You can see what Rep. Domb is co-sponsoring this session here.
BASIC NEEDS: FOOD AND ECONOMIC SECURITY
Meet Diaper Need
H149, An Act establishing a diaper benefits pilot program, filed with Rep. Smitty Pignatelli.
This bill creates a pilot program under which DPH would issue an RFP for diaper banks, food banks, and food pantries to provide diapers to low-income parents to address diaper need and diaper insufficiency. This bill is filed in the Senate by Senator Joan Lovely as SD239.
Sustain the HIP Program
H150, An Act relative to an agricultural healthy incentives program. Filed in the Senate by Senator Anne Gobi as SD63.
This bill establishes the healthy incentive program (HIP) in statute. The HIP program provides a 1:1 dollar reimbursement when SNAP users buy fresh, locally grown produce directly from Massachusetts farmers at farm stands and farmers markets. HIP increases access to healthy food by increasing the resources SNAP users have to purchase locally grown food, while supporting MA farmers
Respond to College Student Hunger
H1293, An Act establishing the Hunger Free Campus Initiative, filed with Rep. Andy Vargas.
This bill aims to address the rate of student food insecurity on college campuses in Massachusetts by creating a grant program that would provide capacity building support and funding to allow 2- and 4-year public colleges to take steps to alleviate food insecurity on their campus. The bill is filed in the Senate by Senator Joan Lovely as SD691.
Build Connection to Food and Health
H601, An Act to promote food literacy, filed with Rep. Andy Vargas.
The bill encourages schools to implement curricula on food systems and agriculture that help to build knowledge on issues including nutrition and the impact of diet on personal health; food production; the connections between the food system and the environment; hunger, its causes and efforts to alleviate it; racial and other inequities in access to food and jobs in the food system; food justice; cultural connections to food; and careers in the food system.
Encourage purchases of locally produced healthy food for school meals
H3993, An Act supporting farm and school partnerships in school meals.
The bill creates a 3-year pilot program, “the Massachusetts Farm to School Incentive program”, to reimburse school food authorities and licensed early education and care programs for money spent to purchase food from local (Massachusetts) farms, fishers and producers.
Advance Menstrual Equity
H1255, An Act requiring menstrual products in buildings on public higher education campuses.
This bill would require all public institutions of higher education to provide free menstrual products in their buildings in an accessible and stigma-free manner.
H3018, An Act requiring menstrual products in all state buildings.
This bill would require all public buildings in the commonwealth to provide free menstrual products in their bathrooms.
CLIMATE CRISIS AND RESPONSE
Support Farmers and Fisheries in the Face of a Changing Climate
H91, An Act addressing the impact of climate change on farms and fisheries.
This bill establishes a new grant program, the Agriculture and Fishery Vulnerability Preparedness Grant Fund to support farms and fisheries in initiating and planning for climate change adaptation and resiliency. Modeled after the popular Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) program, this grant program will benefit these vital sectors who are on the frontline of the climate crisis.
Invest our Public Pensions in a Green Future
H2504, An Act to mandate the review of climate risk in order to protect public pension beneficiaries and taxpayers.
This bill requires that the state’s public pension fund investments in fossil fuel and related industries be assessed as climate and economic risks, and that the decarbonization of our stock portfolio supports – and is compatible with – the decarbonization of our state’s economy. The legislation creates an investment review process to facilitate decarbonization decision-making and actions. It supports the Commonwealth’s efforts to decarbonize by 2050 by protecting pensioner’s investments as the nation, the world, and our Commonwealth continue to move away from fossil fuels.
Implement Climate Science Education in our Classrooms
H470, An Act concerning climate science education.
This bill establishes the Climate Science Education Trust Fund to support curriculum, resource and professional development for teaching on climate and the human impact on climate in K-12 public schools in the commonwealth. DESE will oversee the disbursement of funds, prioritizing public schools or school districts in part who serve students from environmental justice populations or who exist in designated communities with environmental justice populations. The bill also requires DESE to establish a process to ensure that curriculum standards for the subjects of science, technology, history, social science and civics are reviewed to include, relevant interdisciplinary climate change standards.
