Preparing for the 2017-2018 legislative session, Senator Jason Lewis has filed more than 70 bills to be considered by the Massachusetts Legislature. The slate of bills covers a wide range of issues including economic opportunity, education, healthcare, energy, transportation, and more. Senator Lewis also has filed more than two dozen additional “by request” bills, filed on behalf of constituents.
“It has been a privilege to work in the Legislature to advance priorities that are important to our communities, that help working families, and that improve our quality of life,” said Senator Jason Lewis. “I am eager to work with local leaders and my legislative colleagues to build on those successes, including through the slate of bills I have filed for the new legislative session.”
With a focus on economic development that creates opportunity for all, Senator Lewis was pleased to sponsor measures including bills that would: establish an Office of Massachusetts Main Streets within the Department of Housing and Economic Development in order to help promote and protect the downtown and commercial districts of the Commonwealth’s cities and towns; prohibit the use of non-competition agreements and adopt the Uniform Trade Secret Act in Massachusetts in order to promote greater innovation while still protecting trade secrets; and, establish a process for the drivers of transportation network companies to collectively bargain over hours of work, conditions of work, payments, safe driving practices, and other subjects.
Senator Lewis helped lead the effort to create the bipartisan Foundation Budget Review Commission (FBRC) in order to update the Chapter 70 school finance formula, a critical step toward achieving more adequate and equitable funding for all our public schools. His top legislative priority in the area of education is advancing a bill he filed to implement the recommendations made by the FBRC over a seven year period.
Emphasizing preventative health and cost containment, Senator Lewis sponsored a number of bills in the area of healthcare, including measures that would: protect youth from the health risks of nicotine addiction; promote healthier food options in vending machines in government buildings; prohibit insurers from using gender as a rating factor in disability insurance policies; and, reauthorize and expand the Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund. Senator Lewis served as the Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Public Health during the 2015-2016 legislative session.
Recognizing gaps in infrastructure, energy, and transportation policy, Senator Lewis has filed measures that would: expand the criteria that the Energy Facilities Siting Board must use when reviewing projects to include health, environmental, and neighborhood impacts; implement strategies for reducing solid waste and increasing recycling in the Commonwealth; explore alternative funding sources to ensure safe and reliable transportation; protect motorists from excessive EZ-Pass fees and fines; and, create a regulatory framework to foster innovation and safety for self-driving cars.
In total, more than 2,000 bills were filed in the Senate, and more than 3,700 bills were filed in the House of Representatives. The full slate of bills filed by Senator Lewis can be viewed at https://malegislature.gov/Legislators/Profile/jml0
PRIORITY LEGISLATION FILED BY SENATOR JASON LEWIS
ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL
An Act relative to promoting local economic development (SD191)
Creates a new program to provide funding or technical assistance to municipalities or regions that maximize opportunities for economic development planning and growth.
An Act establishing the office of Massachusetts main streets (SD1179)
Establishes an Office of Massachusetts Main Streets within the Department of Housing and Economic Development in order to help promote and protect the downtown and commercial districts of the Commonwealth’s cities and towns.
An Act relative to excessive executive compensation (SD188)
Requires publicly-traded corporations to pay a higher corporate excise tax if the compensation of the CEO/highest paid employee is greater than 100 times that of the median worker’s compensation for that company.
An Act to protect trade secrets and eliminate non-compete agreements (SD189)
Prohibits the use of non-competition agreements and adopts the Uniform Trade Secret Act in Massachusetts in order to promote greater innovation while still protecting trade secrets.
An Act relative to marketing prioritized development sites (SD193)
Requires MOBD to create and maintain an online database of sites available for development in cities and towns across the Commonwealth
An Act establishing collective bargaining rights for TNC drivers (SD1218)
Establishes a process for the drivers of a transportation network company to collectively bargain over hours of work, conditions of work, payments, safe driving practices, and other subjects.
An Act to implement the recommendations of the Chapter 70 foundation budget review commission (SD1524)
Implements the recommendations made by the bipartisan Chapter 70 Foundation Budget Review Commission over a seven year period.
An Act to require disclosure of conflicts of interest in academic institutions (SD232)
Ensures that academic institutions have adopted policies requiring disclosure of potential financial conflicts of interest that may arise in relationships between university staff and corporations or other outside entities.
HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
An Act to protect youth from the health risks of tobacco and nicotine addiction (SD1353)
Raises the minimum legal sales age for tobacco products to 21, prohibits the sale of tobacco products in health care institutions, and includes e-cigarette products in the state’s workplace smoking ban.
An Act to promote value-based insurance design in the Commonwealth (SD229)
Establishes a panel of experts to recommend high-value and cost-effective services, treatments, and prescription drugs that would not be subject to cost sharing under all fully-insured health plans, including MassHealth and commercial insurance.
An Act relative to expanding access to healthy food choices in vending machines on state property (SD1188)
Promotes healthier food options in vending machines by requiring that all foods and beverages sold in government buildings meet nutritional standards as promulgated by the DPH.
An Act to eliminate the tax deduction for direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical marketing (SD227)
Disallows pharmaceutical company direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs as a tax deduction under Massachusetts law for the purposes of calculating ordinary and necessary business expenses.
An Act advancing and expanding access to telemedicine services (SD1182)
Adopts federal standards to enable appropriate clinicians to provide telemedicine services within their licensure and scope of practice standards, and expands insurance coverage of telemedicine services.
An Act providing for equitable coverage in disability insurance policies (SD222)
Prohibits insurers from using gender as a rating factor in disability insurance policies.
