Boston (MA) – State Senator Jamie Eldridge (D-Acton) joined his colleagues today in the Massachusetts Senate to pass S. 2294, An Act to end child marriage in Massachusetts. This bill will ensure that a marriage cannot be issued until both parties are verified to be over 18.
“I believe it is time we step up and prevent the young people of our state from being taken advantage of, and I was very happy to join my colleagues in voting for this bill,” said Eldridge, who cosponsored the legislation, “Over the last decade, over 20,000 minors were married around the United States, and I hope that we can set an example for the rest of the country by signing this bill into law.”
According to the Registry of Vital Records and Statistics, 1,231 underage youth were married in Massachusetts between 2000 and 2016. Both parties must be verified to be of age through the presentation of birth certificates or other official records of birth, such as passports, life insurance policies, immigration records, etc. Until both parties are proven to be above 18 years of age, a marriage license cannot be issued.
Eldridge also voted for S.2296, An Act ensuring consumer choice and equal access to eye care, and S.2295, An Act to increase consumer transparency about insurance provider networks.
Senate bill 2296 would allow a registered optometrist who is properly qualified to diagnose, treat, correct, or manage glaucoma and other ocular abnormalities, as well as prescribe different agents for treatment. This bill would help improve access to this treatment in rural areas and other underserved communities where there is a lack of ophthalmologists.
Senate bill 2295 would ensure information on provider directories must be updated and accurate for a carrier’s use online. Doing so would protect patients from being hit with unexpected payments by their insurance company for seeking care from providers they thought were in network due to confusing online directories. This bill would ensure that directories would have to be updated no less than monthly and must remove providers that no longer are taking new patients or no longer exist, as well as updated information on their location and which providers no longer have contracts under specific networks.
All three bills now go to the Massachusetts House of Representatives for consideration.