Legislation Supported by JRI

Massachusetts    Rhode Island     Connecticut     Federal

 

Massachusetts

You can find contact info for your state legislator here: And then call or email to ask that they support legislation.

Additionally, here are the 2021-2022 committee assignments for the House and Senate in Massachusetts. 

General Social Justice

  • An Act Relative to Accountability For Vulnerable Children and Families (H.239, Khan) and (S.32, Lovely) This bill would require DCF to include data on sexual orientation and gender identity in their demographics to provide better support for LGBTQ+ youth. Learn more information here, provided by Citizens for Juvenile Justice and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD).
  • Lift Kids Out of Deep Poverty, (H.199, Decker) and (S.96, DiDomenico).  These bills will raise cash assistance grants in Massachusetts by 10% per year until they reach 50% of the federal poverty level. 
  • An Act Establishing a Diaper Benefit Pilot Program (S.125) Reported favorably by Committee
  • An Act Relative to Medicaid Coverage for Doula Services (S.1475/H.2372) Reported favorably by Committee.
  • Check out the list of legislative priorities put out by the Massachusetts Association for Mental Health here!
  • Contact your legislators and ask them to support using ARPA funds to help strengthen the Human Services workforce that is shrinking daily!
  • An Act Providing Affordable and Accessible High Quality Early Education and Care (H.605Gordon & Madaro) and (S.362, Lewis & Moran). Read more here!
  • An Act Relative to Language Access and Inclusion (H.3199, Madaro & Gonzalez) and (S.2040, DiDomenico).
  • An Act to ensure positive transition plans to prevent youth homelessness (H.248, S.85)
  • An Act Expanding Access to Adoption (S.2616): This Bill was signed into law by the Governor on April 12, 2022! POLICY-2022.04_SHNS_SiblingAdoptionBill-Signed-S2616.pdf
  • An Act To Provide Identification to Youth and Adults Experiencing Homelessness (S.2612) This bill passed the Senate on January 13th.  Bill has broad support in the House and we anticipate rapid approval.
  • An Act Relative to Expanding Access and Safety of Mental Health Services: Currently in Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery. Would allow LMHCs to complete Section 12 emergency orders. (https://malegislature.gov/Bills/192/H2075). To be reported out on May 9, 2022.
  • An Act to Increase Access to Menstrual Products in Prisons, Homeless Shelters, and Public Schools:  POLICY-April 2022-I AM Fact Sheet.pdf https://legiscan.com/MA/bill/S2730/2021  JRI is signing on as a supporting organization for this legislation. 
  • An Act Granting Equal Access to Original Birth Certificates for all persons born in MA. H.2294/S.1440. Bill supported by the Children's League to ensure adoptees have access to their birth certificates. Sign the petition here if you choose:  https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfB0oH4OT4zeKOyw19TsdpNiBYwAlARlC36YFRfhsMFqBdQqQ/viewform

Juvenile Justice

  • An Act Relative to Judicial Supervision to Promote Child Well-Being (H.1569, Oakley) and (S.984, Creem)
  • An Act to Prioritize Violence Prevention and Social Emotional Health in School Support Staff Hiring (S.290, Chang-Diaz)
  • An Act Relative to the Location of School Resource Officers (H.694, Sabadosa)
  • An Act Relative to Juveniles Accused of Sex Offenses (S.933, Brownsberger)
  • An Act Providing Easier and Greater Access to Record Sealing (S.1037, Friedman)
  • An Act Providing for Certificates of Rehabilitation, Second Chances, Increased Success, and Community Prosperity (S.932, Brownsberger)
  • An Act Expanding Access and Safety of Mental Health Services (H. 2075, Cutler) To Allow LMHCs to conduct Section 12 evaluations. 
  • An Act relative to crime gun data reporting and analysis (H.2437/S.1562), sponsored by Rep. Decker and Sen. Creem would require the state to analyze data that has already been collected so that we can better understand how guns are ending up in our communities.POLICY-Crime Gun Data Fact Sheet-2022.pdf
  • Updates April 2022: Citizens for Juvenile Justice updated the status of pending juvenile justice legislation.  FACT SHEET Status of JJ bills as of April 2022.pdf    Most of the bills are still making progress, but two of the school policing bills were sent to study along with the bill decriminalizing adolescent consensual sexual activity between like-aged youth.  This allows the bills to be re-introduced next legislative session. 

