Our Legislative Agenda, 2019-2020 (191st Session)

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2019-2020 LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES

In national rankings, Massachusetts often fares better than other states, but when it comes to issues from educational equity to climate mitigation (and countless more), we are nowhere near where we need to be. A regressive tax code hinders our ability to invest in our future. The ever-rising cost of health care and housing proves prohibitive for far too many, reinforcing existing inequities. Systemic racism leads to communities and families being ripped apart and civil rights being disrespected. And our democracy fails to live up to its potential as neither the administration of our elections nor the culture of our State House has truly entered the twenty-first century. 

When cherished values and policies are being attacked on the national level by the Trump administration, it's all the more important for Massachusetts to be a leader. We're ready to right to make it one.

[PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION - CLICK HERE - BRING WITH YOU TO LEGISLATOR VISITS THROUGHOUT 2019-2020]

Our Shared Prosperity 

  • Fair Share Amendment (SD.1709/HD.3300): Proposal for a legislative amendment to the Constitution to provide resources for education and transportation through an additional tax on incomes in excess of one million dollars (Lewis - O’Day) Creates a 4% surtax on income above $1 million to fund education and transportation reinvestment.

  • Fully Funding Our Public Schools / PROMISE Act (SD.101/HD.434): An Act providing rightful opportunities and meaningful investment for successful and equitable education (Chang-Diaz -- Keefe/Vega) Fixes our outdated school funding formula to more accurately and equitably distribute resources – giving all schools the funding they need to deliver high-quality education.

  • Debt-Free College (SD.1415/HD.3113): An Act to guarantee debt-free public higher education (Eldridge-Higgins) Creates a higher education system where every Massachusetts resident has a right to attend any public college or university free of tuition and fees.

  • Affordable Child Care & Early Ed (SD.1744 / HD.1879): An Act relative to affordable and accessible high quality early education and care (Friedman - Gordon) Makes high-quality early education and child care affordable and accessible to all Massachusetts families.

  • Medicare for All (SD.2062/HD.2974): An Act establishing medicare for all in Massachusetts (Eldridge - Sabadosa/Garlick) Establishes a single payer system, in which the state provides health care to all residents as a right.   

  • Real Estate Transfer Fee & Affordable Housing Funding (SD.334/HD.414): An Act supporting affordable housing with a local option for a fee to be applied to certain real estate transactions (Boncore - Connolly) Enables cities and towns ato assess a fee of 0.5-2% on residential and commercial real estate transactions, with the funds allocated to affordable housing trust funds.

All Means All: Agenda for Racial and Social Justice

  • Safe Communities Act (SD.926/HD.1520): An Act to protect the civil rights and safety of all Massachusetts residents (Sen. Eldridge - Balser/Miranda) Limits local and state police collaboration with federal immigration agents, bars law enforcement and court personnel from inquiring about immigration status, and ensures due process protections.

  • Visitation Rights (SD.2137/HD.3011): An Act to strengthen inmate visitation (Chang-Diaz - Decker) Strengthens and secures the rights of prisoners to receive visits and maintain relationships with their friends and loved ones without unnecessary interference from the state.

  • Eviction Sealing / HOMES Act (SD.526/HD.3815): An Act promoting Housing Opportunity and Mobility through Eviction Sealing (Boncore - Moran) Requires the sealing of eviction records in order to combat housing discrimination.

  • Comprehensive Reproductive Rights / ROE Act (SD.109/HD.2548): An Act to remove obstacles and expand abortion access (Chandler - Haddad/Livingstone) Reforms our state’s abortion laws so that every person can control their own body, life, and future.

Good Government/Strong Democracy

  • Same Day Registration(SD.1695 / HD.3608): An Act relative to election day registration  (Creem - Malia) Eliminates the arbitrary and discriminatory 20-day registration cutoff and allows eligible residents to register or re-register--and vote--at the polls on Election Day and during the early voting period.

  • Ranked Choice Voting (SD.768 / HD.815): An Act to use of ranked choice voting in elections (Lewis - Vargas/Madaro) Adopts ranked choice voting for relevant elections, enabling voters to rank candidate preferences and ensuring that the ultimate winner commands a majority of support.
  • Changing State House Culture (SD.1412 / HD.2713): An Act promoting equality and respect in the legislature (Rausch - Sabadosa) Creates an independent commission to investigate and report on complaints of workplace and sexual harassment in the Massachusetts Legislature.

Sustainable Infrastructure and Environment

  • Environmental Justice (SD.1824 / HD.3523): An Act relative to environmental justice and toxics reduction in the Commonwealth (Eldridge - DuBois/Miranda) Codifies environmental justice into law and secures strong enforcement of the state’s current EJ policy.

  • 100% Renewable Energy (SD.1625 HD.3092): An Act transitioning Massachusetts to 100 percent renewable energy (Eldridge - Decker/Garballey) Sets the goal of 100% renewable energy economy-wide by 2045 and 100% renewable electricity by 2035.

