Markey, House Pass Environmental Bond Bill
Legislation Would Provide Equal and Safe Access for Girls at State-Owned Ice Rinks
(BOSTON) –On Wednesday, State Representative Christopher M. Markey (D- Dartmouth) joined his colleagues in the House of Representatives in passing H4138, "An Act providing for the preservation and improvement of land, parks and clean energy in the Commonwealth". Known as the Environmental Bond Bill, this legislation would bond over $1.7 billion in multi-year capital spending primarily focused on environmental programs, including shoreline protection, land acquisition, parks, harbors and watersheds, and agricultural priorities.
Additionally, language from Representative Markey's amendment was adopted, providing for funding for design and construction of female locker rooms in ice rinks owned by the Department of Conservation and Recreation. Markey filed the amendment after hearing about constituents' concerns regarding the lack of female locker rooms at the Hetland rink in New Bedford, and that girls playing hockey were being forced to change in space shared with men. Missy Hoefel of Dartmouth, whose two teenage daughters play hockey at the Hetland rink, noted the increasing popularity of girls' hockey and the need for proper facilities. Hoefel said that, four years ago, the Hetland Panthers Youth Hockey Association had about four girls as members whereas there are over 50 girls in their membership today.
According to Hoefel, despite the best efforts of DCR and the private management company in charge of the rink's operation, "the current conditions are still lacking. Girls using Hetland should have access to the same amenities that the boys have, such as locker rooms, showers and bathrooms.” "The situation as it stands is neither fair nor safe, so I'm glad we could begin to address it this way," said Markey. "As the father of three daughters who play sports year round, this struck me as a very high priority," he added.
State Representative Daniel Hunt of Boston cosponsored Markey's amendment and underscored its importance. "We have seen broad expansion of youth hockey in young women and these funds will open up the game to countless others," said Hunt. Hoefel attested to that expansion. In addition to an already-established Bishop Stang girls' team and discussion of the formation of a team from Dartmouth High School, at Hetland this season "there will be 4 girls’ teams. The ages of the girls on these teams will range from 7 years old up to 18 years old," she said.
The bill now goes to the Senate for further consideration.