Bill co-sponsorships

The deadline for co-sponsoring legislation ended this past Friday. As I did with the original bill filing deadline, I wanted to offer my constituents a roundup on some of the bills I co-sponsored and my reasons for doing so.

Before I do just a word on the various definitions, because I found it confusing at first myself. The Sponsor is the person who originates or files the bill. When I say "originates" that does not always mean the sponsor wrote the bill. It could have been filed on behalf of a constituent, an advocacy group or drafted by legislative counsel. (For instance I filed -- aka "sponsored" -- a bill to aid disabled veterans that was written by one of our local veteran's agents.) Usually there are just one or two Sponsors per bill. Sometimes you will see two names listed as Joint Sponsors.

A Co-Sponsor is someone who signs on the bill that another legislator has filed and there is no real limit to the number of co-sponsors a bill can have. In fact in most cases it may be advantageous to try and get as many co-sponsors as you can to demonstrate support. So while I filed just 10 bills as the lead sponsor, I co-sponsored nearly 100 other bills that I thought were worthy of support.

Now, just to be clear there are plenty of bills out there that I did not co-sponsor that are good ideas too. Conversely there are some bills that I co-sponsored that I do not think are perfect, but I support the concept and want to see the legislation have an opportunity to come up for debate and amendment. So without further ado here is a quick rundown of some of the bills I co-sponsored. (For the complete list see my legislative web page at mass.gov.)

 

Economic development

- Create a tax credit for angel investors to encourage innovation and venture capital support of new businesses (HD2691)

- Repeal the sales tax on boats built or rebuilt in Massachusetts. (HD2209)

- Create a meals tax holiday similar to the sales tax holiday (HD539)

- Freeze unemployment insurance rates (HD540)

- Eliminate the inventory tax (HD1731)

- Allow product sampling at Farmer's Markets without liability concerns (HD1562)

- Encourage donation of leftover food by restaurants and cafeterias (HD1565)

- Reduce certain filing fees for businesses with 5 or fewer employees (HD73)

 

Welfare & EBT Reform

I supported a bi-partisan bill to reduce fraud within EBT system by requiring identify verification checks before awarding benefits, and a related bill to tighten regulations for online payments for EBT recipients. (HD3384 & HD3378)

- Require photographs on EBT cards and list prohibited purchases on application and renewal forms. (SD1016)

 

Privacy issues

- Regulate government use of automatic license plate readers (HD1117)

- Update privacy regulations for personal electronic information (HD1014)

 

Public Safety & Judicial Reform

- Improve apprehension of drunk drivers (HD239)

- Eliminate statute of limitations for sex crimes in Massachusetts for criminal cases (HD1519)

- Close loophole with out of state sex offenders evading reporting requirements (HD3288)

- Stricter penalties for drivers who fail to stop for police (HD700)

- Enhancing protection of dig safe law by requiring better training for of utility workers (SD918)

- Expand Nuclear Power Plant protections from 10 to 20 miles (HD1368)

- Offer local option regulation for sprinkler systems in new homes (HD982)

- Establish minimum standards for boater safety program (HD992)

- Promote safe operation of utility vaults (1961)

- Require greater oversight of data on recidivism rates at Department of Correction and reporting for Sex Offender treatment programs (HD3429 & HD3426)

- Reform state gun laws to clarify firearm transfer rules and create new State Police unit to assist with investigation of firearms related crimes. (HD 1926)

- Reduce filing of multiple frivolous lawsuits with malicious intent (HD2804)

- Prohibit compelled disclosure of confidential sources by members of the news media (HD1785)

- Create local option fund for school safety accounts with matching state grant component (HD984)

- Protect workplace rights of state police troopers (SD924)

- Require criminal background checks for DDS employees working with clients with disabilities (HD578)

 

Planning & Development & Municipal issues

- Support omnibus bill to update and streamline zoning reform statutes, including site plan review, ANR plans, special permits and other land use regulations (HD3216)

- Update municipal policy on assessment of marine vessels (HD2004)

- Enhance efficiency of local Housing Authorities (HD2025)

- Reduce fraud and waste in the reimbursement of insurance payments for ambulance services (HD2025)

- Assist public health volunteer responders (HD396)

 

Workforce Development & Labor Issues

- Increase the minimum wage (HD1891)

- Provide for Personal Care Attendant (PCA) orientation (HD700)

- Expedite appeals of wage violations (SD149)

- Provide for displaced service workers (HD2206)

- Increase transparency in public construction (SD700)

- Allows collective bargaining rights for employees of Committee on Public Counsel Services (HD2298)

