Sponsored Legislation (2019-2020)
191st Legislative Session
This session I filed legislation to hold Massachusetts to the standard that it should be: a place of equity. With the waging war on minorities, immigrants, reproductive rights, LGBTQI rights, and an ever growing wealth disparity across the Nation, now more than ever, we need to take action to protect vulnerable populations. We must do what we can to remain an example of what progressive courage and policy can accomplish on the State Level. I filed 32 pieces of legislation this session. Below are some of the highlights.
HD 2548 – An Act removing obstacles and expanding access to women’s reproductive health (The ROE Act)
This bill would improve access to affordable and safe abortions by removing unnecessary and burdensome provisions that otherwise delay and deny care. It’s not a secret that Roe v. Wade is under attack. I believe that Massachusetts should adapt accordingly to strengthen our laws that give access to reproductive health care and update the laws that lay as a barrier to access to that care .
The ROE Act would eliminate the onerous judicial bypass process that teenagers must navigate to access a safe and legal abortion, provides safety net coverage for abortion regardless of a resident’s income or legal status, expands access to abortion after 24 weeks of pregnancy in cases of fatal fetal anomalies, and much more. I am working with my colleague, Speaker Pro Tempore Patricia Haddad, Senator Chandler, and Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, and NARAL ProChoice Massachusetts on this vital legislation for families everywhere.
HD 788 – An Act to extend early voting to all elections
In 2014, the State Legislature passed reforms to implement early voting in presidential elections. This measure was put to the test in 2016 and we have already seen a surge in voter participation. That is why I proposed HD 788, to expand early voting to all elections, including municipal elections. By expanding voting beyond a single Election Day, we are creating more opportunities for working people, young people, and people living with a disability that would require accommodation. I filed this bill with Representative Andy Vargas.
HD 655 – An Act creating a common application for core food, health, and safety-net programs
This bill works to address the disparity commonly known as the “SNAP Gap.” Currently, there are about 680,000 people who are receiving Mass Health benefits and are likely eligible for SNAP but are not receiving SNAP benefits, for which the State is currently reimbursed by the federal government. MassHealth and SNAP have separate application processes that ask for the same basic information, duplicating efforts and creating more work for both the state and applicants. This legislation would require the State to create a common application portal to let low income households apply for MassHealth and SNAP at the same time. This would lay a foundation for a comprehensive common application portal for safety-net benefits which would reduce duplicate data collection and increase the efficiency of State Government while helping our State’s low-income population. I have partnered with Senator Sal DiDomenico, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute and the SNAP Gap Coalition on this issue.
HD 2272 – An Act to increase access to disposable menstrual products in prisons, homeless shelters, and public schools
This bill would ensure access to disposable menstrual products in prisons, homeless shelters, and public schools for all people who menstruate. People who menstruate should not have to choose between personal hygiene and putting food on the table, and unfortunately, that is a decision that many people must make. As the wealth disparity grows along with our appetite to provide inclusive policies for all regardless of gender identity, I believe that this is a public health issue worth taking action on. I’ve been excited to partner with Representative Christine Barber, Senator Pat Jehlen, and the Massachusetts chapter of the National Women’s Organization (MassNOW) on this legislation.
HD 154 – An Act to reduce mass incarceration
This bill would eliminate sentences for life without parole. Last term, we eliminated many mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenses. The next step to reducing our incarceration rate. Currently, individuals may commit a crime when they are 19 and remain incarcerated until they die in their 70’s or 80’s without any possibility of release. This bill provides that the Parole Board should evaluate whether to parole them after 25 years. California made such a change and the recidivism rate for those released was 2%, which is incredibly low. I am partnership with Senator Joe Boncore, Criminal Justice Policy Coalition, and Prisoner’s Legal Services on this bill.
HD 185 – An Act relative to the reform of unconstitutional archaic laws
This bill would repeal archaic and regressive laws that exist in the MA General Laws, including laws criminalizing sodomy that remain on the books and could threaten LGBTQI people in the future pending federal legislation. I am partnering with MassEquality on this bill.