BOSTON — The Massachusetts Public Health Assoc., along with partners and legislative allies, have achieved many significant victories over the past year addressing health equity in Massachusetts. Below are some of the policy wins achieved this year:
• Successfully advocating for $200 million in federal ARPA funding to improve Massachusetts’ local public-health system. These funds were recently allocated in the House and Senate Conference Committee’s ARPA bill and will be used to establish 21st-century data systems, invest in workforce development, and create a consistent level of health services across municipalities;
• Securing the first-ever line item in the state budget for local public health. This $21 million allocation represents an important step forward in the effort to make state funding available every year to support the work of local public-health departments and boards of health;
• Co-founding the Vaccine Equity Now! Coalition to make data on vaccine inequities more visible and contribute policy guidance to the state for a more equitable response. Through relentless advocacy and consistent media outreach, the coalition has ensured that the state continues to dedicate resources to communities hardest-hit by the pandemic;
• Extending the nation’s strongest moratorium on evictions and foreclosures through October 2020 and advocating for the COVID Housing Equity Bill and additional measures to stop mass eviction; and
• Enacting the COVID-19 emergency sick-leave bill, which requires employers to make paid leave time available to employees for COVID-related illnesses, quarantine, and vaccinations. The law provides $75 million in funding, which can be used until April 1, 2022.