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1999-2000 Bills Passed into Law:

* Adoption and foster care - Chapter 3 of the Acts of 1999.  This law improves the quality of foster care by allowing background checks on foster parents and creating an individual health plan for each child.  The law also requires permanency hearings for all foster children within one year.

* Foxboro Stadium - Chapter 16 of the Acts of 1999.  This legislation dedicates $70 million to infrastructure improvements surrounding the construction of the new Patriots stadium in the town of Foxboro.  The Commonwealth will receive a $1.4 million annual revenue stream from the Patriots to pay debt service for these improvements.

* Increase in the minimum wage - Chapter 47 of the Acts of 1999.  This legislation increased the minimum wage from $5.25 to $6.00 on January 1, 2000 and increases it again to $6.75 on January 1, 2001.

* Non-group and small group health insurance products - Chapter 61 of the Acts of 1999.  This legislation froze the rate band for non-group and small group policies at a 2:1.  The band was scheduled to be reduced to 1.5:1 on December 1, 1999.

* Sex offender registry - Chapter 74 of the Acts of 1999.  This
legislation creates a new sex offender board and registry to track convicted sex offenders.  The law also authorizes civil commitment and community parole for sexually dangerous criminals.  Implementation of the sex offender registry is currently on hold due to a December 1, 1999 Superior Court ruling.

* Quincy Hospital Law - Chapter 101 of the Acts of 1999.  This
legislation authorizes a $12.1 million loan to Quincy Hospital and creates a $7 million grant program for hospitals and community health centers.

* HMO insolvency law - Chapter 143 of the Acts of 1999.  This
legislation grants the Attorney General and the Insurance Commissioner the power to put an HMO into receivership, makes sure that consumers are not responsible for any bills accumulated by the HMO, grants hospitals special priority in a liquidation of the HMO's assets, and creates a special 30-day open enrollment period if an HMO is dissolved.  This legislation enabled the Attorney General and the Insurance Commissioner to place Harvard-Pilgrim in receivership.

* The licensing of home inspectors - Chapter 146 of the Acts of 1999. This legislation establishes regulation of the home inspection industry by: creating a board of registration and licensing, requiring home inspectors to carry errors and omissions insurance, establishing a testing and apprenticeship process for new inspectors, prohibiting direct referrals by real estate brokers, and mandating a public education campaign regarding the home inspection industry.

* Horse and dog racing in the Commonwealth - Chapter 163 of the Acts of 1999.  This act allows simulcasting of horse and dog racing to continue for the year 2000 and sets up a special commission to study the future of racing in the Commonwealth.

* Unemployment insurance rate freeze - Chapter 172 of the Acts of
1999.  The legislation sets the UI Rate for 2000 at adjusted Schedule "B" and authorizes a task force to make an investigation and study of the financing of the Commonwealth's unemployment insurance system.  The act also establishes a legislative task force to investigate and study the potential establishment of a statewide insurance and retirement plan for temporary disability, family medical related leave and retirement.

* FY'01 Supplemental - Chapter 34 of the Acts of 2000.  This
supplemental budget includes $160,800 for Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission inspectors, and $12,000,000 to the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program for the purpose of assisting low income elders,  working families and other households with the purchase of heating oil and propane.

* Perfusionist licensing - Chapter 44 of the Acts of 2000.  This
legislation creates a licensing board and sets standards for perfusionists, the operators of hospital heart and lung machines.

* EMS 2000 - Chapter 54 of the Acts of 2000. This legislation
integrates emergency dispatchers, ambulances and hospitals into a statewide system that will feature a state-of-the-art communications network, a statewide trauma care system and technical assistance and training
* Interpreter services - Chapter 66 of the Acts of 2000.  This
legislation requires all acute care hospitals and acute psychiatric
hospitals to provide interpreters to non-English speaking patients seeking emergency care or acute psychiatric care.  Hospitals are responsible for deciding whether they need to hire interpreters or provide telephone interpreter services but the availability of interpreter services will be a condition of licensing procedures.

* Holocaust survivors - Chapter 79 of the Acts of 2000.  The
legislation creates an income tax deduction retroactive to 1/1/98 for
payments, including interest, made to a victim of racial or religious
persecution by Nazi Germany or any other Axis regime, or the heir of a victim and income attributable to assets stolen, hidden, or lost to said regimes, during or after World War II.

