S 499, H 536: An Act relative to advancing contraception coverage and economic security in our state 

Sponsored by Senator Harriette Chandler and Representatives Pat Haddad and John Scibak

This legislation would protect and expand access to contraceptives by requiring insurers in Massachusetts to cover all FDA-approved contraceptive methods without cost-sharing, including coverage of over-the-counter contraceptives without a prescription. If passed, this bill will safeguard the 1.4 million Massachusetts women who currently have access to no-copay birth control.

Legislative Update: The ACCESS bill earned initial approval in the House on November 8, 2017. It was passed in the Senate on November 14, and signed into law by Governor Baker on November 20.

S1305, H3269: Massachusetts Safe Communities Act

Sponsored by Senator Jamie Eldridge and Representative Juana Matías 

This legislation would protect the civil rights of all state residents by making sure our tax dollars are not used to help the federal government’s administration to deport immigrant families or to create a Muslim registry. It also ensures basic due process rights for immigrants detained in state and local facilities.

Legislative Update: The Safe Communities Act was heard by the Public Safety and Homeland Security committee in June 2017 and is still awaiting a vote in committee.

S 1048, H 2172: An Act Establishing a Family and Medical Leave and Temporary Disability Insurance Program

Sponsored by Senator Karen Spilka and Representative Ken Gordon

This legislation would make 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. The bills prohibit employer retaliation against workers who take time off under these conditions.

Legislative Update: This bill was heard by the Labor and Workforce committee in July 2017 and is still awaiting a vote to move out of committee.

S62, H1190 An Act relative to abusive practices to change sexual orientation and gender identity

Sponsored by Senator Mark Montigny and Representative Kay Khan

This legislation will ban fraudulent therapeutic practices that aim to change a minor’s same-sex attraction or gender identity. The law will prohibit any licensed mental health or human services professional from using therapeutic practices to change a minor’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity and require state mandatory reporters to report cases of suspected instances of the use of conversion therapy with a minor.

Legislative Update: This bill was heard by the committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities in June 2017, and referred favorable to the committee on Health Care Financing in July. It was then referred to the committee on Senate Rules in November.

S1004, H2365 An Act Relative to Improve the Commonwealth’s Economy with a Strong Minimum Wage and Strong Tipped Minimum Wage

Sponsored by Senator Ken Donnelly and Representative Dan Donahue

This legislation would raise the state’s minimum wage by $1 each year over four years until it is $15 an hour in 2021. The minimum wage would then be adjusted each year to rise along with increases in the cost of living. This bill also would increase the sub-minimum wage for tipped workers, over 8 years until it is equal to the regular minimum wage essentially eliminated the tipped wage.

Legislative Update: This bill was heard by the committee on Labor and Workforce in September 2017 and is still awaiting a vote in committee.

S. 2371, H4012: An Act Relative to Criminal Justice Reform

Sponsored by: Senator Sonia Chang-Díaz, Representative Mary Keefe 

This legislation creates a task force to study, report and make recommendations on gender responsive and trauma-informed approaches to treatment services for juveniles and youth offenders in the juvenile justice system. It also raises the age of criminal responsibility from 7 to 12 and authorizes expungement of certain youth and juvenile records. The bill encourages the use and creation of diversion programs for veterans, as well as those with mental illness and substance abuse issues. It allows a judge to take into account a defendant’s ability to pay when making bail decisions, and puts restrictions on the use of segregation or solitary confinement while also allowing compassionate release in certain circumstances. The bill also eliminates mandatory minimums for certain low-level drug offenses but includes new mandatory minimums for other non-violent drug crimes such as trafficking fentanyl.

Legislative Update: This legislation was signed into law by Gov. Baker April 13, 2018.

S234, H2053: An Act Relative to Healthy Youth

Sponsored by Senator Sal DiDomenico and Representatives Jim O’Day and Paul Brodeur

This legislation ensures that a Massachusetts school electing to teach sex education uses a curriculum that’s medically accurate, age-appropriate, and truly comprehensive.  A comprehensive sex education curriculum teaches students about the benefits of abstinence and delaying sex, building healthy relationships, consent, gender identity and sexual orientation, effective contraceptive use, and the prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Legislative Update: This legislation was heard by the committee on Education in April 2017.