Legislative Agenda, 2017-2018 (190th Session)


FEB. 2018 UPDATE: We take stock of what the Legislature has achieved at mid-session, here: progressivemass.com/190legislativeagenda-update



For too long, Massachusetts has had austerity budget after austerity budget—a plague of under-investment in the vital social and physical infrastructure of our state. It is far past time to change that. And with President Trump and Congressional Republicans pushing a reactionary agenda, it is time for Massachusetts legislators to step up their game and make our Commonwealth the beacon of progressive policy it can, and should, be.

When health care, workers' rights, housing and educational equity, and climate action are being attacked on the national level by President Trump and Congressional Republicans, it’s time to push a bigger, bolder, and more progressive agenda. And when the rights of immigrants, people of color, women, the LGBTQ community, and the poor are being attacked, it’s time to fight back and expand those rights in Massachusetts. And when voting rights are being attacked, it’s time to make voting more accessible here in Massachusetts.


Priority Bills that Advance Our Progressive Platform

Bills To Watch

Shared Prosperity - All Means All - Good Gov./Strong Democracy - Sustainable Infrastrux. & Environment


Our Shared Prosperity 

  • $15 minimum wage (H.2365 / S.1004): An Act to improve the Commonwealth’s economy with a strong minimum wage and a strong tipped minimum wage  (Donahue-Donnelly)
    Raises minimum wage to $15 by 2021 and indexes it to inflation. Ensures that tipped employees’ wages plus tips equal the new strengthened minimum wage.

  • Fair Share Amendment: An Initiative Petition for an Amendment to the Constitution of the Commonwealth to Provide Resources for Education and Transportation through an additional tax on incomes in excess of One Million Dollars (Fair Share Amendment)  [Passed its second Constitutional Convention -- on to the Nov 2018 ballot!]
    Creates a 4% surtax on income above $1 million (inflation-adjusted) to fund education and transportation investment.

  • Paid Family and Medical Leave (H.2172 / S.1048): An Act establishing a paid family and medical leave insurance program (Gordon-Spilka)
    Makes employees eligible for job-protected paid leave to recover from a serious illness or injury, to care for a seriously ill or injured family member, or to care for a new child.

  • Affordable and Sustainable Housing Production (S.81 / now H.4397): An Act promoting housing and sustainable development (Chandler)
    Upgrades state’s zoning laws to encourage more affordable housing and transit-oriented, walkable development, and promotes inclusionary zoning practices.
  • Single Payer / Medicare for All (H.2987 / S.619): An Act establishing Medicare for All in Massachusetts (Garlick-Eldridge)
    Establishes a single payer system, in which the state provides health care to all residents as a right.
  • Fully Funding Our Public Schools (S.223 / now S.2325): An Act modernizing the Foundation Budget for the 21st century (Chang-Diaz)
    Requires the state to implement the recommendations of the the 2015 Foundation Budget Review Commission on K-12 education.
  • Free/Debt-Free Higher Education (H.633 / S.681): An Act making public higher education in Massachusetts free for residents of the state (Gentile) / An Act promoting access to debt-free public higher education (Eldridge)
    Establishes free college tuition and fees for all Massachusetts residents.  / Establishes free college (community college and/or state university) education for students of all families earning $200,000 a year or less, covering tuition, fees, housing, and transportation costs.

All Means All: Agenda for Racial and Social Justice

  • Justice Reinvestment (H.2308 / S.791): An Act for justice reinvestment (Keefe - Chang-Diaz)**
    Enacts comprehensive justice reform, complementing reductions in sentencing with jobs training, youth jobs, and pre-apprenticeship programs.

  • Eliminating mandatory minimums (H.741 / S.819): An Act to eliminate mandatory minimum sentences related to drug offenses (Carvalho-Creem)**
    Restores judicial discretion in sentencing for nonviolent drug charges, reducing the economic and social costs of extended prison terms.

  • Ending excessive fines and fees (H.2359 / S.777): An Act to reduce the criminalization of poverty (Tyler-Brownsberger)**
    Eliminates or reduces numerous fees, such as parole supervision, and ensures indigent residents are not jailed or given unreasonable fees simply because they struggle to pay court-related fines.

  • Safe Communities Act (H.3269 / S.1305): An Act to protect the civil rights and safety of all Massachusetts residents (“Safe Communities Act”) (Matias-Eldridge)
    Prohibits the use of state resources for mass deportations or deportation raids, limits local and state police collaboration with federal immigration agents, and prohibits state support for a Muslim registry.

