Page 4 THE MALDEN ADVOCATE–Friday, November 19, 2021 Sen. Lewis joins bipartisan vote to pass ARPA spending bill O n November 10, State Senator Jason Lewis joined his colleagues in the Massachusetts Senate to unanimously pass An Act relative to immediate COVID-19 recovery needs – a $3.82 billion spending bill that directs federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to assist the Commonwealth’s ongoing recovery, with a focus on making equitable investments and ensuring that communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 are prioritized. Senator Lewis played a leadership role in the development Gerry D’Ambrosio Attorney-at-Law Is Your Estate in Order? Do you have an update Will, Health Care Proxy or Power of Attorney? If Not, Please Call for a Free Consultation. 14 Proctor Avenue, Revere (781) 284-5657 and passage of this important legislation. “Thanks to President Biden and Congressional Democrats, Massachusetts is seizing this historic opportunity to invest in a strong and equitable pandemic recovery for our communities and Commonwealth,” said Senator Lewis, who is assistant vicechair of the Senate’s Committee on Ways and Means and Senate Chair of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Education. “I’m very grateful for the extensive and constructive input we received from stakeholder groups, advocates, and members of the public, which enabled the Senate to craft legislation that clearly reflects the urgent needs and priorities of residents and communities across the Commonwealth.” Investments included in this bill (S.2564) are listed below. Health care and public health The Senate’s ARPA spending plan helps families, vulnerable populations and historically underserved communities by investing more than $1 billion to support the state’s healthcare system and confront the longterm impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. S.2564 invests $400 million (M) in mental and behavioral health supports, including over $122M to expand loan repayment programs for behavioral health professionals, including substance use disorder professionals. This investment is expected to help recruit and retain nearly 2,000 mental health professionals across the continuum of care. The Senate’s plan also revolutionizes the state’s local and regional public health infrastructure and makes a historic investment of $250M to ensure WE CAN HELP PAY YOUR HEATING BILLS! You may qualify for ABCD’s Fuel Assistance Program and be eligible for as much as $600 towards your heating costs (oil, gas, or electric). Maximum benefit is $600 Household of 1 = $40,951 Household of 2 = $53,551 Household of 3 = $66,151 Household of 4 = $78,751 Cold days are coming. ABCD’s got you covered. Jason Lewis State Senator the Commonwealth can protect the public health of residents, workers and businesses for years to come. This funding includes $118M for public health infrastructure and data sharing upgrades and $95M for direct grants to local boards of health to be prepared to respond to future public health threats. Other health care investments include: • $300M for the Home and Community-Based Services Federal Investment Fund to address workforce needs for those caring for vulnerable populations • $200M for acute care hospitals impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic • $60M to address food insecurity • $55M to support a robust and diverse home health care and human service workforce through recruitment, retention and loan forgiveness programming • $50M for nursing facilities, including $25M for capital support to increase the quality of patient care and $25M for workforce initiatives • $25M for a grant program for community violence prevention and reentry organizations – focused on communities disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic • $5M for Health Care For All APPLY TODAY! Last day to apply is April 30, 2022 Residents of Boston, Brookline, and Newton: 178 Tremont Street, Boston, MA — 617.357.6012 Residents of Malden, Medford, Everett, Melrose, Stoneham, Winchester and Woburn: 18 Dartmouth Street, Malden, MA — 781.322.6284 to conduct a community-based MassHealth redetermination and vaccination outreach, education and access campaign targeted in communities disproportionately impacted by the pandemic • $5M for the Disabled Persons Protection Commission to study and review the interrelationship between service-providing agencies for individuals with disabilities within the Commonwealth and to design and implement a system for an interconnected network that will provide a continuum of care for them • $5M to support grants to higher education institutions to address student behavioral and mental health needs • $2M for unreimbursed COVID-19 costs for Early Intervention providers • $500,000 to establish transportation services for participants in the Massachusetts Veterans’ Treatment Courts Economic recovery and workforce development The Senate’s bill invests $1.7 billion to robustly support an equitable economic recovery for all by supporting workers, businesses and communities hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill dedicates $500M towards premium pay bonuses for essential workers – up to $2,000 per worker – providing much-needed relief to the workforce who served on the front lines during the pandemic. Other economic recovery and workforce development investments include: • $500M for the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, providing necessary relief to employers • $200M in tax relief for small-business owners who otherwise would be required to pay personal income taxes on state or federal pandemic relief money • $100M for vocational school infrastructure and capacity building needs • $75M for the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund to support organizations working with people displaced from jobs during the pandemic, historically underserved populations and individuals reentering their communities from the corrections system • $75M for equitable and affordable broadband access and infrastructure improvements to close the digital divide • $75M for Mass Cultural Council grants to support the arts and cultural sector • $50M for direct grants to minority-owned small businesses • $30M for regional high-demand workforce training at community colleges • $25M for the expansion of Career Technical Institutes • $24.5M for workforce development and capital assistance grants to the Massachusetts Alliance of Boys and Girls Clubs, the Alliance of Massachusetts YMCAs and the Alliance of Massachusetts YWCAs • $15M to enhance and diversify the cybersecurity sector with partnerships between public higher education institutions and private businesses • $20M for the resettlement of Afghan and Haitian refugees • $10M for regional tourism councils VOTE | SEE PAGE 19

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