Friday, June 9, 2017

We need YOUR voice! Help move the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act forward for a vote

 

For too many women, a family member’s medical crisis means choosing between a paycheck or being a caregiver.  Sometimes there are no options, no other caregivers are available and the choice is made for them.  And, when a woman gives birth or experiences a medical crisis of her own, the risk of losing a job increases.

CCICSW supports An Act establishing a paid family and medical leave insurance program (S.1048 and H. 2172) as part of our our priority legislation. Last year this legislation was voted in by the senate, then never got a vote in the house and essentially died in the house of represenatives. We can’t let that happen this session.
Tuesday, June 13, the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development will hear testimony and vote on whether to move the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act forward for a vote.

We need you to send letters of support to the committee by Monday at noon. 

What to say:
“I am submitting this letter as written testimony for your hearing on An Act establishing a paid family and medical leave insurance program (S.1048 and H. 2172.) June 13, 2017.  Please add this letter to that testimony.”
Look at these fact sheets for more about the bill:
Tell your own story – talk about a hardship you experienced that this bill may have prevented.  Talk about what this bill would mean to your security or a family member or people you know.  Or, simply state your support.  Keep it to one page. If you belong to a group, committee, consider asking if you can submit a letter on their behalf, or if you have family or friends who support this act, add their names.

Send it by email – and there is more contact information below if you want to make your letter formal.
The Joint Committee leadership is shared by both house and senate, send to all or to just one of the chairs.

Senate:
Senator Jason M. Lewis, Chair:  Jason.Lewis@masenate.gov
Senator Patricia D. Jehlen, Vice Chair:  Patricia.Jehlen@masenate.gov

Joint Committee on Labor
and Workforce Development
24 Beacon St. Room 511-B
Boston, MA 02133

House:
Paul Brodeur, Chair:  Paul.Brodeur@mahouse.gov
Tricia Farley-Bouvier, Vice Chair:  Tricia.Farley-Bouvier@mahouse.gov

Joint Committee on Labor
and Workforce Development
24 Beacon St. Room 472
Boston, MA 02133

And if you want to help move this bill forward – cc your email to the Speaker of the House Robert.DeLeo@mahouse.gov, and Senate President Stan.Rosenberg@masenate.gov.

Share this post with anyone who might be interested in getting this bill passed this session, let’s not allow it to die on the house floor this time!

The more input we give, the more we use our own voices, the more our legislators will know we are watching and in 2018, we will vote.



June Meeting Posting

June 14th at the Barnstable County Complex, 3195 Main Street, Barnstable, MA.  5-7 pm



Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Help us Bring a Housing Court to Cape Cod and The Islands!

We need your help, we need your voice.

Help us bring a Housing Court to Cape Cod and the Islands!  We need letters of support to go to MA Legislative Budget Conference Committee. You can help us protect women who rent.
(This bill is on CCICSW's priority legislation list for the 2017-2018 legislative session


This is an update on the progress of the Housing Court bill, Cape Cod does NOT have a Housing Court, this is important to women:
  The Housing Court is a layer of protection for women who rent. MA has adopted the key provisions of the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and parts are related to issues with landlords. Housing Courts are where women can enforce these protections. The Housing Court has judges and staff with expertise in housing law and who are trained to provide tenants and landlords with a fair court process. Both landlords and tenants can access the resources that only Housing Courts have, including the Tenancy Preservation Program, Lawyer for the Day Programs and Housing Specialists. Homeless can be prevented and municipalities can address serious housing and health code violations efficiently and effectively.

ACTION YOU CAN TAKE:

Housing Court Bill Goes to Budget Conference Committee
On May 25, Senate Ways and Chairwoman Senator Spilka made the case on the Senate floor for statewide housing court expansion and an amendment to strike the housing court from the Senate’s budget because of costs was withdrawn. Housing Court expansion advances to the FY2018 Budget Conference Committee thanks to Senator Spilka’s leadership. Thank you to those who reached out to key leaders, if you haven’t given your input it’s not too late. (Note: Bills are also still pending in the Judiciary Committee.)
Budget Negotiations Start Today, Monday, June 5.

