By: State Rep. Linda Dean Campbell – May, 2021
The Massachusetts House of Representatives is in high gear working on newly filed legislation and passing a state budget. I have filed new bills this session pertaining to the environment, public safety, substance abuse prevention, mental health, Veterans, our National Guard, and more.
One issue I am working to address involves promoting reuse and recycling industries in Massachusetts. Recycling has become very costly and inaccessible for our cities and towns, and we need to find ways to strengthen recycling industries locally. This will save costs and reduce pollution from waste incineration, while also promoting economic growth.
I am also continuing work on the issue of combined sewer overflows (CSOs). Last session, the Merrimack Valley won a major victory when legislation I filed was signed into law requiring public notification of CSOs. This session, I have filed legislation to ensure wastewater treatment plants have sufficient back-up power to avoid discharging sewage during a power outage.
Our Veterans and National Guard members continue to be a priority. I have filed legislation with Rep. David Vieira of Falmouth to establish a memorial in the State House to historic woman Veteran Deborah Samson, who disguised herself as a man to fight in the Revolutionary War. I have also filed a bill to support National Guard members and their families who are relocating to Massachusetts by expanding their professional and educational opportunities.
As Chair of the Joint Committee on Advanced Information Technology, the Internet and Cybersecurity, I will also be reviewing legislation this session related to high-speed Internet access, data privacy, cybersecurity, the digital economy, and more. These issues affect us all on a daily basis and are essential to our economic growth and workforce development. I look forward to addressing these topics alongside my co-chair Senator Barry Finegold.
Additionally, the Special Oversight Committee that I chair to investigate the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home COVID-19 outbreak is wrapping up its investigation and will soon release legislative recommendations to ensure that this kind of tragedy never happens again.
The Massachusetts House also just passed its version of the state budget, which makes robust investments in our economic recovery and provides support for those who have been most affected by the pandemic. This includes increased funding for local aid, education, housing, food security, social services, and businesses. More to come on this topic.
I was proud to secure funding for local programs in Methuen, Haverhill, and the Merrimack Valley, including for student mental health services, addiction recovery resources, efforts to support at-risk youth and reduce gang violence, park improvements, cultural center renovations, and support for our business community. The budget now goes to the Senate.
State Representative Linda Dean Campbell represents the cities of Methuen and Haverhill in the State Legislature. She serves as House Chair of the Joint Committee on Advanced IT, the Internet and Cybersecurity and as Chair of the Special Joint Oversight Committee on the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home COVID-19 Outbreak. She can be reached at [email protected] or (617) 722-2380. ◊