2017-2018 Legislative Session

Representative Farley-Bouvier has sponsored the following pieces of legislation in the 2017-2018 session of the Massachusetts legislature:

Child Welfare Legislation

H.87 An Act establishing The Massachusetts Foster Care Review Office

This legislation removes the responsibility for foster care review from DCF, transfers it to an external and independent body, the Foster Care Review Office (FCRO) and mandates the authority required to ensure foster care review determinations and recommendations are implemented and followed-up.

H.1955 An Act Relative to Foster Parent Rights

This legislation seeks to establish a Bill of Rights for Foster Parents.  Foster Parents are an integral resource for the Department of Children and Families when seeking to care or children in custody of the Commonwealth. It is essential to treat them with respect and dignity for the important role they play.  With the current DCF crisis, there is a great shortage of foster families and these policies will lead to better retention and recruitment.   

H.783 An Act to Improve Permanency and Placement Stability

This legislation: allows each child age 7 or older in DCF’s care to have the opportunity to express their preferred custody placement; allows for each parent to provide any name of an adult who can provide custody to their children; requires that the issue of whether reasonable efforts have been made be raised at a series of existing hearings including, both the ex parte removal hearing and the temporary orders hearing under section 24, the pre-trial conference, and permanency hearings under section; requires a regional clinical review team to conduct a review when any child or young adult has experienced more than 2 placements in a single foster care episode; allows a child who is 12 years or older to petition the court to reinstate parental rights if more than 2 years have passed since the entry of the order and if the permanency goal for the child is no longer adoption.

Sexual Assault Protections

H.632 An Act Concerning Sexual Violence on Higher Education Campuses

These new sections of the MGL would require higher education institutions to also include information on dating violence, domestic violence sexual assault, and stalking, such as how to report an incident; where to seek medical treatment and counseling on and off-campus; the right to notify law enforcement; how to seek protective measures like changing dorms or classes; the rights of the alleged victim and accused during the disciplinary process and the sanctions that may be imposed by the school. In addition, higher education institutions shall develop their campus safety policies in coordination with the institution’s Title IX coordinator and relevant stakeholders such as institutional administrators, campus counseling, sexual assault services and health care centers; confidential resources; residence life; and law enforcement.

Health Care

H.522 An Act to Promote Value-Based Insurance Design in the Commonwealth

This legislation eliminates copays and deductibles for certain high-value and low cost prescription drugs and treatments such as insulin, inhalers, and anti-retroviral medications. A panel of medical experts within EOHHS will determine which of these services should not be subject to cost sharing, and after approval by the EOHHS Secretary, fully insured health plans would no longer charge copays for them.

H.1155 An Act Relative to Creating a Commission to Study Concussions 

This legislation creates a commission to study concussions that occur as a result of varsity sports in public and private high schools and to make recommendations on how to reduce them.

H.2213 An Act to Require Equivalent Medicaid Reimbursement

Several out-of- state hospitals contract with MassHealth in order to provide care to Massachusetts residents living in border communities.  However, these providers often receive significantly higher reimbursement for treating patients on the MassHealth program than they do from patients on their own home state Medicaid programs.  This can lead to these providers seeking to draw Massachusetts patients over state lines and out of the Commonwealth’s health care system. This legislation mandates that out-of- state providers that contract with MassHealth receive a rate no higher than that of their own Medicaid program, ensuring that our state dollars support Massachusetts patients and the hospitals that employ Massachusetts residents.

Transportation

H.1829 An Act to Promote the Safe Integration of Autonomous Vehicles into the Transportation System of the Commonwealth 

This bill would require that all autonomous vehicles be required to be zero emission vehicles and to pay for their share of the road through a tax per mile driven.  

H.1828 An Act to Explore Alternative Funding Sources to Ensure Safe and Reliable Transportation 

This legislation proposes a small voluntary vehicle miles traveled pilot program to identify alternatives to the gas tax. The pilot will evaluate ways to protect the data collected, ensure privacy, and vary pricing based on the time of driving, type of road, proximity to transit, and vehicle fuel.

Labor

H.1378 An Act Relative to Increasing the Size of the Group Insurance Commission Board 

This legislation increases the size of the Group Insurance Commission Board and states that the new seat shall be filled by a member of the Massachusetts Organization of State Engineers and Scientists (MOSES).

Miscellaneous

H.782 An Act Relative to Use of Ways By Pedestrians (i.e. Jaywalking)

This legislation would provide municipalities some leeway in punishing violations of local pedestrian regulations by permitting cities and towns to establish the fine (up to $50) without prior written approval of the division of highways or publication in a local newspaper.

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