Make a Plan for Healthy Green Schools
H469, An Act establishing a Green and Healthy Schools working group and implementation plan, filed in the Senate by Senator Jo Comerford as SD314.
This bill builds on the success of last session’s passage of our bill for a comprehensive assessment of the commonwealth’s school buildings for energy efficiency, ventilation, and other environmental concerns. This bill helps ensure implementation of the new law and requires the state to develop a plan for implementing and enforcing green and healthy school standards for all schools by 2050 to assure that all schools provide students and teachers with a healthy environment that is conducive to learning, protects safety and public health, and efficiently uses energy and natural resources.
Calculate the Public Health Impacts of Fossil Fuels
H3622, An Act relative to protecting public health and reducing health care costs, filed with Rep. Marjorie Decker.
This bill promotes the assessment of health impacts and costs resulting from emissions associated with grid electricity and delivered fuels, and the benefits of energy conservation, energy efficiency and renewable energy in the Commonwealth. The assessment tool shall separately quantify health impacts and costs of emissions to environmental justice populations, the MassHealth program, and community hospitals.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND PUBLIC SAFETY
Remove Administrative Barriers to Medical Parole
H2319, An Act to ensure access to medical parole.
This bill ensures that the Massachusetts medical parole system works as the Legislature originally intended. It promotes public safety and individual health. Fled in the Senate by Senator Patricia Jehlen as SD2205.
Get Advance Notice of National Guard In State Deployments
H2320, An Act relative to notice of activation of the Massachusetts National Guard within the Commonwealth.
This bill requires the Executive Branch to notify legislators when the National Guard is deployed to their district and provide information on the purpose of their activation, in advance of the deployment.
Stop State Investments in Guns and Ammunition
H2503, An Act requiring public pension fund divestment from ammunition and firearms.
This bill directs the Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Management Board (PRIM) to divest state funds from companies that derive more than 15% of revenues from the sale or manufacture of ammunition, firearms, or firearm accessories used for civilian purposes. This bill does not apply to firearms and ammunition sold to law enforcement and the military.
Disincentivize the Use of Guns and Ammunition
H2771, An Act establishing an excise tax on guns and ammunition
Establishes a 36% excise tax on guns and ammunition in the commonwealth.
Reduce Single Use Plastic Bags
H784, An Act relative to plastic bag reduction. This bill aims to reduce plastic bag waste by prohibiting retailers and K-12 food service operations and institutional cafeterias from providing or selling single-use plastic bags to consumers. This bill allows retailers to provide recycled paper bags to customers for a fee of 10 cents to be split between the retailer and the municipality. The bill includes measures to provide customers who use an electronic benefit payment transfer (EBT) card as payment to not have to pay the fee for a recycled paper bag.
Make Pesticide Regulation Transparent and Modern
H783, An Act relative to the pesticide board, filed in the Senate by Senator Jason Lewis as SD1340. This bill establishesthe pesticide control modernization and environmental protection task force, which is tasked with studying and making recommendations on the commonwealth’s statutes, regulations, and practices governing pesticide control. The task force will be comprised of members with a diverse representation of expertise on pesticides, integrated pest management and organic farming.
Create a Mattress Recycling Infrastructure
H916, An Act to assess the future of mattress recycling in the Commonwealth, filed with Rep. Andy Vargas.
In response to the commonwealth’s ban on mattress disposal, this legislation creates a unique mattress recycling infrastructure that incorporates private and public options, including a mattress stewardship program for private industry and a social enterprise component. This includes programs like UTEC’s mattress recycling program. The legislation also requires DEP to conduct a statewide needs assessment to review the commonwealth’s mattress recycling demand, capacity and infrastructure, and the current and future capacity of social enterprise engagement in mattress recycling in Massachusetts.
HOME RULE PETITIONS
Ranked Choice Voting in Local Elections in Amherst
H677 An Act relative to the implementation of the charter for the city known as the town of Amherst
Housing Transfer Fee in Amherst
H3734 An Act establishing a real estate transfer fee upon the transfer of property in the city known as the town of Amherst
Non-Citizen Voting in Local Elections in Amherst
H3840 An Act authorizing extending local voting rights for lawful permanent residents residing in the City known as the Town of Amherst
INCLUSION AND ACCESS
Right to Non-Binary Gender Identification
H3017, An Act relative to gender identity on Massachusetts identification, filed with Rep. Marjorie Decker.