- Allow restroom breaks for transit employees (HD1939)

- Regulate hospital outsourcing of health care delivery workers (HD1826)

 

Voting & Electoral Reform

I co-sponsored several bills designed to allow Early Voting similar to what many other states currently offer. (SD1, HD48, HD1018, HD2080)

- Reform the initiative & referendum petition process to reduce fraud in signature gathering and prohibit for-profit signature gatherers from being paid on a per-signature basis (HD634)

- Allow Unenrolled voters to serve on local Boards of Registrar (HD2012)

- Allow for pre-registration of voters at RMV. (HD1017)

- Extend existing campaign finance reform rules relating to ballot access to municipal candidates. (HD293)

- Allow for Selective Service registration while applying for Mass. driver's license. (HD1717)

 

Energy & Environment

- Support solar development by homeowners and businesses by allowing for purchase of unsold S-REC credits by distribution companies. (HD2838)

- Modernize property tax exemptions for renewable energy systems (HD395)

- Expanded state's Renewable Energy Portfolio (HD910)

- Support use of hydrokinetic energy (HD1895)

- Expand the Bottle Bill to include water bottles and other containers that did not exist when original bottle bill was created. (HD1105)

- Updating appliance standards for energy efficiency. (HD3039)

- Promoting the use of electric vehicles (HD3002)

 

Education

- Revive the Foundation Budget Review Commission (HD 2923)

- Increase circuit breaker for special ed funding and reimbursement for regional transportation funding (HD826)

- Improve working conditions and compensation of faculty at our public higher education institutions (HD502)

- Collecting and tracking data on school bullying (HD1882)

- Establish commission to investigate the current funding of the higher education system and to make recommendations (SD189)

 

Health & Human Services

- Provide insurance coverage and long-term antibiotic treatment for Lyme Disease. (HD1737)

- Recognize PANDA/PANS illness (HD3192)

- "Real Lives Bill": allow for greater self-determination for people with disabilities within the department of developmental services.  (HD1379)

- Create a tax credit for senior hearing aid purchases. (HD64)

- Update laws to protect women's health (HD125)

- Allow individuals with Prader Willis syndrome access to services at Dept. of Developmental Services. (HD2857)

- Provide LGBT awareness training services for older adults (HD1215)

- Prevent shackling of pregnant female inmates during labor delivery (HD826)

- Stabilize nurisng home facilities (HD2465)

- Establish minimum standards for patient-nurse staffing (HD1577)

- Compassionate aid to terminally ill patients. (HD1183) This bill was adopted from the unsuccessful "Death with Dignity" campaign ballot question. I did not support this ballot question in the fall because I had concerns about the way it was written and the potential for abuse. However I did and do support the idea that when it comes to matters of life and death we should be leaving these decisions in the hands of individuals, families and their doctors, and not the government. For that reason I am supporting this improved bill which allows qualified terminally ill patients the ability to obtain a prescription from their physician for medication that the patient may choose to self-administer for a humane and dignified death. It requires that the individual must be deemed mentally and psychologically competent, able to make and communicate and informed medical decision, and to be acting voluntarily. There are also additional safeguards that were not present in the original legislation. There's a lot more to the bill than I can spell out here but if you are interested in learning more please let me know and I can share it with you.

 

Plymouth County issues

As a member of the Plymouth County delegation I joined with my fellow legislators to support a bi-partisan package of bills to help make county operations more efficient and effective.  Among them are:

- Establish Plymouth County Charter (HD2764)

- Create County stabilization fund (2458)

- Shift allocation of deeds excise fee to provide more equitable portion to county (HD996)

- Address County Sheriff pension funding liability (HD2812)

 

Animal Welfare

- Prohibit farm animal cruelty. (HD691)

- Protect puppies and kittens from irresponsible breeders  (HD1738)

- Update poaching laws relative to illegal hunting (HD3033)

 

Miscellaneous

- Recognize cheerleading as a sport (HD2095)

- Eliminate the prohibition of novelty sparklers (HD1875)

- Apply Open Meeting Law to State Legislature (HD1160)

- Allow distinctive license plate for firefighters (HD2561)

- Allow "Support our Troops" distinctive license (HD310)

– Create assessment on campaign war chests for political candidates (HD906)

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Rep. Josh S. Cutler
State House, Room 26
Boston, MA 02133
Phone: 617-722-2080

Legislative Aide: Cole Angley

Please direct campaign or volunteer related inquiries to our local office:
Email: rep@joshcutler.com
Mailing Address: PO Box 2775, Duxbury, MA 02331





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