Category: Human Rights

190th Session Recap: Human Rights

190th Session Recap: Human Rights

 

As we wrap up yet another legislative session, my office has worked to provide recaps on the vast array of subject areas that I have worked on and voted on in the Chamber. Below is an overview of the human rights bills that the House voted on this session.

 

H.1190 – An Act relative to abusive practices to change sexual orientation and gender identity in minors

  • Jay was a co-sponsor and advocate for this bill.
  • The bill prohibits health care providers (including but not limited to physician, psychologist, social worker, nurse, or allied mental health and human services professional, including marriage and family therapist, rehabilitation counselor, mental health counselor, or educational psychologist) from advertising for or engaging in efforts that attempt or purport to impose change on the sexual orientation or gender identity of a patient less than 18 years of age.

Outcome: This bill was passed by the House in June 2018 and by the Senate in the last moments of the legislative session on July 31, 2018.  Jay hopes that it will receive final enactment in the informal sessions that will happen now until the start of next term.
To read the full text of the House bill, click here.

S.2260 – An Act negating archaic statutes targeting young women (NASTY Women’s Act)

  • Jay was a co-sponsor and advocate for this bill.
  • Strikes requirement that abortions performed after the thirteenth week of pregnancy be performed in a hospital (unconstitutional via Eisenstadt v. Baird, 405 U.S. 438 (1972)).
  • Repeals:
    • Criminalization of adultery
    • Criminalization of fornication
    • Criminalization of procuring a miscarriage
    • Criminalization of advertisement of abortion services
    • Criminalization of selling or giving away instruments or drugs to cause abortion
  • Removes restriction limiting contraception access to only married couples (unconstitutional via Akron v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health, 62 U.S. 416 (1983).).

Outcome: This bill passed in the House and Senate and was signed into law by the Governor.
To read the full text of the bill, click here

H.1110 – An Act Establishing Three New Commissions on the Status of Women and Girls

  • Jay voted in favor of this legislation.
  • The Eastern Regional Commission will conduct an ongoing study of all women’s matters within those communities and report its findings annually to the Commission on the Status of Women. The Regional commission will recommend solutions to the identified problems.
  • The Eastern Regional Commission consists of 9 people appointed by the Commission on the Status of Women from communities around Massachusetts.

Outcome: This bill passed in the House and Senate and was signed into law by the Governor.
To read the full text of the bill, click here

H.36380 – An Act establishing the Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

  • Jay was a co-sponsor and advocate for this bill.
  • Adds pregnancy and  pregnancy related conditions, including lactation and expressing breast milk, to the list of qualifiers employers cannot discriminate against
  • Prevents employers from denying reasonable accommodations for pregnancy or pregnancy related conditions
  • Prevents employer from refusing to hire a pregnant person because of the pregnancy or a pregnancy related condition
  • Includes a non-exhaustive list of reasonable accommodations:
    • More frequent/longer paid/unpaid breaks
    • Time off to recover from childbirth (paid or unpaid)
    • Seating
    • Temporary transfer to a less strenuous position
    • Job restructuring
    • Light duty
    • Private non-private space for expressing breast milk
    • Assistance with manual labor
    • Modified work schedules

Outcome:This bill passed in the House and Senate and was signed into law by the Governor.
To read the full text of the bill, click here.

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190th Session Wrap Up: Criminal Justice Reform

190th Session Wrap Up: Criminal Justice Reform

As we wrap up yet another legislative session, my office has worked to provide recaps on the vast array of subject areas that I have worked on and voted on in the Chamber. Below is an overview of the criminal justice legislation that the House voted on this session (May 19th 2018 & November 15th 2018). 

This session, criminal justice reform finally took substantial steps towards progress for the Commonwealth. Two pieces of legislation were passed on the subject. One, and omnibus criminal justice bill, encompasses a wide breadth of topics including justice system data collection, the juvenile justice system, mandatory minimums and solitary confinement among them. Also relevant, An Act limiting the use of prison labor, was a direct response to the Trump administration suggestion that certain MA inmates travel to the southern border in order to help “build the wall.” This act prohibits MA inmates from doing labor outside the prison’s boundaries. Both of these acts aim to keep our community safe and protect inmates from cruel prison practices.  Jay has been a strong advocate for criminal justice reform since he started in the legislature based on his experiences in the Middlesex District Attorney’s office as a prosecutor.  He was a strong advocate for several provisions that made it into the final legislation, including the elimination of mandatory minimums for drug offenses, diversion to treatment for certain crimes, and bail reform.   

