Our Priority Legislation, Bills filed in the MA State Legislature that will impact Women

PDF copy of list – without all updates – download here.


 Women’s Health:

  • S1209/ H.3320 ROE Act: Would remove obstacles and expand abortion access. Would protect the health safety and privacy of young people by removing permission from a parent or judge to obtain an abortion. Ensures medical decisions are between a patient and her doctor. Establishes a safety net coverage for abortion care that already exists for other pregnancy care for people excluded from Mass Health. Senator Chandler and Rep Livingstone – Assigned to Joint Committee on Public Health  ROE_Infographic
  • S1334 / H.1949 An Act to Reduce Racial Disparities in Maternal Health: This would create a Commission that would make recommendations to the Governor and Legislature to address this injustice. The Commission would consist of experts in the field of maternal health, elected officials, members of racial justice organizations, healthcare providers, those who have lost an immediate family member to maternal death, and others.
  • S834 / H.1466 An Act Relative to Female Genital Mutilation: (a negotiated version of this bill passed and the Governor has signed it)  This bill would create a program of education, prevention and outreach for communities that commonly practice female genital mutilation, as well as education for health officials and other who may come into contact with victims or potential victims of female genital mutilation. The bill also creates a legal claim for genital mutilation no matter where it occurred, and criminalizes efforts to assist in genital mutilation, including taking a girl outside of the state to undergo the procedure.
  • SD304 / 639 An Act Supporting Parents Running for Public Office: This bill would allow state and local candidates to use campaign funds for childcare services. Mass NOW is collaborating with childcare advocates as well as bill sponsor Sen. Jehlen to promote action days, call in campaigns, and other advocacy to promote this measure.


  • S.263 / H.410 Healthy Youth Act: An Act relative to healthy youth. Comprehensive sex education that is age appropriate, medically accurate (including healthy relationships and consent), & LGBTQIA inclusive. Sen. DiDomenico and Rep. Brodeur assigned to Joint Committee on Education
  • S.S24 / H.1478 An Act to End Child Marriage in MA: This legislation would prohibit marriage of minors. Assigned to the Judiciary committee. Sen Chandler and Rep Khan – This bill has passed the Senate, but still has not been put to a vote in the HOUSE. The session has been extended – so contact your Representative and tell him/her to help get it to the floor for a vote!
  • S.140 / Conversion Therapy Ban An act relative to abusive practices to change sexual orientation and gender identity in minors. This bill would prohibit therapists from trying to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of a minor. Update: this bill has passed the House and Senate and was signed into law by the Governor. Thank you! More details about how your legislator voted: State Senate  and House page.
  • S.37 / H.104 An Act to Lift the Cap on Kids: Will repeal the Family Cap, a law which denies TAFDC cash assistance to a child born after the family first received TAFDC. This law currently excludes 8,700 children from their families’ cash assistance, leaving parents with even less money than other TAFDC recipients to provide necessities for their children. A repeal would result in families receiving about $100 per month for each of these children –an increment that can determine if a mother can afford enough diapers for her baby. This bill passed the House and Senate, the Governor vetoed it, and the legislature overrode his veto.
  • S.677 / HD.2615 Health Care for Kids: An Act to ensure equitable health coverage for children. Over 20,000 MA kids get only minimal health coverage because of their immigration status, bill would ensure that MassHealth covers all kids equitably.  Senator DiDomenico and Rep Dave Rogers


  • S.1368: An act relative to enforcing federal laws. Ending 287G agreements This bill removes funding for the 287G agreements which allow our sheriffs to enter into agreements with ICE and allow law enforcement to act as agents of ICE. Rep Cabral
  • S.1401 / H.3573 An Act to protect the civil rights and safety of all Massachusetts residents (was Safe Communities: Would protect the civil rights and safety of all MA residents. This bill stops law enforcement and court officials from inquiring about immigration status to ensure due process and limit notifications to ICE. Ends 287g agreements. Provides training for law enforcement.  If there is an alleged violation, people can file a complaint with the relevant agency or the AG. Senator Eldridge, Reps Balser & Miranda



