Sunday, January 31, 2021

Significant Winter Storm Potential for Later Monday into Tuesday

The National Weather Service is forecasting a winter storm to impact the Commonwealth later Monday into Tuesday. Most of Eastern Massachusetts is expected to have 8-12 inches of snow accumulation with lesser amounts (1 to 4 inches) in Southeast Massachusetts. The main concern is the potential of significant snow accumulations, however, there also is the risk for strong winds along with coastal flooding and beach erosion along the eastern MA coastline. Wind gusts are expected to reach between 40 to 55 mph along the eastern coastline with gusts reaching 55-60mph on Cape Cod and the islands.



Thursday, January 28, 2021

Mass Cultural Council has a grant opportunity available right now – the COVID-19 Relief Fund for Individuals, which provides $1,500 to artists who have lost personal income due to COVID cancellations and closures. The deadline to apply is Tuesday, Feb. 2. 

We have funding to award at least 430 $1,500 grants. Grants will be distributed via a lottery-style, random selection process. To ensure geographic diversity, grants will be awarded by region in proportion to the region’s application demand. 

The regions are as follows: 

  • · Greater Boston 
  • · Central 
  • · Metrowest 
  • · Northeast 
  • · Southeast 
  • · Western 

Learn more, here’s where you can get more info:



COVID-19 Command Center Announces More Details For Vaccine Online Booking Process

Thousands of appointments to be added weekly, most availability at mass vaccination sites 

Today, the Command Center provided additional instructions for the online booking process for residents 75 years and older for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Beginning February 1st, residents age 75 and older are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine in Massachusetts. Appointments became available yesterday for online booking at

Right now and until more vaccines are readily available, there is a very high demand for a limited number of appointments through the online platform.

Additional appointments will be added to the website regularly, with the most availability at mass vaccination sites. Some smaller sites, like CVS Health, will post a smaller number of new appointments daily.

More mass vaccination sites will be announced soon in other locations. On Wednesday, 10,000 appointments were posted in Springfield and Danvers and were filled within hours.

Today, Springfield and Danvers made another 15,000 appointments available, Gillette Stadium and Fenway Park posted a total of 20,000 appointments this morning. CVS Health will post 1,152 new appointments daily across their 8 sites, for a total of 8,000 per week. CVS Health is posting new appointments online daily.

In total, over 35,000 new appointments are live over the course of the day for appointments in the next 7 days.

Mass Vaccinations Sites (currently accepting appointments):

Gillette Stadium in Foxboro

Fenway Park in Boston

Eastfield Mall in Springfield

DoubleTree Hotel in Danvers

Currently, the mass vaccination sites are posting large batches of appointments once a week (on Thursdays) for the next 7 days. The number of appointments is based on the available number of doses allocated from the federal government to ensure every appointment is fulfilled with a dose. The mass vaccination sites plan to increase the number of appointments posted weekly in the coming weeks based on the federal allocation of vaccines shipped to Massachusetts. Residents are encouraged to check mass vaccination sites weekly for the most number of appointments. It could take weeks for eligible residents to secure an appointment based on availability and supply.

Steps to book an appointment online:

Visit and click on the map.

Select a location, schedule an appointment online.

Have your important information with you, such as your insurance card

Fill out the self-attestation form, which will need to be presented at your appointment.

Appointments are also available in other locations, including some pharmacies and community health centers. Some of these sites will post appointments more frequently, in some cases daily. Please check frequently for open appointments. These sites are smaller and will have fewer available appointments on a weekly basis. 



Wednesday, January 27, 2021

"Beam Signing Ceremony"

From time-to-time, students and school staff will leave an indelible mark on a school, today I had an opportunity to leave one. Thanks to an invitation from Pentucket Regional School District Superintendent of Schools Jonathan Seymour and Justin Bartholomew, Chair of the Building Committee, I was asked to sign the "last beam" that will be placed onto the new Middle/High School. Pentucket Regional is a regional school district with students from the towns of #Groveland, #Merrimac, and #WestNewbury, With State Rep. Lenny Mirra 




Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Tonight Governor Baker delivered a State of the Commonwealth Address that not only recognized the difficult times that we are enduring, but also the tenacity, innovation, collaboration, and countless acts of individual dedication and sacrifice that enable us to endure them with hope for the future, and pride in our state and our neighbors. 

