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Legislative Priorities
July 1, 2024 by NASWMA

NASW-MA Legislative Agenda 2023-2024

 

 

The Massachusetts Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW-MA) is the largest professional social work organization in the state with over 6,300 members representing every Senate and House district across the Commonwealth. Our members work in a broad range of settings including hospitals and health care settings, community agencies, jails and courts, government, academia, nursing homes, schools, private practice, and more. The agenda of priority legislation serves to represent the diverse and varied social work and social justice concerns among our members.

 

Massachusetts operates on a two-year legislative session. The current session runs from January 4, 2023-July 31, 2024.

Activist Opportunities:

 

 

 

 

 

2023-2024 Legislative Agenda, 

PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE

  • S.160/H.1253 An Act relative to Social Work Uplifting Practices and Exam Removal (the SUPER Act) (Sen. DiDomenico, Rep.Barber & Rep.Kushmerek): This bill has three components that will increase the number of mental health providers in the state, remove barriers, and incentivize social workers already in the field, overall bolstering our workforce and profession. The three components are counting supervision toward CE requirements, eliminating licensing tests at the Master’s level (LCSW) , and securing funding for paid internships for MSW students. Status: Passed int the House's Economic Development Bill! Fact Sheet

      Send a pre-written letter here to voice your support or write your own email using this template!

 

HEALTH AND MENTAL HEALTH

  • S.268/H.544 An Act relative to healthy youth (Sen. DiDomenico, Reps. O'Day & Howard): Requires school districts that already provide sex education to ensure that it is comprehensive, age-appropriate, and LGBTQ+ inclusive, with an emphasis on informed consent to prevent sexual violence. Status: Reported out favorably by the Joint Committee on Education on 2/7/24 and sent to Senate Ways & Means! Fact Sheet

      Take Action for the Healthy Youth Act here!

 

CRIMINAL JUSTICE

  • S.982/ H.1391 An Act relative to treatment, not imprisonment (Sen. Friedman, Rep. Balser): Would allow judges to order a person on pretrial release or probation to receive treatment for substance use but prohibits courts from sending a person to jail just for relapsing if they are otherwise engaged in treatment. It is both unsafe and unjust to require a person suffering from substance use disorder to remain relapse-free as a condition of release or else face jail. Status: Referred to join the committee on judiciary and extended until 7/31/24! Fact Sheet 

       Take action to support treatment, not imprisonment!

  •  S.942/H.1710 An Act to promote public safety and better outcomes for young adults "Raise the Age" (Sen. Crighton, Reps. O'Day & Cruz): Would gradually raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction to include 18-20-year-olds, which would reduce recidivism by ensuring offending youth are engaged in treatment, education, and vocational training that is more effective for this age group. Status: Referred to join the committee on judiciary and until 7/31/24!  Fact Sheet

        Take action to support Raise the Age!

  • S.1979/H.1795 An Act establishing a jail and prison construction moratorium (Sen. Comerford, Rep. Tyler): Would establish a five-year moratorium on new prison and jail construction and expansion in the Commonwealth. Status: Senate bill reported favorably  by the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight!  Fact Sheet from last session

       Take Action to support a prison moratorium! 

 

ECONOMIC JUSTICE

  •  S.75/H.144 An Act to lift kids out of deep poverty (Sen. DiDomenico, Rep. Decker): Deep Poverty for a family of three is $915 a month. The maximum Transitional Aid for Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC) grant for a family of 3 with no countable income was $593 a month - not even close to the Deep Poverty Level. This bill sets a floor for financial assistance at 50% of the federal poverty level - $1036 a month for a family of three. This bill would increase financial assistance by 25% a year until greats reach 50% of the federal poverty level. Status: Reported out favorably by the joint committee on children, families, and persons with disabilities on 2/7/24!  Fact Sheet      

       Take Action to lift kids out of deep poverty!

  •  S.855/H.1354 An Act to create and implement a Massachusetts Flexible Supportive Housing Subsidy Pool Program (Sen. Crighton & Rep. Meschino): Will streamline public and private funding to provide flexible, responsive funding for housing subsidies as well as tenancy stabilization and supports when there is no other alternative payer (i.e., MassHealth). The MFHP focuses on bundling and delivering these resources in a new way that improves the efficiency of housing placement, centralizes the housing and service coordination function, and ultimately reduces the time to achieve long-term stabilization. Status: Reported out favorably by the joint committee on housing and included in the Governor's Housing Bill!  Fact Sheet 

     Take action to implement a Massachusetts Flexible Supportive Housing Subsidy Pool

 

EDUCATION

  • S.245/H.477 An Act prohibiting the use of Native American mascots by public schools in the Commonwealth (Sen. Comerford, Rep.Fluker-Oakley): will prohibit the use of Native American mascots in Massachusetts public schools. About 25-30 schools in the Commonwealth currently use such mascots. Status: Reported out favorably by the joint committee on education on 2/7/24!  Fact Sheet

       Take action to ban Native Mascots in MA!

  • S.261/H.603 An Act relative to universal free school meals (Sen. DiDomenico, Rep. Vargas): Would make USDA reimbursable meals free for all students, allowing every student to access the nutrition they need during the school day. As a result of flexibilities granted in response to the pandemic, every student in Massachusetts currently has access to free school meals. This legislation will ensure that all students continue to receive the nutrition they need while they are in school – ending stigma, supporting school nutrition programs, and encouraging success for Massachusetts students. Status: Signed into law by Governor Healey through the FY24 Budget on 8/9/2023!  Fact Sheet 

   

 

Do you have a bill you'd like NASW-MA to consider for an endorsement? 

