During the 2011-2012 session, Jamie filed the following pieces of legislation to reduce poverty and provide greater support for low and moderate income families:
Low-to-moderate income families often face substantial barriers to gaining and keeping employment and to building the assets – such as a car to drive to work or modest savings – necessary to achieve financial stability and break the cycle of poverty. However, many transitional assistance and education programs are restricted to those with few or no financial assets. These restrictions can have the unintended effect of restricting employment options due to a lack of reliable transportation and can create disincentives for saving. This bill would remove state-imposed barriers to asset development for low-to-moderate income residents of the Commonwealth who receive support through the Department of Transitional Assistance and will promote gainful employment and financial stability.
This bill would require that personal financial literacy be integrated into existing math frameworks for all schools in the Commonwealth. The programs would include understanding loans, borrowing money, interest, credit card debt, online commerce, rights and responsibilities of renting or buying a home, saving, investing and planning for retirement, and banking and financial services.
This bill codifies the Educational Rewards Grant so that it can continue to help low-income students enroll in and successfully complete education or training leading to identified high-demand jobs.
Specifically, the bill preserves the only state grant available to low-income students, enrolled in college less than half time or participating in a non-degree program. Eligible students may receive up to $3,000 per academic year, of which 30% may be used for living expenses such as transportation and childcare. It also creates a pilot program that offers supports such as, intensive counseling, college and career advising, tutoring, child care and transportation, to Education Rewards students to help them complete a degree or certificate.
An Act regarding the countable assets of medical assistance recipients
This bill would allow individuals to save for retirement in Individual Retirement Accounts without being penalized when it comes time to calculate MassHealth and Medicare benefits.