News  2023-2024 MCSW Legislative Priorities

The MCSW is proud to announce our policy priorities for the 193rd Legislative Session.
  • Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women
2023-2024 Leg Priorities

Boston, Massachusetts — Our Legislative and Public Policy Committee is led by our mission and public hearing testimony when finalizing a brand new slate of bills to continue to advocate for in 2023-2024 and beyond. Some of our legislative priorities include: 

On-going MCSW Policy Priorities 

The Common Start Bill

An Act Providing Affordable and Accessible High-Quality Early education and Care to Promote Child Development and Well-being and Support the Economy in the Commonwealth (S.301 / H.489). The Common Start bills would strengthen our commonwealth’s child care and early education infrastructure through a combination of direct-to-provider operational funding and family financial assistance to reduce costs to families while compensating providers for the true cost of providing quality care. The bills also include measures to incentivize the provision of care during nonstandard hours, build cultural competency training into the workforce development system, and better provide accommodations for students with disabilities. Learn more about the Common Start Bill and take action via Progressive Mass.

Lead sponsors: Sen. Jason Lewis & Sen. Susan Moran; Rep. Ken Gordon & Rep. Adrian Madaro

The Healthy Youth Act

An Act Relative to Healthy Youth (S.268/H.544). The Healthy Youth Act will ensure that Massachusetts schools that offer sex ed courses teach a scientifically accurate curriculum that features age-appropriate information about gender identity and sexual orientation.  These opt-out sexual education courses must include affirmative recognition that people have different sexual orientations, gender identities, and gender expressions, and provide information about LGBTQ resources for students.  Further, health class teachers must teach their students relationship and communication skills that would let them make healthy decisions and form respectful relationships free of violence, coercion, and intimidation. This act was first proposed almost a decade ago; now, it's time for lawmakers to step up and finally guarantee equitable access to important educational content for all students. Learn more about the Healthy Youth Act and all of the supporting coalition partners. 

Lead Sponsors: Senator Sal DiDomenico and Representatives Jim O’Day and Vanna Howard

The PRO Bill

An Act supporting Parents Running for Public Office (S.422). Many working parents are discouraged from running for public office because of financial reasons. This bill would clarify that child care expenses for times while campaigning are not considered personal expenses.

Lead Sponsors: Sen. Patricia Jehlen and Reps. Mike Connolly and Joan Meschino, Coalition: Campaign Funds for Child Care Coalition – led by MCSW.

The IAM Bill

An Act to Increase Access to Disposable Menstrual Products in Prisons, Homeless Shelters and Public Schools (H.2354/S.2730). Public Policy does not address the needs of menstruating people. Massachusetts has the opportunity to change that. The I AM bill was voted favorably out of the Joint Committee on Public Health in December 2019. This legislation would ensure access to free menstrual products to all menstruating individuals in prisons, homeless shelters and public schools. The bill also contains language to ensure the products are truly accessible without stigmatizing the individual seeking them. Learn more about the IAM bill via the Massachusetts Menstrual Equity Coalition.

Lead Sponsors: Senator Jehlen, Representative Livingstone and Representative Barber,

Parity On Board

An Act to promote gender and racial diversity on public boards and commissions. (H.3095/S.2029). Massachusetts leads the nation in human talent, yet data shows a lack of representation of women and people of color on state boards and commissions. An Act to Promote Diversity on Public Boards and Commissions (H.3095/S.2029) would work to promote diversity in leadership and governance that broadly reflects the demographics of our Commonwealth. Learn more via the Parity on Board coalition.

Lead Sponsor: Senator Liz Miranda

An Act Relative to Salary Range Transparency 

Via Trusiac: As of February 2023, several pay equity bills are pending in the Massachusetts legislature. One such bill, An Act Relative to Pay Equity (Bill S.2721), seeks to advance racial and gender wage equity by requiring employers to report wage information publicly. In addition, the Massachusetts House of Representatives is considering another pay reporting act, titled An Act Relative to Salary Range Transparency (HD 2814). If passed, this act will require any employer with fifteen or more employees in Massachusetts to disclose the pay range for any position they post, as well as promotions or transfers.

