The Massachusetts Legislative Session Just Ended. Here’s What to Know.
The Massachusetts legislative session ended this weekend with some critical advances for our community, but it also left some important business unfinished.
We wanted to update you on this priority legislation and to thank you for everything you’ve done to support these efforts. With your help, GLAD will never stop working to advance protection for our community here in Massachusetts and beyond.
Expanded Protections for Access to Abortion and to Life-saving Healthcare for Transgender People
A historic new law provides critical protections for access to essential gender-affirming healthcare for transgender people and reproductive health care, including abortion. The law affirms that access to such care is a right in Massachusetts and ensures protections for providers and for individuals who travel from out-of-state to seek care in the Commonwealth.
We are grateful to leaders in both the House and Senate, including Senator Cindy Friedman, Representative Aaron Michlewitz, House Speaker Ron Mariano and Senate President Karen Spilka, for taking swift action to protect critical healthcare access.
Expanded Access to HIV Prevention for Young Adults
PrEP is a safe, simple, and effective pill that prevents the transmission of HIV by nearly 100%. It is our best tool to end the HIV epidemic and to protect the health of those most at risk, including young people. The HIV Prevention Access for Young Adults Act, spearheaded by Representative Jack Lewis and Senator Julian Cyr, will ensure that sexually active young adults in Massachusetts can access PrEP without parental involvement.
Separately, the Senate passed a bill sponsored by Senator Cyr allowing pharmacists to provide a short-term supply of PrEP without a prescription and we will continue to work for full passage of this legislation next session.
Expanding access to PrEP is a priority for GLAD, and we will continue to advocate for measures that make this vital yet still underprescribed and underutilized medication more widely available to those who need it.
The Massachusetts Parentage Act
We formed the Massachusetts Parentage Act (MPA) Coalition to update state parentage law because every child in this Commonwealth deserves the security of legal parentage, regardless of how their family was formed. Unfortunately, lawmakers did not pass the MPA before the legislative session ended July 31.
But we will not stop fighting for LGBTQ+ families and for every family’s right to safety, security, and equality. With our families now worried about potential threats to vital rights, including marriage equality, following the Dobbs Supreme Court ruling, these protections matter more than ever.
Our Coalition, currently made up of 40 organizations and many impacted families, will come back strong next session and build on the momentum we created this year. It’s just a matter of time before justice and common sense prevail and Massachusetts law fully respects and protects all children.
The work continues…
Several other important bills were left on the table at the end of this session, including legislation allowing people to update their birth certificate with a nonbinary gender marker; the RIGHTS Act to reduce harm and increase access to critical programs and services for LGBTQ+ people who are incarcerated; measures that would decriminalize consensual sex work to reduce the over-policing of LGBTQ+ and Black and Brown people; a bill passed by the Senate that would repeal archaic sex laws, including a statute commonly referred to as the “walking while trans” law that results in the profiling and targeting of transgender women of color; and a bill 3+ years in the making that would have eliminated the high cost of phone calls for people who are incarcerated.
GLAD will continue working with our partners on these and other critical efforts to make Massachusetts a state that lives up to our dreams of equity and justice for all.