Mass NOW Legislative Recap 2021-2022
Hannah Wilcove, Mass NOW Summer Fellow
August 1, 2022

Hello friends!

As we wrap up the formal legislative session, it’s critical for us to take a look back at the past year and reflect. The purpose of this report is to help us do so as an organization, so that we can start the next session in a stronger position than ever before.

With a backdrop of federal gridlock and the rollback of civil and reproductive rights by an extreme right-wing minority, Massachusetts has continued to be a leader in inclusive, progressive policies, thanks in part to Mass NOW and our many coalition partners. Out of nearly 40 endorsed bills, we helped pass the Work and Family Mobility Act, a budget amendment to end child marriage in the Commonwealth, and the VOTES Act! 

After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, we helped marshall the second major abortion rights bill through the Massachusetts legislature for the second consecutive year. This sweeping legislation would protect patients and providers from prosecution under other states’ draconian restrictions, expand access to emergency contraception, decrease restrictions on abortions occurring after 24 weeks of pregnancy, and mandate broader health insurance coverage for abortions. The bill was signed by Governor Baker on July 29th, meaning that we ended the formal session with a major win!

Additionally, our members helped moved several bills further through the legislative process this year than in previous sessions: in March the I AM bill passed the Senate unanimously, and Common Start, the Healthy Youth Act, and Nonbinary Gender Markers on MA Identification all passed the upper chamber as well. As we shift to the informal session, our work is not done. Bills can still move forward during informal session if they are passed without objection, and the Governor has several pieces of legislation on his desk awaiting his signature.

Here are some ways to stay involved through the fall:

