2023-2024 Legislative Session

Representative Farley-Bouvier has sponsored the following pieces of legislation in the 2023-2024 session of the Massachusetts legislature:

Child Welfare

HD287 An Act to ensure quality foster care (co-filed with Senator Gomez) – REFILE after making it to HWM last session

This bill classifies foster parents as public employees to allow foster parents to unionize and strengthen their bargaining power in their role caring for children under DCF care.

HD1429 An Act establishing the Massachusetts foster care review office (co-filed with Senator Comerford) – REFILE 

Current Federal law requires every child in foster care to undergo a review of the status of their case every 6 months. In Massachusetts, this review is performed under the purview of DCF. This bill would remove these reviews from DCF by creating an independent agency to perform these reviews. The 15-person board, made up of foster care alumni, retired reviewers, the Office of the Child Advocate, among other agencies, will supervise the creation, implementation, and operations of this new agency.

HD963 An Act protecting benefits owed to foster children (co-filed with Senator Comerford) 

This bill requires DCF to screen foster children for SSI benefits eligibility, assist eligible foster children with applying for SSI benefits, and ensure that foster children are made aware of and receive their SSI benefits in a dedicated account. Currently, DCF is able to take benefits children in care are receiving and apply them to regular care they are receiving.

HD728 An Act fairly reimbursing local school transportation of foster children (co-filed with Senator Comerford)

This bill requires DCF to file with the Department of Education to reimburse school districts for funds spent on transporting a foster child to and from their foster home and the child’s school of origin. DCF will reimburse school districts for costs that the DOE does not fund.

HD295 An Act empowering the office of the child advocate to enforce its statutory duties – REFILE

This bill allows the Office of the Child Advocate to operate independently in order to advocate on behalf of children in DCF care.

Civic Engagement

HD1376 An Act relative to virtual meetings of appointed statewide public bodies (co-filed with Representative Domb) – REFILE

This bill adjusts public meeting law in order to allow statewide commissions and boards to meet virtually while complying with open meeting laws.

  • House counsel is currently reviewing language filed last session to ensure language does not impact municipal meeting requirements.

HD2806 An Act relative to student representative voting rights (co-filed with Senator Gomez)

This bill allows school committees of cities, towns, and regional school districts to recognize two unpaid student representatives elected by the student bodies of secondary schools within the district to vote on all matters before the school committee. An elected student advisory committee will also assist constituents and the elected student representatives.

Judiciary

HD922 An Act relating to threats of suicide while in court custody (Stavri’s Law) (co-filed with Representative Brian Ashe and Senator Jake Oliveira)

This bill requires the court to input SUI/Q5 (reports of self-harm or suicidal behavior while in law enforcement custody) into the Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) system. This input would allow all Law Enforcement agencies to be alert when they have an individual at high risk of self-harm in their custody and to adjust their procedures accordingly. This legislation is filed in remembrance of Stavri Yanka.

HD1307 An Act establishing a bill of rights for survivors of sexual assault and related purposes (co-filed with Representative Natalie Higgins) – REFILE

This bill creates a list of rights that are guaranteed to survivors of sexual assault as they seek medical, professional, and legal assistance following their assaults.

HD3295 An Act to strengthen justice and support for sex trade survivors (co-filed with Rep. Keefe, Sen. Friedman, & Sen. Edwards) – REFILE from last session’s work by Rep. Keefe & Malia, and Sen. Chandler

This bill repeals the crime of selling sex for the prostituted person, expands access to social services for people in prostitution, strengthens laws against trafficking, and advances criminal justice reform for trafficking survivors and people in prostitution. 

HD1967 An Act to amend the civil rights law, in relation to reporting a non-emergency incident involving a member of a protected class – REFILE

This bill creates civil penalties for individuals who report non-emergent incidents to the police involving members of protected classes, which includes race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability or sexual orientation of a person.

HD962 An Act updating and clarifying the statute relating to “upskirting”

This bill expands the definition of what qualifies as “upskirting” and establishes associated penalties. 

Physical & Mental Health

HD1222 An Act providing continuity of care for mental health treatment (Co-filed with Representative Balser) – REFILE

The bill requires that a health plan pay for the continuation of mental health treatment with a provider in the case that the health plan changes and the provider is no longer covered by the individual's plan, so long as the provider agrees to the terms of the plan.

HD1373 An Act recognizing EMS as a disease dangerous to the public health, requiring inclusion in MAVEN, establishing the Massachusetts EMS Registry and requiring biennial reporting as part of population health trends

This bill recognizes Electromagnetic Sensitivity ("EMS") as a disease and public health risk that is possibly linked to environmental exposures. EMS will be added to the Massachusetts Virtual Epidemiological Network ("MAVEN") to facilitate reporting, research, tracing, and information dissemination of the disease.

Public Service

HD294 An Act relative to the size of the Group Insurance Commission board – REFILE

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).

HD297 An Act to provide pensions to surviving spouses of Department of Children and Families social workers killed in the line of duty – REFILE

This legislation will extend 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 officer's family receives the death benefit.

Miscellaneous

HD1028 Resolve establishing a study of public safety & security facilities (Co-filed with Sen. Mark) – REFILE after making it HWM last session

DCAMM and EOPSS shall study Gateway cities' ability to pay for repairs, construction, renovations, improvements, remediation, rehabilitation, modernization, and demolition of municipal buildings and make recommendations on immediate needs for fiscal support and capital improvements.

HD2112 An Act requiring one fair wage (Co-filed with Representative Montano & Senator Jehlen) – REFILE after making it to SWM last session

Currently, tipped employees are paid a “sub-minimum wage” of $6.75 per hour, which is less than half of the full minimum wage of $15 per hour. This bill would phase out the sub-minimum wage over 7 years, with tips on top. Additionally, once the full minimum wage is reached for all employees, tip sharing will be allowed between “front of house” and “back of house” employees.

HD3283 An Act to explore alternative funding sources to ensure safe and reliable transportation (Co-filed with Rep. Stanley) – REFILE

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 time of driving, type of road, proximity to transit, and vehicle fuel.

HD3139 An Act relative to retirement benefits for June Tooley (Co-filed with Sen. Mark) – REFILE

This bill states that the state retirement board shall permit June Tooley to purchase 16 years of creditable service for $195,000.

HD3095 An Act authorizing the city of Pittsfield to award a 1 year or multiple-year contract to audit (Co-filed with Sen. Mark)

This bill changes independent audits by authorizing the city of Pittsfield to award a 1 year or multiple-year contract to audit.

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