Beyond any single issue or act, the Governor's words have spoken to the need for all of us to rise to the challenges of the times, to remember that we all have something to contribute to the effort and that we need to forge ahead with respect, civility, and an unyielding commitment to get to the brighter days which lay ahead.



Monday, January 25, 2021

Baker-Polito Administration Announces Expansion of COVID-19 Vaccination Sites, Updates to Phase Two

Vaccinations for Individuals 75+ to Begin on February 1 as part of Phase Two 

Today, the Baker-Polito Administration announced an expansion of COVID-19 vaccination sites in all parts of the Commonwealth, including new mass vaccination sites, pharmacy locations and local sites. By mid-February, the Administration expects there will be 165 vaccination sites in the Commonwealth. The Administration also announced updates to plans for Phase Two of the Commonwealth’s distribution plan. Individuals 75 years or older will now be the first priority group in Phase Two, and individuals 65 years and older have been moved into the second priority group, in addition to individuals with two comorbidities. Starting on February 1 individuals age 75 or older can be vaccinated. Vaccination sites can be found on the Commonwealth’s map at

Vaccination Site Expansion

The COVID-19 Response Command Center has been working with health care providers, local officials, pharmacies and others to set up additional COVID-19 vaccination sites across the Commonwealth, with a focus on accessibility and geographic equity.

As of this week, Massachusetts plans to have 103 publicly available vaccination sites. Between these sites and other vaccination clinic sites (e.g. congregate care, health systems), the Commonwealth currently has the capacity to administer 242,000 doses of vaccine per week. This capacity is significantly more than the 173,175 first and second doses that the Commonwealth expects to receive from the federal government this week.

By mid-February, the Administration expects there will be 165 publicly available vaccination sites. Between these sites and other vaccination clinic sites (e.g., congregate care, health systems) the Commonwealth will have capacity to administer 305,000 vaccinations per week. This capacity is significantly more capacity than the 189,640 doses that the Commonwealth expects to receive from the federal government that week.

It is important to note that the state’s capacity to vaccinate is not the same as the number of shots administered. Vaccine capacity is determined by the state’s plan to establish sites, staff and logistics in place to do 305,000 doses by mid-February. But, the actual number of vaccinations administered to residents depends on several variables, including the availability of doses from the federal government.

The Commonwealth is planning to set up the capacity to administer more doses than we are currently receiving from the federal government. If Massachusetts continues to get the same number of doses from the federal government that the state is getting now, there could be empty seats at vaccine sites. The Administration also announced new mass vaccinations sites in Springfield, Danvers and Boston: The Springfield site at Eastfield Mall will open on January 29.

The Danvers sites at the Double Tree Hilton Hotel will open on February 3. In collaboration with the City of Boston, a site at the Reggie Lewis Center will open the first week of February. These are in addition to sites already announced at Gillette Stadium and Fenway Park. By mid-February, the Commonwealth’s mass vaccination sites will have the capacity to vaccinate 76,000 people each week. The Administration expects to open at least seven mass vaccination sites as vaccine distribution continues. These mass vaccination sites have the ability to significantly and rapidly scale up operations if vaccine supply from the federal government increases.

In addition to the mass vaccination sites, the Administration is establishing public vaccination sites at a variety of different locations in every region of the Commonwealth. Public vaccination sites listed on the map include places like pharmacies, community clinics, and other providers and organizations that have experience administering vaccines efficiently and safely. This week, 44 new public vaccination sites will open. These include new pharmacy and retail locations such as Big Y, Wegmans, Price Chopper, Retail Business Services at Hannaford and Stop and Shop Pharmacies, and CVS Health. While many sites across the Commonwealth are open to all eligible individuals, some sites will be operated by local communities specifically for the residents in their community or the residents in their region. This week, 11 new restricted vaccination sites will open.

A map with all locations is available at

Each location has additional details on eligible groups and signup details. The map is updated frequently as more sites come online.

Phase Two Priority Group Updates

The Administration announced updates to Phase Two of the distribution plan, which will begin February 1st for the first priority group. Individuals 75 and older will now be the first priority group in Phase Two.

