Category: Uncategorized

Filed Legislation (2019-20)

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.


H 3320 An Act removing obstacles and expanding access to women’s reproductive health (The ROE Act)

Assigned Committee: Judiciary Committee

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.

Full Text


H681 – An Act to extend early voting to all elections

Assigned Committee: Election Laws Committee

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.

Full Text


H1173 – An Act creating a common application for core food, health, and safety-net programs

Assigned Committee: Health Care Financing Committee

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.

Full Text


H1959– An Act to increase access to disposable menstrual products in prisons, homeless shelters, and public schools

Assigned Committee: Public Health Committee

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.

Full Text


H3358- An Act to reduce mass incarceration

Assigned Committee: Judiciary Committee

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.

Full Text


H3362- An Act relative to the reform of unconstitutional archaic laws

Assigned Committee: Judiciary Committee

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.

Full Text

Rep. Livingstone’s 2019-20 Legislative Agenda

Filed Legislation (2019-2020)

191st Legislative Session

I’m so excited to share my legislative agenda for the 191st Legislative Session! As you may know, in the House, we are given one window of time at the beginning of each Session to file legislation. Submitting proposed legislation is the first step in the cycle of a Bill becoming law. This term, I filed legislation that speaks to topics ranging from criminal justice, combating poverty, women’s rights, public health, elections reform, and much more. Below are some of the highlights. To see a comprehensive list of the bills that I filed, please click here.


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 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.


HD 2272 – An Act to increase access to disposable menstrual products in prisons, homeless shelters, and public schools

This bill would fund disposable menstrual hygiene products in public schools, prisons, and homeless shelters. Access to menstrual hygiene products is an incredible barrier for people who menstruate that are experiencing poverty. I’ve been excited to partner with Representative Christine Barber, Senator Jehlen, and the Massachusetts chapter of the National Women’s Organization (MassNOW) on this legislation.


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 and Planned Parenthood on this vital legislation for families everywhere.


HD 788 – An Act to extend early voting to all elections

Immigration Post

Immigration Policy

It is impossible to ignore the dire need of our state to step up and protect immigrants across the Commonwealth. I have heard it from colleagues and constituents alike: we cannot wait any longer. We must do what we can right now. In spite of roadblocks and hateful rhetoric, I have remained dedicated to using my office to oppose racist and xenophobic policies that hurt our communities and bolster the efforts of tenacious advocates fighting every day to let immigrant voices be heard.

Last session, I was one of the first co-sponsors of the Safe Communities Act, a bill that would strengthen protections for immigrants and keep the work of local police departments separate from ICE. I believe that this legislation was a pragmatic and meaningful way to ensure trust in police in our communities while also creating safer communities. I was pleased that so many of you agreed with that goal and pushed me to advocate as hard as I could.

Copley Square during the Immigration Rally in 2018

I worked within the legislature to organize the Progressive Caucus and meet with the Speaker. I had a one on one meetings with the Speaker to encourage him to bring the legislation to the floor. I took formal steps to push for the legislation (letters, meetings, etc…) and I took less formal approaches (conversations with colleagues and organizing). Your persistence and perspectives really helped guide me through the process of pushing the bill along.

Unfortunately, as many are aware, the bill ultimately did not come to a vote in the House. I was disappointed at our failure to ensure protections to our immigrants who are especially vulnerable under the Trump Regime.

But I don’t give up easily, and I know that you don’t either. I am going to continue to push for this piece of legislation to be voted on as soon as the 191th Formal Session begins in January. I’ll continue to push my colleagues and do whatever I can to be an advocate for immigrant families.

If you have any suggestions, feel free to comment below or email my office at jay.livingstone@mahouse.gov.

Thanks,

 

 

P.S. – Here is a letter that I penned to the Speaker encouraging him to move the Safe Communities Act to the floor last session.

 Immigration_Final_JDL_18

190th Session Recap

190th Legislative Session Recap

190th Legislative Session Recap

This session, my colleagues and I voted on a vast array of issues. From more comprehensive protections for animals to raising the minimum wage, we covered quite a bit of ground. Below is a detailed run down of some of the highlights by category. I hope that this information is helpful and as always, do not hesitate to reach out to my office with further questions.

Animal Rights | Criminal Justice | Economic Development| Election Laws Environment | Gun Control |Human Rights | Labor and Workforce
Opioid Crisis


Animal Rights

S.2646 – An Act to protect animal welfare and safety in cities and towns (PAWS II)

  • Jay was a co-sponsor and advocate for this animal rights bills, as well as several others that unfortunately were not successful.
  • Builds upon changes to the state’s animal cruelty laws made with passage of the PAWS Act in 2014.
  • Includes provisions to ensure that abuse is reported.
  • Ensures efficient enforcement of animal control laws.
  • Prohibits the drowning of animals – wild and domestic.
  • Updates the animal fighting law to prevent the automatic killing of animal fighting victims.
  • Adds animal crimes to the list of offenses that serve as the basis for a request for a determination of detention and/or release upon conditions.
  • Ensures that landlords check vacant properties for the presence of abandoned animals and clarify the law relating to when animals were abandoned.
  • Updates law against animal sex abuse.
  • Updates a law relating to who/what entities can be charged with certain types of animal cruelty (corporations).

Outcome: This bill was passed in both chambers and signed by the Governor on August 9, 2018

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


Criminal Justice 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
Summary: Requires 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.


Economic Development

H.4732 – An Act relative to economic development in the commonwealth

Overview:

  • Jay filed and supported amendments to provide bond funding for Magazine Beach ($1 million) and autonomous vehicle road infrastructure improvements ($3 million), which were included in the final bill.
  • Creates restrictions on the use of “non-compete” agreements.
  • Green lights a Sales Tax Holiday for the weekend of August 11th.
  • Authorizes public infrastructure grants for local and state-wide projects:
    • MassWorks Infrastructure Program ($250 million) – provides a one stop shop for municipalities and other eligible public entities seeking public infrastructure funding to support economic development.
    • Massachusetts Manufacturing Innovation Institute ($25 million) – enables institution of higher education to participate in the Manufacturing USA initiative.
    • Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation ($1.25 million).
    • Cyber Security Innovation Fund ($2.5 million) – Establishes and capitalizes a cyber security fund to address cyber security threats and address workforce training and educational needs in order to expand employment opportunities in cyber security and related fields.
    • Workforce Skills Capital Grants ($75 million) – to purchase and install equipment and related building improvements for career technical education and training programs that are aligned to regional economic and workforce development priorities.
    • Cultural Facilities Fund ($50 million) – enhances the state’s creative economy through financing for acquisition, construction, expansion, renovation, and repair of cultural facilities, increase employment, entrepreneurialism, and tourism to regions where these facilities are located while stimulating a further investment in the arts, heritage, and sciences by preserving cultural resources.
    • Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund – will allow for the annual transfer of up to five percent from the Workforce Training Fund to the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund to support job training for unemployed workers and to meet demand in industry sectors with critical vacancies
    • Charges the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative with conducting a study and issuing recommendations on how to advance the state’s competitiveness in the autonomous vehicle industry.

Outcome: This bill passed both chambers and was signed by the Governor on August 10, 2018. However, the Governor vetoed a provision that would have prohibited a person from making an assertion of patent infringement in bad faith, and a provision to study the barriers to establishing “last mile” broadband connections. He also sent back 6 parts of the bill with amendments.

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


Election Laws and Reform

H.4834 – An Act automatically registering eligible voters and enhancing safeguards against fraud

Overview:

  • This was an important priority for Jay, who co-sponsored this bill and advocated for it.
  • Directs the Secretary of State to work with the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) and MassHealth to automatically enroll eligible individuals to the Commonwealth’s voter rolls.
  • Secretary of State will adopt regulations governing the AVR system, including provisions requiring electronic transmission, data security protocols, and integration with online portals.

Outcome: This bill was passed in both chambers and signed by the Governor on August 9, 2018

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


Energy and Environment

H.4857 – An Act to advance clean energy

  • Establishes the requirement of utilities and municipal aggregates to jointly prepare an “energy efficiency investment plan.” [similar to House legislation]
  • Creates an annual increase of 2% for the Renewable Portfolio Standard by January 2020.
  • Establishes a Clean Peak Standard to incentivize electricity generation at times when the grid is at its highest demand and therefore most vulnerable to reliability issues. It is designed to incentivize installation of renewable resources in conjunction with storage systems to ensure that the Commonwealth will not only be increasing its overall usage of renewable sources of electricity through the RPS program, but that those resources can be utilized to provide energy at periods of high-demand to resuce reliance on natural gas and other non-renewable resources that typically get deployed during high-demand periods.
  • Requires DPU to develop regulations requiring gas companies to annually report how much gas is lost and where those leaks are.
  • Establishes an energy storage target of 1000 Megawatt hours by December 31, 2025; includes a feasibility study for a mobile emergency battery storage system for emergency response to extreme weather events or outages.
  • Creates a study of necessity, cost, and benefits of requiring electricity distribution companies to procure 1,600 MW of additional offshore wind capacity, beyond the 2016 requirements, by 2035.

RPS – I worked with my colleagues in the Progressive Caucus to organize behind Representative Kay Khan’s amendment #29 to increase the RPS increases to 3% year. I was disappointed that the amendment was not adopted.

