Senator Lydia Edwards files 24 pieces of legislation in the 193rd Legislative Session

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This legislative session Senator Lydia Edwards has filed legislation that will enshrine the status of ride-share app drivers as employees into law, allow people to seal prior eviction records, set clear & safe standards for nurse staffing, ensure that in-home childcare is no longer affected by over-burdensome restrictions, and officially recognize February 4th as Rosa Parks Day. In total the Senator has filed 24 bills spanning issues including: housing, workers’ rights, civil rights, consumer protection, education, transportation, and the environment.

“You know I never stop, I burst into the Senate after my election fighting for workers, tenants, and residents in Winthrop, Revere & Boston. With a year in the legislature behind me, I’m eager to continue my work to pass eviction sealing legislation, improve working conditions & pay for nurses, cannabis industry employees, ride-share app drivers, and workers everywhere.” said Senator Lydia Edwards (D-Boston)

CIVIL RIGHTS 

SD1538 / HD540  

An Act Relative to Rosa Parks Day presented by Sen. Edwards, Rep. Kipp Diggs, and Rep. Michael Kushmerek

This bill calls on the Governor to declare February fourth as Rosa Parks Day. The holiday recognizes 

the contributions of the historic civil rights leader and should be observed by residents of the Commonwealth.    

HOUSING: 

SD1592 / HD3625 

Housing Opportunity and Mobility Eviction Sealing (HOMES) presented by Sen. Edwards & Leader Michael Moran

This bill will allow individuals to petition to seal their eviction records after a certain time or conditions are met.  It protects personal identifying information from commercial use and makes sealed records only available at the discretion of the court for public safety, scholarly, educational, journalistic, or governmental purposes. This act would help those who were no fault evictions or who have satisfied judgments to seal their records. It will hold credit reporting companies accountable for distributing sealed information. 

 SD1559 / HD2957  

An Act providing a Local Option Incentivizing Landlords to Rent Unsubsidized Properties at Below Market Rent (Good landlord Tax Credit) presented by Sen. Edwards & Rep. Andy Vargas

This bill would provide a state tax credit to landlords that rent below market to identified groups such as seniors or families.  Municipalities can opt in an offer additional property tax relief to landlords who choose to rent below market.  The state credit is to be the difference between the current rent and the market rent a landlord could receive but no more than $2000 per rental unit. 

SD227 / HD3845   

An Act to ensure protections for residents in condominium conversions presented by Sen. Edwards & Rep. Tram Nguyen  

This bill expands the basic protections afforded to those facing condominium conversions by extending the protections to renters who are in buildings with less than four units.  Those in buildings with three or less units would now be eligible for the following protections where a landlord wants to convert rental units to a condominium: (1) proper notice of conversion, (2) the right of first refusal to buy the apartment, (3) rent protections, (4) the right to moving expenses and any other municipal protections. 

SD1720 / HD3914  

An Act for a right of first refusal for foreclosed property (Foreclosure TOPA) presented by Sen. Edwards & Rep. Chris Worrell

This bill provides additional requirements for owners and mortgagees of tenant-occupied properties to fulfill before selling or foreclosing the property. This bill provides the opportunity for tenants of foreclosed property to purchase the property or assign their right. 

SD1646 / HD889  

An Act to Establish an Office of Fair Housing & a Fair Housing Trust Fund presented by Sen. Edwards & Rep Chynah Tyler

This bill establishes an office of fair housing under the executive office of housing and economic development, as well as the Fair Housing Trust Fund, both with the purpose of coordinating efforts to address and eliminate factors leading to housing discrimination, segregation, and disparate access to opportunities.  

SD1462 / HD3988 

An Act supporting residents and communities in resolving tax debt presented by Sen. Edwards & Rep. Adrian Madaro

This bill allows residents to enter into a payment agreement with municipal treasurers or revenue services to resolve property tax debt. This would require a minimum initial payment of up to 25% of the tax amount due on the property rather than the current minimum of 25%. 

