House Reflects on 190th Session Accomplishments
Focus on Supporting Communities, Fighting the Opioid Epidemic,
Reducing Gun Violence, and Helping Vulnerable Residents
August 2018 – (BOSTON) – Representative Liz Malia (D-11th Suffolk) joined her colleagues in the Massachusetts Legislature to mark the end of the legislative session and highlight accomplishments of the productive 2017-2018 session that included the passage of several landmark bills.
Over the past two years, the Legislature passed major bills relating to criminal justice, gun safety, those struggling with addiction, women’s rights, economic development, veterans benefits, consumer data protections, and energy and the environment.
Resting on a longstanding practice of strong fiscal management, the House passed two balanced state budgets – with landmark investments in early education, benefits for low-income families, workforce development, housing as well as programs to prevent and treat opioid addiction. These included no new major taxes. This year the budget surplus increased the state’s Stabilization Fund, which is expected to surpass $2 billion in Fiscal Year 2019.
With the tragic events resulting from mass shootings unfolding across the country, the House took action twice this session to pass Massachusetts’ already nation-leading policies designed to promote gun safety. This session Massachusetts took another leap forward with new laws aimed at preventing those individuals who pose a risk of causing bodily injury to themselves or others from owning or possessing a firearm as well as providing them with crisis intervention, mental health, substance abuse and counseling services. In addition the House passed legislation banning the sale, purchase or ownership of a “bump stock” device, which is designed to increase a weapon’s rate of fire and mimic automatic gun fire.
These laws build on the House’s landmark 2014 gun legislation, which led to Massachusetts being found one of the safest in the nation.
While focused on protecting our residents from gun violence, the House took action to address the opioid crisis with sweeping initiatives to promote behavioral health for adults and children and measures to prevent substance use disorders. The legislation takes measures including expanding access to non-opioid treatment options for pain management; establishing grants to benefit substance exposed newborn children and prohibiting discounts and rebates for certain prescription opioids. It also takes steps to improve the quality of patient care at treatment facilities, expands access to Narcan and increases training for law enforcement to respond to behavioral health crisis.
This past spring the House passed the most comprehensive criminal justice reform legislation in a generation to establish a more equitable system by supporting our youngest and most vulnerable residents, reducing recidivism, increasing judicial discretion, and enhancing public safety.
As part of the reforms, the House also acted on its longstanding legacy of supporting the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable childrenby raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility from age seven to age twelve and decriminalizes first offense misdemeanors.