Do you have a question or comment about a piece of state legislation? My office can provide you with summaries and the status of my bills or other bills that come before the Legislature. Your opinion is important to me, so I hope you’ll share your thoughts with me.
Environment and Agriculture:
An Act to protect Massachusetts pollinators (H4041): There is growing evidence to support a link between the declining health of bees and the prevalence of neonicotinoid pesticides. This bill adds these pesticides to the list of products requiring an applicator’s license, prohibits their use during the blooming season when pollinators are most impacted, and requires labeling of plants that are pre-treated with these pesticides.
An Act to ensure appropriate regulation of piggeries (H2114): Demand for locally grown meat is growing but the siting of new piggeries, which are not protected in the same way as other agriculture, can be challenging. While local authorities will still have the authority to deny siting, this bill clarifies that standards used must be based on best practices endorsed by state and federal authorities.
An Act Relative to Chapter Land Applications (H2589): Technical changes that streamline and clarify filing dates for landowners for Chapter land applications. Current laws regarding application deadlines during revaluation and recertification periods are inconsistent. This bill has been supported by the Massachusetts Association of Assessing Officers for the past two sessions.
An Act relative to juvenile bail notification (H4118): Eliminates a redundancy in the existing laws around the juvenile detention process to reduce unnecessary holds and clarify the role of the bail magistrate.
An Act relative to sealing of juvenile records and expungement of court records (H2309), joint file with Rep. Khan: Allows for expungement of criminal records for juvenile offenders after a three-year period without a second offense. Also creates a legal mechanism for expunging records of falsely accused.
An Act improving juvenile justice data collection (H2489) – New: Requires state agencies to report aggregate juvenile data, including ethnicity, which is required for compliance with the federal Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act and eligibility for associated federal funding.
An Act relative to drought management (H2115) – New: Establishes the existing Drought Management Task Force in statute and empowers the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs to order restrictions on outdoor water use in times of drought based on Task Force recommendations. Agriculture is exempted.
An Act providing for the establishment of sustainable water resource funds (H2116): This is a local option bill allowing municipalities to assess an impact fee on new development. Fees are kept in a separate account dedicated to drinking water, wastewater or storm water infrastructure.
An Act relative to municipal assistance for clean water and economic development infrastructure (H2117): Authorizes bonding to reimburse municipalities for water pipe replacement, similar to the Chapter 90 transportation funding program. The new funding would help municipalities coordinate and replace underground pipes in conjunction with road resurfacing.
An Act to promote regionalization with watershed based permitting (H2118): Requires DEP to conduct a feasibility study on watershed-based permitting. This approach allows for more regional, strategic, and efficient allocation of limited water infrastructure funding and better collaboration among communities to address regional water concerns.
Healthcare and Public Health:
An Act relative to electronic prescribing of opiates and other controlled substances (H2453): Requires electronic prescribing for all controlled substances, including opiates, making it more difficult to forge or alter prescriptions. Similar laws have recently been passed in New York and Maine.
An act ensuring consumer choice of health care providers (H2165) – New: Requires each ACO to create a consistent policy to ensure objectivity and transparency when making decisions about which independent practices are allowed “in network”.
An Act supporting individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (H1954): Creates a certification program administered by DPH for medical and nursing schools that educate future practitioners on the unique healthcare needs of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
An Act to improve access to child and adolescent mental health services (H527), joint file with Rep. Garballey: Allows licensed educational psychologists to be considered “licensed mental health professionals.” This approach can help address a current shortage in adolescent mental health counselors.
An Act relative to control of tick-borne illness (H2120): Expands the powers of the Mosquito Control Board to work with municipalities on controlling ticks and tick-borne illness. Adds a representative of the Dept. of Fish and Game to the Board.
An Act relative to transparency in employee benefits reporting in private construction (H1005): Helps address the underground economy in the construction industry by requiring employers to post documentation on the job site demonstrating compliance with unemployment and workers compensation insurance requirements. Only applies to projects over $750,000.
An Act relative to the electronic filing of and public access to statements of financial interests (H2661): Requires legislator and candidate Statements of Financial Interest to be available to the public online.
An Act relative to the hiring of veterans (H3643): Establishes a universal hiring preference for veterans for park rangers in the Department of Conservation and recreation.
An Act relative to student privacy (H2028): Requires schools to follow a process before accessing private information on a student’s personal technological device. Includes an override provision in cases of imminent threat to safety or security.
An Act relative to school transportation (H2029): Eliminates the state mandate requiring school districts to assess transportation fees based on the distance of the child’s residence from the school. Allows districts to make decisions about bus fees based on factors determined by the community.
An Act relative to best management practices for wireless in schools and public institutions of higher education (H2030) – New: Directs the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to develop best practices for the purchase and installation of wireless technology in schools focusing on protecting student health.
An Act relative to floor hockey safety (H3477) – New: Requires participants in K-12 intramural floor hockey to wear safety gear in compliance with national standards.
An Act relative to parking safety (H3531): Requires certain commercial property owners to install structural barriers (such as low-cost bollards) between parking and storefronts. This is in response to recent incidents in which cars have damaged storefronts, causing bodily harm and property damage.
An Act relative to school bus safety (H2730): Filed in response to an incident in which a licensed school bus driver with two previous convictions for OUI was arrested for transporting children while under the influence. This bill expands the window of time that a bus driver must be free of DUI convictions from 5 to 15 years. Also prohibits licensing of an individual to drive a school bus who has more than one prior OUI conviction.
An Act relative to the safety of teenage drivers (H2690): Requires cell service providers to offer a free, high quality, anti-texting and driving application to cell phone customers under 18 years old.
An Act relative to special regulations for vehicle specific checkpoints (H2731): Clarifies that vehicle checkpoints cannot target a type of vehicle on the basis of type alone. This bill was a priority for the Massachusetts Motorcycle Association in the 189th legislative session.