Senator Joan Lovely spoke at Rotary in the first installment of this year's Legislative Luncheon series held with the Salem Chamber of Commerce. Senator Lovely described last year's legislative accomplishments as well as what she has planned for the 2023 legislative calendar. 
Senator Lovely is a former Rotarian who has vowed to return once her Tuesdays open back up, presumably when she retires from public service. She is an Assistant Majority Leader, which allows her to work directly with chamber leadership on important budgetary items. She also chairs the Senate Rules Committee. 
State Senator
This week at Rotary was our first session of the Legislative Luncheon Series with the Salem Chamber of Commerce. The speaker this week was our dear friend, as well as a former Rotarian, State Senator Joan Lovely. She gave us an update on what’s happening at the State House, and what she expects to be on the agenda for 2023.
Joan explained her role as Assistant Majority Leader, which allows her to work with the leadership team on important budgetary items. She is also the chair of the Senate Committee on Rules, the second most powerful committee in the Senate. 
Joan Lovely is on several committees. For example, she is on the Transportation Committee, which helps fund various forms of transportation while also getting money to cities and towns for use repairing and maintaining roads. She is on the Global Warming and Climate Change, which is obviously important to Salem with the off-shore wind project in the works. She noted that work for this project will be done by boat not by trucks, which will ease congestion in the city. There is also a massive push to electrify the rail in Massachusetts. She is on the Ethics Committee as well as the Committee on Agriculture (see "The More You Know" below)
She went on to describe some of her legislative accomplishments, of which there were many. One of her bills sought to expand access to adoption, specifically coming out of the Pandemic. For example, this law will make it easier for an individual to adopt a sibling. Others focused on women's history and black history. One bill increased access to abortion for women seeking one, even from out of state. Another bill allowed students, especially students with special needs, who do not pass the MCAS to have the college experience. Salem State has been a pioneered this effort for a while now. She described two climate bills, one setting goals for the Commonwealth to get to a net zero for emissions and another funding for increased access to solar, wind, and other clean energies. Funding for off shore wind was passed with more on the way. A veteran's bill was also passed expanding access to health care. Yet another bill sought to restrict access to carry firearms. 
This year, she has submitted several bills. One focused on child abuse rehabilitation by removing several limitations on timetables for treatment. She is working with the senior community to address elderly concerns when people are entered into guardianships. Some bills focus on housing shortages for people in need of affordable housing. She submitted a bill looking to get cleaner drinking water in schools, especially water with lead in it. Yet another bill would create a permanent National Guard museum in Salem.
The governor released her budget recently, including $510M for education and $490M for transportation. the budget is then sent off to both houses to make alterations and a conference committee resolves any differences by July 1, and the budget by law must be balanced.  Senator Lovely noted that the governor has really stepped up when it comes to assisting with childcare, which especially impacts women in the post-pandemic world. There is also some very strong investment in higher education, specifically for those that want to attend college but cannot afford it. There is a focus on housing and homelessness with a new committee being created. Additional money has been set aside to address climate change. In regards to tax proposals, tax credits could be increased as well as changes to taxation for items sold in the Commonwealth like hard cider. One major project is the Sumner Tunnel, which will be closed for two weeks over the summer instead of the initial proposal of six months.   
The More You Know:
Senator Lovely has several pet animals, including chickens and ducks. Sounds like a delicious property! Joan also says she anticipates rejoining Rotary when she has Tuesdays available.