Docket# Pending 

An Act Condominium owners’ rights act (CORA) presented by Sen. Edwards

This bill sets clear standards for condominium associations, these standards will be enforced by the Attorney General’s Office. This bill will set deadlines for unit owner organizations with appointed managers to produce financial documents and repercussions for failing to do so. This bill will also make all documents relating to the administration and operation of the condominium available to condominium owners, will require a condo’s by-laws to include an internal dispute resolution procedure for disagreements between unit owners and boards, and creates a Condominium Ombudsman in the Attorney General’s Office for the purpose of receiving, investigating, and resolving complaints from unit owners about condominium administration.  

WORKERS’ RIGHTS 

SD1660 / HD2491  

An Act Promoting Patient Safety and Equitable Access to Care presented by Sen. Edwards & Rep. Natalie Higgins

This bill would require the Department of Public Health to set limits on the number of patients a nurse can care for at one time. Limits would be set by hospital unit.  The bill would empower the Department of public health to hold public stakeholder hearings and promulgate regulations that establish specific limits on the number of patients a registered nurse shall be assigned to care for at one time. Successful passage would both improve patient care and nurse retention.  

 SD2186 / HD3832   

An Act establishing accountability and protections for TNC and DNC workers consumers & communities (EPA) presented by Sen. Edwards & Rep. Andy Vargas  

This Bill will reaffirm that TNC/DNC drivers and delivery workers enjoy the same strong presumption of employment that all other workers enjoy within the Commonwealth with regard to the pay, paid sick leave, overtime, unemployment insurance, discrimination and workers compensation. Additionally, this bill works to revise the current TNC statute with substantial enhancements for consumers, the Commonwealth, municipalities, and drivers. Finally, the bill provides a means for workers to have a voice in setting rates and creating a safe working environment. 

 SD1806 / HD3500   

An Act protecting employee free speech presented by Sen. Edwards & Rep. James Hawkins

This bill protects employee free speech, particularly in the context of compelled affirmation of speech, in the workplace by prohibiting an employer’s action or threat of discipline or discharge where (1) an employee has engaged in exercising a first amendment right subject to the limitation that such exercise does not substantially or materially interfere with job performance or relationships; and (2) an employee has refused to attend a meeting or receive speech or electronic communication which has the primary purpose of communicating the employer’s religious or political opinions.  

 SD16 / HD583  

An Act to facilitate labor peace among the cannabis workforce presented by Sen. Edwards & Rep. Steven Owens

This bill (amending chapter 94G in the General Laws) defines “Labor peace agreement” and “Labor organizations” as it relates to the cannabis industry workforce and requires marijuana establishment applicants to submit documentation stating they will not interfere with coordination between union agents and cannabis employees.  

SD12 / HD217 

An Act relative to non-fault unemployment insurance overpayments (UI) presented by Sen. Edwards & Rep. Joan Meschino

This bill will ensure that the Department of Unemployment Assistance’s emergency regulation standards continue applying to pandemic-era overpayments, including for federally funded benefits, while also proposing a simpler, easy to administer no-fault waiver standard for future overpayments. This legislation will not impose liability for repayment of overpaid benefits where the claimant is without fault in causing the overpayment 

SD1656 / HD724 

An Act providing opportunities for Apprentices to complete their training and ensuring for a skilled workforce in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts presented by Sen. Edwards & Rep. Peter Capano 

This legislation will ensure the Commonwealth has a pipeline of skilled workers to close the projected anticipated shortage. This legislation requires that public construction projects over $1 million dollars will have apprentices, registered with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, on those projects ensuring they have the hours needed to be becoming journey person in their trade. This bill also requires that six months after the passage of this act 5% of the hours shall be performed by apprentices, 10% one year after passage, and 15% two years after passage. 

 SD1807 / HD3709 

An Act protecting warehouse workers presented by Sen. Edwards & Rep. Sean Garballey

This bill protects warehouse workers, notably eliminating quotas that prevent workers from taking breaks and monitor work speed. This bill will require warehouse employers to maintain records concerning their employee’s work and allow employees to be free from retaliation when exercising their rights.  