With love and solidarity,

Hannah Wilcove

Racial Justice
IssueBill #SponsorsSummaryCommitteeStatus
School Resource Officers H694Rep. SabadosaGets SRO’s out of schoolsEducationHearing 6/11/21 (stuck in Committee)
Alternatives for Community Emergency ServicesH4928
Rep. Sabadosa. Establish Alternatives for Community Services grant program to increase non-police responseHealth Care Financing
Senate Ways & Means 
Public Safety and Homeland Security
Hearing 7/14/21: Language to modify the existing Equitable Approaches to Public Safety (EAPS) program was approved in budget bill
Decarceration & COVID-19H1868Rep. SabadosaDecarcerate individuals who pose no immediate threat after 14 days to limit their risk of COVID-19 exposureJudiciaryAccompanied a Study Order (H4844) on 6/9/22
Hearing 10/5/21 
Raise the AgeH1826 Rep. O’Day & Rep. KhanIncreases the age of criminal majority from 18 to 21 over the next 5 yearsJudiciaryHearing 10/12; reporting date extended to 6/30/22 (no report available)
School Discipline & Expulsion H4646Rep. Meschino Prevents students accused of crime from being excluded from school without due processHouse Ways & Means
Hearing 6/11/21: reported favorably
Safe Communities ActH2418
Rep. Balser & Rep. Miranda
Sen. Eldridge
Ensure court and police officials do not inquire about immigration status unless required by lawHouse Ways & Means
Public Safety and Homeland Security
Hearing 12/1/21: reported favorably out of House Committee (no report available from the Senate)
Juvenile Justice Data CollectionH1795
Rep. Miranda
Sen. Creem
Collect accurate and comprehensive data on juvenile interaction with law enforcementSenate Ways & Means
Hearing 10/12/21: reported favorably out of Senate Committee (no report available from the House)
Work & Family Mobility ActS2289
Sen. Crighton 
Rep. Barber & Rep. Farley-Bouvier
Provide drivers licenses for undocumented citizensTransportationPASSEDVeto overridden 6/9/22
Keeping Families Connected S.1559 
Rep. Tyler 
Sen. Creem
These bills would make phone calls free of charge to the person placing or the person receiving the call; they would apply to state prisons, county jails, and state juvenile detention centers.Senate Rules
Public Safety and Homeland Security
Accompanied a Study Order (S2911) on 6/9/22
Hearing 10/21
Moratorium on Prison and Jail constructionS.2030 
Sen. Comerford
Rep. Tyler
Impose a five-year moratorium on prison and jail construction.Senate Ways & Means
State Administration and Regulatory Oversight
Hearing 7/20/21: Reported favorably out of Senate Committee (no report available from House Committee)
Economic Justice (8)
IssueBill #SponsorsSummaryCommitteeStatus
Campaign funds for childcareS475
Sen. Jehlen
Rep. Connolly & Rep. Meschino
Candidates running for public office can use their campaign funds for their childcare needsSenate Ways & Means
Election Laws
Reported favorably out of Senate Committee 6/16/22
Hearing 9/15/21
Affordable and accessible childcare for all (Common Start)H4795 
Rep. Gordon & Rep. Madaro
Sen. Lewis
The state would provide affordable and accessible early education and childcareHouse Ways & Means
PASSED in  the Senate on 7/12/22
Hearing 11/23/21
Wage transparencyS2721Sen. Jehlen
Rep. Malia & Rep. Miranda (H2020), Rep. Cutler (H1950)
Employer shall provide pay scale for employee/applicant Senate Ways & Means 
Labor and Workforce Development
Reported favorably out of Committee on 3/3/22 
Hearing 6/22/21
Homelessness Bill of RightsH264
Rep. Pignatelli Rep. Moran  & 
Sen. Rausch
Provide a bill of rights for people experiencing homelessnessSenate Ways & Means 
Health Care Financing
Children, Families, and Persons with Disabilities
Reported favorably out of Committee in both chambers
Hearing 10/15/21
One Fair Wage BillH1971
Rep. Farley-BouvierGuarantees one standard, full minimum wage for all tipped workers, ending the practice of paying subminimum wages.Senate Ways & Means 
Labor and Workforce Development
Reported favorably out of Senate Committee
Hearing 10/19/21
Fair Work Week BillH.1974Rep. Garballey & Rep. RobinsonThis bill would grant workers in restaurants, retail establishments, and the hospitality industry the following rights: the right to 14 days advance notice of hours and more. House Committee on Steering, Policy, and Scheduling
Labor and Workforce Development
Placed in Orders of the Day on 5/25/22
Hearing 7/13/21
Dignity at Work ActS1185
Sen. DiZoglio (by request—not the sponsor), 
Rep. Lewis
Provides a comprehensive definition of workplace bullying, assuring all workers are protected against infringement against their inherent dignity, and incentive for employers to prevent, detect, remedy, and eliminate workplace bullying before targets suffer irreparable harm. Labor and Workforce Development
Senate Rules (Study Order)
Accompanied with a Study Order (S2816)
Hearing 6/22/21
Protection at WorkH4613
Rep. Livingstone & Rep. Elugardo
Sen. Creem
Provides workplace protections for survivors of sexual and domestic abuseHouse Committee on Steering, Policy, and Scheduling
