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 firefighters 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
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 victims 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
hold the $579 million FY 2001 surplus.
Clara Barton Chapter 100 of the Acts of 2001 places a plaque
in Nurses 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 Governors 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
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 Commonwealths 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
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
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
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 employees 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
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
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 magistrates 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 Commonwealths 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 justices home
community and $125 (up from $60) for marriages performed outside that
Workers Compensation Chapter 169 of the Acts of 2002 allows
officers or directors of a corporation who own at least 25% of that corporations
stock to waive workers compensation insurance for themselves. It also
enables sole proprietors and partnerships to obtain workers compensation
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
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
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 customers 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%, Marthas 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 Authoritys
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
Asthma Inhalers Chapter 257 of the Acts of 2002 allows students
with asthma to bring their inhalers to school and self-administer their
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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 individuals 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 offenders 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
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
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
Rights for Victims of Sexual Assault S 2179 extends the
rape shield law (strictly limiting disclosure of a sexual assault victims
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
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
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
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
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
Credit Unions S 5 allow state-chartered credit unions to
obtain a license to sell insurance products to their members
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