Consistent with CDC guidance, individuals 65 and older and individuals with 2 or more comorbidities will now be the second priority group. Later this month, individuals age 65 or older and individuals with 2 or more comorbidities will be eligible to get the vaccine. The exact date will depend on the vaccine supply from the federal government and the uptake and demand for vaccine appointments.

Along with the addition of individuals age 65 and older into part 2 of Phase Two, the Commonwealth updated the listing to no longer specifically list Public and Private low income and affordable senior housing as its own category, as all individuals over the age of 65 will be eligible to receive vaccine by part 2 of Phase Two regardless of where they live.

The order of Phase Two will now be:

Individuals 75+

Individuals 65+ or with 2+ comorbidities

Early education and K-12 workers, transit, utility, food and agriculture, sanitation, public works, and public health workers, and

Individuals with one comorbidity.

All Phase One eligible priority groups are now eligible for vaccinations, which includes all health care workers, residents and staff of long term care facilities, and congregate care facilities, home health care workers and non-COVID-facing health care workers and first responders.

The Administration will announce further updates on timing for other priority groups as the Commonwealth gets more information on vaccine shipments from the federal government. To learn more about the eligible groups, visit

How to Get a Vaccine

Individuals with questions about how to get a vaccine should follow these steps:

Visit to find your phase and priority group

If you are eligible: use to find a vaccine clinic near you

Make an appointment online and fill out the attestation form


Saturday, January 23, 2021

Jaws of Life Training in Boxford

I ventured out with members of the Town of Boxford's Fire Department for Jaws of Life training yesterday at the invitation of Chief Brian Geiger. Personal protective turnout gear is critically important to all firefighters and that is why I wrote a law that created a fund to make fire safety equipment grants available. Technical training in using gear correctly is vital too, including life-sustaining equipment such as The Jaws of Life. When used right, his powerful tool can extricate a trapped passenger quickly.  


Thursday, January 21, 2021

Massachusetts RMV Extends Designated Wednesday Appointment Hours for Customers 75 Years of Age or Older Through February & March

Expands available senior appointment types to include registration & title transactions in addition to in-person license renewals 

The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) is pleased to announce it will continue to offer designated Wednesday appointment hours for customers 75 years of age or older through March 2021. Individuals in this age group are required by state law to renew their Massachusetts driver’s license in-person. Beginning in February, the RMV will also be expanding the license renewal appointments available for these customers to include registration and title services and transactions.

Designated senior service hours began on September 2, 2020, to offer customers 75 and older dedicated times and flexibility to conduct their required in-person license renewals while facilitating “social-distancing” protocols to keep customers and staff safe and healthy.

Senior appointment hours for license renewals, and registration and title services appointments effective in February, will continue to be offered on Wednesdays at the following 17 RMV Service Center locations (hours vary by location): Brockton, Danvers, Fall River, Greenfield, Lawrence, Leominster, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, New Bedford, North Adams, Pittsfield, Plymouth, Revere, South Yarmouth, Springfield, Watertown, and Worcester.

Below are the options for seniors to schedule in-person appointments during designated service hours:

If you are a AAA member, you may make a reservation now to renew your driver’s license/ID or conduct certain other transactions at a AAA location. Visit to schedule your visit.

If you are not a AAA member, visit Mass.Gov/RMV to make a reservation to renew or conduct most other transactions at an RMV Service Center. Visit the Make/Cancel a Reservation transaction tab in the MyRMV Service Center and select “Senior Transaction” for all available RMV transactions. Reservations can be booked two weeks in advance.

Email the RMV for assistance:

Call the RMV at 857-368-8005.

General appointments for license and ID renewals or registration and title transactions, as well as other essential in-person needs including drop-off registration and title services, are available to all customers at select locations throughout the business week.

Additional information on RMV service offerings and appointments can be found at www.Mass.Gov/RMV, including more than 40 transactions that can be conducted online, by mail, or by phone. The RMV recommends that all customers get ready online before their appointment.

Anyone conducting in-person business at an RMV customer service location must wear a face-covering and will continue to be served by appointment only. Appointments for many RMV transactions can also be made at AAA customer locations if the customer is a member of AAA.


Wednesday, January 20, 2021

The swearing-in of a President is always an important day in American history. Today, we inaugurate a new President and Vice President and I wish Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, our nation's first woman and first Asian and African American to serve in that position, the very best in healing the divisions in our country and leading us to a state of good public health and greater prosperity. 



Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Baker-Polito Administration Launches COVID-19 Vaccine CDC Pharmacy Partnership - Phase 1, Expands Vaccine Locations & Names Fenway Park as Mass Vaccination Site Command Center Announces New Vaccine Sites to Administer Several Thousands More Shots Per Week Statewide

Today, the Baker-Polito Administration announced the expansion of more vaccine locations in each region of the Commonwealth at pharmacies, health care providers and a second mass vaccination site to boost the capacity to administer vaccines per week by the thousands. The Commonwealth will continue to add more vaccination sites throughout Massachusetts. Information on available sites will be available on a rolling basis here -

First, the Administration announced that Massachusetts will become one of the first states in the nation to launch the COVID-19 CDC Pharmacy Partnership - Phase 1 with CVS Health and Walgreens pharmacies located throughout the Commonwealth. Starting this week, this program will deliver a total of 10,000 doses to at least 15 CVS Health and Walgreens pharmacies a week for eligible residents in the Phase One priority groups.

Second, the Administration announced that Fenway Park will become the state’s second mass vaccination site, joining Gillette Stadium. The ballpark will open on February 1st to start administering up to 500 vaccines per day to eligible residents in the Phase One priority groups.

Next, the Administration also announced that UMass Amherst will expand their vaccination site to provide inoculations for eligible residents in Phase One priority groups. UMass Amherst has been providing vaccines to first responders, and plans to now offer vaccines to all eligible residents in Phase One priority groups immediately.

Finally, to increase vaccine access for Phase 1 eligible priority groups, the Baker-Polito Administration is launching the Hospital Depot Initiative. This new program will facilitate access to COVID-19 vaccine for independent physician practices prioritized under Phase 1.

Current eligible groups under Phase 1 include: Clinical and non-clinical health care workers doing direct and COVID-facing care; Long term care facilities, rest homes and assisted living facilities; First responders (EMS, Fire, Police); and Congregate care settings (including corrections and shelters).

CDC Pharmacy Partnership - Phase 1

Massachusetts will be among the first states to activate retail pharmacy vaccination at scale through select CVS Health and Walgreens, which will start inoculating eligible residents in Phase One priority groups by appointment.

Starting this week, at least 15 CVS Health and Walgreens, located in areas of the state where there is currently less access to convenient vaccine sites, will receive a total of 10,000 vaccines to administer this week. The first 15 locations are located in Greenfield, Fall River, Salem, South Yarmouth, Pittsfield, Lee, Holden, Gardner, Hyannis, Mashpee, Somerset, Fairhaven, Haverhill, Saugus and Danvers. Eligible residents in Phase One priority groups can view sites and book an appointment today by clicking here. Approximately 40 vaccination sites will be added the week of 1/25 through current partners and collaboration with additional partners (Wegmans, Big Y, Price Chopper, Stop & Shop, Hannaford). Massachusetts expects to increase vaccine volume through retail pharmacies in the coming weeks. The Command Center will provide more details as pharmacy partners and sites come online.

Fenway Park Named as Second Mass Vaccination Site

Fenway Park will be the state’s second mass vaccination site and will open on February 1st. Initially, the ballpark is scheduled to administer 500 vaccines per day by appointment and will ramp up to providing 1,000 vaccines per day soon to eligible residents in Phase One priority groups. CIC Health will operate the site, with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, part of Beth Israel Lahey Health, as the medical director.

The site is expected to stay open through the beginning of baseball season in early April. The Command Center is also working with the City of Boston to identify and set up a longer-term vaccine site in Boston.

Last week, the Administration announced Gillette Stadium as the first mass vaccination site, which opened for eligible Phase One groups yesterday. This week, the site is expected to work up to administering over 1,000 vaccinations per day, and soon after, 5,000 vaccinations per day. Eligible residents in Phase 1 priority groups can book an appointment at Gillette Stadium by clicking here. The Command Center is finalizing plans for several other mass vaccination sites.

UMass Vaccination Site Expansion

Beginning today, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst has expanded their role to administer COVID-19 vaccines, providing vaccinations for all eligible groups in Phase One of the state’s distribution plan. This high capacity site will serve eligible groups in the Western Mass area. Appointments for the UMass Amherst vaccination site can be booked here.

Hospital Depot Initiative

To increase vaccine access for residents in eligible Phase 1 priority groups, the Baker-Polito Administration is launching the Hospital Depot Initiative. This new program will facilitate access to COVID-19 vaccines for independent COVID-facing physician practices prioritized under Phase 1. The Massachusetts COVID-19 Command Center and DPH, in collaboration with the Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS) and Mass General Brigham (MGB), is managing this initiative starting with COVID-facing health care workers. Under this initiative, hospitals serving each region of the state have been identified as a depot to assist the Commonwealth with its vaccination distribution efforts. For clinical practices that are unable, due to their staff size and storage capacity, to receive larger, direct allocations of vaccine, a depot hospital will receive doses on their behalf and redistribute vaccine and all ancillary materials for office-based vaccination. In some cases, the hospital will provide direct vaccination to health care workers. The Massachusetts Medical Society is managing communications and coordination with physician practices.

Participating hospitals include:

Mass General Brigham, Lawrence General Hospital, Signature Brockton Hospital, UMass Memorial Medical Center, Baystate Medical Center and Berkshire Medical Center.


Monday, January 18, 2021

Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today provides us with an opportunity to reflect on the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. During a difficult time in the history of our nation he extolled the belief that "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal" and confronted oppression and intolerance with faith, character, and perseverance. 

Even as his own life was at risk, Dr. King marched forward to advance civil rights, peacefully, with his head held high, and with a clear, powerful voice for positive change. That vision for change was immortalized in his "I have a dream " speech, delivered at perhaps the height of racial tensions in March of 1963 to thousands gathered at the Lincoln Memorial. 

An excerpt from that now famous speech still echoes with truth and relevance: "Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children'' May we all reflect today on Dr. King's contributions to our nation and the ways we can each provide support for freedom and equality. 



Friday, January 15, 2021

How to Report Unemployment Benefits Fraud

The DUA Program Integrity team will process the reported fraud to ensure that if any payments were made, they are not recognized as income to you and are not reported to the IRS on Form 1099-G at the end of the calendar year for tax purposes. If you have already received a 1099-G related to this fraudulent claim, we will review your request and send you a corrected Form 1099-G. In addition, the fraudulent claim will not impact your ability to collect unemployment should you need to in the future and no charges will be assessed to your employer (if applicable). 

For the Fraud Reporting Form:


Today, Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito will join Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders to participate in a ceremonial signing of S.2931, An Act to Ensure Safe Patient Access to Emergency Care, " Laura’s Law". 

A live-stream of the State House event from Great Hall will be available at at 1:30.


Thursday, January 14, 2021

Governor Charlie Baker's Briefing Thursday, January 14, 2021

Today, at approximately 11:30, Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito will join Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Mike Kennealy and Mass Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC) President & CEO Larry Andrews to highlight the latest round of funds distributed from the COVID-19 Small Business Grant Program administered by MGCC. A live stream will be available at


Baker-Polito Administration Awards Another $78.5 Million in Additional Grants to 1,595 Businesses Most Impacted by the Pandemic

MGCC grants have now reached 4,119 businesses; grant awards total approximately $195 million out of $668 million fund set up to support small businesses 

[NOTE: Grant Program Application Deadline: Friday Night, Jan. 15 - see below.] 

The Baker-Polito Administration announced $78.5 million in awards to 1,595 additional small businesses in the third round of grants through the COVID-19 Small Business Grant Program administered by the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation. 

To date, the Baker-Polito Administration has awarded close to $195 million in direct financial support to 4,119 small businesses out of a $668 million fund set up to support small businesses across the Commonwealth. Additional grants will be announced in the coming weeks for thousands of additional businesses. 

“Our administration set up a $668 million grant program to support small businesses statewide that are struggling from COVID-19 impacts,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Today, we are awarding our third round of grants, for a total of $195 million in direct financial support for over 4,000 small businesses, with more yet to come. Supporting small businesses is vital to our economic recovery, and we’ll continue to expedite this grant process to send out funds to provide some much needed financial relief.” 

