Transportation is a critical issue for health equity. Not only does access to reliable, safe, and affordable transportation connect people and communities to the resources needed to be healthy, the transportation sector is a driving factor of climate change and air pollution, both of which disproportionately impact low-income and communities of color, causing greater health inequity.
MPHA has two transportation policy priorities for the 2019-2020 legislative session:
On Wednesday, January 23, Governor Baker announced his budget proposal for fiscal year 2020. Governor Baker’s budget proposal includes a 1.5% increase in funding over FY19 spending. It level funds the Department of Public Health with an overall budget of $423 million.Read More
Now is a critical time to take action for health equity in the Commonwealth. It is the start of a new legislative session and by January 18, 2019, Massachusetts legislators filed more than 5,000 new bills that will be considered over the next two years.
Please take a few minutes this week to reach out to your Representative and Senator by phone, email, or in person and ask them to co-sponsor these five bills that will improve public health in your community.
To find your representatives’ contact information or to find out who your representatives are, click here.
Please let us know that you took action by emailing MPHA Field Director Andrea Freeman at: email@example.com. The deadline to call about co-sponsorship is Thursday, January 31st.
Click here to download the one-page list of MPHA’s 2019 priority bills.
Last month, MPHA’s Board voted to endorse the “Yes on 3” ballot campaign, which will be before Massachusetts voters on November 6th. A “Yes” vote on Question 3 will maintain civil rights protections for transgender individuals voted into law in Massachusetts in 2016.
MPHA grounds its support for the Yes on 3 campaign in the understanding that maintaining civil rights for transgender residents and visitors to our state is essential realizing MPHA’s mission to advance health equity and social justice in the Commonwealth.
Research shows that transgender people are far more likely to face violence than non-transgender people, including higher rates of murder, sexual assault, and suicide. These statistics are especially troubling for trans people of color and trans youth, two communities that experience heightened violence and discrimination. The continued trauma that transgender people would face when trying to navigate public spaces without the civil rights protections already codified in Massachusetts law will have lifelong impacts on their health and their communities.
Opponents of transgender rights have long used scare tactics to deny basic rights and freedom to transgender children and adults. They continue to use these scare tactics even though they have been proven false. But let’s be clear, it is discrimination against transgender individuals that is a threat to public health and safety. Acknowledging transgender people’s rights and protecting these rights increases public health and safety for all.
Massachusetts cannot fall backward in our fight against discrimination. The results of ballot question 3 will have long-term impacts on social justice in the Commonwealth and beyond. We hope our members and supporters will join us in supporting current law and civil rights protections by voting Yes on 3 in November.
Visit Freedom for All Massachusetts for more information.
On Wednesday, July 18th, the House and Senate released their state budget compromise for FY19. The budget compromise, known as the Conference Budget, is overall very strong in public health investment. It includes increased funding for the Bureau of Environmental Health and the Bureau of Substance Addiction Services, level funding for the Massachusetts Food Trust Program and Mass in Motion Program, and increased funding for key social determinants of health including housing and transportation. It also includes language and funding for a new Office of Health Equity and funds environmental justice staff under the Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.
In addition, the Conference Budget includes language that will ensure the availability of MassHealth data about screening and interventions related to the social determinants of health (SDOH). This data is essential to understand the activities, successes, and challenges of ACOs and social service providers in responding to these needs. It will also allow the public to assess the availability of social services and identify any gaps that may exist by region, population, or service type.
MPHA is disappointed, however, that the Conference Budget did not include language establishing Massachusetts as a sanctuary state. MPHA endorsed the Safe Communities Act earlier this year because assuring all immigrants in Massachusetts that their rights will be protected and that they will be treated with dignity is important to the public health of all communities.
Read below for more detail on the FY19 Conference Budget.