Massachusetts Legislature Passes Comprehensive Consumer Data Security Legislation

BOSTON – The Massachusetts House of Representatives and Senate voted unanimously Wednesday to pass House Bill 4806, An Act relative to consumer protection from security breaches. The bill represents a compromise reached between House and Senate conference committee negotiators, led by Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Chairs Tackey Chan (D-Quincy) and Barbara L’Italien (D-Andover), along with members Representative Dan Hunt (D-Boston), Representative Randy Hunt (R-Sandwich), Senator John Keenan (D-Quincy), and Senator Ryan Fattman (R-Webster). The compromise builds on recently passed federal regulations mandating the removal of all fees for consumers who elect to place, lift, or remove a credit freeze from a consumer reporting agency.  The Massachusetts legislation also updates the state’s laws to reflect modern technological processes, updates notification requirements, and mandates free credit monitoring services.

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Paid Family & Medical Leave, Increased Minimum Wage Legislation Signed by Governor

This past month, Governor Baker signed into law the most comprehensive change for workers in Massachusetts in decades, which the media has dubbed “the grand bargain.”  The new law incrementally increases the minimum wage to $15 over five years, phases out time and half hourly wages over five years, establishes a paid medical and family leave program for all Massachusetts workers and creates a permanent sales tax holiday in August.  The new law represents a compromise based on discussions with a coalition formed by the Massachusetts Retailers Association and a separate coalition formed by Raise Up Massachusetts, who each were able to qualify their respective questions for the November 2018 ballot.  This compromise represents months of negotiations, with each party having made concessions in order to reach a final agreement.  As a result of this compromise, voted on by the Legislature on June 20th, the respective groups withdrew their ballot questions before the July 3rd deadline.

Under the “grand bargain”, the minimum wage will increase to $15/hour over five years while the tipped minimum wage will increase to $6.75/hour also over five years.  The increases will begin January 1, 2019 when the minimum wage increases by one dollar to $12/hour, then will increase incrementally by $0.75 over the following four years until it reaches $15. Tipped worker wages will be brought up to the state minimum wage based on earnings each day, rather than the current policy of calculating the difference between tips and minimum wage each pay cycle. This will ensure that restaurant and other tipped workers face more equitable schedules each week, removing the potential of giving preferential shifts to certain employees.

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Governor Baker Signs Bill Declaring May “Asian American Pacific Islander Month”

Governor Baker Signs Bill Declaring May “Asian American Pacific Islander Month”

BOSTON – Governor Charles D. Baker today signed House Bill 3360, An Act designating May as Asian American Pacific Islander Month, which was unanimously passed by the Massachusetts House and Senate earlier this year. The bill will allow for an annual proclamation from the governor, setting apart the month of May and recognizing the significant contributions Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have made to the Commonwealth and to the United States.

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MA House Approves $41.5 Billion Fiscal Year 2019 Budget

BOSTON – The Massachusetts House of Representatives last Thursday voted 150-4 to pass a $41.515 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2019. The vote came after four days of debate and deliberation on 1,400 amendments that had been filed to the original budget recommendation made by the House Ways and Means Committee. In total, the FY2019 budget sees a 3.1% increase over funding levels from the previous year, with MassHealth and local aid to cities and towns making up the two largest expenditures. Quincy’s House delegation, Majority Leader Ron Mariano, State Representative Tackey Chan, State Representative Bruce Ayers, and State Representative Dan Hunt, successfully advocated for more than $71.86 million for the City of Quincy in FY2019; this includes $27.3 million in Chapter 70 education funding for Quincy Public Schools and $19.7 million of unrestricted general assistance to the City of Quincy.

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City of Quincy Creates Storm Relief Fund for March 2nd Storm

The fund will be administered by Quincy Community Action Programs. Flooding victims should call 617-657-5320 or e-mail quincystormrelief@qcap.org to begin a brief and confidential application process. The fund will be able to provide some immediate assistance. Benefit caps will be established. One-hundred percent (100%) of the fund proceeds will be used directly to help households.
 

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Massachusetts House Passes Comprehensive Bill to Provide Consumer Protections against Data Breaches

BOSTON – The Massachusetts House of Representatives voted unanimously this week to advance House Bill 4232, An Act removing fees for security freezes and disclosures of consumer credit reports. The bill, originally H134 sponsored by Chairwoman Jennifer Benson (D-Lunenburg), removes all fees for consumers who elect to place, lift, or remove a credit freeze from a consumer reporting agency and updates current laws to address modern technological processes. The Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure spent the months since the Equifax data breach went public in September 2017 looking closely at the complex topic of data security and consumer protections before bringing it to the House floor on Wednesday.

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Governor Baker signs bill declaring May "Asian American Pacific Islander Month"

BOSTON – House Bill 3360, An Act designating May as Asian American Pacific Islander Month, was signed into law by Governor Charles Baker last week, following its passage in the Massachusetts House and Senate earlier in February. The bill will allow for an annual proclamation from the governor, setting apart the month of May and recognizing the significant contributions Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have made to the Commonwealth and to the United States.

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Rep. Chan's Statement on H3361 - February 7, 2018

I’m thrilled that Chairwoman Benson and Chairman Timilty have agreed to move House Bill 3361 forward, and want to express my appreciation for the hard work, time, and energy that the entire Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight has dedicated to this bill. A Special Commission to further examine the feasibility and scope of implementation for data disaggregation is an important step forward that will ensure no community is left behind. I welcome the suggestions of the Commission and look forward to working collaboratively with Commission members, the Asian Caucus, and the Black and Latino Legislative Caucus to advance new, more holistic, and inclusive data disaggregation for the Commonwealth.

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Domestic Violence Awareness Event for Marginalized Communities Held at the State House

BOSTON – Legislators from the Massachusetts Asian Caucus, the Black & Latino Legislative Caucus, the Caucus of Women Legislators and the Governor’s Council to Address Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence hosted an event on October 17, 2017 to raise awareness around the distinct challenges that marginalized communities face when accessing domestic violence services in the Commonwealth. This event comes as a part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October, with the goal of educating legislators and their communities about the unique domestic violence issues at hand for communities of color, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ, rural, and immigrant and refugee populations.

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