LEGISLATIVE SIGN-ON REQUEST

Supported Bills

The main difference between our priorities and supported bills is that priorities indicate a concerted effort where the Chapter takes a leadership role in the coalition and strategic meetings to get this passed. Supported bills are lent the name of our Chapter, we offer testimony and meetings with target legislators to assist in moving the bill along, when possible. 

 

Accomplishments From Past Legislative Sessions:

Accomplishments 2023-2024 Legislative Session:

  • An Act relative to universal free school meals (S.261-H.603 Sen. DiDomenico, Rep. Vargas) - signed into law as part of the FY24 Budget on 8/9/2023!

Accomplishments 2021-2022 Legislative Session:

  • An Act relative to work and family mobility during and subsequent to the COVID-19 emergency (SB2289-HB3458 Sens. Crighton & Homez, Reps. Barber &Farley-Bouveir) - Governor's Veto Overridden 6/9/2022!
  • An Act to streamline access to critical public health and safety-net programs through common applications "Common Apps to Close the Gaps" (SB761-HB1290 Sen.DiDomenico, Rep. Livingstone) - Signed into law as part of the FY23 Budget 7/28/22!
  • An Act to define clinical social work (SB1456-HB2384, Sen, Lesser Rep. O'Day) - Signed into law as part of the Mental Health Omnibus Bill 8/10/22
  • FY23 Budget Wins: 
  • Funding Therapy Matcher: We secured $50,000 for Therapy Matcher, NASW-MA’s free therapy referral public service program, allowing us to bring more LICSWs into the network to meet the demand. ​
  • Lift Families Out of Deep Poverty: Through our leadership role in the Lift Our Kids Coalition, we helped raise TAFDC and EAEDC cash assistance benefits by 10%, helping families in deep poverty better afford basic necessities. The last TAFDC increase was 20 years ago and the last EAEDC increase was 32 years ago, making this a historic victory.
  • Universal Free School Meals: As part of the School Meals for All Coalition, we helped secure a one-year extension of free meals for all students, allowing every student to access the nutrition they need during the school day.

Accomplishments 2019-2020 Legislative Session:

  • LGBTQ Conversion Therapy Ban (HB140, Rep. Khan) –  Signed by the Governor into law 4/8/19
  • Repealing the Welfare Cap on Kids (SB37, Sen. DiDomenico-HB104, Rep. Decker) - Governor's veto overidden 4/25/19
  • Limiting Clawbacks for Mental Health Providers (SB589-HB1078, Sen. Friedman & Rodridgues, Rep. O’Day) – Signed into law as part of FY20 budget 7/31/19
  • Pilot Funding to Close the SNAP Gap (SB678-HB1173,  Sen. DiDomenico, Rep. Livingstone) – Signed into law as part of the FY20 budget 7/31/19
  • Eliminating Insurance Company "Ghost Networks" (SB592-HB913, Sen. Lewis, Rep. Barber) – Signed into law with the Children's Health Bill 11/26/19
  • An Act Providing for a Moratorium on Evictions and Foreclosures During the COVID-19 Emergency (HB4647, Conference Committee) – Signed by the Governor into law 4/20/20
  • An Act Relative to Voting Options in Response to COVID-19 (HB4820, Conference Committee) – Signed by the Governor into law 7/6/2020
  • An Act Providing for Access to Reproductive Health Services (HB5179, Governor)  – Governor's Veto Overidden 12/29/20
  • An Act Promoting a Resilient Health Care System that Puts Patients First (SB2984, Conference Committee) – Signed by the Governor into law 1/1/21
  • An Act Relative to Justice, Equity, and Accountability in Law Enforcement in the Commonwealth (SB2963, Conference – Signed by the Governor into law 12/31/20
  • ​FY21 Budget Wins
    • Funding Therapy Matcher: We secured $50,000 for Therapy Matcher, NASW-MA’s free therapy referral public service program, allowing us to bring more LICSWs into the network to meet the demand. ​
    • Close the SNAP Gap: As co-chair of the SNAP Gap Coalition, we solidified the state’s commitment to closing the SNAP Gap through creation of a common application for MassHealth or the Medicare Savings Program and SNAP. This is in addition to the $5M we secured through the IT Bond Bill for the technology infrastructure needed to close the SNAP Gap. 
    • Lift Families Out of Deep Poverty: Through our leadership role in the Lift Our Kids Coalition, we helped raise TAFDC and EAEDC cash assistance benefits by 10%, helping families in deep poverty better afford basic necessities. The last TAFDC increase was 20 years ago and the last EAEDC increase was 32 years ago, making this a historic victory.
    •  

More Questions? Visit the MA Legislature's website to access the following:

 

  • Full text of the bill, including the House version (if applicable)
  • Track any amendments or changes made to the bill, including the number changes
  • Who are the bill's sponsors and co-sponsors are
  • If the bill has an upcoming hearing
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National Association of Social Workers - Massachusetts Chapter

11 Beacon Street, Suite 510, Boston MA 02108
tel: (617)227-9635 fax: (617)227-9877 email: chapter.naswma@socialworkers.org

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