  • Carbon Pricing (SD.1817/HD.2370*): An Act to Combat Climate Change (Barrett) / An Act to Promote Green Infrastructure and Reduce Carbon Emissions (Benson) Sets a price on carbon emissions to incentivize the transition to renewable energy, with parts of the resulting revenue allocated for green infrastructure (allocations differ between the bills) [* = preferred version]

 


* 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 1st. Representatives and senators can co-sponsor a Senate bill at any time.


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Other Endorsed Legislation

Although we have chosen to prioritize the 16 pieces of legislation listed above, we also endorsed a number of other bills (listed below). We, as an organization, will not be able to be as active on them, but we encourage our members and chapters to keep these bills on their radar and incorporate them into local advocacy as directed by your community.

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Our Shared Prosperity 

 

  • SD.1398 / HD.2569: An Act requiring one fair wage (Jehlen - Farley-Bouvier) Phases out the discriminatory subminimum wage for tipped workers.
  • SD.1464 / HD.3789: An Act to prevent wage theft, promote employer accountability, and enhance public enforcement (DiDomenico-Donahue) Empowers AG’s office to prosecutes wage theft and ensures accountability for subcontractors.
  • SD.1241: An Act relative to collective bargaining dues (Boncore) Strengthens collective bargaining rights for public employees in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Janus ruling.

  • SD.1355: An Act addressing workplace bullying, mobbing and harassment, without regard to protected class status / Healthy Workplace Act (Feeney) Creates a legal claim for bullying targets who can establish they were subjected to malicious, health-harming behavior in the workplace (Healthy Workplace Act).

  • SD.740: An Act committing to higher education the resources to Insure a strong and healthy public higher education system / CHERISH Act (Comerford) Commits the Commonwealth to funding public higher education at 2001 levels, adjusted for inflation.
  • HD.3221: An Act to strengthen the foundation of the Commonwealth (Connolly) Increases the capital gains tax, creates a corporate minimum tax, and enacts other progressive tax reforms to raise $2 billion in additional revenue.

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All Means All: Agenda for Racial and Social Justice

  • SD.1035/HD.3886: An Act repealing mandatory life without parole (Brownsberger-Miranda) Repeals mandatory sentences of life without parole, which have strong racial biases and have been deemed human rights violations by international courts.

  • SD.1722: An Act to eliminate mandatory minimum sentences related to drug offenses (Creem) Repeals mandatory minimum sentences for opioid-related offenses, which were left in or newly created by the 2018 criminal justice reform bill.

  • SD.530/HD.3394: An Act to promote public safety and better outcomes for young adults (Boncore-O’Day) Raises the age of criminal majority to 21, allowing offending youth to have better access to treatment and educational services and thereby reducing recidivism.

  • SD.1143: An Act relative to work and family mobility (Crighton - Farley-Bouvier/Barber) Removes immigration status as a barrier for attaining a driver’s license.

  • SD.579/HD.827: An Act relative to health youth (DiDomenico - O’Day/Brodeur) Requires school districts that provide sex education to ensure that it is comprehensive, age-appropriate, and LGBTQ-inclusive, with an emphasis on informed consent to prevent sexual violence.

  • HD.2848: An Act relative to abusive practices to change sexual orientation and gender identity in minors (Khan) Bans the harmful of practice of sexual orientation and gender identity conversion therapy by mental health professionals.

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Good Government/Strong Democracy

  • SD.1951 / HD.788: An Act to extend early voting for all elections (Chandler - Vargas) Expands early voting to include municipal and primary elections.

  • SD.25: Proposal for a legislative amendment to the Constitution relative to voting rights (Hinds)  / SD.26: An Act Relative to Voting Rights (Hinds) Restores the franchise to prisoners incarcerated with felony convictions.

  • SD.858 / HD.2012: Resolutions for a United States Constitutional Amendment and a limited amendment proposing convention  (Eldridge - Gentile) Calls for Article V Constitutional Convention to repeal Citizens United decision and explicitly authorize  Congress to regulate campaign finance.

  • SD.1454 / HD.3098: An Act promoting political participation (Friedman - Donahue) Enables residents of Massachusetts to authorize small, regular deductions from pay, at levels they can afford, to contribute to political and advocacy organizations.

  • SD.304 / HD.530: An Act supporting parents running for public office (Jehlen - Connolly/Meschino) Allows parents running for elected office to expense child care to their campaign accounts.

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Sustainable Infrastructure and Environment

  • SD.757 / HD.1248: An Act to secure a clean energy future (Pacheco - Balser) Enacts a comprehensive range of measures to transition Massachusetts away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy.

  • SD.786 / HD.602: An Act relative to solar power in environmental justice and urban communities (Chang-Diaz - Holmes) Eliminates barriers to the development of community and low-moderate income solar and assures meaningful savings for low-moderate income solar customers and renters.

  • SD.896 / HD.134: An Act relative to plastic bag pollution (Eldridge - Ehrlich) Bans single-use plastic shopping bags statewide and requires sustainable alternatives.

  • SD.861 / HD.426:An Act establishing the Massachusetts infrastructure bank (Eldridge - Connolly) Creates a public bank, capitalized by the Commonwealth and offering financing at lower cost to Mass cities and towns, increasing municipal capacity for making infrastructure improvements.

  • SD.1008 / HD.808: An Act relative to transportation ballot initiatives (Lesser - Vargas) 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.

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