The end of the legislative session is a time when bills that are not controversial can still make it across the finish line. There were five bills that I was particularly pleased to help over the finish line in the waning days of the session. Governor Patrick signed all of these bills, so they are now law.
- Chapter 431. AN ACT ESTABLISHING A TASK FORCE TO PROTECT MASSACHUSETTS CHILDREN AGAINST CHILD ABUSE. See H4305. Signed 12/20/15. This act furthers the goals of our legislation repealing the statute of limitation on child sexual abuse — it creates a task force to make recommendations to youth serving organizations to better prevent abuse.
- Chapter 445. AN ACT RELATIVE TO THE TREATMENT OF THE MENTALLY ILL IN PRISON . See H4545. Signed 1/5/15. This bill provides that people with mental illness cannot be put in isolation without services. This is a bill that Representative Balzer has long pushed and I was pleased to help her make the bill happen on the senate side.
- Chapter 449. AN ACT ESTABLISHING 6-YEAR CAREER PLANS FOR ALL MASSACHUSETTS PUBLIC SCHOOL STUDENTS. See H4527. Signed 1/6/15. This bill fixed an annoying glitch in our child protection laws which forced certain special education teachers to get fingerprinted multiple times — lots of constituents were in touch with me and other legislators on this issue. It was part of a larger package that I was not involved with.
- Chapter 451 AN ACT TO IMPROVE CRIMINAL LAWS RELATIVE TO ORGANIZED RETAIL THEFT: See H1474. Signed 1/6/2015. This bill increases penalties for organized high-volume shoplifting. It also includes language from a bill that I’ve been working on for a few years to end overreaching by retailers who catch kids stealing low value items. There were a group of law firms that were sending parents demand letters for hundreds of dollars, effectively extorting exorbitant fees from parents, often low-income parents. This bill responded to concerns brought to me by parents in Belmont, but is actually a nationwide problem. We got this done in July, but asked the Governor to send it back so we could fix a couple of typos.
- Chapter 485. AN ACT RELATIVE TO LOCAL COMMISSIONS ON DISABILITY. See S1985. Signed 1/8/15. Provides for remote participation in meetings by disability Commission members — this responds to concern from a constituent with a disability who had difficulty participating in disability meetings.
Sounds like a lot of good legislation. Let’s hope the next session is also productive unlike Congress!
I understand that the Governor also signed a bill promoting palliative care that was a major priority of the American Cancer Society.
Thrilled to see: Chapter 431
AN ACT ESTABLISHING A TASK FORCE TO PROTECT MASSACHUSETTS CHILDREN AGAINST CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE.
Hopefully this is the beginning of requiring schools to train staff in prevention! Thanks for all your hard work to protect kids. Happy new year!
Thank you. Yes. It is a step in that direction.
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