January was a big month for Lawrence State Representative Marcos Devers’ office.
It began with the hiring of a new legislative aide, who will handle the constituent services role in the office. With a full staff, Representative Devers’ office assisted five new Lawrence residents with issues this month in addition to over 2 dozen open cases from 2021. The hope is that with a full staff, this capacity will increase drastically in 2022. Representative Devers can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions or problems.
In legislative news, Representative Devers co-sponsored eleven bills this month, including the following:
H.1378 (An Act enabling local options for tenant protections) which would create tenant and foreclosure protections as well as provide municipalities the option to remove prohibitions against rent control
H.1378 protects tenant rights by providing municipalities with a variety of flexible options to help address the Commonwealth’s housing emergency in a locally appropriate manner.
These options include: establishing distinct anti-displacement zones ; providing eviction protections for tenants, with exceptions for cases in which the courts find just cause for the eviction; requiring landlords to provide additional information to tenants when issuing a notice to quit for nonpayment of rent, this additional documentation includes rental assistance program information, applicable trial court rules, relevant state and federal restrictions, and more; creating protections from immediate rent increases; regulating the payment of deposits and non-refundable move-in fees for tenants.
H.273 (An Act establishing an Office of Youth Development), which would establish a state-wide office of youth development to coordinate research-backed programs and activities for the Commonwealth’s youth population, with an emphasis on anti-violent and anti-gang behaviors, positive social behaviors, improving education results, job opportunities / career and employment options, community building, the performing and creative arts, and more.
H.3413 (An Act to increase regional transit accessibility in the Commonwealth), which directly addresses the need for increased and predictable funding for RTA operations as well as the need for increased and expanded RTA service to better accommodate residents.
Representative Devers also participated in a few very important House votes this month:
Voted yes on H.4340, which provides $30 million to expand COVID testing sites and $25 million for masks for students and teachers in elementary and secondary school districts. The House passed this bill with bipartisan support.
Voted yes on H.4359, An Act fostering voter opportunities, trust, equity, and security. This bill makes vote-by-mail and expanded early voting permanent in the Commonwealth, stops jail-based disenfranchisement (better voting access for incarcerated folks who have the right to vote), and more.
The House passed the bill.
As Vice Chair for the Joint Committee on Transportation, Representative Devers attended four committee hearings in January. He also was honored to be in attendance for the inauguration ceremony for the Lawrence city council, the School Board, and the Lawrence Tech School Board. He was also present for Governor Baker’s State of the Commonwealth Address.◊