Highlights from the 2001-2002 Legislative Session

Major Laws in Order of Passage:

Fiscal Year 2001 Supplemental Budget
– Chapter 7 of the Acts of 2001 provides money for Medicaid deficits, a firefighter’s memorial and the address confidentiality program for victims of domestic violence. It also distributes an additional $50 million in lottery funds to local cities and towns.

Public Accountancy – Chapter 22 of the Acts of 2001 allows non-accountants to own a minority share of a public accountancy firm and sets out standards for non-accountant owners.

Fiscal Year 2001 Supplemental Budget – Chapter 24 of the Acts of 2001 appropriates funds for public counsel services and salary increases for state and municipal employees.

Uniform Commercial Code Changes – Chapter 26 of the Acts of 2001 modifies Article 9 of the UCC (secured transactions) allowing for a broader range of collateral, resolving choice of law issues, establishing a central filing system and entitling consumers to learn the amount of deficiency they owe.

Parole Board Testimony – Chapter 31 of the Acts of 2001 allows victims of violent crimes and sex offenses to testify before the parole hearings of their assailants.

Springfield Convention Center – Chapter 45 of the Acts of 2001 increases the bond authorization for the Springfield Civic and Convention Center restoration by $17.5 million in order to cover cost overruns. These bonds would be paid from proceeds of a hotel tax in the cities of West Springfield and Chicopee, and the 4% local option hotel tax in Springfield, as well as meal and hotel taxes from the small area comprising the “convention center
district” in Springfield.

Traffic Warnings – Chapter 67 of the Acts of 2001 repeals the requirement that the Registry of Motor Vehicles issue a one-week suspension of license to any driver who receives three traffic warnings in one year.

Domestic Violence and Unemployment Insurance – Chapter 69 of the Acts of 2001 authorizes unemployment insurance eligibility for individuals who lose their jobs, either voluntarily or involuntarily, due to domestic violence. It also increases victim’s access to worker training, allows victims to refuse employment that does not allow them to accommodate the physical, psychological or legal effects of domestic violence and requires the Division of Employment and Training to undergo training in domestic

Final Deficiency Budget – Chapter 88 of the Acts of 2001 addresses final annual deficiencies in a number of administrative accounts including Medicaid, the Office of Environmental Affairs, the Judiciary, the Office of Child Care Services and the Department of Public Health. The deficiency also includes funding for homeless shelters, grants to community health centers and emergency services and creates a transitional escrow account to
hold the $579 million FY 2001 surplus.

Clara Barton – Chapter 100 of the Acts of 2001 places a plaque in Nurse’s Hall memorializing Clara Barton.

House Redistricting – Chapter 125 of the Acts of 2001 sets the 160 House Districts for the 2002 elections.

Senate Redistricting
– Chapter 126 of the Acts of 2001 sets the 40 Senatorial and 8 Governor’s Council districts for the 2002 elections.

Racing Bill – Chapter 139 of the Acts of 2001 allows horse and dog tracks to continue simulcasting through December 31, 2005. It also creates a Greyhound Adoption Trust fund, improves the tracking of greyhounds throughout the state, allocates funding for compulsive gambling, provides human service assistance to workers at Suffolk Downs and increases payments (through purses) to horse and dog owners.

Accountant Liability – Chapter 147 of the Acts of 2001 mandates that accountants be held liable only for their share of damages for negligence in civil cases.

Voting Rights for Felons
– Chapter 150 of the Acts of 2001 disqualifies any person incarcerated for a felony conviction from voting in local elections and for state wide offices except governor, lt. governor, senator and representative (voting for those offices was denied incarcerated felons under the 2000 constitutional amendment).

Fiscal Year 2002 Budget – Chapter 177 of the Acts of 2001 includes the
following key provisions:

$105 million in hospital relief through Medicaid reimbursements and free

care pool relief;
$99 million for the Prescription Advantage Plan;

Funding for tobacco cessation, AIDS, Hepatitis C, substance abuse, medical error reduction and Medicaid funds for HIV positive individuals; $912 million in order to eliminate the Commonwealth’s unfunded pension

liability by 2018;
Increases in education funding including a $210 million increase in Chapter 70 money and a $10 million increase in MCAS remediation (to $50 million); and $20 million for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

Supplemental Budget
– Chapter 203 of the Acts of 2001 provides additional revenue for the Department of Mental Retardation, Department of Mental Health, Department of Social Services, Emergency Assistance, AIDS and Adult Education.

