Bills I Filed
I filed 4 significant bills this session, all of them systemic proposals that haven't been suggested before in the MA legislature.
The first is an energy jobs bill (H.3473), which would create a market environment for development and deployment of revolutionary clean energy technologies - "Make MA the Silicon Valley of the new energy economy" - through carbon pricing, direct investments, more efficient regulatory systems, and more.
I created a Clean Energy Caucus in the legislature that will hold a yearlong series of briefings to get energy on the agenda.
The second bill (H.3523) closes a tax loophole on dividends and interest income (which is overwhelmingly earned by the wealthiest income-earners in the state) and invests the resulting revenue evenly ($880 million, split in half) to implement some of the recommendations of the Foundation Budget Review Commission for Chapter 70 funding of schools, and to shift charter school funding to the state so that districts are not involved in funding charter schools.
Along with this, I am filing a small bill (H.3478) that would, as a temporary measure, cap the amount district schools pay per student who goes to a charter school at the statewide average per-pupil expenditure.
The third bill (H.2853) would require diversity training for all educators and would create a new state position to be a resource and advisor to districts on diversity and inclusion issues. I'm not putting effort into passing this bill, but rather am using it as a starting point to get the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to implement many pieces which they could already do which would be better than legislation. Some of this is already happening - for instance, they added a school climate survey on MCAS, and the ARPS district is partnering with others to recruit more teachers of color.
The final bill (H.3485) is an Election Modernization Act, which includes many sections of election system improvements, many of which have no chance of passing soon, and not all of which I'm sure I even agree with. I wanted to get these comprehensive ideas on the table for future sessions. Some ideas in the bill, such as same-day registration, automatic registration, and ranked-choice voting, are being introduced by others as well this session and may have a chance to move forward this year or next.
For more info on carbon pricing specifically, see http://climate-xchange.org/
Other Policies I Support
In addition to my own bills, there are many other legislators' bills that I am working to support, and in some cases that I've gone with groups of legislators to support at hearings or signed on to written testimony.
Some highlights include:
-Passing a progressive criminal justice reform bill that expanded diversion programs, eliminated many mandatory minimums, and much more
-Eliminating the "cap on kids" for TAFDC benefits in the House budget this year
-Advocating for the Safe Communities Act and against anti-immigrant budget amendments
-Meeting with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to promote diversity+inclusion work, prevent local schools from losing money to charter schools, and reintroduce civics education to MA schools
A small sample of issues of interest that I support include:
Single-payer health insurance
Lowering the sales tax
Increasing the income tax
Eliminating property taxes
Solar, offshore wind, and nuclear power
Bans on conversion therapy for LGBTQIA+ youth
Larger investment in public education
Fixing the Ch 70 Foundation Budget school formula
Having charter schools
Shifting charter funding to state rather than districts
Requiring civics education
Automatic and same-day voter registration
Lowering the voting age
Programs to prevent homelessness
Public funding for homeless shelters
Integrating mental health care into general health for all
Protecting access to contraception
Eliminating most mandatory minimums
Easier expungement of youth criminal records
Investments to develop revolutionary clean energy technologies such as new batteries