To view a list of priority legislation that NASW-MA and members are lobbying for in the 2015-2016 legislative session, view NASW-MA's Legislative Agenda.
VIEW 2015-2016 LEGISLATIVE AGENDA
For questions, contact Christine Poff, MSW, Director of Director of Government Relations and Political Action at (617) 227-9635 x12 or email@example.com.
Below are bills that NASW-MA supports but are not our top priorities like the bills on the Legislative Agenda. NASW-MA works in coalition with many different advocacy groups across the state. Supported bills are ones for which we’ve been asked to write a letter or testify.
The line between NASW-MA’s priority and supported bills is fuzzy. Sometimes a supported bill will get more traction in the legislature. When this happens we participate in lobby meetings, write letters, and often reach out to you – our members – to call your legislators.
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Terminally ill patient's right to compassionate aid in dying
Establishes the right of a terminally ill patient to request aid in dying from a physician and obtain medication the patient can administer to bring about death; sets out the form of written request the patient must make; requires two witnesses to the signed request; outlines the responsibilities of the prescribing physician; requires mandatory counseling for the patient; requires informed consent of the patient; sets out requirements for medical record documentation; invalidates provisions in wills, contracts and other legal documents that would prohibit aid in dying; indemnifies actions taken by health care providers under the new statute.
LEAD SPONSOR: Representative Louis Kafka
HIV-associated Lipodystrophy Treatment
(SB 618, HB 927)
This bill requires private insurers, MassHealth, and the Group Insurance Commission to provide medical treatment for lipodystrophy, a disfiguring side-effect of lifesaving, but highly toxic, HIV medications. Lipodystrophy is the abnormal distribution of body fat which creates “visible disfiguring and stigmatizing morphological changes”. While there are inexpensive, effective medical treatments for lipodystrophy, insurers routinely deny claims for treatment on the basis that they are cosmetic and not medically necessary.
LEAD CO-SPONSORS: Senator Mark Montigny and Representative Sarah Peake
Conversion Therapy Ban
This bill would prohibit any efforts by licensed professionals who counsel minors from attempting to “change” the sexual orientation or gender identity of a minor. Prohibits any professional licensed under this section from engaging in sexual orientation and gender identity change efforts with a patient under the age of 18.
LEAD SPONSOR: Representative Kay Kahn
Transgender Nondiscrimination Protections
(SB 735, HB 1577)
This bill would add “gender identity” to existing Massachusetts civil rights laws for public accommodations, which currently allow for the exclusion of transgender people. This legislation would add “gender identity” to existing Massachusetts civil rights law for public accommodations, which currently prohibit discrimination on the basis of age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, sex, and marital status.
LEAD CO-SPONSORS: Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz and Representative Byron Rushing
Justice Reinvestment Act
(SB 64, HB 1429)
An omnibus bill backed by a large coalition of community, religious, and union organizations, to improve Massachusetts’ systems of criminal justice, end mass incarceration, and re-invest in our schools and in job-creation. Our neighborhoods are filled with people who cannot find life-sustaining work. Our prisons are filled with people who suffer from addiction or trauma, and people who struggled in school, yet they are serving long mandatory minimum sentences that do not address the underlying problem.
LEAD CO-SPONSORS: Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz and Representative Mary Keefe
Sentencing alternatives for non-violent primary caretakers of dependent
This bill calls for the establishment of community-based sentencing alternatives for primary caretakers of dependent children charged with non-violent crimes, with the goal of alleviating the harm to children and primary caretaker parents caused by separation due to incarceration of the parents, while reducing recidivism and strengthening family unity and communities.
LEAD SPONSOR: Representative Russell Holmes
Transparency, best practices, and better outcomes for children and communities
(SB 905, HB 1436)
Juvenile Justice Omnibus Bill developed by Citizens for Juvenile Justice and the Juvenile Justice Reform Coalition. Reclassifies offenses and diverts low level kids from formal system processing in order to save money, reduce crime, and promote best practices to get kids on the right track.
LEAD CO-SPONSORS: Senator Karen Spilka and Representative Kay Khan