With the Legislature passing the halfway point of the 2016 legislative session (ending before the July 25th kickoff of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia), it’s important to take a moment and highlight key policy areas where the State Senate has taken the lead, reinforcing key themes set out by Senate President Stan Rosenberg and a majority of State Senators at the beginning of the 2015-2016 session.
I’m proud that the Senate is now not only a more inclusive, small-d democratic body, as explained by the Senate President in this WGBH interview last month, but I’m equally proud of how the Senate President’s decentralized leadership and long-term vision has translated into the pace of the State Senate. This year, almost every week, 4 to 5 pieces of solid legislation are being debated and passed. This dramatic change in how the body is being run makes the State Senate an exciting, forward-looking institution today.
Here are four critical policy areas that the Senate has tackled this session so far:
The Senate passed the following bills to advocate for pay equity for women, improve worker’s compensation, create more opportunities for individuals with disabilities and better protect consumers from unwanted loan debt:
Criminal Justice Reform
The Senate passed the following bills to remove a driver’s license suspension as a penalty for vandalism, increase the threshold for a theft to be classified as felony larceny, help people in correctional institutions better manage their finances and credit and expand pretrial services:
S.2176 An Act relative to larceny
The Senate passed the following bills to lift the cap on charter schools, expand physical education programs, and promote common-sense sex education in classrooms:
S. 2062 An Act relative to healthy youth
The Senate passed the following bills to improve access to quality health care and medical treatment for rare diseases, raise the smoking age to 21 years old and ensure that all patients have confidential access to the health care they need: