More July Opportunities for Action
The legislative session ends July 31; all bills that will become law must pass in the next 12 days. Please contact your 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. Be sure to see the non-legislation action items at the end of this letter!
Elections & Voting:

Automatic Voter Registration:  Automatic voter registration , H.4671 , has passed the House and Senate and is currently in conference committee to iron out differences between the two versions. Please urge Governor Baker to sign the Automatic Voter Registration bill when it gets to his desk. Email the Governor via this form .

Immigration:                

Protections for Immigrants: T he provisions to protect immigrants placed in the budget by the Senate are not part of the final budget released Wednesday by the conference committee and passed by the House, so the legislature is not slated to pass any immigrant protection laws this session. But, we are not ready to give up.

The Legislature could still enact basic protections for immigrants before the formal session ends July 31. To get that done, a groundswell of constituent anger is needed.

Call your Representative, Speaker DeLeo at 617-722-2500, and Chairman Sanchez at 617-722-2990
Tell him or her you are outraged that the House did not act on the budget opportunity to extend basic protections to the vulnerable immigrant families in our Commonwealth. There is still time for them to do it.

Join the Safe Communities Coalition Tuesday, July 24 at 11 a.m.
at the Grand Staircase in the State House  for a major mobilization focused on winning immigrant justice in Massachusetts. Details are still in the works. Check the Safe Communities Facebook page for the latest details. The League will be there!


Education: 
               
Sex Education: T he Healthy Youth bill, H.3704 , to provide age-appropriate and medically-accurate sex education in schools, remains in House Ways & Means. It's already passed the Senate. We've been working on this bill for over a decade. Ask your Representative to urge that this bill be brought to the floor for a vote.

Civics Education:
The civics education bill , S.2375 , to develop a K-12 curriculum on civics and civic engagement, has passed both chambers and is now in conference committee. Please let your Senator and Representative know you want this bill to pass this session.

Foundation 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 on the bill is here .

Energy & Environment:

Climate Change: There is considerable negotiation between the House and Senate on bills to address energy and climate change issues. Please see the latest information in an action alert sent out July 19. If you would like to keep up with what's happening on these bills for the remainder of the legislative session, contact Launa Zimmaro, our energy and environment specialist, to add your name to her email list.

Toxic Flame Retardants: We have been trying to ban toxic flame retardants in Massachusetts for years. The Senate has passed this bill. 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.

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 and restricts contraception availability. The House passed the bill, S.2260 , Wednesday, July 18, by a vote of 136-9, and the Senate unanimously passed it in January. The bill now goes to the Governor.       

Disability Insurance:
To remove 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. The League has backed this bill for years. You can read a CommonWealth magazine article on it here .

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 joint committee on health care financing and up for a vote. Let your Representative and Senator know you care about this bill.

Dental Therapists:
This bill, H.4454 , would establish an advanced dental hygiene practitioner level of practice and expand the availability of dental services while lowering the cost. It is in the House Ways & Means Committee. Urge your Representative to ask that the bill come to the floor for a vote.

Water Resources:
    
Water Banking FeeThis 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.
 
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.

Children's Issues:
               
Lifting Cap on Kids: The conference committee budget includes repeal of the TAFDC family cap effective January 1, 2019.  That cap denied welfare benefits to children conceived while, or soon after, a family qualifies for or receives assistance. The cap effectively pushed families deeper into poverty. The Governor must still leave this provision in the budget.
 
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 .


Non-Legislature Action Items:

U.S. 2020 Census Questions:


Voter Registration Opportunity:

Register Voters with Mass Audubon: Mass Audubon has invited LWV to set up voter registration and information tables at events at their sanctuaries around the state this summer and fall. The first events are Summer Music concerts at Drumlin Farm,  208 South Great Road, Lincoln, MA Friday, Aug. 3, 5:30 to 8 pm, and Friday, Aug. 24, 5:30 to 8 pm. To volunteer to register voters at these two events, email  Judy Zaunbrecher .

Carbon Pricing Webinar:

Webinar from LWVUS ConventionYou can participate in a webinar, Promoting Effective Action on Carbon Pricing, Thursday, July 26, 2 p.m., a replay of the caucus presentation at last month's LWVUS convention. Speakers include Launa Zimmaro, LWVMA energy and environment specialist. Sign up for the webinar  here . Learn about carbon pricing and how to make a difference at the state and local levels.
 
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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