  • No-Copay Birth Control (H.536 / S.499): An Act relative to advancing contraceptive coverage and economic security in our state (ACCESS) (Haddad/Scibak-Chandler) [Signed into law 11/20/2017]
    Updates MA’s contraceptive coverage equity law to require insurance carriers to provide all contraceptive methods without a copay.

Good Government/Strong Democracy

  • Automatic Voter Registration (H.2091 / S.373 / now H.4320): An Act automatically registering eligible voters and enhancing safeguards against fraud (Kocot-Creem)
    Modernizes voter registration by automatically registering citizens who interact with government agencies ("opt-out" instead of "opt-in") and ensures that such information is handled in a secure fashion.

Sustainable Infrastructure and Environment

  • Comprehensive climate mitigation & adaptation (S.1880): An Act creating 21st Century Massachusetts clean energy jobs (Pacheco)
    Establishes a climate adaptation and management program, sets greenhouse gas reduction targets for 2030 and 2040, accelerates the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), and increases commitment to offshore wind.

  • Expanding solar power (H.2706 / S.1846): An Act relative to solar power and the green economy (Mark-Eldridge)
    Accelerates the state’s commitment to clean energy (RPS increase) and sets 25% by 2030 solar target.
  • Preventing pipeline expansion (H.3400 / S.1847): An Act clarifying authorities and responsibilities of the Department of Public Utilities (Kulik-Eldridge)
    Holds gas companies to a high standard with regards to new infrastructure and prevents massive public subsidy of new interstate gas pipelines.
  • Carbon pricing (H.1726 / S.1821): An Act to promote green infrastructure, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and create jobs (Benson)  / An Act combating climate change (Barrett) 
    Enacts revenue-positive carbon pricing. 80% is rebated to residents while 20% is invested in green infrastructure, with a carve-out for low-income communities. / Enacts revenue-neutral carbon pricing. Every state resident receives an equal rebate, and employers get rebates based on their number of employees.


**These bills are, in whole or in part, included in either the House or Senate Criminal Justice Reform bills, currently in conference. Stay tuned for info about how to make sure they're in the final package!

* take action!

Legislators can show their support for a bold progressive agenda by co-sponsoring these bills. But they won't unless they hear from you.  CLICK HERE for step by step action plan. And don't worry about the fact that the deadline for House bill co-sponsorships passed on February 3rd. Representatives and senators can co-sponsor a Senate bill at any time.


Additional Legislation of Interest

While we have prioritized the bills in our Agenda, above, we are also highlighting these bills, found under "Bills to Watch," because these are proposing a new, exciting idea; addressing a specific, targeted problem; combating a problem that may exist in only certain parts of the state; or are just starting to see grassroots organizing.

Some are stand-alone components of our priority bills or otherwise related. Though, for the sake of focus and priortization, they are not at the top of the agenda this session, we will be rooting for them and following them closely. We encourage individuals and chapters to review the "To Watch" legislation, and incorporate locally into your advocacy, as directed by your community!


Our Shared Prosperity 


  • S.181: An Act promoting efficiency and transparency in economic development (Eldridge)
    Establishes comprehensive reporting standards for tax breaks given to corporations, sunsets all tax breaks after 5 years, establishes clawback for companies that do not create promised jobs, caps tax subsidy per job, and requires all corporations that receive a tax break to pay their employees (and third-party employees) at least $15/hour.

  • H.1033/S.999: An Act to prevent wage theft and promote employer accountability (Michlewitz- DiDomenico)
    Empowers AG’s office to prosecutes wage theft and ensures accountability for subcontractors.
  • H.550/S.500: An Act to facilitate alternatives to foreclosure (Keefe-Chandler)
    Establishes Massachusetts Foreclosure Mediation Program to require mediation between financial institution  and mortgagee before foreclosure can happen.

  • H.596/S.610: An Act to ensure effective health care cost control (Benson-Cyr)
    Requires the state to compare total health care spending with projected health care spending under a single payer system each year, and establishes a process for implementing the latter.
  • S.221: An Act relative to universal pre-kindergarten access (Chang-Diaz)
    Provides universal free pre-kindergarten to all children in Massachusetts.


All Means All: Agenda for Racial and Social Justice


  • H.967/S.873: An Act relative to larceny (Tyler-Jehlen)
    Raises the money threshold for larceny to be a felony from the current $250 to $1,500, so that people’s lives are not ruined for small offenses.

  • S.1306: An Act reducing recidivism, curbing unnecessary spending, and ensuring appropriate use of segregation (Eldridge)
    Establishes more humane living conditions for prisoners in solitary confinement, and rights and hearings related to the reasons that they were placed in solitary confinement.