The 6-member Budget Conference Committee is led by Senate Ways and Means Chairwoman Karen Spilka: Karen.Spilka@masenate.gov  and House Ways and Means Chairman Brian Dempsey: Brian.Dempsey@mahouse.gov. Today, they start negotiations to reconcile the Senate and the House budgets. The other four members are Senators Sal DiDomenico: Sal.DiDomenico@masenate.gov and Vinny deMacedo: Vinny.deMacedo@masenate.gov  and Reps Stephen Kulik: Stephen.Kulik@mahouse.gov and Todd Smola: Todd.Smola@mahouse.gov .
Action Needed This Week – Please Help.
  1. Send a letter to the Conference Committee. Use this sample letter or tell your own story.
  2. It is critical that leadership gets a copy of your letter. Please “cc” House Speaker DeLeo Robert.DeLeo@mahouse.gov and Senate President Rosenberg  Stan.Rosenberg@masenate.gov
  3. If you email your letter to Annette R. Duke, Esq. Housing Attorney, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute: ADuke@MLRI.org by Thursday, June 8 at 11 am, she will deliver it to all 8 elected officials that afternoon.
  4. Ask your Rep and Senator to contact leadership and convey how much people in their districts want a Housing Court. It is unfair that some have access to a housing court and others do not.


Welcome New Supporters
Housing Court 4 All Coalition has grown to close to 150 organizations and welcomes:
  • Massachusetts Municipal Association
  • Watertown Health Department
  • Chelsea Fire Fighter Local 937
  • Falmouth Human Services
  • Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association
  • Feldman Law, Boston
Please  invite organizations to Join the Growing List of Supporters for Statewide Housing Court.

Contact Annette R. Duke, Esq. Housing Attorney, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute: ADuke@MLRI.org   with any questions.



Friday, June 2, 2017

Our 2017-2018 Priority Legislation

Cape Cod and Islands Commission on the Status of Women

Priority Legislation for the 2017-2018 General Legislative Session 




1.      An Act Advancing Contraceptive Coverage and Economic Security in Our State (ACCESS) (SD939/HD450) Lead Sponsors: Sen. Harriette Chandler, Reps. Patricia Haddad and John W. Scibak This bill would expand health insurance coverage of contraceptives in the Commonwealth.  Under this bill health insurance policies must cover:  all FDA-approved prescription contraceptive drugs and devices or their therapeutically equivalent alternatives, all FDA-approved over-the-counter contraceptive drugs and devices, a 12-month supply of contraceptive drugs and devices in a single dispensation, voluntary sterilization procedures, and education and follow-up for any provided contraceptive drugs and devices.  This will improve women’s access to contraceptives throughout the Commonwealth.

2.      End Child Marriage in Massachusetts (S785/H2310) Lead Sponsors: Rep. Kay Khan & Sen. Harriette L. Chandler, Current laws allow marriage of children the age of 18 with no age limitations with parental and judicial consent.  This bill would ban marriage under the age of 18.  Proponents say updating marriage laws, which in many states are more than a century old, will help protect children from being pushed into marriages by parents and predators.

3.      Housing Court Expansion (S946/H.978) Lead Sponsors: Sen. Karen Spilka The Housing Court has judges and staff with expertise in housing law who are trained to provide tenants and landlords with a fair court process. Both landlords and tenants can access the resources that only Housing Courts have, including the Tenancy Preservation Program, Lawyer for the Day Programs and Housing Specialists. Homeless can be prevented and municipalities can address serious housing and health code violations efficiently and effectively.  Over 30 % of the population in MA has no access to housing court that includes all of Cape Cod & the Islands.

4.      An Act Establishing Just Schedules for Employees (SD/846HD3693) Lead Sponsors: Sen. Kenneth Donnelley, Rep. Sean Garballey This bill would establish employee rights to additional payment if they are not given sufficient advance notice of any changes to their work schedule. The bill specifies that if employers make changes to an employee’s schedule within 10 days of a scheduled shift, they are required to pay between one and four additional hours of predictability pay, in addition to wages earned for hours worked. This bill will protect employees of the retail, fast food and hotel industries of the Commonwealth. 

5.      An Act Establishing a Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program (SD1768/HD2573) Lead Sponsors: Sen. Karen Spilka and Rep. Kenneth Gordon (2016-2017: Engrossed by the Senate – 7/30/16) This bill establishes employee rights to family medical leave or temporary disability leave in the event of the following: the birth of a child of the employee, the placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care, the necessity of an employee to care for a family member that has been diagnosed with a serious health condition for a period of time. Further, the bill safeguards the position, compensation, status, and benefits of the employee upon return from leave so long as ample notice to the employer is given.



Supported Legislation for the 2017-2018 General Legislative Session



Equitable Coverage in Disability Policies (S545.H482) Lead Sponsors: Rep. Kenneth Gordon and Sen. Spilka  (2016-2017: Engrossed by the Senate – 7/30/16)
This bill establishes employee rights to family medical leave or temporary disability leave in the event of the following: the birth of a child of the employee, the placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care, the necessity of an employee to care for a family member that has been diagnosed with a serious health condition for a period of time. Further, the bill safeguards the position, compensation, status, and benefits of the employee upon return from leave so long as ample notice to the employer is given.