CONSUMER PROTECTION 

SD1718 / HD3120  

An Act Protecting Black girls from Targeted Toxicity presented by Sen. Edwards & Rep. Brandy Fluker-Oakley

This bill aims to guard children from harmful products that are advertised to children of color. Skin lightening and hair relaxation products are packed with toxic chemicals that can result in long term health effects. Hair relaxers regularly use young black girls in advertisement.  Few if any other harsh product for chemical treatment of hair uses little girls. Most use an adult to advertise hair color or perms. 

SD1586 / HD3260   

An Act to ensure uniform and transparent reporting of medical debt data presented by Sen. Edwards & Rep. John Mahoney  

This bill establishes a uniform reporting system for health care service providers to provide data on medical debt to the center for health information analysis (CHIA) for the purpose of promoting uniformity and transparency on issues related to medical debt in the commonwealth. The average medical debt in Massachusetts is $900 a family.  In order to reduce or eliminate this debt we believe it’s necessary to study track and understand, who is debt burdened, what procedures cause the debt and what medical servicing institutions are sending their debt to collectors. 

ENVIRONMENTAL   

SD18  

An Act Promoting Climate Safe Buildings presented by Sen. Edwards

This bill seeks to improve the safety of buildings in danger of flooding. A newly established state 

board shall update new building codes to help improve the structures of buildings with a threat of flooding. These building codes will help reduce the maintenance needed by the buildings over time while being environmentally friendly. This bill requires climate risk be incorporated into the state building code and empowers cities and towns to better manage development in flood prone areas. 

SD1651 / HD2192  

An Act Relative to the Electrification of New & Substantially Remodeled or Rehabilitated Buildings presented by Sen. Edwards, Rep. Jay Livingstone, & Rep. Kay Khan.

This bill seeks to decrease greenhouse gas emissions with new standards. Newly built or newly remodeled commercial and residential buildings shall use electricity instead of fossil fuels for utilities. Newly constructed or renovated Biolabs and hospitals will only be allowed a level of greenhouse gas emissions per square footage, to reduce to 0 by 2050.  

SD1653 / HD2805 

An Act Authorizing local control of Waste Collection hours of operation presented by Sen. Edwards & refiled by Rep. Jay Livingstone

This bill would propose that the Board of Health of a Massachusetts municipality be able to restrict the hours when garbage is collected in areas zones for business or commercial use. This bill would ensure that residents would not have their sleep disrupted or be disturbed by trash collection during the night.   

TRANSPORTATION 

SD1550 / HD3417  

Act establishing a program for low-income fares (LIF) presented by Sen. Edwards & Rep. Adrian Madaro

This bill will enable the MBTA and the secretary of health and human services to implement a low-income fare program that provides free or discounted fares to qualified riders on all modes of transportation operated by the MBTA and regional transit authorities.  

EDUCATION 

SD1510 / HD2852  

An Act Promoting a Foundation for Universal Childcare presented by Sen. Edwards & Rep. Jessica Giannino

This bill focuses on expanding the possibilities of childcare opportunities within the Commonwealth 

by removing barriers to in home childcare in private residences. This bill would prevent municipalities from implementing burdensome or harmful regulations that work as a ban to in home childcare opportunities.  

SD1555 

An Act Instructing the Board of Higher Education To Engage Houses of Correction & State Prisons presented by Sen. Edwards

This bill instructs the board of higher education to engage the House of Corrections and state prisons 

so that incarcerated persons and recently released persons receive credit toward their GED. This bill will modify the language of the general law requiring the Board of Education’s General Scholarship program to include a separate and specific outreach to each county jail, house of correction, and state prison by financial aid staff of each public institution of higher education.  

SD1529 / HD3628   

An Act Banning Legacy Preferences in Higher Education presented by Sen. Edwards & Leader Michael Moran

This bill seeks to ban legacy preferences in higher education within the Commonwealth. Colleges and universities could not consider if an applicant has a family tie to the college or university when determining admission.