  • S.677 / H.1102 An Act to Establish Health Equity for Pregnant Persons: Would require health insurance plans to cover all pregnancy related care, including abortion care, prenatal care, childbirth, and postpartum care, without any kind of cost-sharing. Good background on this: https://prochoicemass.org/issue/health-equity/
  • S.1959 / S.1274 “I AM. Bill” An Act to Increase Access to Disposable Menstrual Products in Prisons, Homeless Shelters and Public Schools: This bill would provide access to free menstrual products to all menstruating individuals in prisons, homeless shelters and public schools from 6th-12th grade. The bill also contains language to ensure the products are truly accessible without stigmatizing the individual seeking them. Mass NOW co-wrote this bill with Sen. Jehlen and Rep. Livingstone’s offices, and is taking the lead on building an intersectional coalition to advocate for this measure.
  • S.1072 Healthy Workplace Act Act: Addresses workplace bullying, mobbing and harassment, without regard to protected class status. Creates a legal claim for bullying targets who can establish they were subjected to malicious, health-harming behavior in the workplace. Feeny
  • S.1898 /HD.2713 Changing State House Culture: An Act promoting equality and respect in the legislature. Sen Rausch and Rep Sabadosa
  • SD.858/HD.2012 Repeal Citizens United: Resolutions for a United States Constitutional Amendment and a limited amendment proposing convention. Sen. Eldridge, Reps Gentile and Vieira
  • SD1695/HD.3608, HD2016 Same Day Voter Registration: An Act relative to election day. Increased ballot access and voter participation mean a stronger democracy. Sens Creem and Malia and Rep Benson
  • SD664, Tax Return Transparency: An Act restoring financial transparency in presidential elections. Barrett
  • SD1710 Access to Justice: An Act relative to access to justice. Ensure that all victims, witnesses, defendants, and people with civil matters in court receive due process and can attend court proceedings in safety. Decker and Day
  • SD1143/HD.1719 Drivers Licenses for Residents: An Act relative to work and family mobility. This bill would allow all eligible drivers a state issued license. In a state where millions of people depend on cars to get to work, to school, and to basic services, immigration status shouldn’t keep anyone from getting a license and registering and insuring their car. Sen Crighton and Reps Farley-Bouvier & Barber
  • SD914/HD.1231 Increasing Available Health Care Providers: An Act to increase access to health care in underserved areas of Massachusetts. Thousands of highly skilled medical professionals who were trained abroad can’t practice here due to high barriers to licensure. This would create a commission to address those barriers and help put these professionals to work in underserved communities across Massachusetts. Senator Jason Lewis & Rep Jack Lewis


 Expect additions, changes and updates throughout the session



Here are the bills we worked on during the last session:

On Wednesday, May 17, 2017, a group of  women from Cape Cod Women for Change visited the statehouse along with Commissioners from the Cape and Islands Commission on the Status of Women to advocate for our priority legislation- listed below or you can download it:  CCWFC priority legislation Status updated

Though we are determined advocates, we learned that for the most part, support for these bills seems to fall along party lines.

We need women (and men!) on Cape Cod to become active advocates for this legislation. It’s easy. We will issue Calls to Action when a bill is going to be before a committee or is up for a vote.  You can respond by simply writing a letter of support to committees using information provided in each call, and sending that letter by email or US Mail to the addresses provided.  You can also attend a hearing.

And, as we move through the state legislative process, we ask you to contact your own state legislators. When you do let us know via comments here on our posts, or by email, and tell us what their responses were.  We were disappointed in the minimal responses we received from our own legislators. We asked if they planned to support any of our legislation. As we move through this legislation we will share their responses (or lack of response) to us, with you.

Two Cape Cod State Reps gave us NO response. Rep Tim Whelan’s chief of staff promised to get back to us, and never did,  despite repeated requests for follow-up. Randy Hunt never responded to requests for a meeting.

