Legislative Priorities 2021: Massachusetts
In a year marked by change and uncertainty, as well as targeted attacks on the most vulnerable in the LGBTQ+ community, it has been particularly crucial to ensure that everyone has access to legal protections. In Massachusetts, that work has in part taken the form of critical bills that seek to protect BIPOC and other LGBTQ+ families, adults, and youth.
Learn more about some of the proposed legislation GLAD is supporting in the Massachusetts 192nd legislative session below. While this is far from a complete list, there are many bills here for which you can join us and take action to help build support.
Massachusetts Parentage Act
An Act Relative to Parentage to Promote Children’s Security – S.1133 / H.1714
GLAD, in partnership with the Massachusetts Parentage Act Coalition, consisting of over 50 partner organizations and many more wonderful families and individuals, is working hard to pass the Massachusetts Parentage Act, which will update Massachusetts’ outdated parentage law so that it is clear, equitable, and provides legal protection for all families, including LGBTQ families. Lead sponsors: Senator Tarr and Representative Khan. Learn more and take action.
Confirmatory Adoption Act
An Act To Promote Efficiency in Co-Parent Adoption – S.1124 / H.1712
GLAD, with the support of other organizations including the Boston Bar Association, Resolve New England, Mass Equality, and the Massachusetts LGBTQ Bar Association, firmly endorses the Massachusetts Confirmatory Adoption Act, which will ensure a more streamlined process for co-parent adoptions by LGBTQ couples who petition to adopt their own children. Lead sponsors: Senator Rausch and Representative Khan. Learn more.
PrEP Pharmacy Access
An Act Enabling Pharmacists to Prescribe, Dispense, and Administer PrEP – S.1407
GLAD strongly supports S.1407, which will move us significantly towards ending the HIV epidemic by expanding access to HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and permitting a pharmacist to dispense a 60-day supply of the drug without a prescription, thus improving outcomes for the most vulnerable populations which face barriers to care. Lead sponsor: Senator Cyr. Learn more and take action.
Department of Children and Families Data Accountability
An Act Relative to Accountability for Vulnerable Children and Families – S.32 / H.239
This bill will refresh DCF reports to include demographic data and rates of disproportionality including age, race, ethnicity, primary language, gender identity, and sexual orientation. Lead sponsors: Senator Lovely and Representative Khan. Learn more and take action.
Department of Children and Families: Foster Care Review
An Act Establishing the Massachusetts Foster Care Review Office – S.88 / H.211
This bill will establish an independent state agency to conduct biannual case reviews of every child in Massachusetts foster care placement. Lead sponsors: Senator Comerford and Representatives Donato and Farley-Bouvier.
“X” Gender Markers on Birth Certificates and Other State Forms
An Act Relative to Gender Identity on Massachusetts Identification – S.2282 / H.3521
This bill will create a gender-neutral (X) designation for all Massachusetts state IDs. Lead sponsors: Senator Comerford and Representatives Domb and Decker. Learn more.
An Act Providing for a Gender-Neutral Designation on State Documents and Identifications – H.3126
This bill, in addition to expanding the provision of a gender-neutral (X) designation to birth certificates and all other state forms and documents, will allow individuals to change their name/designated sex on any and all of these aforementioned documents to reflect their current gender identity with the sole prerequisite of parental permission for minors. Lead sponsors: Representatives Domb and Decker. Learn more.
The RIGHTS Act
An Act to Promote Rehabilitation Including Guaranteed Health, Treatment, and Safety for Incarcerated LGBTQI+ People – S.1566 / H.2484
The RIGHTS Act would create multiple policy changes to improve conditions of confinement for LGBTQ+ people and those at risk for, or living with, HIV. Lead sponsors: Senator Cyr and Representative Lewis. Learn more.
Juvenile Justice: Data Transparency on Racial Inequity in Juvenile Justice System
An Act Improving Juvenile Justice Data Collection – S.1558 / H.1795
This bill will produce an annual report overseen by the Child Advocate to help ensure state resources are used efficiently to protect public safety and improve outcomes for youth by collecting critical data at all stages of the juvenile justice system. The report will include demographic data including age, race, ethnicity, primary language, gender identity, and sexual orientation. Lead sponsors: Senator Creem and Representative Tyler. Learn more.
Repeal “Common Nightwalking” (“Walking While Trans”) Law
An Act to Stop Profiling Transgender People and Low-Income Women – S.992 / H.1800
This bill will partially decriminalize sex work in Massachusetts by removing “common nightwalkers” and “common streetwalkers” from Massachusetts general laws, and create limited amnesty for sex workers reporting a crime. Lead sponsors: Senator Cyr and Representative Miranda. Learn more.
Full Decriminalization of Sex Work
An Act to Promote the Health and Safety of People in the Sex Trade – H.1867
This bill would fully decriminalize sex work in Massachusetts, as well as expunge all “marijuana and prostitution-related” Massachusetts criminal records and allow access to retrial for all persons convicted/imprisoned on these grounds. Lead sponsor: Representative Sabadosa. Learn more.
Cost-Free Phone Calls for Incarcerated People
An Act Relative to Inmate Telephone Calls – S.1559
This bill will provide telephone calls and other communication services free of charge to all incarcerated persons in Massachusetts correctional facilities. Lead sponsor: Senator Creem. Learn more from Prisoners’ Legal Services of MA.
Access to PrEP for Minors
An Act Relative to HIV Prevention Access for Young Adults – S.1404 / H.2349
This bill will expand access to access to HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for minors by ensuring that health care professionals cannot be prosecuted for testing/treating them for HIV. Lead sponsors: Senator Cyr and Representatives Lewis and Tyler. Learn more from Fenway Health.
Healthy Youth Act: Comprehensive, LGBTQ-Inclusive Sex Education
An Act Relative to Healthy Youth – S 2495 / H 673
This bill will expand sex education in Massachusetts public schools to make it both more inclusive and more comprehensive. Topics such as relationship and communication skills, dating violence, gender identity, sexual orientation, and more will be incorporated into curricula in an age-appropriate manner. Lead sponsors: Senator Cyr and Representatives Lewis and Tyler. Learn more from Planned Parenthood.
Face Surveillance Ban
An Act to Regulate Face Surveillance – S.47 / H.135
This bill will prohibit the use of biometric surveillance systems by all public agencies and officials “absent express authorization in a general or special law to the contrary.” Lead sponsors: Senator Creem and Representatives Rogers and Ramos. Learn more from the ACLU of Massachusetts and read about how face surveillance is especially harmful to transgender people of color.