Baker Signs Bill Implementing a Women’s Rights History Trail in Commonwealth

Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, joined by legislators participated in a ceremonial bill signing of H. 4555, An Act relative to the creation of a women’s rights history trail. The Governor previously signed this bill into law in late May. It is now codified as Chapter 76 of the Acts of 2022.

The legislation directs the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism (MOTT), in conjunction with the Secretary of Transportation, to develop and implement a women’s rights history trail program that will include properties and sites that are associated with the fight for women’s rights and suffrage in the Commonwealth. The legislation establishes a women’s rights history trail task force to research, solicit public input, and make recommendations for sites, properties, and attractions to be included in the trail program, and calls for MOTT to create related educational materials and vacation itineraries. Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito were joined by bill sponsors Senator Joan Lovely (D-Salem) and Representative Hannah Kane (R-Shrewsbury) and several other members of the Legislature, including the Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators, for the ceremonial bill signing at Mechanics Hall in Worcester.

“I am pleased to sign this legislation that will help Massachusetts better honor and preserve the legacies of women throughout the Commonwealth’s history who have made our state a better place,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “I am deeply grateful for the work of so many legislators other partners who worked hard to pass this bill, and our administration looks forward to working with the new commission to make this history trail a reality.”

“This bill is the product of significant work and collaboration by many key players and we are grateful to see it become law,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “The new Women’s Rights History Trail will cover important historical milestones and landmarks across the Commonwealth and will help our residents better understand these crucially important historical figures.”

“This legislation adds to the important work the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism does educating residents and visitors about our unique state by creating a new avenue for exploring sites related to significant women throughout our history,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy. “With tourism playing a big role in Massachusetts’ recovery from COVID-19, our cultural sector and local economies will benefit from this coordinated effort to increase visibility and access to historic sites in our communities.”

“With the creation of a Women’s Rights History Trail, Massachusetts is acting to memorialize the struggle for women’s rights in the Commonwealth,” said House Speaker Ronald J. Mariano. “I want to thank my colleagues in the House and Senate, as well as Governor Baker, for working to ensure that the suffrage movement, and all that it achieved, will be celebrated through the highlighting of these landmarks.”

“Women in Massachusetts have played a pivotal role at every step in the Commonwealth’s history, yet their contributions are too often overlooked,” said Senate President Karen E. Spilka. “The Women’s Rights History Trail will serve as a visible monument to the history of women—and the women’s rights movement. Understanding this history gives us all a chance to reflect on where we have come from and what it means to leave a legacy that can uplift and inspire future generations. I am glad to see that this trail will give particular attention to the diverse backgrounds and perspectives of the women who have transformed Massachusetts. I would like to thank Senator Lovely and my colleagues in the Senate, as well as our partners in the House and Senate, for their work to make this a reality.”

“Our nation and our Commonwealth would not be what they are today, were it not for the contributions of women,” said Senator Joan B. Lovely. “Though as important as men to our country’s history, women have seldom received the recognition they rightly deserve. With this law, we stand to remove women from the annals of history and finally place them at the forefront. I would like to thank Senate President Karen Spilka, Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito, House Co-sponsors Representative Hannah Kane and former Representative Carolyn Dykema, Caucus Co-Chair Representative Pat Haddad and Executive Director Nora Bent, for ensuring that women’s history will continue to be preserved and advanced for generations to come.” 

“This legislation creating the Women’s Rights History Trail ensures that the many women from our Commonwealth who contributed to the fabric of our nation and democracy are recognized, and that their accomplishments are preserved in our state’s history, so that their legacies may serve as inspiration for future generations of young women,” said Representative Hannah Kane. “I am proud to have been a sponsor of this legislation, helping to carry out my late colleague Rep. Gailanne Cariddi’s vision, and I look forward to serving as a member of the Women’s Rights History Trail Task Force.”

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