Protect Girls from Female Genital Mutilation (S788/HD2873)Lead Sponsors: Rep. Sarah Peake/Sen. Harriette Chandler  Female genital mutilation (FGM) involves removing part or all of a girl’s healthy sex organs and surrounding tissue for non-medical reasons resulting in health consequences, death in childbirth and lifelong trauma. This bill would create a program for education, prevention and outreach for communities that practice FGM, requires mandated reporters to make a 51A report to DCF if a child has suffered from physical or emotional injury resulting from FGM and criminalizes the acts of committing FGM on a child or taking a child in or out of the Commonwealth to commit FGM or to permit another to commute FGM.

this bill passed! Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act  (S1023/H1048) Lead Sponsors: Sen. Joan Lovely and Rep. David Rogers (2016-2017: Reported favorably by the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development and referred to the Committee on House Ways and Means - 8/3/15)  This bill provides safeguards for employees with conditions of pregnancy, childbirth, and other related aspects. The bill allots for ‘reasonable accommodations’ to be taken and provided by the employer. These accommodations include but are not limited to: more or frequent breaks, time off to recover from childbirth, acquisition or modification of equipment, seating, temporary transfer to a less strenuous or hazardous position, job restructuring, light duty, break time and private non-bathroom space for expressing breast milk, assistance with manual labor, or modified work schedule.

.
Members of CCICSW at the State House Advocating for you, May 17.



Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Join us to Lobby for Women's Rights on Beacon Hill

Join us as we lobby for women May 17, 2017, Women's Advocacy Day at the State House.
No experience necessary!

Details and sign up information here.

From the MA Commission for the Status of Women's website:
Advocacy day is an annual event held by the MCSW to advocate for legislation that advances the rights and opportunities of women. The Commission discusses key findings from the previous year in collaboration with regional commissions, and reports findings collected from public hearings hosted during the year throughout the Commonwealth. Attendees hear from the Commission Chair and regional commission Chairs as well as influential legislators. The event includes time for members of the commission and supporters to visit legislators to discuss priority legislation. The MCSW invites members of the community to attend and participate in Advocacy Day and stand in support of women throughout Massachusetts.
For highlights of Advocacy Day 2015, please see this informative video created by the Bristol County Commission on the Status of Women.
Sign up here.


Monday, May 8, 2017

May Meeting Posting

Our next meeting will be at the Yarmouth Police station, 1 Brad Erickson Way (or 340 Higgins Crowell Road) from 5-7pm

 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Please help us advocate for victims of domestic violence by establishing a local Housing Court

     The Housing Court is a layer of protection for women who rent. MA has adopted the key provisions of the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and parts are related to issues with landlords. Housing Courts are where women can enforce these protections. The Housing Court has judges and staff with expertise in housing law and who are trained to provide tenants and landlords with a fair court process. Both landlords and tenants can access the resources that only Housing Courts have, including the Tenancy Preservation Program, Lawyer for the Day Programs and Housing Specialists. Homeless can be prevented and municipalities can address serious housing and health code violations efficiently and effectively.
     Currently, one -third of the state’s population does not have access to Housing Court, including Barnstable, Dukes and Nantucket counties. 
     An attempt was made to include funding for these courts in the budget this year.
Due to the extreme budgetary constraints this year, no housing court expansion budget amendment was filed in the House as part of the FY18 budget. Representative Walsh and Representative Donato are working on advancing the housing court expansion as legislation (House) H978 and (Senate) S946.
     The Cape Cod and Islands Commission on the Status of Women is among many organizations that now support the bills that are being filed. We are asking you to contact your legislators, see details below under "Next Steps."

This information is from Greater Boston Legal Services, in the form of advice for victims of domestic Violence:
How does VAWA protect me?
     VAWA means that a housing authority can not refuse to rent to you just because you are or were a victim of abuse.
     VAWA means that you can not be evicted from public housing just because of your abuser or your abuser’s actions.
     If you and your abuser live together, the housing authority can evict your abuser for his or her acts of abuse, but you must be allowed to stay. Acts of abuse include domestic violence, threats, dating violence or stalking.

Can I be evicted for violating my lease?
     Under VAWA, a housing authority can not evict you for violating your lease because you are a victim of abuse.
     It also can not evict you for criminal activity related to domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking.
     But, a housing authority could evict you for serious or repeated lease violations that are unrelated to domestic abuse.

What can the housing authority do?
      A housing authority can evict you if it can prove that other tenants or staff are in actual and imminent (immediate) danger that cannot be addressed by security or other steps. If the housing authority can prove this, you could be evicted even if you are a victim of domestic abuse.
     But without proven danger, the housing authority can not evict you or penalize you in any way.
     Also, the housing authority can not hold you to a more demanding set of rules than it uses for tenants who are not victims of abuse.

From Annette R. Duke, Esq.,Housing Attorney,Massachusetts Law Reform Institute:
 (Find your legislators here, after typing your info into the search form, at the bottom of the list under "District Representatives" click on the link for your State Representative and State Senator)

Next Steps

Monday, April 10, 2017

Join us for Women's Lobby Day on Beacon Hill

Join us as we lobby for women May 17, 2017, Women's Advocacy Day at the State House.
No experience necessary!

Details and sign up information here.

From the MA Commission for the Status of Women's website:
Advocacy day is an annual event held by the MCSW to advocate for legislation that advances the rights and opportunities of women. The Commission discusses key findings from the previous year in collaboration with regional commissions, and reports findings collected from public hearings hosted during the year throughout the Commonwealth. Attendees hear from the Commission Chair and regional commission Chairs as well as influential legislators. The event includes time for members of the commission and supporters to visit legislators to discuss priority legislation. The MCSW invites members of the community to attend and participate in Advocacy Day and stand in support of women throughout Massachusetts.
For highlights of Advocacy Day 2015, please see this informative video created by the Bristol County Commission on the Status of Women.
Sign up here.


Friday, April 7, 2017

April meeting post

Our next meeting is scheduled for April 12, 2017 from 5-7 pm and will be held at the (Old Jail building) BARNSTABLE COUNTY COMPLEX, 3195 Main St., Barnstable, MA


The harbor view conference room is located on the Barnstable County campus, in the west wing of the old jail at the back of the complex. Nearby parking is limited.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

It takes more than one day to recognize Equal Pay!

One of the biggest victories the Massachusetts Committee on the Status of Women (MCSW) has celebrated was the passage of the Equal Pay Act last year. The work continues. The MCSW continues to be part of the Mass Equal Pay Coalition as they oversee and remain involved in the implementation of the law.

Until the law is in full force, women's pay overall remains unequal.

Tuesday April 4, is Equal Pay Day, but the issue lives on throughout the year. Tuesday is the day of the week women have to work to, to be paid equal to a man working the previous week. The figure that is thrown around is $.82 to a man's dollar when people talk about the percentage of pay women get compared to a man.

But when you delve into the details, it gets worse.

In MA these are the actual dates women have to work to, to equal a man in the previous year:
  • ·         May 1 – White women
  • ·         July 31 – African American women
  • ·         September 25 – Native American women
  • ·         November 2 – Latina women

Here are a few more facts to consider:

In Massachusetts more than 319,000 family households are headed by women. About 26 percent of those families, or 81,755 family households, have incomes that fall below the poverty level. Eliminating the wage gap would provide much-needed income to women whose wages sustain their households.

On average, Massachusetts women who are employed full time lose a combined total of  more than  $11 billion every year due to the wage gap. These women, their families, businesses and the economy suffer as a result. Lost wages mean families have less money to save for the future or to spend on basic goods and services  – spending that helps drive the economy.  If the annual wage gap were eliminated, on average, a working woman in Massachusetts would have enough money for approximately:
  • 85 more weeks of food for her family ( nearly two years’ worth);
  • Six more months  of  mortgage and utilities payments; 
or
  • More than 10 additional  months  of rent. 
It has been a long fight.   The MA Equal Pay Bill is the strongest and most comprehensive law in the country. But it still has to be implemented without changes and regulations that will reduce it's impact on the disparity.  We will keep you posted.


 







Friday, March 17, 2017

You are invited! Free and open to the public, an important panel discussion on Equal Pay



The Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy in Partnership with the Massachusetts Coalition for Equal Pay
Invites you to a free educational panel:

  Achieving Equal Pay:

The New Law for Employers, Employees,
and Job Seekers

DATE: Tuesday, March 21, 2017
TIME: 4:00 to 6:00pm

LOCATION:
UMass Boston
Campus Center
Room 3540 (3rd floor)
100 Morrissey Boulevard, Boston, MA 02125

Sunday, March 5, 2017

March Meeting Posting

Our next meeting is scheduled for March 8, 2017 from 5-7 pm amd will be held at the (Old Jail building) BARNSTABLE COUNTY COMPLEX, 3195 Main St., Barnstable, MA

Monday, February 27, 2017

Reminder: Join us as we welcome the Massachusetts Commission to Wareham!

Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women Public Hearing Wareham, MA


Date: February 28, 2017
Time: 4:30 PM - 6:30 PM

Location: Wareham Free Library 
 See map below

This is an excellent opportunity to speak to issues that are important to you here on Cape Cod. Testimony isn't just limited to organizations, individuals are welcome too to testify.

 Please click here to RSVP



The Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women is a state-established body charged with reviewing the status of women in Massachusetts, and offering recommendations regarding policy that would improve access to opportunities and equality.

The Massachusetts Commission is composed of 19 volunteer commissioners, who dedicate their time to assessing the status of women in the Commonwealth and pushing for beneficial legislative changes.

Commissioners are appointed by one of four appointing authorities: the Governor, the Senate President, the Speaker of the House, and the Caucus of Women Legislators.

Our commission, Cape Cod and Islands, is a regional commission, that reports to the State Commission. Many of our commissioners will be in the audience at this hearing. We encourage anyone with issues they want to share with the state commission to come and speak.




Friday, February 10, 2017

Join us when the Massachusetts Commission on the Status Women comes to Wareham

Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women Public Hearing Wareham, MA


Date: February 28, 2017
Time: 4:30 PM - 6:30 PM

Location: Wareham Free Library 
 See map below



 Please click here to RSVP



The Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women is a state-established body charged with reviewing the status of women in Massachusetts, and offering recommendations regarding policy that would improve access to opportunities and equality.

The Massachusetts Commission is composed of 19 volunteer commissioners, who dedicate their time to assessing the status of women in the Commonwealth and pushing for beneficial legislative changes.

Commissioners are appointed by one of four appointing authorities: the Governor, the Senate President, the Speaker of the House, and the Caucus of Women Legislators.

Our commission, Cape Cod and Islands, is a regional commission, that reports to the State Commission. Many of our commissioners will be in the audience at this hearing. We encourage anyone with issues they want to share with the state commission to come and speak.




Wednesday, February 1, 2017

February Meeting

Our next meeting is scheduled for February 8, 2017 from 5-7 pm amd will be held at the (Old Jail building) BARNSTABLE COUNTY COMPLEX, 3195 Main St., Barnstable, MA

Monday, January 23, 2017

Sexual Health Lobby Day in Boston!

Come and learn

Thanks to the League of Women Voters for this information. A link to their page is below. 

Date: Tuesday, Jan. 31
Location: State House in Boston  
Time:  Coffee and information, 9:30 - 11 a.m.
                  Lobbying training, 11 a.m. - noon; lobbying noon - 2 p.m.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Clean Energy for All Lobby Day

Join the lobbying effort against climate change!

                  
Date: Wednesday, Jan. 25
Location: State House in Boston.  
Time: Breakfast and gathering, 10 a.m.
                  Speakers 10:30 - 11 a.m.
                  Training and lobbying 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
                  
Join League colleagues and Mass Power Forward coalition partners to shape the future of energy legislation in Massachusetts. Grassroots leaders and advocates from over 150 clean energy groups will gather at the State House to draw attention to and recruit co-sponsors for priority clean energy and climate legislation in advance of the Feb. 3 bill co-sponsor deadline.
                  
Please RSVP to attend so you can help shape the future.
 
 
 
 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Massachusetts Commission will hold a local hearing in Wareham, Feb 28

The Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women is a state-established body charged with reviewing the status of women in Massachusetts, and offering recommendations regarding policy that would improve access to opportunities and equality.

The Massachusetts Commission is composed of 19 volunteer commissioners, who dedicate their time to assessing the status of women in the Commonwealth and pushing for beneficial legislative changes.

Commissioners are appointed by one of four appointing authorities: the Governor, the Senate President, the Speaker of the House, and the Caucus of Women Legislators.

Our commission, Cape Cod and Islands, is a regional commission, that reports to the State Commission. Many of our commissioners will be in the audience at this hearing. We encourage anyone with issues they want to share with the state commission to come and speak.

Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women
Public Hearing
Wareham, MA
Date: February 28, 2017
Time: 4:30 PM - 6:30 PM
Location: Wareham Free Library 
 See map below

 Please click here to RSVP


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

January Meeting

January 11 2016, 5:00-7:00 PM Yarmouth Police Station 340 Higgins Crowell Rd West Yarmouth, MA 02673