districts to enroll in federal programs—known as the Community Eligibility Provision and Provision 2—to provide free breakfast and lunch to all students. This legislation also minimizes families’ meal debt by requiring school districts to maximize federal revenues while also prohibiting schools from targeting students who carry meal-related debt with punitive practices, banning so called ‘meal-shaming.’

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Senator Rausch attending a bill signing with Governor Baker for the Genocide Education Bill.