From the Office of Rep. Ciccolo
OFFICE HOURS MAY 16TH
We are always looking for ways to connect with the district. If you have a specific policy question, an event you want our office to know about, or just want to get to know your representative, please sign up for office hours!
The next office hours are May 16th from 5 to 6PM. You can sign up here.
If you’re not able to make it to office hours, no problem. Please email my aide, [email protected], and she will find a time for us to meet.
BUDGET WEEK RECAP
The House passed its iteration of the FY24 budget last week, totaling $56.2 billion in spending statewide and including several hundred million on progressive programs and policies. Below is a graphic illustrating just a few of these fantastic wins.
Alongside these statewide wins, we were fortunate to get a combined $600,000 for Lexington, Woburn, and Winchester-specific programs and projects. Here is a breakdown of where that money will go (pending Senate concurrence and the Governor’s final approval):
- $100,000 for Woburn to implement recommendations from the Massachusetts Downtown Initiative for Local Rapid Recovery program,
- $150,000 for Lexington to assist with the operations and coordination efforts of the 250th Anniversary of the American Revolution events,
- $175,000 for capital improvements to the O’Brien ice rink in Woburn, and
- $200,000 for the renovation and maintenance of recreational parks and facilities in Winchester.
This funding will go far toward economic development and recreation in our communities. Thank you to my colleagues, Rep. Rich Haggerty and Rep. Mike Day, for championing the Woburn and Winchester amendments!
I am delighted to have been re-appointed to four committees: Environmental and Natural Resources (ENR), State Administration and Regulatory Oversight (SARO), Children, Families, and Persons with Disabilities (CFPD), and Elder Affairs.
Serving on these committees means I see bills that deal with a wide range of issues, from waste reduction, to disability accommodations, to retirees’ housing situations. I am fortunate to serve with amazing groups of legislators, headed by thoughtful chairs, to consider bills that will impact every resident.
ZERO WASTE CAUCUS IN LEXINGTON (WITH MINORITY WHIP KATHERINE CLARK!)
As House Chair and co-founder of the Zero Waste Caucus, I was thrilled to host an event in Lexington with Minority Whip Katherine Clark as our keynote speaker this past February. We had 150 attendees at Cary Hall and listened to almost a dozen legislators and advocates discuss the most pressing waste issues and the most promising waste solutions.
As always, a huge thank you to all of our speakers and attendees, including:
- State Representative Jeffrey Roy, State Senators Jason Lewis and Mike Barrett, Shannon Emmett from the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, Patrick Prendergast from State Representative Day’s office,
- Kirstie Pecci from Just Zero, Juan Jaramillo from the Environmental League of Massachusetts, Janet Domenitz from MASSPIRG, Hien Nguyen from Lexington’s own LexZeroWaste, and
- Congresswoman Katherine Clark!
It has been so heartening over the last few years to see discussions on waste reduction rise through the legislative agenda. With so many amazing advocates and legislators, I am very excited to see what we can do in the next few!
TESTIFYING FOR CHAPTER 90 FUNDING AND ELECTRIC LANDSCAPE EQUIPMENT PROGRAM
As many of you know, there are between 5-7,000 bills filed each legislative session, and each bill has to have a hearing. I’ve been fortunate to testify on two of my own bills reflecting two of our communities’ greatest priorities: transportation and the environment.
Every year, the Legislature re-authorizes funding for municipal road and bridge maintenance via a program called Chapter 90. However, I believe we have been woefully underfunding this program, with no significant funding increases in over a decade. This year, I was able to testify on the vital importance of raising Chapter 90 funding for this year, as well as propose a commission to study the formula by which we distribute the funding to cities and towns.
As anyone who drives in Massachusetts knows, our roads desperately need small and large repairs. Studying how the Chapter 90 program currently functions, and how we can make it better, is the first step towards restoring our roads and bridges to a state of good repair.
This week, I was also able to testify on H765, which would create a statewide program to support municipalities and small businesses in their transition to electric-powered landscaping equipment. Far from being a leafy suburban issue, this program would have huge benefits for landscape workers; the motors on gas landscaping equipment do not have meaningful filters, so workers directly breathe in soot, gas, and carcinogens for hours at a time. They also suffer hearing loss from the noise and vibrations of the machines.
Electric landscape equipment is significantly quieter and has virtually no onsite emissions. This means better air quality for our communities and for the workers handling the equipment for hours at a time.
Last year, we were able to get funding in the FY23 budget for the Town of Lexington to pilot a similar program with great success. I look forward to continuing our advocacy on this important issue and building off of Lexington’s success!