Unemployment Insurance
– Chapter 204 of the Acts of 2001 freezes unemployment insurance rates at schedule B and creates a legislative task force to study experience rating and worker training.

Early Retirement for Judicial Employees
– Chapter 218 of the Acts of 2001 grants an early retirement benefit for up to 1,000 judicial employees. Workers can add five years to their age or years of service (or some combination therein) for the purposes of calculating their retirement. In order to be eligible, employees must have either 20 years of state service
or 10 years of state service and be over age 55.

Early Retirement for State Workers – Chapter 219 of the Acts of 2001 grants an early retirement benefit for up to 6,700 state employees under the same terms as judicial employees. Elected officials, public safety workers, municipal employees and teachers are not eligible for the program.

Tax Title Properties – Chapter 2 of the Acts of 2002 streamlines the process of converting abandoned properties into affordable housing. It shortens foreclosure periods for abandoned properties, forgives some back taxes and tax penalties on properties being converted to affordable housing and limits the amount of time the court has to vacate a foreclosure proceeding.

Technical Correction to the Incest Statute – Chapter 13 of the Acts of 2002
broadens the definition of incest to include any sexual contact between a relative and a child. Current law only covers traditional sexual intercourse.

Congressional Redistricting – Chapter 29 of the Acts of 2002 sets the 10 Massachusetts Congressional Districts for the 2002 election.

Transportation Fees – Chapter 32 of Acts of 2002 bars employers from charging more that the actual cost for the transportation of employees. This fee shall not exceed 3% of an employee’s daily salary, shall not reduce that salary below minimum wage and shall be waived if the employee is mandated to take employer provided transportation.

Aggravated Assault
– Chapter 35 of the Acts of 2002 creates a heightened penalty for assaults that cause serious bodily injury, are upon a pregnant woman or are upon someone who has already gained a restraining order against his or her assailant. It also raises the penalty for simple assault and for assault with a dangerous weapon.

Mercury Thermometers – Chapter 39 of the Acts of 2002 bars the sale of mercury thermometers but allows merchants to sell their existing stock of thermometers.

Privacy of Elders
– Chapter 41 of the Acts of 2002 mandates that the names, addresses and phone numbers of members of the councils on aging shall not be public information.

State Police – Chapter 43 of the Acts of 2002 allows the State Police to appeal disciplinary decisions from their own State Police Trial Board to the civil service commission.

Amusement Parks – Chapter 44 of the Acts of 2002 brings fixed amusement parks under state regulatory control and mandates that all parks keep ride logs, have drug and alcohol policies and receive mandatory annual state inspections.

Energy Efficiency – Chapter 45 of the Acts of 2002 continues the financing of the Energy Efficiency fund. This fund collects approximately $150 million every year through a $.003 surcharge on every kilowatt of energy and funds energy conservation measures for low income individuals and provides rebates to builders when they use energy efficient materials in construction.

Massachusetts Military Reservation on the Cape – Chapter 47 of the Acts of 2002 places the Upper Cape Water Supply Reserve under the protection of article XCVII of the amendments to the Massachusetts Constitutions and creates an environmental management commission to monitor this area.

Contraceptive Coverage – Chapter 49 of the Acts of 2002 requires health insurance plans to cover prescription contraceptive drugs and devices as well as hormone replacement therapy to the same extent that they cover other prescription drugs and devices.

Drunk Driving Fund – Chapter 52 of the Acts of 2002 requires all drivers found guilty of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol pay an extra $50 fee, which will go directly to the Victims of Drunk Driving Trust Fund. The money will fund grants to organizations and community based programs that provide counseling and support services to victims of drunk-driving accidents.

Medal of Merit – Chapter 56 of the Acts of 2002 makes all members of the United States military, not just those of the Commonwealth, eligible for the Massachusetts Medal of Merit.

Bail Fees – Chapter 58 of the Acts of 2002 raises the fees for releasing an individual on bail to $40, with a $5 fee if the magistrate must recognize a court outside the magistrate’s territory. The maximum fee is $50.

