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.