"I will again ask the Legislature and the people of Massachusetts to move an ambitious agenda this year. We need action promptly on helping people get back to work, lowering health care costs and making neighborhoods safer."
- Governor Deval Patrick, 2012 State of the Commonwealth
In his 2012 State of the Commonwealth, Governor Patrick laid out an ambitious legislative agenda. The Governor called for reforms to our community college system to better meet our workforce needs and put people to work, cost containment legislation to slow the growth of rising health care rates and a balanced crime bill with both habitual offender and mandatory minimum sentencing reforms. Working with the Legislature, all those measures are now law.
By any measurement, this was a very productive and meaningful session. We are meeting our generational responsibility to build a better, stronger Commonwealth and the Governor is eager to add to this record of achievement over the next two years.
Additional notable legislation signed by Governor Patrick in the 2011-2012 Legislative Session:
Job Creation & Improving Business Climate
Advances job creation and economic development in the Commonwealth with the establishment of three geographically distinct regions where resort casinos can be built.
Establishes an agreement between the Tribe and the Commonwealth for the operation of a tribal casino in Taunton.
- Legislation: “Resolve Relating To The Tribal-State Compact Between The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe And The Commonwealth Of Massachusetts”
Increases economic development and create jobs in the Commonwealth's key sectors of innovation and infrastructure.
- Legislation: House Bill 4352 “An Act Relative To Infrastructure Investment, Enhanced Competitiveness And Economic Growth In The Commonwealth”
Provides $200 million in Chapter 90 funds to cities and towns to rebuild and repair local roads and bridges.
- Legislation: House Bill 3324 "An Act Providing for the Municipal Road and Bridge Maintenance Needs of the Commonwealth"
Provides immediate relief to Massachusetts' businesses by freezing employer contributions to the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Trust Fund at current levels.
- Legislation: An Act Making Appropriations for the Fiscal Year 2012 to Provide for Supplementing Certain Existing Appropriations and for Certain Other Activities and Projects
Requires parents who receive a prenatal or postnatal Down syndrome diagnosis be provided with up-to-date, evidence-based, written information.
- Legislation: House Bill 3825 “An Act Requiring Certain Information Relative to Down Syndrome be Provided to Certain Parents and Families”
Removes barriers for patients to get HIV screening in order to increase screening and early detection.
Promotes organ donation by aligning state statute with requirements currently in effect in neighboring states.
Authorizes nurse-midwives to issue written prescriptions and order and interpret tests and therapeutics and expands access to nurse-midwifery care for more women in the Commonwealth.
Establishes regulations to specify minimum safety and quality standards for dementia care units in long-term facilities, as well as requiring dementia-specific training to staff in long-term facilities.
- Legislation: House Bill 3947 “An Act Providing for Dementia Specific Training for Certain Employees of Long-Term Care Facilities”
Provides $10 million in additional funding to support the implementation of the Gateway Cities Education Agenda , a comprehensive set of new initiatives that will provide much-needed support to students, families and educators in the Commonwealth’s 24 Gateway Cities.
Unifies the oversight of proprietary schools to provide greater protections for consumers with the establishment of the Office of Private Occupational School Education within the Division of Professional Licensure (DPL).
Strengthens protections for victims of human trafficking and prostitution and increases the punishment for offenders by carrying a potential life sentence for traffickers of children.
Improves water safety to decrease the risk of drowning for children at camps and recreational programs.
Protecting Massachusetts ratepayers while providing greater reliability and energy independence for all residents of the Commonwealth.
- Legislation: Senate Bill 2395 “An Act Relative To Competitively Priced Electricity In The Commonwealth”
Massachusetts is now home to over 100 Green Communities due to the Green Communities Act. This law empowers communities to invest in local solutions that expand renewable energy adoption, boost the clean energy industry and cut overall energy use. As a result, we lead the nation in energy efficiency and have seen the number of renewable energy projects – like solar and wind – soar.
- Legislation: An Act Relative to Green Communities
Continues the Patrick-Murray Administration's efforts to end abuses and close loopholes to create a sustainable public pension system.
Makes Massachusetts the 16th state to treat transgender citizens as a protected class and modifies language in Massachusetts statute to protect all individuals from discrimination, regardless of gender identities.
- Legislation: House Bill 3810 “An Act Relative To Gender Identity”
Law expands important consumer protections and continues the Commonwealth’s national leadership on foreclosure prevention.
Strengthens the Commonwealth’s ability to regulate staffing and temporary agencies to protect vulnerable workers and level the playing field for businesses.
Creates increased supports for veteran-owned businesses, Gold Star Families, military children and higher education access in the Commonwealth.