Labor and Workforce Development
Placed in Orders of the Day on 5/17/22
Hearing 6/22/21
Reproductive Justice (5)
IssueBill #SponsorsSummaryCommitteeStatus
I AMH 2354
Sen. Jehlen  
Rep. Livingstone & Rep. Barber
Rep. Roy sponsored similar legislation
Increase Access to Menstrual products in K-12 schools, prisons/jails, and sheltersHouse Ways & Means
Senate Ways & Means 
Public Health
PASSED the Senate; still no movement in the House
Hearing 6/7/21
Medication Abortion at Public UniversitiesH4821
Rep. Sabadosa
Sen. Lewis
Require public universities to provide medication abortion House Ways & Means
Health Care Financing
Public Health
PASSED as part of the emergency reproductive justice bill on 7/29/22
Has been reported favorably out of two Committees
Potential for language in omnibus bill
Hearing 6/7/21
Healthy Youth ActS2541
Sen. DiDomenico
Rep. O’Day & Rep. Howard
Provide comprehensive and inclusive sex ed in all public schools that teach sexual/health education; changes to an opt-out system rather than an opt-in systemHouse Ways & Means
Senate Ways & Means
Senate Rules 
PASSED the Senate; stuck in House Ways & Means
Hearing 5/20/21 
PrEP Access for YouthS1404
Sen. Cyr
Rep. Lewis & Rep. Tyler
Increase HIV prevention access for young adults House Ways & Means
Health Care Financing
Public Health
Reported favorably out of Public Health on 4/11/22; referred to Health Care Financing
Hearing 5/3/21
Licensed Midwives
Out of Hospital Birth Access and Safety Act
Rep. Khan 
Sen. Rausch
Expanding licensing for midwives; creates a process of licensure for certified Midwives, and increases access to maternal careHealth Care Financing
Public Health
Hearing 6/7/21
LGBTQ Rights (4)
IssueBill #SponsorsSummaryCommitteeStatus
LGBTQ Inclusive History EducationH4539 
Rep. Higgins & Rep. Lewis
Sen. Cyr
Inclusion of LGBTQ history in public schools
Combined with several other bills as part of An Act Relative to Educator Diversity
House Ways & Means
Senate Ways & Means
Reported favorably out of Education in March 2022
Hearing 9/13/21
Age of Consent (Also called Romeo & Juliet)H1726Rep. Lewis & Rep. FernandesClarifying consent laws for consenting adolescents JudiciaryAccompanied a Study Order (H4844) that was reported favorably and discharged to House Rules
Hearing 12/7/21
An Act to Stop Profiling Transgender People and Low-Income Women S992Sen. CyrTo repeal “common nightwalking” and grant limited amnesty to sex workers that seek help.JudiciaryAccompanied a Study Order (S2665) that was reported favorably and discharged to Senate Rules 
Hearing 6/15/21
An Act Relative to Gender Identity on Massachusetts Identification S2540 H3521Sen. Comerford 
Rep. Linsky
An individual may request a change in the sex designation on their birth record to a sex designation including, but not limited to, “female,” “male,” or “X,” with “X” designating that the person is another gender or an undesignated gender.House Ways & Means
PASSED the Senate 9/23/21 but still awaiting report from House Ways & Means
Hearing 6/24/21
Gender-Based Violence (4)
IssueBill #SponsorsSummaryCommitteeStatus
End Child MarriageH1709 S937Rep. KhanSen. ChandlerA magistrate or minister will not marry someone if a person is under the age of 18JudiciaryPASSED as part of the budget on 7/28/22
Accompanied a Study Order (S2976) that was reported favorably and discharged to Senate Rules  
Hearing 11/16/21
Health and Safety of Sex WorkersH1867Rep. SabadosaPromote the health and safety of people working in the sex trade by expunging certain prostitution-related offenses from recordsJudiciaryAccompanied a Study Order (H4844) that was reported favorably and discharged to House Rules
Hearing 12/14/21
Student Mental HealthS1266Sen. ComerfordInclude the number to the suicide prevention hotline on the back of student ID cards for public and charter schools Mental Health and Substance Use and RecoveryAccompanied a Study Order (S2919) that was reported favorably and discharged to Senate Rules 
Hearing 6/16/21
Body Size Discrimination S2669
Sen. Rausch
Rep. Nguyen
Makes height and weight protected identities alongside race, gender identity, sexual orientation, and others.Senate Ways & Means
Reported favorably on 2/10/22
Hearing 11/23/21
Constitutional Equity (3)
IssueBill #SponsorsSummaryCommitteeStatus
Rep. Lawn
Sen. Creem
Expand and improve mail-in voting, and lengthen in person-votingElection LawsPASSED 
Signed by the Governor 6/22/22
Parity on BoardsH3157
Rep. Haddad
Sen. Lewis
Ensure gender parity and racial and ethnic diversity on public boards and commissionsHouse Ways & Means
Senate Ways & Means
State Administration & Regulatory Oversight
Reported favorably in December 2021
Hearing 9/22/21
Protect the Voting Rights of Eligible Incarcerated PeopleH836  S474 Rep. Tyler & Rep. Miranda
Sen. Hinds
Providing assistance to eligible incarcerated persons to register as voters and apply for mail ballots in all primaries and electionsElection LawsHearing 10/6/21 (no movement from Committee)