July Opportunities for Action
The legislative session ends July 31; all bills that will become law must pass in the next three weeks. Please contact legislators about at least one or two of these items. To help legislators gauge constituent support, each email or phone call should be about only one bill, with the bill number, topic or name in the subject line. Send separate emails or make separate calls to support more than one bill. Thank you! You are making a difference.
Elections & Voting:

Automatic Voter Registration: The House passed automatic voter registration, now numbered H.4671, 130-20 on June 26. The bill is now in the Senate, and we expect a vote there next week. Thank your Representative and ask your Senator to support this bill.

Energy & Environment:                

Energy Town Hall: The third in a series of town hall meetings with legislators on energy and climate change is scheduled for Thursday, July 12, 6:30-8:30 p.m. First Church in Jamaica Plain, 6 Eliot Street ,  Boston.  Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez is expected to attend.   The event is free but registration is required; sign up here.  Rep. Sánchez is chair of the House Ways & Means Committee; come and ask for his support for climate change legislation.

Toxic Flame Retardants: We have been trying to ban toxic flame retardants in Massachusetts for years. The Senate has passed a version of the bill, S.2555. The House version, H.4656, is in the House Ways & Means Committee. This measure stalled at this point in the last session. Please contact your Representative and ask that this bill, particularly important for children and firefighters, be brought to the floor for a vote.

Gun Control: 
               
Extreme Risk Protection Order Bill:  Governor Baker signed
this bill into law Tuesday, July 3, strengthening Massachusetts' already strong gun laws.  This so-called "red flag" law, which  establishes a civil procedure for removing guns from people who pose a significant danger of causing harm to themselves or others, passed the Senate in late May and the House June 28.   Thank your legislators!

Education:

Sex Education:  Join us and our partners at Planned Parenthood for a lobby day July 17 to push the House to pass the Healthy Youth bill, H.3704 , to provide age-appropriate and medically-accurate sex education in schools. It's already passed the Senate.   We've been working on this bill for over a decade.

The Last Chance Lobby Day  for the Healthy Youth Act is Tuesday, July 17, noon to 2:30 p.m. Meet in room 437 of the Massachusetts State House. RSVP here.  Check out the event on Facebook here . Let your Representative know we want this bill to pass, even if you don't come to the lobby day. 

F oundation Budget:  The bill to update and modernize the Foundation Budget formula for state aid to school districts,  S.2525 , passed the Senate unanimously and is now in the House Rules Committee.  Contact your Representative and ask that this important bill come to the floor for a vote. This bill will implement reforms suggested by the 2015 Foundation Budget Review Committee. A fact sheet is here

Women's Issues:

Repeal Archaic Laws:  As the possibility of federal changes in abortion law looms, it becomes more necessary than ever that Massachusetts repeal a law still on the books which bans abortion in the state and otherwise restricts women's health choices. The Senate unanimously passed S.2260  t o repeal these archaic laws in January.  The bill is now in the House Ways & Means Committee. Contact your Representative and ask that this bill come to the floor for a vote. Read a Boston Globe article on this bill  here .

Disability Insurance:  To r emove the gender discrepancies in individual disability insurance policies,  H.482/S.545 needs to come to the House floor for a vote. Ask your Representative to make that happen.

Water Resources:

Water Banking Fee:  This bill, H.2116 , allows cities and towns to collect fees from developers to mitigate the increased cost burdens of water, storm runoff and sewer that are incurred by municipalities when development occurs. It has been in the queue for a House vote for weeks.  Please call your Representative and ask that this bill move up in line and be voted on. The bill can't go to the Senate until this happens.

Health Care:
    
License Midwives: This bill,  H.4655 , would require midwives practicing in out-of-hospital settings to be licensed.   Among other things, this would facilitate insurance payment for such services.   Time is running out to get this bill out of the Committee on Health Care Financing and up for a vote.   Let your Representative and Senator know you care about this bill.
 
Transportation:

Bicycle Safety:   A bill to make all road users, but especially bicyclists and pedestrians, safer,  S.2584 , passed the Senate unanimously and is awaiting a House vote.   Contact your Representative in support of this bill, An Act to reduce traffic fatalities.

Immigration:
               
Protections for Immigrants:  The state budget is still in conference committee, so it is not too late to contact your own Representative, Speaker DeLeo (617-722-2500), House Ways & Means Chairman Sánchez (617-722-2990), and Governor Baker (617-725-4005). See the June 12 Action Alert  for scripts.
 
Progress Update:   Action on LWVMA bills since mid-June

Signed into law by the Governor:
  • H.4670 Extreme Risk Protection Order bill to remove guns from people who pose a significant danger to themselves or others.
Bills that have passed one chamber and are awaiting a vote in the other:
  • H.4671 To implement automatic voter registration in the state.  Passed House, in Senate.
  • S.2584 To improve bicyclist and pedestrian safety.  Passed Senate, in House.
Bills reported favorably from committee and awaiting a vote in the first chamber:
  • H.482/S.545 To require gender equality in privately-purchased disability insurance policies.
  • H.4656 To ban certain toxic flame retardants in Massachusetts.
  • H.4655 To license midwives practicing in out-of-hospital settings.

How to Contact Your Legislator: 

You can find phone numbers, email addresses and office addresses on the legislature's webpage for your Senator and Representative.  Go to
www.malegislature.gov and click on the Legislators tab. If you don't know who your legislators are, click here .
 
The LWVMA Action Newsletter is distributed to all LWVMA members. Anyone can request the Action Newsletter by clicking here. Please review this Newsletter for articles of interest to your League and include them in your local Bulletin.

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