Drug and Alcohol Counselors – Chapter 60 of the Acts of 2002 amends the grandfather provisions of drug and alcohol counselor licensing requirements to allow certification based on years of experience (in addition to educational background).

Wireless 911 – Chapter 61 of the Acts of 2002 enhances wireless 911 services, allowing emergency personnel to determine the exact geographic location of an emergency call from a wireless phone.

Early Retirement – Chapter 62 of the Acts of 2002 allows state employees who are paid from federal, trust or capital accounts to receive an enhanced 5 and 5 retirement benefit similar to judicial and other state employees. It also creates such a benefit for the Massachusetts Development Finance Agency and educational collaboratives and expands the benefit to include Group 2 employees of the judiciary.

Regulating Securities – Chapter 74 of the Acts of 2002 brings state securities laws in line with the federal National Securities Market Improvement Act of 1996.

Red Cross Volunteers – Chapter 75 of the Acts of 2002 allows state employees to receive up to 15 days of paid leave to serve as an American Red Cross volunteer providing specialized disaster relief services.

Capital Depreciations
– Chapter 96 of the Acts of 2002 decouples the state tax code for depreciation deductions from the federal code so that state depreciations are governed under the old federal depreciation schedule. This change was necessary because as part of the federal tax cuts enacted in 2001, Congress allowed businesses to take an enhanced deductions for capital assets.

Deposit Accounts
– Chapter 101 of the Acts of 2002 creates limited access deposit accounts whereby individuals can be granted limited access to checking or savings accounts for specific expenses (such as medical costs for an elderly person). If an individual accesses these accounts for unauthorized purposes he or she can be prosecuted for larceny.

Insurance Licensing – Chapter 106 of the Acts of 2002 brings state law for insurance agents and brokers into compliance with the 1999 federal Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act that encourages states to create reciprocity in agent and broker licensing.

Mandatory Reporting – Chapter 107 of the Acts of 2002 makes priests, rabbis and other religious leaders mandatory reporters of child abuse. It exempts these religious leaders from reporting “information solely gained in a confession or similarly confidential communication in other religious faiths.”

Local Early Retirement – Chapter 116 of the Acts of 2002 creates a 5 and 5 early retirement incentive for municipal employees similar to those for state and judicial employees. This plan is solely at the option of the local city or town.

Supplemental Budget – Chapter 118 of the Acts of 2002 appropriates funds for the Division of Medical Assistance, Public Counsel Services, the Department of Revenue, the Metropolitan District Commission, court settlements and costs associated with the September 11th attacks.

Auto Insurance Fraud – Chapter 138 of the Acts of 2002 makes automobile insurance fraud a felony, increasing the penalty from a 2? year maximum to a 5 year maximum. The bill also raises the fines for all other types of insurance fraud.

Information Technology Bond – Chapter 142 of the Acts of 2002 authorizes borrowing for E-government projects, upgrading major state information technology systems and state police wireless communications technology. Court Reporters – Chapter 146 of the Acts of 2002 prohibits court reporters from entering into contracts with attorneys or parties to a case that are not related to a particular case or reporting incident. This prohibition does not apply to contracts with government entities.

FY 2002 Transfer – Chapter 147 of the Acts of 2002 transfers $300 million from the Commonwealth Stabilization Fund (the Rainy Day Fund) to the General Fund.

September 11th Memorial – Chapter 151 of the Acts of 2002 establishes an official state memorial located on board the battleship USS Massachusetts to honor the Commonwealth’s victims of the September 11, 2001 attack on America.

MIA/POW Memorial – Chapter 156 of the Acts of 2002 designates the MIA/POW Memorial at the Massachusetts National Cemetery in the town of Bourne as the official MIA/POW memorial in the Commonwealth.

Obscene Materials – Chapter 161 of the Acts of 2002 clarifies the definition of visual materials in the child pornography and obscenity statutes to include computer images.

Justices of the Peace – Chapter 164 of the Acts 2002 raises the fee for justices of the peace to perform marriages. The fees are now $75 (up from $45) for marriages performed within a justice’s home community and $125 (up from $60) for marriages performed outside that community.

Workers Compensation – Chapter 169 of the Acts of 2002 allows officers or directors of a corporation who own at least 25% of that corporation’s stock to waive workers compensation insurance for themselves. It also enables sole proprietors and partnerships to obtain workers’ compensation insurance.

Disabled Individuals – Chapter 171 of the Acts of 2002 mandates that agencies create flexible support plans for all individuals with disabilities. These plans and their implementation must made after substantial consultation with these individuals and their families and are subject to appropriation.

Greywater Planning
– Chapter 176 of the Acts of 2002 mandates that the Department of Environmental Protection develop a comprehensive greywater reuse management plan. Greywater is wastewater discharged from sinks, commercial cleaning, washing machines, showers, bathtubs and dishwashers. It does not include water from toilets, urinals or garbage disposals.

FY2003 Budget – Chapter 184 of the Acts of 2002 includes: Approximately $1.2 million in program and administrative cuts; Use of $550 million in funds from the rainy day account;
A $45 million increase to Chapter 70 funding, $18 million in funding for smaller classes and $50 million in funding for MCAS remediation; Full funding for the Prescription Advantage program; Decreases in eligibility for coverage for the long term uninsured; and Level funding for local aid, but a $31 million cut in additional assistance.

Tax Increases – Chapter 186 of the Acts of 2002 increases taxes by $1.2 billion. The increase consists of a 75-cent increase in the tobacco tax, a 25% reduction in the personal exemption, a freeze in the income tax at 5.3%, an elimination of the charitable immunity deduction and a change in the long term capital gains rate to equal the rate of the personal income tax, 5.3% (short term capital gains will continue to be taxed at 12% and this new
rates goes into effect May 1, 2002).

911 Calls – Chapter 195 of the Acts of 2002 allows local cities and town to modify their 911 systems so that these calls may be monitored by local fire departments. These departments must monitor these calls at all times and from a secure location. Implementation of this system is a local option.

Police Training – Chapter 196 of the Acts of 2002 changes the composition of the municipal police training council to consist of six police chiefs, one police officer, the Attorney General, a designee of the Secretary of Public Safety and the commissioner of police of the city of Boston. The council is also renamed the municipal police training committee.

Golf Carts – Chapter 207 of the Acts of 2002 allows minors to operate golf carts as part of their job. Minors can only operate these carts on the golf course and they must have a valid drivers license.

Bilingual Education – Chapter 218 of the Acts of 2002 allows local school committees to choose an appropriate bilingual education program from a list of approved options and requires that school districts with more than 50 bilingual students provide more than one option. The bill also improves accountability (though districts plans, alignment with education reform and annual assessments), teacher qualifications (requiring all teachers be
certified in 5 years) and parent involvement.

Auto Dealers – Chapter 222 of the Acts of 2002 further regulates contracts between auto manufactures and dealers including manufacturers acting as dealers, the placement of new dealerships, the distribution of new vehicles for sale and terms of franchise agreements.

Sexual Harassment
– Chapter 223 of the Acts 2002 extends the statute of limitations on sexual harassment claims from 6 months to 300 days. Plastics Molds – Chapter 227 of the Acts of 2002 allows a molder or moldmaker to take possession of and sell a customer’s mold as recourse for non-payment.

Construction Zones
– Chapter 231 of the Acts of 2002 doubles the fines for individuals who speed through marked construction zones.

Watuppa Heights – Chapter 235 of the Acts of 2002 eliminates the 100-unit Watuppa Heights housing project in the city of Fall River. The law requires that 26 units of single-family housing be built on the site and the other 76 units of housing be replaced by new housing built throughout the city.

Environmental Bond – Chapter 236 of the Acts of 2002 authorizes borrowing for local conservation, urban self-help programs, watersheds, environmental information, land acquisition, capital improvements to parks, brownfield cleanup, water quality, study of native flora and fauna and infrastructure and capital improvements.

Steamship Authority
– Chapter 243 of the Acts of 2002 adds Barnstable and New Bedford as voting members of the Steamship Authority with voting authority and responsibility for deficits weighted as follows: Nantucket – 35%, Martha’s Vineyard – 35%, Barnstable – 10%, Falmouth – 10% and New Bedford – 10%. The bill also requires New Bedford to assume a decreasing portion of the deficit from service to New Bedford over the next 5 years and increases the Authority’s bond cap.

Housing Bond
– Chapter 244 of the Acts of 2002 authorizes $508.5 million in borrowing to improve the quality and amount of affordable housing in the Commonwealth. It is out of conference, has been signed off on by the conferees and awaits action in the House. Key provisions include: $350 million for public housing modernization and renovation at local
housing developments; $35 million for the development of innovative affordable housing programs; $50 million toward revitalizing and improving blighted property; $35 million for maintaining the affordability of housing which threatens to become unaffordable; and $25 million that allows communities to improve the infrastructure around publicly owned property.

Capital Facility Bond – Chapter 245 of the Acts of 2002 authorizes borrowing for the Division of Capital Asset Management, historic preservation, infrastructure improvements to state properties, capitalization of the economic stabilization trust, public safety equipment, public health equipment (including defibrillators), library grants, urban revitalization
projects and state and community colleges and state police cruisers.

Transportation Bond – Chapter 246 of the Acts of 2002 authorizes borrowing for airport, PWED and Chapter 90 funding. It also expands the Massachusetts Turnpike Board to 5 members, mandates qualifications for these members, makes the Turnpike toll discount plan permanent and creates a security zone around Logan Airport (with an exemption for shell fishermen).

Stillborn Births – Chapter 250 of the Acts of 2002 allows individuals to receive birth certificates for their stillborn babies.

Clinical Trials – Chapter 256 of the Acts of 2002 requires all state insurers to cover patient costs associated with qualifying clinical trials. The legislation sets qualifying standards for coverage and specifically exempts the Division of Medical Assistance from having to cover clinical trials.

Asthma Inhalers – Chapter 257 of the Acts of 2002 allows students with asthma to bring their inhalers to school and self-administer their asthma medication.

Telemarketer Regulation – Chapter 264 of the Acts of 2002 creates a telemarketing "do not call" list, establishes a code of conduct that telemarketers must follow, and creates fines and penalties for companies that operate in violation of this law.Vetoed

Ephedrine – H 4353 adds the dietary supplement ephedrine to the list of substances that may not be adulterated. Defining this supplement in this manner allows the Commissioner of Public Health to prevent the dissemination of ephedrine if the Commissioner has reasonable cause to believe that it is has been adulterated or misbranded.

Affordable Housing – H 5288 makes changes to Chapter 40B and affordable housing law including: allowing cities and towns to deny affordable housing permits for one year if
they have increased comprehensive permits by .5%; forbidding developers from filing applications for affordable housing projects within a year of filing a non-affordable housing project; allowing municipalities to count mental health and mental retardation group homes, units created through comprehensive permits and accessory apartments toward the 10% requirement; improving data gathering; improving homelessness prevention initiatives; and
creating a number of tax relief incentives for increases to housing.

Court Advisement – H 4413 requires courts to notify individuals that a guilty or no contest plea might endanger their immigration status.Returned with Amendment

Charitable Property – H 4442 allows individuals that lend their private property to a charitable organization to deduct the value of that donation from their local property tax.Senate Engrossed Bills: Consumer and Worker Protection

Minimum Wage Indexing – S 2083 raises the minimum wage to $7.00 an hour starting January 1, 2002 and ties the minimum wage to the Consumer Price Index for each year thereafter.

Fire Safe Cigarettes
– S 1916 gives the Department of Health 18 months to establish a duration after which an unsmoked cigarette will stop burning and gives manufacturers 6 months to comply with these regulations after they are established.

Electronic Communication with Shareholders – S 1792 modernizes shareholder meeting and voting procedures, allowing for the electronic transmission of information and virtual meetings and voting.

Domestic Partners – S 2123 allows unmarried public sector employees engaged in an exclusive, loving relationship to include that long-term domestic partner on their health insurance.

Live Checks – S 7 increases consumer protections for unsolicited loans received through the mail. Protections include improved labeling, the addition of contact information for all lenders and grants consumers 10 days to void transactions.

Wage Withholding – S 109 establishes a penalty of 6 months in jail or a $1000 fine for employers who fail to pay for hospital, medical, dental, optometric or HMO coverage after withholding funds from an employee for the purpose of making such payments.

Bottled Water
– S 535 transfers licensure of water bottling plants from local health boards to the Department of Public Health, increases fines for statutory violations and allows DPH to establish regulatory penalties.

Telecommunications Professionals – S 2375 provides for the certification and licensing of telecommunications professionals. It creates a licensing board, requires licensing exams and grandfathers in certain existing employees.

Sign Installers – H 4067 establishes a licensing program for installers of freestanding and building signs. Billboards are exempted from this regulation. Environment

Article 97 Land – S 2281 requires that there be no net loss to land protected under Article 97 of the Constitution and when such land is developed appropriate measures be taken to mitigate this development. These steps toward mitigation must be included in legislation transferring the land. Article 97 land is land taken to preserve the “natural, scenic,
historic, and aesthetic qualities of the environment.”

Regulation of Dams – S 2269 transfers the requirement for dam inspections from the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) to the owner of the dam, requires all dams to be registered with DEM and allows DEM to collect fines for safety violations.

Environmental Law Enforcement – S 2242 allows the Department of Environmental Protection to levy fines that exceed the financial benefit of a failure to comply with environment laws. The bill also bans repeat offenders of environmental laws from being eligible to bid for statecontracts and sub-contracts.

Environmental Justice – S 2243 requires that the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs “develop statewide policies regarding the acquisition, protection and use of areas of critical environmental justice concern to the Commonwealth.”Public Health

Anabolic Steroids
– S 508 makes anabolic steroids a class C controlled substance.

Ectodermal Dysplasia – S 2280 requires that state and private health insurers cover ectodermal dysplasia, a rare inherited condition characterized by abnormal development of the skin, hair, nails, teeth and sweat glands.

Birth Defects – S 2242 expands the reporting requirements for congenital anomalies and birth defects for children up the age of 3. It also mandates how the information can be used and how it is kept confidential.

Prosthetic Devices – S 2331 requires state and private insurers to cover the cost of prosthetic devices. A prosthetic device is defined as an artificial device to replace, in whole or part, an arm or leg.

Nursing – S 483 immunizes from liability all individuals (including other nurses) who report violations of nursing laws or regulations to the Board of Registration of Nursing. Reports must be made in good faith and without malice.

Medication Waste – S 2186 requires the Department of Public Health to convene a task force to review methods for reducing the amount of medication that is unnecessarily disposed of annually.

Pharmacist Regulation – S 2364 broadens the enforcement powers of the Board of Registration to allow the Board to levy a fine or require a pharmacist to perform community service, receive additional education and training or undergo alcohol and drug counseling.

Administration of Prescriptions – S 1915 requires the Executive Office of Health and Human Services to convene a task force to develop recommendations for the reduction of medication and prescription errors. The task force must submit its recommendations by June 30, 2002.

Dental and Vision Care – H 4676 excludes dental and vision plans from the managed care reform law until January 2006.

Tobacco Products – H 235 bars the distribution of free and reduced price tobacco products for a commercial purpose.

Pharmacy Rate Freeze
– S 2467 freezes the wholesale acquisition cost (WAC) that state pays the pharmacies at its current rate for 60 days, requires a hearing on the WAC, pharmacy copayments and the pharmacy user fees and creates a commission to further study these issues.

Hospice Programs
– H 1756 restricts the use of the term hospice to programs licensed by the Department of Public Health, modifies the definition of a hospice program and restricts the number of new inpatient hospice licenses to 6.Public Safety

Dangerous Buildings
– H 1259 requires property owners to provide the floor plans of vacant buildings to local fire stations and have those building inspected annually for structural damage.

Drunk Driving Look Back
– Under current law a court cannot consider an individual’s OUI conviction if that conviction occurred more than 10 years ago and there are no intervening OUI convictions. S 2116 would maintain that rule for the first offense (after a 10 year gap) but would allow a full look at the offender’s record after the 2nd offense.

Privacy from Videotaping – S 184 creates a criminal penalty for photographing or videotaping someone in the nude when he or she has a reasonable expectation of privacy and has not given consent.

Seat Belts – S 1211 changes the mechanism for enforcing the seat belt law from secondary to primary enforcement.

Terrorism – S 2122 creates a number of measures aimed at curbing terrorism
including: delivering a false communication about the existence of a dangerous
substance or device (the threat must result in the evacuation or serious disruption of a building or assembly); exempting some blueprints from the public record;
creating or using a hoax substance; prohibiting anyone from entering a secure area of an airport or airplane; criminalizing possession or development of biological, chemical or nuclear
weapons; authorizing the registry of Motor Vehicles to deny a drivers license to an
individual if the registrar has reasonable cause to believe their supporting documentation is altered, false or otherwise invalid; creating statewide grand juries (see below); and allowing the Attorney General to subpoena electronic communications (see below).

