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

On Wednesday, May 17, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. Hearing Scheduled for September 12,CCWFC priority legislation Status update 2017
  • 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
  • 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:

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