Category: Blog

190th Session Recap: Gun Control Legislation

190th Session Recap: 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

190th Session Recap: Opioid Legislation

190th Session Recap: 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 Recap: Economic Development

190th Session Recap: 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.

190th Session Recap: Animal Rights

190th Session Recap: Animal Rights

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

Overview:

  • 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.

190th Session Recap: Human Rights

190th Session Recap: 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.