By: State Rep. Marcos Devers – July, 2022
This June, State Representative Marcos Devers made a point to engage with the community.
With the start of summer weather, Semana Hispana, and a host of other events, Representative Devers was very active in Lawrence this month, even as the House continued to meet.
However, more importantly, the Representative’s office was still working at full capacity on constituent and community services above all else. New unemployment cases handled by Rep. Devers’ office dropped once again in June, but immigration and housing cases were still plentiful. If you or someone you know has a problem in the City of Lawrence, Representative Devers can be contacted at his email, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Massachusetts House of Representatives held quite a few formal House sessions and passed a slew of important legislation in June. One of the bills passed this month was H.4879, An Act addressing barriers to care for mental health.
This bill builds upon the state Senate’s Mental Health Plan, ABC 2.0, and includes provisions that will improve mental health care accessibility for all Commonwealth residents. The bill includes the implementation of the 988 mental health crisis line and expansion of the 911 line to allow for more appropriate and effective responses to mental health emergencies.
Additionally, the bill creates parity between mental and physical health care by ensuring that a licensed mental health clinician is available in all emergency departments, expanding school-based behavioral-health services, and expanding insurance coverage for mental health care. The bill passed unanimously in the House and Representative Devers was proud to vote in favor.
Another bill passed by the House this month was H.4897, An Act relative to Massachusetts’ transportation resources and climate. This bill focuses on investments in roads, bridges, transit, and climate resiliency by authorizing $10.9B for projects, including $400M to address ongoing safety concerns in the MBTA and $250M for the East-West passenger rail project. Representative Devers co-sponsored an amendment to this bill that specified funding for transportation infrastructure in Lawrence and another that addressed environmental justice transit accessibility.
The bill was passed unanimously.
The bulk of legislation passed by the House in formal sessions came in the last week of the month. The first bill is H.4929, An Act relative to step therapy and patient safety. This bill will limit the use of step therapy protocols, in which insurance companies refuse to pay for prescription drugs until the patient first tries cheaper, and oftentimes ineffective, alternatives. This legislation is a huge win for patients because it allows them to circumvent step therapy protocols in instances that would negatively impact their health. The bill passed the House unanimously, with Representative Devers voting in favor. The second bill, H.4930, An Act expanding protections for reproductive rights, is comprehensive legislation that protects reproductive and gender-affirming health care.
This bill expands access to emergency contraception and provides legal protections to providers, out-of-state patients, and insurers. The next bill, H.4931, An Act relative to pesticides, would monitor and reduce the use of Second-Generation Anticoagulant Rodenticides (SGARs) to protect our state’s wildlife. SGARs have an immense impact on non-targeted wildlife populations through secondary and tertiary exposure to the pesticides because the food chain is extensively contaminated; this legislation will help lower that devastating impact. The House passed this bill as well.
The House also voted again on the Work and Family Mobility Act (H.4805), this time to override Governor Baker’s veto of the bill. The veto was overridden in both the House and Senate, making the bill a law.
In addition to voting on the large number of important bills that went through the House this month, Representative Devers also participated in two meetings of the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus and a meeting of the Joint Committee on Small Business and Community Development, of which he is a member. ◊