This bill incorporates a gender-neutral identification marker (“X”) as an option on all state documents, including drivers licenses, marriage licenses, and birth certificates. Youth serving state agencies shall take steps to inform and support youth on the law. The bill also provides protections against discrimination or intimidation based on the gender indicated on any identification issued by the state. Filed in the Senate by Senator Jo Comerford as SD1415.
Allow Gender Neutral Bathrooms
H3019, An Act establishing gender-neutral bathrooms.
This bill amends the MA Board of State Examiners of Plumbers and Gas Fitters so that public buildings can establish gender-neutral bathrooms. Sex segregated bathrooms create challenges and security risks for some individuals, while gender-neutral spaces can be offered with privacy and security. This bill directs changes to the state building code to allow gender-neutral bathrooms in renovations or new construction without the need for variance applications. Filed in the Senate by Senator Jo Comerford as SD316.
Protect Pay Equity
H2588, An Act to protect gender pay equity,filed with Rep. Jay Livingstone.
This bill prevents significant salary increases (or spikes) designed to close pay equity gaps from jeopardizing or reducing a person’s retirement benefit. The bill designates salary increases over a certain amount that address pay inequity as legal exemptions to the retirement anti-spiking laws so that the remedy for pay inequity cannot result in an adverse impact on a person’s retirement.
.Know Our History
H3033, An Act relating to public access to historical records, filed with Rep. Sean Garballey. This bill unseals all public records held at the Massachusetts Archive for public inspection after 75 years, bringing Massachusetts in line with federal standards and dozens of other states. Residents currently have no way to access documents about their own ancestors no matter how old a document is. It is believed the bill would unlock the stories of generations of Massachusetts residents who lived with mental and physical disabilities in state institutions.
Affirm the Oath of Office Regardless of One’s Religion
H33, Proposal for a legislative amendment to the Constitution relative to the oaths and affirmations of public office.
This constitutional amendment allows any State Representative, regardless of their religion, to affirm or swear their oath of office. Currently, the state constitution only allows individuals who are Quakers to affirm their oaths of office. This amendment has been advanced from Committee in the previous two sessions.
Make the State Constitution Include All Genders
H32, Proposal for a legislative amendment to the Constitution relative to the use of gender in the Massachusetts Constitution.
This constitutional amendment ensures gender inclusive language in the state constitution by changing all references to “he” and “man” in the state constitution to “the person.”
INFORMATION ACCESS AND CIVIC ENGAGEMENT
Learn How Much Insurance Revenue Goes to Patient Care
H994, An Act to increase access and transparency of health insurance data. This bill makes health insurance data more easily available to the public by requiring the Center for Health Information and Analysis (CHIA) to include in its annual reporting information on medical expenses, administrative expenses, medical loss ratios, reserves and surpluses. It also requires the Division of Insurance to post the data it receives from insurance carriers in a user-friendly format on its website to make it more available and accessible.
Remove Campaign Messages from the Ballot
H678, An Act relative to random placement for candidate names and removal of incumbent information on primary and state ballots. This bill requires that candidates appear in a random order on the ballot and removes the term “candidate running for re-election” from the ballot.
Make State Boards and Commissions Accessible to Residents Across the State
H3671, An Act relative to virtual meetings of appointed statewide public bodies, filed with Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier.
This bill allows members of state commissions and boards to participate remotely in meetings and have their remote participation qualify for quorum purposes. As a result, participation on these commissions and boards will be more convenient, affordable and accessible for residents outside the greater Boston area. The bill addresses a key factor in statewide recruitment efforts and will increase regional representation on these groups.
PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY
Prioritize Long COVID Needs
H2147, Resolve providing for an investigation and study by a special commission relative to Long COVID related needs in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, filed with Rep. Jon Santiago.
Every day, more and more residents in the commonwealth, their families and their providers, struggle with living with – and treating – Long COVID, the experience of having health problems for months after a COVID-19 diagnosis. We are just beginning to understand diagnosis, treatment and care issues involved with Long COVID. This bill creates a commission to identify and prioritize Long COVID-related financial, medical, and social needs for governmental action.