* Mental health parity - Chapter 80 of the Acts of 2000.  The
legislation provides full equality for all mental illnesses that have a
biological basis.  It also expands the coverage for non-biological mental illnesses for both adults and children.  Insurers will be required to provide 24 outpatient mental health visits each year for adults.  Children under 19 will receive full treatment for all mental illnesses that: (1) keep them from going to school, (2) require hospitalization, (3) make them a danger to themselves or others, or (4) are recommended by a mental health professional.

* Diabetes reduction - Chapter 81 of the Acts of 2000.  This
legislation mandates insurance coverage of all medicine and medical
equipment necessary for the diagnosis or treatment of diabetes.
* Pesticide protection - Chapter 85 of the Acts of 2000.  The
legislation prohibits the application of any pesticide to schools and day
care centers within two days of their occupation.  It also requires schools or day care centers to notify parents as to which pesticides will be applied, improves posting requirements and creates a public databank of pesticide use.

* Big Dig financing - Chapter 87 of the Acts of 2000.  This
legislation covers the $2.1 billion Big Dig shortfall and provides $500
million for local road and bridge projects.  Funding comes from a variety of sources including $500 million of surplus funds from FY 2000, the
maintenance of drivers license fees (that were scheduled to be phased out) and the reinstatement of car registration fees.

* Teacher recruitment, retention and retirement - Chapter 114 of the Acts of 2000. This legislation grants teachers an enhanced retirement benefit after at least 30 years of service and the reimbursement of the equivalent of five years in payments to the pension system.  The legislation also allows teachers to buy up to four years of time they lost due to the need to take maternity leave and allows retired teachers to return to teaching in school districts with critical teacher shortages.

* MBTA transportation and development - Chapter 125 of the Acts of  2000.  This legislation provides $225 million for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority to begin a variety of capital projects before they become financially self-sufficient on June 30, 2000.

* Guide dogs - Chapter 126 of the Acts of 2000.  This legislation
removes the requirement that guide dogs for the blind be muzzled.
* Beano - Chapter 129 of the Acts of 2000.  This legislation revises
the law regulating not-for-profit Beano/Bingo games.  The bill increases the maximum prize to $100, authorizes $500 bonus cards, authorizes $1200 50-50 games, allows $3000 progressive jackpots, expands volunteer eligibility, and increases the maximum fine for violations of the law to $3,000.

* Foothold traps and other devices - Chapter 139 of the Acts of 2000 - This legislation modifies 1997 Ballot Question 1 by allowing for the emergency use of conibear traps to protect health and human safety.

* Non-group health insurance - Chapter 140 of the Acts of 2000.  This legislation allows non-group health insurance providers to offer alternative guaranteed issue plans with a benefit rate adjustment.  It also requires non-group carriers to participate in the Massachusetts Non-group Health Reinsurance Plan, allows carriers to maintain closed plans (currently slated to close Sept. 2000), requires insurers to offer at least four rate basis type categories including single parents and brings the state into compliance with federal law.

* Managed care reform - Chapter 141 of the Acts of 2000.  The
legislation creates an appeal process for insurer decisions, establishes
that physicians will have sole responsibility for determining the medical
necessity of care and creates a Managed Care Oversight Board to monitor and grade HMO practices.  The legislation also requires insurers to provide coverage for all reasonably necessary emergency service.

* Supplemental Budget - Chapter 150 of the Acts of 2000.  This
supplemental budget provides $15 million for improvements to the Registry of Motor Vehicles and $50 million for statewide road and bridge programs.

* Criminal Harassment - Chapter 164 of the Acts of 2000.  This
legislation creates a crime of criminal harassment if an individual,
"willfully and maliciously engages in a knowing pattern of conduct or series of acts over a period of time directed at a specific person and would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress."

* Warrant Reform - Chapter 166 of the Acts of 2000.  The legislation
reforms the current warrant system by: granting the state police the
authority to receive identifying information held by other state agencies,
freezing state benefits until outstanding warrants are cleared, suspending the drivers' licenses of wanted felons and notifying all individuals that they are the subject of an outstanding warrant.

* Innkeeper's Rights - Chapter 167 of the Acts of 2000.  This
legislation grants innkeepers the right to remove or deny a room to a guest for non-payment, destruction of property, causing a disturbance or public intoxication.  The innkeeper may also require a guest to demonstrate an ability to pay and limit the number of guests to a room.