An Act to increase access to healthcare in underserved areas of Massachusetts (SD803)
Expands opportunities for foreign-trained medical professionals to work in the Commonwealth, particularly in underserved areas of the state.
An Act to increase access to children’s mental health services in the community (SD587)
Expands insurance coverage for community and home-based behavioral health services for children and adolescents.
An Act to promote healthy alternatives to sugary drinks (SD1722)
Implements various strategies to reduce consumption of soda and other sugary beverages and improve children’s health, including a tiered per ounce sugary beverage tax, investment of new revenues in children’s health and wellness programs, warning labels on sugary beverage advertisements, and promotion of healthy alternatives like tap water.
An Act to promote public health through the prevention and wellness trust fund (SD1482)
Reauthorizes and expands the Prevention and Wellness Trust Fund, originally created as part of Chapter 224 (healthcare payment reform).
ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
An Act to reduce solid waste, increase recycling and generate municipal cost savings (SD198)
Implements a number of strategies for reducing solid waste and increasing recycling in the Commonwealth, including setting specific municipal recycling performance targets, strengthening oversight and enforcement of waste bans, strengthening regulation of waste haulers, and improving the collection and reporting of solid waste data.
An Act relative to the Energy Facilities Siting Board (SD1182)
Expands the criteria that the Energy Facilities Siting Board must use when reviewing projects to include health, environmental and neighborhood impacts.
An Act relative to reasonable municipal expenses (SD 1185)
Enables cities and towns to receive reasonable reimbursement of legal and consulting expenses incurred when pursuing a case before the Energy Facilities Siting Board.
An Act relative to ivory and rhino horn trafficking (SD457)
Prohibits virtually all trade in ivory and rhino horn in the Commonwealth in order to help stop illegal poaching that is decimating elephant and rhino populations.
An Act relative to forfeiture reporting (SD458)
Requires public reporting about the assets and expenditures of special law enforcement trust funds, which are funded from civil asset forfeitures.
An Act relative to the collective bargaining rights for employees of the Committee on Public Counsel Services (SD25)
Gives employees of the Committee on Public Counsel Services the ability to organize and bargain over wages and working conditions.
An Act relative to police training (SD209)
Funds municipal police training by means of a small surcharge on auto insurance policies, and earmarks a portion of these funds for mental health training.
An Act to explore alternative funding sources to ensure safe and reliable transportation (SD217)
Creates a voluntary vehicle miles traveled pilot program to evaluate ways to protect data collected, ensure privacy, and vary pricing based on time of driving, type of road, proximity to transit, participation in carpooling, income of the driver, and vehicle fuel.
An Act to promote the safe integration of autonomous vehicles into the transportation system of the Commonwealth (SD1195)
Creates a regulatory framework to foster innovation and safety for self-driving cars, requires that these vehicles be zero emission (electric), implements a road usage pricing structure to replace lost gas tax revenues, and prevents “zombie” cars.
An Act to protect motorists from excessive EZ-Pass fees and fines (SD805)
Requires MassDOT to regularly review EZ-Pass account balances and make every effort to contact those account holders who have accrued fees and fines exceeding $100.
An Act relative to the regulatory authority for oversight of the recreational marijuana industry (SD1818)
Expands the size of the Cannabis Control Commission from 3 members to 5 members, ensures that these members possess the necessary experience and expertise to effectively carry out their regulatory responsibilities, and provides a role in making appointments for the Governor, Treasurer and Attorney General.
An Act strengthening local control over recreational marijuana businesses (SD1820)
Provides cities and towns with greater flexibility in regulating marijuana establishments within their communities, including the ability to ban all or some types of marijuana establishments with a majority vote of the appropriate legislative body (city council or town meeting).
An Act further regulating the manufacture and sale of certain commercial marijuana products (SD1821)
Places a two-year moratorium on the manufacture and sale of marijuana edibles and concentrates, and creates a process for safely introducing these products into the market.
An Act further regulating marijuana commercialization (SD1823)
Clarifies what types of marketing and advertising will be permitted by marijuana businesses, primarily allowing “opt-in” marketing.
An Act relative to the public safety risk of marijuana-impaired drivers (SD1824)
Expands the implied consent law to cover marijuana, directs the Secretary of Public Safety to investigate and recommend additional actions to hold impaired drivers accountable, including the possibility of establishing a legal standard for THC, and implements a public education campaign to warn drivers about the risks and consequences of drugged driving.
An Act relative to safe limits on home growing of marijuana (SD1826)
Permits home cultivation of up to 6 marijuana plants per residence, and authorizes local governments to enact reasonable by-laws or ordinances to protect public health and safety.
An Act relative to penalties for underage possession and use of marijuana, tobacco, and alcohol (SD1827)
Provides consistent penalties for underage possession of marijuana, tobacco, and alcohol, emphasizing prevention and education rather than punishment.
An Act relative to youth marijuana use prevention and education (SD1829)
Implements public health campaigns to educate youth about the health harms and risks of marijuana use, and to encourage responsible adult use.
An Act relative to marijuana research, data collection, and best practices (SD1830)
Creates a comprehensive research program to track and monitor the social and economic impacts of marijuana legalization, beginning with a baseline study.
An Act relative to marijuana product packaging and labeling (SD1842)
Sets requirements for marijuana packaging and labeling to ensure accurate consumer information and safe consumption.
An Act relative to the expungement of convictions for marijuana possession (SD1836)
Authorizes the courts to expunge criminal records for past convictions of possession of up to one ounce of marijuana.
An Act relative to energy efficient marijuana cultivation (SD1838)
Ensures that commercial marijuana cultivation is energy efficient and conserves water.