Designate a COVID Remembrance Day for the Commonwealth
H3016, Resolutions establishing the annual observance of COVID-19 Remembrance Day, filed with Rep. Natalie Blais.
Modeled after federal legislation, this legislation would designate the first Monday in March as “COVID–19 Remembrance Day” in Massachusetts, an opportunity to remember loved ones lost to the virus, acknowledge and reflect on the challenges of survivors, and recognize and honor the efforts of volunteers and essential workers in communities across the Commonwealth in responding to the pandemic.
Require Informed Consent for Intimate Physical Exams
H2146, An Act prohibiting nonconsensual intimate examinations of anesthetized or unconscious patients, filed with Rep. Kim Ferguson.
This bill prohibits performing pelvic, prostate, or rectal exams on anesthetized or unconscious patients without first obtaining written informed consent, unless the exam is required for the patient’s care. Filed by Senator Jo Comerford in the Senate as SD315.
Increase Access to Medical Care by Creating Physician Pathways for Internationally-Trained Doctors
H2224 An Act Improving Healthcare Delivery for Underserved Residents of the Commonwealth, filed with Rep. Jack Lewis.
This bill creates a streamlined pathway to practice for seasoned, internationally-trained physicians, leveraging their skills to address critical healthcare shortages in Massachusetts. It implements the recommendations developed by the Special Commission on Foreign-Trained Medical Professionals. Filed in the Senate by Senator Jason Lewis as SD1823.
Update our Child Safety Laws
H2318 An Act to enhance child passenger safety.
This bill stipulates that children under the age of 2 or weighing less than 30 pounds shall be seated in rear-facing car seats as per CDC And AAP guidelines. Filed in the Senate by Senator Barry Finegold as SD1307.
Ensure Full Coverage for Infectious Disease Care
H993 An Act to strengthen the control of contagious and infectious diseases in the Commonwealth.
This bill prohibits cost sharing and other barriers to health care services related to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of contagious or infectious diseases. This bill provides that when the Department of Public Health designates a contagious or infectious disease as being of ‘heightened public health importance’, there will be no cost-sharing payments like copays or deductibles and patients will not be required to obtain prior authorization to get the care they need. By improving access to care, outbreaks of contagious and infectious diseases will be better contained, controlled and stopped. Filed in the Senate by Senator Jo Comerford as SD1416.
Make Technical Corrections to Naturopathy Laws
H2148, An Act relative to the board of registration in naturopathy.
Naturopathic medicine is a system that uses natural remedies to help the body heal itself. It embraces many therapies, including herbs, massage, acupuncture, exercise, and nutritional counseling to achieve whole patient wellness. This bill makes technical corrections to the statute that governs their practice in the commonwealth. Filed in the Senate by Senator Pat Jehlen as SD1181
SUPPORTING SMALL BUSINESS
Increase the Barbering Workforce by Improving Access to Instruction
H285, An Act to establish a pilot program to build the licensed barbering workforce.
This bill creates a pilot program that allows barbering license instruction to happen in an alternative setting: in a local barber ship after hours with experienced licensed barbers as instructors. By disseminating instruction, the hope is that barbering instruction will be more accessible and affordable to people who live in underserved areas.
Give HST Consumers a Voice
H3303, An Act establishing the human service transportation (HST) consumer advisory board, filed with Rep. Sarah Peake.
The bill creates an HST consumer advisory board to ensure that consumers of the nonemergency human service transportation system have a formal opportunity and process to share concerns, insights and suggestions to ensure that the HST service is safe and reliable for all who depend on the service to get to medical appointments and other community services. Filed in the Senate by Senator Susan Moran as SD1722.
Keep Improving the HST Service
H3302, Resolve reviving and continuing the non-emergency human services transportation task force, filed with Rep. Sarah Peake.
This bill extends the HST Task Force, which by statute ended on December 1, 2022. The extension would afford greater opportunity to continue the process of program improvement and feedback, begun by the Task Force in its first year. Filed in the Senate by Senator Susan Moran as SD1723.