H.4011- An Act relative to criminal justice reform

Topic: Omnibus Criminal Justice Bill

  • Standardizes arrest data collection by requiring the department of criminal justice to obtain arrest data in a format consistent with the FBI’s National Incident-Based reporting System and maintain the information of a publicly accessible website.
  • Establishes a Childhood Trauma Task Force to study and give recommendations on the treatment of juveniles in the justice system.
  • Requires convicted felons to submit required DNA sample upon conviction rather than within one year of conviction.
  • Eliminates minimum sentencing for several drug offenses.
  • Raises the min. age of a delinquent child.
  • Requires the Office of the Child Advocate to record data for the juvenile justice system.
  • Limits the amount of time an inmate can spend in solitary confinement.
  • Extends Good Samaritan protections.
  • Prevents an employer from discriminating against an applicant for employment for failing to provide information on a misdemeanor conviction over three years old.
  • Establishes the criminal offense of manslaughter by a business organization.
  • Includes sections on:
    • Bail reform
    • Criminal records
    • Restorative justice
    • Medical Parole
    • Diversion programs

Outcome: This bill passed through both chambers and was signed by the Governor on April 13, 2018

To read the full text of the House bill, click here.

To read the full text of the Conference Committee Report (Final Version), click here.

Notes:

Diversion to Treatment – This provision to the bill was based on a proposal that I made. The diversion to treatment component makes it so that an alternative route to incarceration can exist for first time offenders of any age. It requires District Attorney’s offices across the State to implement such rehabilitative programs and to ensure access to veterans, juveniles, persons with disabilities, and persons with substance abuse disorders.

Bail Reform – I was proud to jointly file this amendment with Representative Rogers to establish a Bail Commission to study the effectiveness of the current cash bail system and seek the feasibility of a Risk Assessment Tool for the Commonwealth. There is also a component to speak to biases that can occur in such a Risk Assessment.  Changes to our bail laws will have a great impact on our criminal justice system as all defendants are impacted by the bail rules.

 

H.3034- An Act limiting the use of prison labor

Topic: Criminal Justice
SummaryRequires that any inmate work program in MA be performed within its boundaries and prohibits MA’s participation in any national inmate work program to build a wall along the country’s southern border.
Outcome: This bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Ways & Means.

To read the full text of the bill, click here.

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Testimony: H.2960 – An Act to protect access to confidential healthcare

Bill title: An Act to protect access to confidential healthcare

Filed by: Representative Kate Hogan of Stow

Summary: This bill pertains to the privacy of an individual whose healthcare information is disclosed in the explanation of benefits sent to the primary policy holder of a health plan

Heard by: Joint Committee on Financial Services

Date: May 16, 2017

[gview file=”http://www.livingstonedispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/H2960_confidential_healthcare.pdf”]
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Testimony: H.2310 – An Act to End Child Marriage in Massachusetts

Bill title: An Act to end child marriage in Massachusetts

Filed By: Representative Kay Khan of Newton

Summary: This legislation would strengthen current statute to ban marriage under the age of 18 in Massachusetts. Marriage under the age of 18 is currently allowed with parental and judicial consent.

Heard by: Joint Committee on the Judiciary

Date: May 8, 2017

 

[gview file=”http://www.livingstonedispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/H2310_An_Act_to_end_child_marriage_in_Massachusetts_testimony.pdf”]
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Testimony: H.3083 – An Act for Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets

Bill: An Act for Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets

Filed by: Rep. Livingstone

Summary: As we increasingly use online services, it becomes more important to consider our digital afterlife. This bill would address the accessibility and privacy of a person’s digital information in the event that they pass away. This privacy-centric legislation accomplishes these important goals by balancing the interests of all parties – the privacy of the deceased user; the privacy of the people with whom the deceased corresponded; the needs of the fiduciary; and existing federal law (Electronic Communications Protection Act). The legislation would empower the user to decide if and how their communications and digital content are accessed via user level controls.

Heard by: Joint Committee on the Judiciary

Date: May 8, 2017

[gview file=”http://www.livingstonedispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/H3083_An_Act_for_uniform_fiduciary_access_to_digital_assets_testimony.pdf”]
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