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In 2016, at our 3rd Annual Advocacy Day on May 18, hundreds of advocates will raise awareness with their legislators about our two new priority bills as well as critical funding needs. Please Save the Date and plan to join us to make a difference for our new priority bills, other bills on our platform and other disability line items on our legislative platform.
Two Priority Bills
We testified along with our bill sponsor, Representative James Cantwell, at the State House for bill H. 3271, An Act Concerning Nondiscrimination in Organ Transplantation. The bill is intended to prevent discrimination against anyone with an intellectual or developmental disability in need of an organ transplant.
MDSC also testified for our other priority bill, H.1064/S. 672 - An Act Creating Higher Education Opportunities for Students with Intellectual Disabilities, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and other Developmental Disabilities. This legislation addresses some of the major findings and recommendations of the Joint Task Force on Higher Education for Students with intellectual disabilities and ASD. Sponsored by Rep. Tom Sannicandro and Sen. Barbara L'Italien, the bill would bolster Massachusetts' Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Initiative (ICEI) to give 18-to 22-year-old students with disabilities higher education opportunities in an inclusive college setting with necessary services and supports.
Our overall platform, developed in consultation with our Government Affairs Committee, includes wide-ranging policy items critical to providing support for people with Down syndrome in Massachusetts and will pay lifelong dividends.
(L to R) Katherine Craven, Jane Lane, Maureen Gallagher, John Anton,
At the start of each two-year legislative session, the MDSC’s Government Affairs Committee carefully selects a set of priority bills and secondary support bills for our statewide legislative platform. We believe that the best way to put these bills on legislators’ agendas is for our members to take action and contact their representatives about the issues they care about. Learn more about how you can be a legislative advocate.
Higher Education Bill
An Act creating higher education opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities, autism, and other developmental disabilities who have exited special education (H.1219, H.1218, S.756) — Sponsored by Representatives Patricia Haddad and Sean Garballey; and Senators Joan Lovely and Michael Rodrigues
ABA Therapy Bill
An Act relative to applied behavioral analysis therapy (H.3715) - Sponsored by Representative Peter J. Durant
An Act relative to the certification of interpreters in educational settings (H.417) - Sponsored by Representative Antonio Cabral and Senator James Welch
An Act that require training and preparation in the use of augmentative and alternative communication for students who are nonverbal or who have limited speech for certain educator licenses (H.403) – Sponsored by Representative Christine Barber
An Act to ensure equal access to education, including special education services, for all students in Massachusetts (H.432) - Sponsored by Representative Marjorie Decker
Nicky’s Law: An Act to protect persons with intellectual or developmental disability from abuse (H.101, S.71) — Sponsored by Representative Linda Campbell and Senator Michael Moore
An Act relative to criminal justice training regarding autistic persons (H.2139, S.1443) — Sponsored by Representative Paul Tucker and Senator Michael Moore
An Act requiring the monitoring and documentation of school discipline (H.3758)
Operation House Call: An Act supporting individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (H.1875, S.1288) — Sponsored by Representative Carolyn Dykema and Senator Jason Lewis
Dental Health: An Act to improve oral health for all Massachusetts residents (H.1916, S.1215) — Sponsored by Representatives Smitty Pignatelli and Kate Hogan; and Senator Harriette Chandler
Protecting Medically Fragile Kids: An Act Relative to Critical Data Collection on the Medically Fragile Population (H.1896, S.686) – Sponsored by Representatives Denise C. Garlick and Louis L. Kafka and Senator Cindy F. Friedman
Hospital Training: An Act creating autism teams in hospitals (H.1889, S.1287) —Sponsored by Representative Sean Garballey and Senator Jason Lewis
Cueing and Supervision: An Act relative to cueing and supervision in the Personal Care Attendant (PCA) Program (H.154, S.60) —Sponsored by Representative James O’Day and Senator Joan Lovely
Accessory Housing: An Act relative to accessory dwelling units (H.1250, S.820) – Sponsored by Representative Christine Barber and Senator Bruce Tarr
Supported Decision Making: An Act relative to supported decision-making agreements for certain adults with disabilities (H.172, S.64) — Sponsored by Representatives Aaron Vega, Paul Tucker and Senator Joan Lovely
Human Services Workforce
Loan Repayment for Human Service Workers: An Act relative to a loan repayment program for human service workers (H.163, S.56) — Sponsored by Representatives Jeff Roy and Smitty Pignatelli and Senator Eric Lesser
Fair Pay for Comparable Work: An Act relative fair pay for comparable work (H.138) - Sponsored by Representative Kay Khan
An Act relative to persons with developmental disabilities (H.155, S.61) — Sponsored by Representative James O’Day and Senator Joan Lovely
Katie’s Law: An Act relative to individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities (H.141) Sponsored by Representative Kay Khan
For more details on our 2019-2020 Priority and Support Bills, click here. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on the progress of these bills. You can also track the bills on the Massachusetts Legislature’s website.
Prior Legislative Platforms:
The MDSC Makes Legislative History - June 2012
June 22, 2012 was an historic day for people with Down syndrome, their families and those who love them in Massachusetts. Just after noon, in the Governor's chambers of the State House, surrounded by more than a dozen legislative leaders, parents of people with Down syndrome and self-advocates, Governor Patrick signed landmark legislation that promises to bolster a bright future for the Down syndrome community in the Bay State.
An Act Relative to Down Syndrome Genetic Test Results (H3825), modeled on the national Kennedy-Brownback bill, will have a tremendous impact for decades to come.
The law mandates that new or expectant parents of children with Down syndrome are given the latest, culturally-appropriate information about what it means to have a child with Down syndrome and contact information for services to ensure they have access to the supports that every family in their position needs. The legislation specifically identifies the MDSC's Parents First Call Program as a key resource for these families, formally recognizing our signature outreach program, which is a national model in the field.
The bill, the broadest state legislation of its kind in the nation, was sponsored by Rep. Tom Sannicandro of Ashland, whose son David has Down syndrome and Senator Katherine Clark of Melrose. Both have been tireless champions of good disability policy. Given recent scientific developments around prenatal diagnosis, it was critical to get a bill like this on the books.
The future is indeed bright for the Down syndrome community in Massachusetts. See the complete communication about the passage of the Prenatal Bill from our Executive Director here.
2013-2014 Priority Bills (187th Session of Mass. General Court)
To find your legislator, visit the Massachusetts Legislature’s recently revamped website.
Testimony in support of bills on MDSC’s platform
An Act to require national background checks
For the most updated information on our priority bills or to get involved in the MDSC's advocacy efforts, please contact us at email@example.com.