  • H.794/S.874: An Act relative to medical placement of terminal and incapacitated inmates (Garballey-Jehlen)
    Allows the Department of Correction (DOC) to release permanently incapacitated or terminally ill prisoners from prison.
  • H.1260: An Act to establish an independent review board for police shootings and other actions (Gentile)
    Establishes an independent review board to review incidents of police shootings of civilians.
  • H.793/S.847: An Act promoting restorative justice practices (Garballey-Eldridge)
    Enables District Attorneys and police departments to use restorative justice as an alternative to traditional judicial processes.
  • H.3077/S.755: An Act restricting fine time sentences (Keefe-Barrett)
    Directs the courts to waive or reduce fines on indigent defendants ordered by judges or injuries.
  • H.3704/S.2128: An Act relative to Healthy Youth(Brodeur-DiDomenico)
    Requires comprehensive, age-appropriate, medially accurate, and LGBTQ-inclusive sexual health education in each school district or public school that currently offers sexual health education.
  • H.1190/S.62: An Act relative to abusive practices to change sexual orientation and gender identity in minors (Khan-Montigny) Prohibit any efforts by licensed professionals in Massachusetts who counsel minors from attempting to "change" the sexual orientation or gender identity of a minor.
  • H.632/S.2203: An Act Concerning Sexual Violence on Higher Education Campuses (Farley-Bouvier -- Moore)
    Requires all public or private higher education institutions to include information on dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking in their campus security policies in coordination with the institution's Title IX coordinator, among other measures.
  • H.4058/S.989: An Act to Improve contract provisions waiving certain rights (DiZoglio-DuBois -- Chandler)
    Disallows forced arbitration clauses relating to discrimination, nonpayment of wages or benefits, retaliation, or harassment in employment.
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    Good Government/Strong Democracy


    • S.381: An Act relative to fair elections (Eldridge)
      Creates a public finance system for candidates for legislative and constitutional offices to fund their campaigns.

    • H.2093/S.371: An Act establishing Election Day registration (Malia-Creem)
      Creates a system that enables prospective voters to register to vote on the day of the election.

    • S.366: An Act relative to early voting in municipal elections (Barrett)
      Expands recently introduced early voting to municipal elections.
    • H.2897/S.380: An Act providing a local option for ranked choice voting in city or town elections (Connolly-Eldridge)
      Gives municipalities the ability to conduct local elections with a ranked choice system in order to better capture voter preference
    • S.386/H.2898: An Act Supporting Working Parents who Choose to Run for Public Office (Connolly/Meschino-Jehlen)            Inserts wording to explicitly allow working parents running for office to use campaign funds to pay for childcare while the candidate is "performing work or attending events directly related to the candidate's campaign"
    • H.1926/S.379: An Act for a United States Constitutional Amendment and Amendments Convention (“We the People Act”) (Gentile-Eldridge)
      Calls for Article V Constitutional Convention to repeal Citizens United decision and explicitly authorize  Congress to regulate campaign finance.


    Sustainable Infrastructure and Environment


    • H.2913/S.426: The Environmental Justice Act (Eldridge-DuBois)
      Codifies the MA executive order on Environmental Justice, which forces each Secretariat to promote EJ participation in each of its programs.  Environmental Justice communities are areas with low-income, minority and non-English speaking populations--demographic populations that frequently face additional burden of pollution and less access to decision-making processes in government.

    • H.1640/S.1551: An act relative to regional transportation ballot initiatives (Walsh, C. - Lesser)
      Allows municipalities to use ballot initiatives to raise revenue (increase a tax of their choice, sales, hotel, gas, etc.) that would be used specifically for identified regional transportation projects, something many other states already allow.

    • H.1736/S.1859: An Act relative to the energy facilities siting board (Coppinger- Lewis)
      Directs the Energy Facilities Siting Board to consider environment and public health when evaluating transmission lines, gas infrastructure projects, and adds the commissioner of the Department of Public Health to the siting board.  



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The PM Issues Cmte. will add dates for Hearings and Lobby days for legislation/issues of interest to PM, our Legislative Agenda and Progressive Platform. Unless PM is the lead organizer, refer any questions to-- and double-check all dates and times with-- the lead advocates.

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Showing 3 reactions

commented 2018-12-13 15:20:06 -0500 · Flag
Where does Progressive Mass stand on the Anti-BDS legislation? it looks like there will be an attempt to push it through again before the end of the year. We cannot be for Social Justice if we don’t campaign against the passage of this action.
Thank you,
commented 2018-12-13 13:15:14 -0500 · Flag
where is the emphasis on overturning citizens united
commented 2017-01-30 11:13:35 -0500 · Flag
This is the best site yet I have seen, as it provides the bills needing attention, their content, deadlines, and contact information for individual legislators!
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