March 27 2019

Sen. Friedman Outlines Legislative Priorities of Caucus of Women Legislators

By: BNEWS

State Senator Cindy Friedman said she is happy to be working with a record number of female colleagues in the State House this session.

 

“The 191st legislative session of the Massachusetts General Court is underway on Beacon Hill with a record number of women represented in the first year class,” a release from her office says. “The House of Representatives welcomes 12 women among its 23 new legislators. In the Senate, 3 of the 5 newly elected Senators are women.”

The Senate is led by its third female President, Senator Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland), and Representative Patricia A. Haddad (D-Somerset) resumes the role of Speaker Pro-Tempore in the House, a position she has held since 2011. Women legislators now comprise 28.5 percent of the Massachusetts legislature. The previous high point reached last in 2009 (as well as 2003, 2000, and 1999) was 52 women or 26 percent of the legislature.

The Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators, a bicameral and bipartisan group of legislators, is chaired this session by Senator Friedman (D-Arlington) and Representative Liz Malia (D-Boston). The Caucus’ Board of Directors also includes: Senator Anne Gobi (D-Spencer) and Representative Linda Dean Campbell (D-Methuen) as vice chairs, Representative Carolyn Dykema (D-Holliston) as treasurer, Senator Jo Comerford (D-Northampton), Representative Colleen Garry (D-Dracut), Representative Hannah Kane (R-Shrewsbury), Representative Tram Nguyen (D-Andover), Representative Chynah Tyler (D-Boston), and Representative Carole Fiola (D-Fall River).

“As Senate chair of the caucus, I look forward to working with caucus members to push our agenda forward and elevate important issues that impact the well-being of women across the Commonwealth,” said Senator Friedman. “I am encouraged and hopeful that we can build on the success of last session to accomplish many of our shared goals this session.”  

According to the release, the Caucus has convened four task forces to examine the following issues: sexual assault, preterm birth and maternal health, and justice- involved women.

“At the start of the New Year, the caucus was pleased to see the passage of a long-time priority, An Act providing for equitable coverage in disability policies, an initiative championed by Representative Ruth Balser,” the release states. “This law prohibits gender discrimination in disability insurance policies.”

The caucus continues to prioritize combating sexual assault on college campuses and express strong support for H.1208/S.736, An Act requiring sexual misconduct climate surveys at institutions of higher education. The Joint Committee on Higher Education will publicly hear the bill on Tuesday, April 9.

Other caucus priorities include:

- S.980, An Act amending the statute of limitations regarding criminal prosecutions of the crimes of sexual assault and rape of child;

- S.24/H.1478, An Act to end child marriage in Massachusetts;

- H.3332, An Act relative to the penalties for the crime of female genital mutilation;

- S.408/H.639, An Act supporting parents running for public office;

- H.1182, An Act relative to Medicaid coverage for doula services; and

- S.1082/H.1617, An Act requiring one fair wage.  

 

 
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