Category: Privacy

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

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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

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Public Records Overhaul Sent to Baker’s Desk

By Michael P. Norton
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE
The Massachusetts House and Senate each voted unanimously Wednesday to advance to Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk a compromise bill that represents the first major overhaul of public records access laws in 43 years.

In addition to requiring state agencies and cities and towns to designate records officers to field requests, the proposal requires public agencies to provide requested public records within 10 business days, while allowing for extensions beyond that deadline capped at five business days from the original request for a state agency and 15 for a municipality. The bill further caps the length of appeals if records are denied and requesters appeal to the Secretary of State.

The bill (H 4333) also encourages public agencies to make electronic public records more readily available to requesters when records are already in electronic formats, and limits the costs public entities may charge for making copies or for employee time spent assembling records.

“This is a core issue of making our government, our democracy accessible to everyone,” said Sen. Jason Lewis, a Winchester Democrat who served on the six-member conference committee that agreed to a consensus bill this week. “Public records are, as the name says, public.”

Rep. Denise Provost, a Somerville Democrat, said the bill “struck such an exquisite balance” between privacy concerns and transparency.

Lawmakers who worked on reconciling the House version with a Senate bill kept their conference committee meetings open and invited the media to cover the meetings – a departure from the usual closed conference meetings where lawmakers make decisions on major bills.

Sen. Joan Lovely of Salem, the Senate’s lead negotiator on the bill, said the bill allows a municipality to refuse to furnish records if someone has failed to pick up previously produced records, a situation that public officials said they’ve encountered. “If you don’t pick up and pay for a record you are not entitled to the next one,” she said.

Rep. Stephen Kulik, one of the bill’s negotiators, said it would not add unfunded mandates onto municipalities, which he said handle the bulk of requests.

Sen. Donald Humason of Westfield, another conferee, said smaller cities and towns with fewer employees would be able to comply with the bill’s requirements.

The bill also permits the courts to award reasonable attorney fees and costs when a records requester obtains relief, and designates as public records documents made or received by entities that receive funds from the MBTA for the payment of pensions.

A commission of legislators would be created under the bill to examine expanding the public records law to cover aspects of the legislative process on Beacon Hill. The bill calls on that commission to also look at “the constitutionality and practicality of subjecting the general court, the executive office of the governor, and the judicial branch to the public records law.” A report would be due by Dec. 30, 2017.

“Governor Baker was pleased to institute a new public records reform policy for the executive branch to make state government more transparent and is pleased that many of the concepts from the administration’s initiative were included in this legislation. The administration will carefully review the bill,” Elizabeth Guyton, a spokeswoman for Gov. Charlie Baker, said in a statement.

April 2015 Dispatch

Livingstone Dispatch

In this Issue…
Office Change I Recognition I Co-sponsorship Highlights I Office Hours

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Dear Friends. . .

I hope that this newsletter find you well. Spring has begun and the snow has finally melted. With the change of the season comes the excitement of a new budget cycle. The House Committee on Ways and Means plans to release their budget this week, and I will do my best to keep you informed each step of the way. My office has heard a variety of requests from the 8th Suffolk District, and all of those needs will be considered as I review budgetary matters. Among the priorities that I will be advocating for that I am particularly excited about is a continued effort to ensure proper funding for Early Education.

In this issue of the Dispatch, I have highlighted some pieces of legislation that I have co-sponsored this session. I’ve broken them down into categories to give you a sense of the variety of bills and innovative ideas that I am excited to work on. This is a small sample of a variety of bills that I have co-sponsored. I have also included details about my new office location as well as my monthly Office Hours so that we can keep in touch. I hope to see you soon, whether it be in the State House or in the District. As always, don’t hesitate to reach out to my office if you have any questions or requests.

Best Wishes,

Jay Livingstone
State Representative
8th Suffolk District

Office Change

Since Committee Assignments were made, a lot of offices have been relocating in the State House. I recently moved to a new office as well. My legislative aide and I are excited about our new location in the Judiciary Committee suite!

If you would like to come by to visit, feel free to schedule an appointment with my legislative aide, Caitlin Duffy (Caitlin.Duffy@MAHouse.gov), or stop by Room 136! Below is our new contact information:

Office: (617) 722-2396
Fax: (617) 722-2819

Recognition

Check out these blog posts on my website to see how I did on some legislative score cards!

State Representative Jay Livingstone named “Champion” for Choice by Planned Parenthood Massachusetts

State Representative Jay Livingstone receives high marks on Mass Audubon and Environmental League of Massachusetts Legislative Scorecards


Co-Sponsorships

Along with the pieces of legislation that I filed as a lead sponsor this session, I have had the opportunity to work with other legislators to sign onto other important pieces of legislation. Below are just some highlights of bills that I am excited to support and will be watching this session. To read about all of them, go to my legislative webpage!

l Animal Rights l Consumer Protection l Criminal Justice l Education l

l Environment/Energy l Health Care/ Public Health l Housing l

l Mental Health/Substance Abuse l Privacy l Transportation l

Office Hours

Every week, I will be in the community to receive feedback, ideas, and suggestions on both local neighborhood issues and statewide policy priorities. Below is the schedule for April. Hope to see you there!

The schedule of office hours is as follows:

Beacon Hill: Panificio Bistro and Bakery
Thursday, April 16th, 8:30am-9:30am
144 Charles St. Boston, MA 02134

West End: J Pace & Son
Wednesday, April 22nd, 8:30am-9:30am
75 Blossom Court Boston, MA 02114

Back Bay: Thinking Cup
Tuesday, April 28th, 8:30am-9:30am
85 Newbury St. Boston, MA 02116

Central Square: 1369 Coffee House
Thursday, April 30th, 8:30am-9:30am
757 Massachusetts Ave. Cambridge, MA 02139

Co-sponsorship Highlights: Privacy

An Act to protect electronic privacy
Sponsored by Rep. Peake; Would protect our personal electronic records held by phone and internet service providers–our emails and texts, documents stored online, and GPS records–from being accessed without a warrant. (H.1531)

An Act to regulate license plate tracking
Sponsored by Rep. Hecht; License Plate Readers (LPRs) scan thousands of license plates daily and LPR systems store information indefinitely about where and when you drive. This legislation would protect innocent people from having their movements tracked. (H.3009)

An Act relative to social media password privacy
Sponsored by Rep. Gordon; Would prohibit employers and educational institutions from demanding access to private social media accounts as a condition of employment or learning opportunities. Private communications deserve the same protections online and offline. (H.386)

To see a complete list of bills that I co-sponsored this session, visit my legislative webpage at www.malegislature.gov/People/Profile/J_L1