“Understanding how significant the need for financial assistance is, we’ve taken important steps to ensure these resources are directed toward the businesses that have historically been at a disadvantage even before the pandemic, or are located in communities, especially Gateway Cities, that have suffered disproportionately because of this virus,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “I’m grateful for the partnership with MGCC to provide this important assistance, and I look forward to the coming weeks when we can award even more support for the economic sectors that are most in need.” 

“Through each of the three grant rounds, small businesses are receiving essential support at a critical time in our fight against COVID-19,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy. “I want to acknowledge the team at Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation for their efforts to stand up this impactful program. It is important that we as a Commonwealth continue our dual paths of combating the virus and supporting economic recovery.” 

“At our core, MGCC has the responsibility to create economic opportunities and provide support for small businesses, and the pandemic has given our mission an enhanced importance,” said MGCC President and CEO Larry Andrews. “As we transition from targeting small businesses to specific economic sectors affected by COVID-19, I want to express my gratitude to all of the partner organizations who helped raise awareness among the businesses with the greatest need and those serving communities that have traditionally been at a disadvantage.” 

Representing key industries that have been especially impacted during the pandemic, restaurants and bars, personal care, retail, and health care businesses received the highest number of individual grants this round. These industries have been particularly hard hit during the pandemic. Other grant recipients include women-owned businesses, businesses in Gateway Cities, businesses in underserved markets and businesses that have previously received no other forms of financial assistance. 

New Grant Program Application Deadline: Friday Night, Jan. 15  

In addition to administering the small business grant program, MGCC also oversees the Sector-Specific Small Business Relief Grant Program, which was launched as a component of the $668 million relief package announced in late-December 2020. Prospective applicants to the Sector-Specific Small Business Relief Grant Program are reminded that the deadline to submit an application is 11:59 PM on Friday, January 15. Awards are expected to be announced in February. 

The Sector-Specific Small Business Relief Grant Program, which targets industries experiencing the most significant economic hardship and a loss of revenue, will offer grants up to $75,000, but not more than three months’ operating expenses, to be used for payroll and employee benefit costs, mortgage interest, rent, utilities and interest on other debt obligations. 

The Sector-Specific Program will give preference to the following: 

Restaurants, bars, caterers and food trucks; Indoor recreation and entertainment establishments; 

Gyms and fitness centers; 

Event-support companies (photographers, videographers, etc.);

Personal services (nail salons, barbershops, independent pharmacies, etc.); Independent retailers. 

Program details, application instructions, eligibility and documentation requirements, and more are available at


Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Governor Charlie Baker Briefs Today at 12:30

Today, Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito will join Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders to provide an update on COVID-19 vaccinations for congregate care settings. A live stream from Gardner Auditorium at the State House will be available right here at 12:30 PM.


Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Governor Baker's Briefing for January 12

Today, Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito will join local leaders to provide an update on COVID-19 vaccinations for first responders. A live stream will be available at around noon.


Drive-Through Food Pantry Saturday, January 16

The Open Door is a true asset. They work to reduce hunger connecting people to good food while advocating on behalf of those in need. 

 Please have a look at the information about their special drive-through food event this Saturday.



Monday, January 11, 2021

Governor Baker Signs Health Care Legislation Increasing Access to Quality, Affordable Care, Promoting Telehealth and Protecting Access To COVID-19 Testing, Treatment

I joined Governor Baker, Lt. Governor Polito, Senator Cindy Friedman, and Senator Julian Cyr, for a ceremonial signing of the bill. 

The new law: 

* Increases insurance coverage for telehealth services, 

* Expands the scope of practice for nurse practitioners, other specialized nurses, and optometrists,

* Takes steps to protect consumers from surprise medical bills. 

* Extends requirements for all insurance carriers in Massachusetts to cover COVID-19 testing and treatment. 

* Removes barriers to urgent care centers for MassHealth members 

* Takes several steps to increase MassHealth member access to urgent care sites, including eliminating referral requirements before urgent care visits and requirements for care coordination with the member’s primary care physician. 

To read more about the law -



Thursday, January 7, 2021

Commuter Rail Schedule Changes Take Effect January 23

From Keolis Commuter Services and the MBTA: 

The MBTA is reminding customers that, as of January 23, 2021, MBTA Commuter Rail schedules take effect which were approved in December 2020 by the MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board (FMCB). It represents an increase in weekday service levels from the current schedule and provides more than 50% of weekday service levels from the same time last year, while current ridership levels are approximately 10%. 

