2019-2020 Legislative Session

Representative Farley-Bouvier has sponsored the following pieces of legislation in the 2019-2020 session of the Massachusetts legislature:

Child Welfare Legislation

H.112 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.113 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.  

Health Care

H.966 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.1876 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.1149  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.

H.967 An Act to protect consumers from surprise medical bills

Surprise billing occurs when patients receive out-of-network care that they did not or could not intentionally choose to receive, and then are faced with unexpected and unaffordable medical bills. An Act to protect consumers from surprise medical bills protects consumers by requiring health plans and providers to disclose comprehensive information to consumers about the network status of providers; requiring specific patient consent for out-of-network services; and prohibiting providers from billing consumers more than their in-network cost-sharing amount.   

Sexual Assault Protections

H.1209  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.

Transportation

H.3010  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.

H.3011 An Act desgnating United States highway Route 20 as a state historic highway

This bill will allow the 31 municipalities along Route 20 to add signage bearing the designation.

H.3012 An Act relative to Work and Family Mobility

This bill would enable all qualified state residents to apply for a standard Massachusetts driver’s license, regardless of immigration status, while keeping our Commonwealth in full compliance with REAL ID requirements.

H.3013 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.  

Labor

H.1617 An Act requiring One Fair Wage

This legislation would gradually raise the current sub-minimum wage for tipped workers over several years until employers are required to pay all employees the full minimum wage under the minimum wage law.
Tipped workers hold a uniquely vulnerable position in our state's employment landscape. While the current minimum wage is at $12/hr, tipped workers have a minimum wage of $4.35/hr. This is the largest gap in the country. The two-tiered wage leaves workers vulnerable to wage theft, pay discrimination, and sexual harassment or assault.

H.2245  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).

Public Service

H.2246 An act to provide pensions to surviving spouses of Department of Children and Families social workers killed in the line of duty

This legislation will extend in the line of duty death benefits to DCF social workers.   Currently, if a police officer, firefighter, correctional officer is killed on the job, the surviving spouse receives the full pension/salary of the deceased spouse.  There is no such benefit for DCF social workers.  DCF social workers face threats of violence on a daily basis, and sadly social workers have lost their lives for simply doing their job.    For example, if a police officer and social worker enter a house to remove a child, and the situation escalates where both the police officer and the social worker both lose their lives, only the police officers family receives the death benefit.

Miscellaneous

H.3283 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.

H.3519 An Act clarifying the definition of agriculture

This legislation clears up public confusion as to whether or not the cultivation of cannabis plants (hemp or "marihuana") is considered an agricultural activity by explicitly listing "hemp and marihuana," within the Commonwealth's definition of "agriculture" (MGL 128 § 1A).

H.2694 Resolve establishing a study of public safety and security facilities

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