Greetings from Beacon Hill! September has been abuzz with activity.
Community Immunity Act
As you may have heard, within 48 hours of the legislature coming back into session, I filed the Community Immunity Act to standardize and centralize immunization requirements and exemptions throughout the Commonwealth.
A culmination of months and months of work and collaboration with colleagues and activists, this monumental legislation is both system-changing and life-saving. Comprehensive public health infrastructure is a necessary component of solving any public health problem, and make no mistake about it – we have a problem here. Communities all across our Commonwealth have fallen below herd immunity rates.
The #CommunityImmunityAct, which I filed with Leader Paul Donato, aims to fix this problem, saving for another day the question of whether non-medical exemptions should continue to be permitted.
In addition, last week, I proudly testified in support of my comprehensive reproductive justice bill, the Pregnant Persons’ Health Act. I imagine you know this is an issue near and dear to my heart, and a bill that my district expressly sent me to Beacon Hill to file.
Reproductive justice is the ability for people, whatever their identities, to decide for themselves whether, when, and how to parent. That means autonomy, access, and affordability when it comes to birth control, pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and parenting. Abortion is a critically important health care issue, but it’s just one piece of a much bigger reproductive justice problem. We owe it to the people of Massachusetts to look at this comprehensively, and that’s exactly what my bill aims to do: ensure that folks have access to the full spectrum of reproductive care and feel safe and supported to maintain their bodily autonomy, whether or not they choose to have children.
I’m also working to address racial disparities in maternal health. Everyone deserves to be safe in any reproductive choice, and that certainly includes the choice to have a child. I’m proud to partner with Rep. Kay Khan and Rep. Liz Miranda on this critical legislation.
The committee I chair and all of the committees I sit on have been very active in September! Some highlights include:
voting in favor of “Nicky’s Law” to protect individuals with disabilities from caregiver abuse as a member of the Joint Committee on Children, Families, and Persons with Disabilities;
voting in favor of bills to increase coverage for postpartum depression screenings and diabetes prevention as a member of the Joint Committee on Public Health; and
just yesterday, as the Vice Chair of the Joint Committee on Elder Affairs, put my health care attorney experience to good use asking important questions about pending legislation concerning home health aide agencies and community based senior care services.
Later this week, I plan to vote in favor of legislation to ban dangerous flame retardant chemicals in children’s clothing and other household goods during a formal Senate session, just as I voted to advance this bill out of committee earlier this year.
Yours in service,