Meanwhile we will share some of the legislation several local legislators HAVE filed that threaten women’s rights.  Watch for new posts or use the link on the right to sign up for updates.

Cape Cod Women for Change Supported Legislation:

  • ACCESS advancing contraceptive coverage and economic security:499 and H.536 This bill acknowledges that a woman’s economic security is often dependent upon her ability to access birth control and would require MA healthcare providers to cover. This is especially important since the current congress in D.C. seems to believe being a woman is a pre-existing condition.  (passed)
  • An Act Relative to Protecting Access to Confidential Health Care: S 1174 and H 3059 Patient confidentially is critical to ensuring that people access the health care they need. Current health insurer policies can result in the issuance of Explanation of Benefits forms (EOBs), also called Summary of Payments forms (SOPs), that violate patient confidentiality by informing the plan’s subscriber of the care dependents seek. Such revelations can represent serious intrusions into medical privacy and impede access to medical care. Confidentiality is essential to ensuring that patients seek the healthcare they need. (passed)
  • An act to ensure teen safety:  H. 3649, This bill would repeal existing state law that requires anyone under the age of 18 to obtain parental consent, or obtain a court order, to get an abortion. CCWFC priority legislation Status update  (This bill will be voted on by the house any day now!)
  • Sexual Violence on Campus: S.706 and H.632 – a bill addressing sexual violence on campuses and how institutions respond, support victims and end the practice of cover ups.
  • Child Bride: H. S.785   H.2310 – a bill to end child marriage, which is still legal in all 50 states, usually young girls to older men; this practice is on the rise, even in MA (this bill was killed in/by committee)
  • PASSED! Pregnant Workers Fairness: S.1023 and H.1038 – a bill protecting pregnant workers, allowing them reasonable adjustments in the workplace. We thank all Cape Legislators for supporting this.
  • Family and Medical Leave: S.1048 – a bill to establish a family and medical leave insurance program for those working for companies with fewer than 50 employees
  • PASSED AS A BUDGET ITEM: Housing Courts on Cape Cod: S.946 and H.978 – a bill extending geographical jurisdiction of housing courts to the cape and islands; housing is a major issue for all demographics but women with children are especially vulnerable. This bill provides housing justice by providing special judges/legal teams specially trained in housing code.
  • Affordable Housing Bills:
    • An Act relative to housing production H 673 and S 723 Title: The major purpose of this bill is to encourage more units of housing to be built that will be affordable to more of our population and alleviate the extreme shortage of housing for low and moderate income families.
    • An Act financing the production and preservation of housing for low and moderate income residents: Bill H.675
    • H 2420 An Act building for the future of the Commonwealth: (Meaghan testified on behalf of this bill May 2)   establish an annual program of education, self-evaluation and training for members of local planning boards and zoning boards of appeals and to promote affordable community housing . Municipalities and Regional Government
  • IMMIGRATION – Safe Communities: S1305 and H3269 An Act to protect the civil rights and safety of all Massachusetts residents

Late Additions:

  • RAPISTS AND PARENTAL RIGHTS (S 832) – The Judiciary Committee held a hearing on a bill that would take away the parental rights of convicted rapists. The measure prohibits convicted rapists from getting custody of or obtaining visitation rights to see the child born from the rape. It also allows the courts, despite this termination of rights, to require that the perpetrator of the rape pay child support.

https://malegislature.gov/Bills/190/S832,   https://malegislature.gov/Bills/190/S919

  • NO PARENTAL RIGHTS FOR MURDERERS (H 2285)  The Judiciary Committee is also considering a bill that would remove a child from the custody of his or her parent who is convicted of murdering the child’s other parent.

The measure provides a few exemptions including allowing custody by the convicted parent if the child requests it and the court determines that the child is mature enough to make such a decision. Another exemption allows custody if the convicted parent suffered from physical, sexual or psychological abuse from the murdered parent.

Photos of our day on Beacon Hill advocating for women on Cape Cod and all over Massachusetts: