Malia: These Are My Legislative Priorities — Part 2

Malia: These Are My Legislative Priorities — Part 2


Over the last three months, so many of you have written, called, and emailed to express what bills need support this legislative session. In addition to the progressive legislation I authored, I selected many of my colleagues’ bills to co-sponsor because of their significance to you and because they will make Massachusetts a more fair and prosperous state. The bills outlined below form an aggressive agenda to affirm the civil rights and dignity of all Massachusetts residents and to protect our environment despite the recent federal efforts.

In response to the uncertainty in Washington, two important bills we should pass this session are An Act to Protect the Civil Rights and Safety of All Massachusetts Residents (Safe Communities Act), filed by Representative Juana Matias and Senator Jamie Eldridge, and An Act relative to Advancing Contraceptive Coverage and Economic Security in Our State (ACCESS), filed by Representatives Patricia Haddad, John Scibak and Senator Chandler.

The Safe Communities Act (H3269/S1305) protects the civil rights of all our residents, regardless of their status. It prohibits state agency cooperation with any federal registry that profiles people based on religious affiliation and country of origin. The bill also prevents the deputization of local law enforcement for immigration enforcement. It preserves due process rights for immigrants detained in state prisons and county jails.

The ACCESS Act (H536/S499) eliminates co-pays on all FDA-approved categories of birth control. It eliminates the use of “medical management” techniques, which delay or prevent access to the most effective contraceptives. If Washington is determined to roll back access to family planning services and insurance coverage for women, Massachusetts can continue to be an aggressive leader in protecting our health.

The fight to further civil rights also has to extend to criminal justice reform. I co-sponsored An Act for Justice Reinvestment, filed by both Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz and Representative Mary Keefe because it builds on the work of CORI reform. Additionally, I co-sponsored Senator Eldridge and Representative Ruth Balser’s legislation, An Act Promoting Humane Conditions of Confinement and Enable Safe Re-entry, which reforms conditions inside our jails and prisons.

The Justice Reinvestment Act (H2308/S791) is an omnibus reform bill. It ends mandatory minimum sentences