Gas Pipelines – I was proud to co-sponsor a number of amendments filed by my colleagues to address the issue of pervasive and environmentally destructive pipelines in Massachusetts. Representative Kulik filed Amendments 11, 12, & 13 to address these issues by prohibiting a pipeline tax on electric ratepayers, establishing standards for approval of gas capacity contracts, and guaranteeing public intervention rights at the Department of Public Utilities. I was disappointed that these were not included in the final version.

Environmental Justice I was pleased that Representative Vincent filed the environmental justice amendment, Amendment 24, similar to a piece of legislation that I co-sponsored. This would establish an Environmental Justice advisory council to provide recommendations to the Baker administration. Again, I wish that the measure was included in the final bill.

Gas Leaks – I was happy to co-sponsor Amendment 15 by Representative Barber. This amendment instructs DPU to establish uniform standards for gas companies to identify and measure lost and unaccounted for gas by location, quality, and source. It also allows DPU to grant regulatory waivers to allow gas companies to develop innovative projects to reduce lost and unaccounted for gas. I am pleased to report that the amendment was adopted as written.

To read the full text of the conference report, click here.


Gun Control

H.4670 – An Act relative to fire arms

Overview:

  • Jay was a co-sponsor and advocate for the “Red Flag” firearm legislation.
  • Allows for the temporary removal of firearms from people considered a danger to themselves or others.
  • Lets a relative or someone else with close ties to a legal gun owner petition a court for an up-to-12-month extreme risk protection order if the individual is exhibiting dangerous or unstable behavior.
  • The gun owner can appeal the decision
  •  Creates a licensing procedure for stun guns in Massachusetts after the state’s highest court ruled that a blanket ban on the devices was unconstitutional.

Outcome: This bill was passed in both chambers and signed by the Governor on July 3, 2018

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

Bump Stock Ban

After the tragic mass shooting in Las Vegas and the ongoing trend of mass shootings nation wide, the legislature took action by banning so-called “bump stocks” or devices that convert legal guns into higher capacity rifles. This was done through the budget via an amendment filed by my colleague, Representative Linsky of Natick


Human Rights

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.


Labor & Workforce Development

H.4640 – An Act relative to minimum wage, paid family medical leave and the sales tax holiday

Overview:

  • Jay was a strong advocate for increasing the minimum wage and for creating paid family leave as a program for Massachusetts and he co-sponsored legislation to accomplish these goals.  Unfortunately, these provisions could not be passed without the inclusion of other provisions that he did not support, such as ending Sunday premium pay.
  • The law incrementally raises the current $11-an-hour minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2023.
  • Raises the current tipped minimum wage in Massachusetts of $3.75 an hour by 60-cent increments each year until it reaches $6.75 in 2023.
  • Beginning in 2021, employees — even self-employed workers — will be allowed to take up to 12 weeks of paid family leave and up to 20 weeks of paid medical leave — with the guarantee that they can return to their previous job or an “equivalent position” with the same pay, status, and benefits.
  • Establishes an annual Sales Tax Holiday in the State of Massachusetts.

Outcome: This bill was passed in both chambers and was signed by the Governor on June 28, 2018

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

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

  • Jay was an advocate and co-sponsor of this legislation.
  • 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.


Opioid Legislation

H.4742 – An Act for prevention and access to appropriate care and treatment of addiction

Overview: This compromise language includes initiatives to promote behavioral health and prevent substance use disorders, strengthen the behavioral health system, and enhance options for substance use treatment and recovery across the Commonwealth.  Jay has supported and co-sponsored legislation, some of which was included in this bill, to improve treatment options in Massachusetts and to treat drug addiction as a health issue.

Prevention:

  • Creates the Community-Based Behavioral Health Promotion and Prevention Trust Fund to support evidence based and evidence informed programs for children and young adults.
  • Expands access to non-opioid treatment options for pain management.
  • Expands patients’ ability to partially fill opioid prescriptions.
  • Prohibits discounts and rebates for certain prescription opiates.
  • Mandates that providers check the Prescription Monitoring Program prior to issuing any prescription for benzodiazepine.
  • Establishes an Early Childhood Investment Opportunity Grant Program, which will focus on substance exposed newborns.
  • Adds healthcare providers with direct care experience to the Board of Registration in Nursing.
  • Creates a special commission to study ways to strengthen Massachusetts consumer protection laws to hold pharmaceutical corporations responsible for their role in the opioid epidemic.

Strengthening and Expanding the Behavioral Health System:

  • Strengthens Department of Mental Health and Department of Public Health licensing authority over mental health and substance use treatment facilities, giving the departments greater enforcement authority to improve quality care.
  • Requires facilities to accept MassHealth coverage on a non-discriminatory basis.
  • Allows the Office of the Child Advocate to impose temporary cost share agreements, as necessary, to ensure children’s timely access to care.
  • Establishes remote consultation programs that allow primary care and othe rproviders to consult experts in pain management and substance use disorder to improve patient care.
  • Requires electronic prescribing for all controlled substances with limited expectations effective January 1, 2020.

Treatment and Recovery:

  • Expands access to naloxone (Narcan) in the community by (1) establishing a standing order, providing access to naloxone without a prescription, (2) allowing certain Sheriffs to purchase naloxone at a lower cost through the state’s bulk purchasing program, and (3) allowing local governments and agencies to exchange unexpired naloxone.
  • Requires treatment facilities that provide mandated treatment (under section 35) and emergency rooms to provide access to evidence-based care for people struggling with opioid use disorder, including medication-assisted treatment (MAT).
  • Establishes a program offering MAT to persons with an opioid use disorder at 3 state prisons, as well as a pre-release program at MCI Cedar Junction, with rigorous patient protections, a warm hand-off to community treatment, and data reporting requirements.
  • Establishes a pilot program offering MAT at 5 county correctional facilities for those who received MAT prior to incarceration, as well as a pre-release program, with rigorous patient protections, a warm hand-off to community treatment, and data reporting requirements.
  • Establishes a Center for Police Training in Crisis Intervention to support cost-effective, evidence-based mental health and substance use crisis response training programs for law enforcement, providing the tools to respond appropriately to behavioral health crises.
  • Establishes a commission to make recommendations on the certification of Recovery Coaches.
  • Establishes a commission to make recommendations on harm reduction strategies to engage people at all stages of substance use disorder and encourage recovery.
  • Establishes a commission to study the efficacy of involuntary inpatient substance use treatment, including long-term relapse rates, overdose risk, legal implications, and capacity of the voluntary treatment system.

Outcome: This bill was passed in both chambers and was signed by the Governor on August 9, 2018

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

190th Session Wrap Up: Energy

190th Session Wrap Up: Energy Conference Report

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 energy legislation conference report which worked out the differences between the house’s energy legislation and the senate’s energy legislation

H.4857 – An Act to advance clean energy

  • Establishes the requirement of utilities and municipal aggregates to jointly prepare an “energy efficiency investment plan.” [similar to House legislation]
  • Creates an annual increase of 2% for the Renewable Portfolio Standard by January 2020.
  • Establishes a Clean Peak Standard to incentivize electricity generation at times when the grid is at its highest demand and therefore most vulnerable to reliability issues. It is designed to incentivize installation of renewable resources in conjunction with storage systems to ensure that the Commonwealth will not only be increasing its overall usage of renewable sources of electricity through the RPS program, but that those resources can be utilized to provide energy at periods of high-demand to resuce reliance on natural gas and other non-renewable resources that typically get deployed during high-demand periods.
  • Requires DPU to develop regulations requiring gas companies to annually report how much gas is lost and where those leaks are.
  • Establishes an energy storage target of 1000 Megawatt hours by December 31, 2025; includes a feasibility study for a mobile emergency battery storage system for emergency response to extreme weather events or outages.
  • Creates a study of necessity, cost, and benefits of requiring electricity distribution companies to procure 1,600 MW of additional offshore wind capacity, beyond the 2016 requirements, by 2035.

RPS – I worked with my colleagues in the Progressive Caucus to organize behind Representative Kay Khan’s amendment #29 to increase the RPS increases to 3% year. I was disappointed that the amendment was not adopted.

Gas Pipelines – I was proud to co-sponsor a number of amendments filed by my colleagues to address the issue of pervasive and environmentally destructive pipelines in Massachusetts. Representative Kulik filed Amendments 11, 12, & 13 to address these issues by prohibiting a pipeline tax on electric ratepayers, establishing standards for approval of gas capacity contracts, and guaranteeing public intervention rights at the Department of Public Utilities. I was disappointed that these were not included in the final version.

Environmental Justice I was pleased that Representative Vincent filed the environmental justice amendment, Amendment 24, similar to a piece of legislation that I co-sponsored. This would establish an Environmental Justice advisory council to provide recommendations to the Baker administration. Again, I wish that the measure was included in the final bill.

Gas Leaks – I was happy to co-sponsor Amendment 15 by Representative Barber. This amendment instructs DPU to establish uniform standards for gas companies to identify and measure lost and unaccounted for gas by location, quality, and source. It also allows DPU to grant regulatory waivers to allow gas companies to develop innovative projects to reduce lost and unaccounted for gas. I am pleased to report that the amendment was adopted as written.

 

To read the full text of the conference report, click here.