These new state transparency laws are meant to build upon Massachusetts Equal Pay Act (MEPA), a historic pay equity bill passed in 2018, designed to foment equal pay and opportunities for all Massachusetts workers. Notably, the MEPA was the first U.S. bill to ban employers from asking prospective employees about prior compensation.

Lead Sponsors: Representatives Josh S. Cutler and Brandy Fluker Oakley

2023-2024 MCSW Policy Priorities for the 193rd Legislative Session

Resolutions recognizing the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on women and girls, especially women of color in the Commonwealth (H.3305) 

Lead Sponsor: Representative Brandy Fluker Oakley 

Status: Referred to the Committee on House Rules 

This resolution urges the Governor to (1) uphold the rights of crisis-affected and forcibly displaced populations further affected by COVID-19.(2) to place mental healthcare as a priority in the Commonwealth, (3) to ask all of the 351 cities and towns to also support this resolution.

An Act relative to birthing justice in the Commonwealth (S.1415) 

Lead Sponsor: Senator Liz Miranda  

Status: Referred to Joint Committee on Public Health  

This bill introduces a framework to improve maternal health outcomes and advance recommendations from the Special Commission on Racial Inequities in Maternal Health, including better integrating midwifery care into our maternal health care system to improve access to out-of-hospital birthing options and reducing financial and administrative barriers to the creation of free-standing birth centers.

An Act providing reproductive health care to incarcerated individuals (H.2371) 

Lead Sponsors: Representative Jay Livingstone & Representative Kay Khan  

Status: Referred to Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security  

This bill would require access to contraceptive services, counseling, and abortion care for incarcerated people.

An Act relative to rehabilitation, re-entry, and human rights for incarcerated persons (H.2325/S.1493) 

Lead Sponsors: Senator Cynthia Stone Creem and Representative Brandy Fluker Oakley  

Status: Referred to Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security 

This bill will establish universal baseline standards for every person incarcerated in Massachusetts state prisons, county jails, and the house of Corrections. Instead of focusing on a culture of punishment, this bill seeks to shift correctional priorities to rehabilitation and re-entry.

An Act Supporting Parents Running for Public Office (S.348/H.590) 

Lead Sponsors: Senator Patricia Jehlen and Representatives Mike Connolly and Joan Meschino  

Status: Referred to the Joint Committee on Election Laws 

This bill would allow candidates running for public office can use their campaign funds for their childcare needs, regardless of gender or family status.

An Act to increase access to disposable menstrual products (S.1381/H.534) 

Lead Sponsors: Representatives Jay D. Livingstone, Christine P. Barber & Senator Jehlen  

Status: Referred to Joint Committee on Public Health 

Also known as the I AM Bill, this bill would provide access to free menstrual products to all menstruating individuals in schools, shelters & prisons.

An Act to ensure legal parentage equality (S.947/H.1713) 

Lead Sponsors: Senator Julian Cyr and Representatives Sarah K. Peake and Hannah Kane  

Status: Referred to the Joint Committee on the Judiciary 

This bill would ensure that all children can access the security of legal parentage, regardless of the circumstances of their birth, helping to protect diverse forms of families.

An Act providing for climate change adaptation infrastructure and affordable housing investments in the Commonwealth (H.2890) 

Lead Sponsors: Senator Jaime Eldridge 

Status: Referred to Joint Committee on Revenue 

This bill seeks to increase the amount of funding for Governor Bakers initial proposal. The new funding would be implemented in the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness program and the MA Climate Clearinghouse. 

An Act establishing Medicare for all in Massachusetts (S.744/H.1239) 

Lead Sponsors: Representatives Lindsay Sabadosa, Denise C. Garlick & Senator James B. Eldridge  

Status: Referred to Joint Committee on Health Care Financing  

This bill would guarantee health care access to all residents without regard to citizenship status, incarceration, financial or employment status, ethnicity, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, previous health problems, or geographic location. 

Study women veterans and long-term effects of combat on motherhood (H.3710) 

Lead Sponsors: Representative Shirley Arriaga  

Status: Referred to Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs 

This resolve would establish a special legislative commission to examine female veterans who have experienced combat and whether that experience has either short or long-term impacts on motherhood.

Additional Resources

To learn more about any of these bills, visit their coalition websites, MA, or email us at Additional factsheets included below. 

Additional Resources   for 2023-2024 MCSW Legislative Priorities

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