Legislative sessions in Massachusetts are every two years. Below is a list of legislation that NASW-MA and members lobbied for in the 2013-2014 legislative session.
Social Work Professional Practice
HB1077/SB51 Loan Forgiveness for Social Workers
SUMMARY: The purpose of the program is to encourage social workers to work in child protective services programs or in underserved geographic areas by providing for the repayment of qualified educational loans. To be eligible for this program, an applicant must commit to working a minimum of thirty-five hours a week for one year in an eligible program or area.
LEAD CO-SPONSORS: Rep. Smitty Pignatelli, Sen. Jamie Eldridge
STATUS: 10/16/13 - Reported favorably as amended by Joint Committee on Higher Education, referred to Ways and Means
HB154 A bill to ban abusive practices that aim to change a minor’s sexual orientation or gender identity
SUMMARY: This bill bans licensed medical professionals, including mental health, or human service professionals, any psychologist, psychiatrist, social worker, psychiatric nurse, allied mental health and human services professional from forcing a minor to change their sexual orientation or gender identity.
LEAD SPONSOR: Rep. Carl Sciortino
STATUS: 2/24/14 - Reported favorably as amended by Joint Committee on Children and Families, referred to Health Care Financing
Promote social work practice and improved reimbursement rates within Payment Reform implementation
SUMMARY: Payment Reform legislation included the creation of a Behavioral Health Task Force, of which NASW MA Chapter is a member. We seek to advance social work practice and the profession and to highlight the need for appropriate reimbursement rates and continuity of care within implementation of payment reform.
STATUS: NO HEARING YET
Gun violence legislation...
...Strengthening the Commonwealth’s laws that keep guns out of the hands of those who would do harm and does not require the release of mental health records to licensing agencies.
STATUS: BILL UNFILED
READ CHAPTER STATEMENT ON GUN VIOLENCE LEGISLATION
Social Work Safety in the Workplace bill passed into law February 2013
Human Rights and Social Justice
SB1959 An Act ensuring parity for mental health and substance abuse treatment
SUMMARY: This Bill adds teeth to existing state and federal parity law by allowing consumers to bring private lawsuits (including class action lawsuits) to enforce existing law. It does not create additional parity obligations for insurers.
LEAD SPONSOR: Sen. Brian Joyce
STATUS: 3/11/14 - Reported favorably as amended by Joint Committee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse. 3/13/14 - Referred to Joint Committee on Health Care Financing
SB.1135/HB.1613 The Massachusetts Trust Act
SUMMARY: The Massachusetts Trust Act generally seeks to limit the unfair and prejudicial effects of immigration detainers in Massachusetts by restricting their application as to individuals in Massachusetts custody, and establishing due process protections for individuals in Massachusetts custody. The bill also ensures that Massachusetts state, county, and municipal law enforcement agencies do not arrest or detain individuals for civil immigration purposes in excess of their legal authority.
LEAD CO-SPONSORS: Sen. Eldridge and Rep. Sciortino
STATUS: 3/20/14 - Reported favorably by Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security
HB1739/SB900 An Act Establishing Earned Paid Sick Days
SUMMARY: Entitles all employees within the Commonwealth to a minimum of seven paid sick days per year; articulates appropriate usage of said sick days; directs the Executive Office of Health and Human Services to establish a multilingual outreach program to educate the public about the availability of said sick days.
LEAD CO-SPONSORS: Rep. Kay Khan, Sen. Dan Wolf
STATUS: 3/20/14 - Extension order filed (until 07/31/2014) pending concurrence
HB1701/SB878 An Act Increasing the Minimum Wage in Massachusetts
SUMMARY: Seeks to increase the Massachusetts minimum wage to $11.00 as of July 2015 and index the minimum wage to inflation thereafter. The minimum wage would be more than $10.00 per hour today if it had kept pace with the rising cost of living over the past 40 years. Instead it’s stuck at $8.00, which translates to just $16,640 for a full-time worker.
LEAD CO-SPONSORS: Rep. Antonio Cabral, Sen. Marc Pacheco
STATUS: 11/19/13 - Passed to be engrossed in the Senate
FACT SHEETREAD TESTIMONY
HB537/SB291 An Act Increasing the Personal Care Allowance for Residents of Long Term Care Facilities
SUMMARY: Would establish annual cost of living increase for residents of nursing homes and certain other institutions that receive Medicaid.
LEAD CO-SPONSORS: Sen. Patricia Jehlen
STATUS: 9/19/13 - Referred to Joint Committee on Health Care Financing
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Unimpeded Access to Services for All
HB1035/SB515 An Act Establishing Medicare for All in Massachusetts
SUMMARY: Bill would guarantee every Massachusetts resident first class health care coverage by replacing the current patchwork of public private healthcare plans with a uniform and comprehensive health plan.
LEAD CO-SPONSORS: Sen. Jamie Eldridge
STATUS: 10/22/13 - Hearing with Joint Committee on Health Care Financing
HB114/SB35 Oppose harmful restrictions in the use of Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) Cards and support asset development, and increased access to education and training legislation lifting people out of poverty
SUMMARY: In 2012, the legislature proposed restrictions on the use of Electronic Benefits Transfer Cards that could harm poor families struggling to transition out of poverty. NASW MA Chapter supports legislation that helps to alleviate the causes of poverty, including Pathways to Family Economic Self-Sufficiency legislation that would enable low-income adults with dependent children to attain education and/or skills training leading to jobs in high-demand occupations.
LEAD CO-SPONSORS: Rep. Kay Khan, Sen. Eileen Donoghue
STATUS: 6/06/13 - Reported favorably as amended by Joint Committee on Children and Families