Human Services Providers

  • April 2022: House Ways and Means releases FY'23 Budget Proposal: https://malegislature.gov/Budget/FY2023/HouseWaysMeansBudget/Ways_Means_Final_Budget  Proposed increase to Chapter 257 funds fall significantly short of providers' request.
  • April 2022: Governor Baker's Supplemental Budget was signed into law with additional funds for human services, child care, and $140 million for fy'23 for private special education schools to address workforce recruitment and retention.  
  • An Act Establishing a Loan Repayment Program for Direct Care Human Service Workers (S.120, Lesser) and (H.266, Roy) - February 2022 Update - Bill received a favorable report from the Joint Committee on Children, Families, and Persons with Disabilities. Moves on to Senate Ways and Means
  • An Act Relative to Fair Pay for Comparable Work (S.105, Friedman) and (H.237, Khan) - February 2022 Update - Bill received a favorable report from the Joint Committee on Children, Families, and Persons with Disabilities. Moves on to Senate Ways and Means. 

Individuals with Disabilities

  • An Act Relative to Strengthening Background Checks (S.393)
  • An Act Relative to Assure Opportunities for All Students with Disabilities (H.611)
  • An Act Relative to Licensing Group Care Facilities Serving Students with Special Needs (H.647)
  • An Act to Create a Facilities Loan Program for Private Special education Schools (S.345)
  • Protect Disabled Parents' Rights (H.1711, S.1083). Also check out this informative poster for more details! Update for February, 2022: Both bills were reported out favorably by the Joint Committee on the Judiciary. Stay tuned for next steps!
  • Update to Senate Bill to Support Parents with Disabilities - Re-draft:  POLICY-S1080 and S1038 - redraft 12-10-21 MLRI and MHLAC Endorsed.docx

Rhode Island

You can find contact info for your Rhode Island state legislator here: And then call or email to ask that they support legislation.

Connecticut

You can find contact info for your Connecticut state legislator here: And then call or email to ask that they support legislation.

  • April 2022: CT Nonprofit Alliance asks everyone to write to legislators to support budget increases for nonprofits!  Contact Your Legislator - The Alliance (ctnonprofitalliance.org)
  • Check out the Nonprofit Alliance news page:https://ctnonprofitalliance.org/news-media/ , for public policy notes that keep you up to date on all of the legislative updates in Connecticut!
  • March 2022: 120 Nonprofit staff from Alliance member programs testified at CT Appropriations Committee Public Hearing this week on the dire need for wage increases to address the workforce crisis.  The Governor's proposed budget for FY'23 includes some funds for new programs but no additional funds to support salary increases in existing programs. 
  • Check out some legislative priorities addressing equity, inclusion, learning gaps, and much more in Connecticut! Read it in "The Day" here.
  • Sen. Osten and Nonprofit Alliance address the need for increased workforce funding:  https://www.theday.com/statenortheast-news/20220118/osten-nonprofits-push-for-full-funding

National Legislation

  • End the Backlog:  Write to Congress to end the backlog of unprocessed rape kits; in honor of Sexual Assault Victims Awareness Month, April 2022.  https://www.endthebacklog.org/take-action
  • JRI fully supports the proposed George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021. Download the fact sheet to learn more about the proposed changes. This legislation is currently stuck in Congress and will likely be re-introduced in the next session.
  • Protecting kids at the point of arrest/entrance into the system, H.R. 2834, by Congressman Tony Cardenas.
  • Establishing a minimum juvenile and adult court age, H.R. 2908, by Congresswoman Karen Bass.
  • Reforming sentencing standards for children convicted as adults, H.R. 2858, by Congressman Bruce Westerman.
  • Ensure Medicaid access for vulnerable foster care children. Check out the full details and bill here.
  • JRI is a member of the Coalition for Juvenile Justice (CJJ), advocating for juvenile justice reform at the federal level:https://www.juvjustice.org/
  • CJJ summary on Omnibus Legislation to increase appropriations for juvenile justice (Mar. 2022).CJJ-Omnibus Legislation-FY23_0.docx 
  • Latest news on federal juvenile justice policy from National Juvenile Justice Network (NJJN):  https://www.njjn.org/article/federal-update-february-march-2022

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Rachel has been a part of the JRI team since January, 2000. For over 20 years, Rachel has been working in the field of human services assisting families with accessing and navigating services. Rachel received her Bachelors degree in psychology and Masters Degree in Public Administration from Bridgewater State University. She was promoted in July 2005 to Family Networks Program Director where she closely worked with the Department of Children Families for 10 years ensuring that children and families received the highest quality of individualized services ranging from community based through residential care. Rachel is very dedicated to helping the individuals she works with and is committed to improving the lives of children and families. Rachel’s passion for creative service programming inspires her in her role as JRI Service Navigator.