* Autopsy reports - Chapter 171 of the Acts of 2000. This legislation
requires medical examiners to share their autopsy report with the
commissioner of mental health if the deceased had received services from a state funded or operated mental health facility.  The commission shall use this information to complete an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the individual's death.

* Homestead Protection - Chapter 174 of the Acts of 2000.  This
legislation raises the level of homestead protection for all homeowners from $100,000 to $300,000.

* Delivery of Alcoholic Beverages - Chapter 175 of the Acts of 2000. The legislation provides that a person, on property he or she owns, who knowingly or intentionally supplies persons under 21 with alcohol, may be charged in violation of section 34 of chapter 138.  The bill also increases the potential penalty for a violation of that section to not more than one year in prison.

* World War II Memorial - Chapter 186 of the Acts of 2000.  This
legislation transfers the amount equivalent to $1 for each Massachusetts resident who served in World War II to fund the construction and maintenance of a federal WWII memorial in Washington DC.

* Julian Steele Housing Development - Chapter 193 of the Acts of 2000. This legislation authorizes the demolition of the Julian Steele Housing Development and its replacement by mixed-income housing.  The act further requires that a plan be developed for the adequate relocation of all existing residents of the development.

* Abandoned Property - Chapter 198 of the Acts of 2000.  This
legislation reforms the abandoned property system through clearer
definitions of abandoned property, the establishment of a formal appeals
process and creation of a six-month amnesty period to encourage businesses that have not turned over such property.

* Capital Bond - Chapter 207 of the Acts of 2000.  This legislation
authorizes $123 million in capital spending for projects across the state.

* Infrastructure Improvement Surrounding Fenway Park - Chapter 208 of the Acts of 2000.  This legislation authorizes:  $100 million in state payments for infrastructure improvements around Fenway Park, $140 million in borrowing by the city of Boston to finance site acquisition and land acquisition around the park, and city construction of a parking garage to serve the park.  This legislation also creates a fund to finance the construction and repair of cultural facilities

* Buffer Zones - Chapter 217 of the Acts of 2000.  This legislation
creates a six-foot zone around individuals entering a reproductive health
center once they are within 18 feet of the entrance to the center and
creates a six-foot corridor between the entrance to the clinic and the

* Seasonal liquor licenses - Chapter 225 of the Acts of 2000.  This
bill extends the duration of a seasonal liquor license for a liquor store
(as opposed to a bar or restaurant) from April 1st through November 30th to April 1st through January 15th.

* Charter Schools - Chapter 227 of the Acts of 2000.  This legislation
raises the cap on charter schools from 50 to 120 over the next five years. The legislation further allows the faculty of a charter school to unionize without the required secret ballot election if 60% of its members check a card expressing their desire to unionize.  The legislation also limits or promotes new charter schools in a city or town depending on the city or town's performance on the MCAS.

* Racial Profiling - Chapter 228 of the Acts of 2000.  This
legislation modifies the standard citation form to include searches,
requires collection and analysis of all traffic citations for analysis by
race and gender and mandates education of all police officers in how to
avoid racial profiling.  The legislation also grants the Secretary of Public
Safety the power to collect information on all traffic stops (not just those
resulting in a citation) if analysis of a State Police or municipal police
force's traffic stops indicates the possibility of racial profiling.
Drivers will also be provided with a 1-800 number to call if they feel that
they have been victims of racial profiling.

* Transportation Bond - Chapter 235 of the Acts of 2000. This
legislation is a $3.1 billion transportation bond plan directing state and
federal money for transportation projects across the state.
* Environmental Bond - Chapter 238 of the Acts of 2000.  This
legislation authorizes $126 million for environmental protection and
maintenance of state parks.

* Child Fatality Review Team - Chapter 247 of the Acts of 2000.  This legislation creates one state and 11 local child fatality review teams to determine the cause of death for all child fatalities and to suggest changes to prevent future fatalities.

* Public Bathing Waters - Chapter 248 of the Acts of 2000.  This
legislation mandates the creation of safety standards for bathing water and mandates the testing of such bathing water every week during bathing season.

Year 2000 Budget | Year 2001 Budget | Senate Engrossed Bills |
1999 - 2000 Bills Passed | 1999 - 2000 Bills with Amendments

Massachusetts State Senator  Brian A. Joyce Room 413A State House, Boston, MA. 02133


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