July was an incredibly busy legislative month for Representative Devers. Because July 31st was the last day for formal legislative sessions for the 2021-2022 term, the House worked nonstop this month to pass several important pieces of legislation. In fact, the final session dealt with so much unfinished work that it continued well into the morning of August 1st. The Representative’s legislative work for this month included ten formal House sessions and an oversight hearing for the Joint Committee on Transportation, as well as a quarterly meeting with the Governor.
The first major piece of legislation was the SPEED Act, which addresses the immediate needs of the Commonwealth’s veteran community and residents on active duty by establishing the Massachusetts Medal of Fidelity, which expedites the professional licensure process for military spouses and waives proof of residency requirements for military families and their children for schooling, allowing them to register, enroll, and qualify for in-state tuition before proving residency in the Commonwealth.
The second piece of important legislation to pass the House was H.5007, An Act relating to economic growth and relief for the Commonwealth. This bill utilizes American Rescue Plan funding, FY’22 surplus funds, and bonds to make significant state investments, including one-time rebates and long-term tax relief. Representative Devers filed three amendments to the bill, all of which would benefit Lawrence residents through investments in local nonprofits. The Representative also co-sponsored 22 amendments, ranging in topic from bringing families out of deep poverty to Lawrence’s economic recovery to regional transit funding.
The next pieces of legislation passed by the House in July were two transportation-related bills and the SAPHE 2.0 bill. The transportation bills will give class 1 and 2 e-bike users to the same rights, privileges, and duties as non-electric bike users if they are not operating on the sidewalk and will require motorists to keep a safe distance from pedestrians, bicyclists, mobility device users, and others. Both transportation-related bills passed the House and will make the Commonwealth’s roadways safer and more efficient. The SAPHE 2.0 bill, H.4328, makes improvements to local and regional health systems. By establishing a statewide standard for local public health boards and the services they provide, dedicating state funding to the boards, and creating a uniform data collection and reporting system.
In addition to a large number of formal house sessions this month, Representative Devers attended the Joint Committee on Transportation’s MBTA oversight hearing, which was called to examine deficiencies in safety management at the MBTA. The committee, with Representative Devers as Vice Chair, will examine the MBTA’s structure, recent safety incidents, and federal oversight reports about the organization. This was the first oversight hearing on this topic this session, and the committee plans to hold future oversight hearings on MBTA safety and practices before the end of the year. Additionally, this month Representative Devers attended the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus’s quarterly meeting with Governor Baker to review the caucus’s priorities for the rest of the session.
Throughout this very busy month, Representative Devers was still out and about in Lawrence. Among other events, he attended the unveiling ceremony for eight new Lawrence Police cruisers and visited the Youth Voice summer program at the Lawrence YMCA to explain the importance of civics and share his story as a Dominican-born immigrant, teacher, and politician to the youth group.
Representative Devers’ office also functioned at full capacity throughout the busy month, not only supporting him in the flurry of legislative activities but keeping up with an increase in constituent cases as well. If you or someone you know has a problem in the city of Lawrence, Representative Devers can be contacted at his email, email@example.com ◊