Statewide Grand Juries
– S 907 allows the Attorney General to convene a grand jury with jurisdiction over the entire state. Under current law grand juries can only be convened with jurisdiction over a specific county. Subpoenas for Electronic Communications – S 2137 gives law enforcement officials the power to subpoena electronic information if a District
Attorney or the Attorney General has reasonable grounds to believe that basic account records of a provider are relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation. This is the same standard officials now use for telephone records.

Rights for Victims of Sexual Assault – S 2179 extends the rape shield law (strictly limiting disclosure of a sexual assault victim’s past sexual history) to civil trials. It also extends the privacy protections that currently apply to sexual assault and domestic violence counseling to individuals who act as interpreters in those sessions and extends the statute of limitations for sexual assault cases when new DNA evidence is discovered.

Elder Abuse – S 2350 rewrites the statute defining criminal negligence for nursing homes and other elder caretakers. It creates definitions of abuse, neglect and mistreatment, enhances the penalties for indecent assault on an elder and enhances the civil penalties for nursing home negligence.

Reckless Endangerment – S 2340 creates the crime of reckless endangerment that punishes a person who recklessly engages in conduct that creates a substantial risk of serious physical injury or sexual abuse to a child. Reckless endangerment is punishable by up to 1 year in the house of corrections.

Accord and Satisfaction Agreements
– S 164 limits the use of accord and satisfaction agreements in settling domestic abuse claims to cases where the prosecutor agrees that domestic violence charges should be dropped. An accord and satisfaction agreement is an agreement to drop charges between a victim of domestic violence and his or her batterer.

Drunk Driving
– S 2371 raises the minimum penalties for a 3rd drunk driving offense from 180 days in a house of correction with a minimum of 150 days served to 2 1/2 years with a minimum of 180 days served. It also mandates an alcohol and drug aftercare program for three time offenders.

Assault on a Child – S 2365 broadens the definition of bodily injury to a child to include lacerations, contusions and abrasions, and any internal injury due to the presence of illegal substances. It also increase the penalty for bodily injury to a child from 5 to 10 years.

Hacking – S173 increases the penalty for unauthorized access to a computer system or intentional transmission of a computer virus from 30 days in jail to up to 2 1/2 years in a house of correction or 10 years in a state prison.

Child Enticement – S2430 creates a new crime of enticing a child under the age of 16 to enter, leave or remain within a vehicle, structure or place. The bill also allows youth organizations access to CORI records (summer camps already have access to this information).Miscellaneous

Burial Grounds
– S 2315 requires the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance to document all burial grounds on current or former state owned land (that the state can get access to). The purpose of the survey is to determine the number of individuals (especially those in state mental hospitals) that were buried in unnamed graves.

Vocational Teachers
– S 2029 allows vocational education teachers to buy three years of credible service for occupational experience in the subject matter they teach. The teacher must have ten years of service to qualify.

Fiscal Year 2001 Supplemental Budget – S 2093 creates a family leave program, dedicates 15% of surplus revenue to open space, pays down high interest debt and raises the level of surplus revenue necessary to trigger payments to the Tax Reduction Fund to 10%. The paid family leave program consists of 12 weeks of paid leave for either or both parents within one year of the birth or adoption of a child. Payments would be up to 50% of salary with a cap of $477 per week. This supplemental budget expired at the end of the 2001 calendar year.

Educational Support Personnel – S 2344 allows certain educational support personnel (school nurses, social workers and business administrators) to become eligible for an enhanced retirement benefit similar to the teacher retirement plus benefit passed in 2000.

Indemnity Insurance – S 2378 forbids construction contracts that require subcontractors to assume more than a pro rata share of project liability.

Corporate Crime – S 2442 increases the civil and criminal penalties and extends the statute of limitations for securities fraud, creates whistleblower protections for private sector employees and requires the Massachusetts pension system to champion good corporate governance.

Distribution of Property – H 5136 bans an individual convicted of 1st or 2nd degree murder or manslaughter from inheriting from the deceased person’s estate.

Credit Unions – S 5 allow state-chartered credit unions to obtain a license to sell insurance products to their members

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