The new Winter Service Schedule starts to align service with the lower ridership levels experienced during the COVD-19 pandemic. Beginning January 23, 2021, Commuter Rail will only offer weekend service on the Newburyport/Rockport, Framingham/Worcester, Fairmount, Providence, and Middleborough Lines. These lines experienced more ridership gains over the last several months compared to other lines and serve transit-critical communities. All other Commuter Rail lines will not have weekend service. 

More details can be found at



Boston-Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) released the following statement today: 

“Members of the Congress of the United States have completed the Constitutional duties incumbent on them, the 2020 presidential election results have been affirmed, and the Electoral College ballots have been certified - Joe Biden will become President of the United States on January 20th. The violent lawlessness that ultimately led to the destruction of property, the disruption of Congressional proceedings, and the tragic loss of life, is abhorrent and unjustifiable; I condemn it and the inspiration for it.

Peaceful and purposeful acts of protest will have, and should always have, an important core function in the people’s ability to express their wants, needs, and hopes. In contrast, the marauding and mayhem, fueled by misleading and inflammatory rhetoric, that took place yesterday, at the very location where President-elect Biden will raise his hand to swear an oath to protect the Constitution, was instead, a debasement of that document and its principles.

There is a divide present in our nation but there is also a fundamental ability to heal that divide. My ultimate faith in the goodness of my neighbors, and those who live in communities, and cities and towns across our Commonwealth and our nation, informed from the trials that have tested us in the past, gives me great hope that we can regain our sense of common purpose as Americans.”


Wednesday, January 6, 2021

"The peaceful transition of power from one duly elected President to the next is a hallmark of our American democracy. Protesters at our nation's Capital Building who are using violence and threats of violence to disrupt, disquiet and disturb the lawful operations of government are a threat against that which all Americans hold dear- a respect for what binds us together as a civil society - the rule of law. 

President Trump must act quickly to disburse the protestors and restore peace to our nation."


Senate Swearing-In

Today marks the first day of the 192nd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito will administer the oath of office to all of the newly elected memes of the Senate in an outdoor, socially distant 11:00 AM swearing-in ceremony at Ashburton Park on the grounds of the State House. Immediately following will be an additional swearing-in ceremony in the Senate President’s Office. At 1 PM, there will be a formal session of the Senate in the Senate Chamber in order to elect and appoint officers and certain Senate staff.


Tuesday, January 5, 2021

The Senate debated an act Creating a Next-Generation Roadmap for Massachusetts Climate Policy last night. The legislation responds to the tragic 2018 Merrimack Valley explosions by improving gas pipeline safety. Members of the Merrimack Valley legislative delegation called for oversight hearings of Columbia Gas immediately following the incident. The bill also includes legislation I have sponsored to make Massachusetts the first state to approve legislation recognizing the role nature can play in drawing carbon pollution from the atmosphere through my Natural and Working Lands legislation 

In addition, the bill now on Governor Bakers' desk sets a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions limit for the year 2050, increases support for clean energy workforce development programs including those targeting low-income communities, requires emission reduction goals for the state’s energy efficiency program MassSave, increases the requirements for offshore wind energy procurement bringing the statewide total to 5,600 megawatts, and much more.



Friday, January 1, 2021

While 2020 brought us hardship, loss, suffering, and division, it also revealed our true and enduring strengths, in so many ways. From the first responders and health care professionals whose skills and endurance were exceeded only by their caring and compassion, to the essential workers who carried on in the face of adversity, to the neighbors who reached out to others with a helping hand of assistance or a generous donation, to the organizations who turned those donations into action and support, 2020 gave us a chance to see just how important we are to each other, and just how powerful it is when differences give way to recognizing our shared humanity and the power of collaboration, civility, and respect. 

My hope is that as we begin a new year that is filled with both promise and continuing challenge, we will remember our common experiences of 2020: those we have lost and those that have suffered, and those whose courage, sacrifice, spirit, and inspiration gave us not only a bright light on our darkest days, but also a beacon to follow as we embark on our personal and collective journey into 2021. 

Best wishes for a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!