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Statewide Legislative Platform

MDSC Advocates meeting with Ways & Means Chair Brian Dempsey(L to R) Katherine Craven, Jane Lane, Maureen Gallagher, John Anton,
Ways & Means Committee Chairman Brian Dempsey and Dr. Brian Skotko.


At the start of each two-year legislative session, the MDSC’s Government Affairs Committee carefully selects a set of priority bills and secondary support bills for our statewide legislative platform. We believe that the best way to put these bills on legislators’ agendas is for our members to take action and contact their representatives about the issues they care about. Learn more about how you can be a legislative advocate.

Priority Bills

Higher Education Bill

An Act creating higher education opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities, autism, and other developmental disabilities who have exited special education (H.1219, H.1218, S.756) —  Sponsored by Representatives Patricia Haddad and Sean Garballey; and Senators Joan Lovely and Michael Rodrigues
This bill allows persons with intellectual disabilities (ID), autism and other disabilities to access the Commonwealth’s state colleges and universities to gain skills necessary to work and live as independently as possible as adults.
Read the MDSC’s testimony in support of the Higher Education Bill here.

ABA Therapy Bill

An Act relative to applied behavioral analysis therapy (H.3715) - Sponsored by Representative Peter J. Durant
This bill is for all private and public insurance to cover the costs of ABA services for people with Down syndrome.

Support Bills:


An Act relative to the certification of interpreters in educational settings (H.417) - Sponsored by Representative Antonio Cabral and Senator James Welch
This legislation directs the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to create standards and competencies for the training, hiring and use of interpreters in educational settings in order to provide limited English proficient (LEP) parents and students with competent interpretation services, as required by federal and state law. Implementation of the bill would be phased in, focusing initially on school districts designated as chronically underperforming, in order to enhance the ability to reach the goals of the districts’ turnaround plans. Implementation in other districts would be delayed until the department determines appropriate.

An Act that require training and preparation in the use of augmentative and alternative communication for students who are nonverbal or who have limited speech for certain educator licenses (H.403) – Sponsored by Representative Christine Barber
This legislation amends teacher license regulations to require that all teachers who apply for an initial Massachusetts educator license receive instruction on the appropriate use of augmentative and alternative communication devices for children with disabilities who are nonverbal or who have limited speech. This bill will help improve outcomes for students as well as reduce costs for school districts by facilitating inclusion and supporting placement of children with disabilities who are nonverbal or who have limited speech in the least restrictive environment.

An Act to ensure equal access to education, including special education services, for all students in Massachusetts (H.432) - Sponsored by Representative Marjorie Decker
This bill will make information available to the public in order to assist the Commonwealth and local communities address barriers to education that students may face due to bias and discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, disability, English learner status, and/or sex.


Nicky’s Law: An Act to protect persons with intellectual or developmental disability from abuse (H.101, S.71) Sponsored by Representative Linda Campbell and Senator Michael Moore
This bill establishes a registry of care providers substantiated of abuse of an individual with autism or intellectual and developmental disabilities within the DDS system. The bill will prevent serial abuse and addresses due process for care providers.

An Act relative to criminal justice training regarding autistic persons (H.2139, S.1443) — Sponsored by Representative Paul Tucker and Senator Michael Moore
This bill will require training of law enforcement officers and correction officers in the commonwealth in appropriate and safe interactions with persons on the autism spectrum.

An Act requiring the monitoring and documentation of school discipline (H.3758)


Operation House Call: An Act supporting individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (H.1875, S.1288) — Sponsored by Representative Carolyn Dykema and Senator Jason Lewis
This bill established voluntary training programs for medical and nursing schools in best practices for the care of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities

Dental Health: An Act to improve oral health for all Massachusetts residents (H.1916, S.1215) Sponsored by Representatives Smitty Pignatelli and Kate Hogan; and Senator Harriette Chandler
This bill would establish the position of advanced dental hygiene practitioner and require training about best practices for people with autism and I/DD. The DHP will perform dental services in settings as community centers, nursing homes and schools.

Protecting Medically Fragile Kids: An Act Relative to Critical Data Collection on the Medically Fragile Population (H.1896, S.686) – Sponsored by Representatives Denise C. Garlick and Louis L. Kafka and Senator Cindy F. Friedman
This bill allows for a meaningful review of nursing hours, rates, utilization, and nurses registered with Masshealth/Medicaid every two years to increase access to home care nurses and maintain an adequate workforce to care for medically fragile children in their family home.

Hospital Training: An Act creating autism teams in hospitals (H.1889, S.1287) —Sponsored by Representative Sean Garballey and Senator Jason Lewis
This bill will expand current hospital based medical providers' knowledge about autism and I/DD, in order to improve the treatment individuals receive in medical settings.


Cueing and Supervision: An Act relative to cueing and supervision in the Personal Care Attendant (PCA) Program (H.154, S.60) —Sponsored by Representative James O’Day and Senator Joan Lovely
This bill amends Ch. 7 of the general law to allow the PCA program to include cueing and prompting as a covered service for those eligible members who need it. Notwithstanding the provisions of any general or special law to the contrary, the division shall develop or amend any standards and regulations applicable to the personal care attendant program to include as eligible members those individuals who are otherwise eligible for said program, but who require supervision and cueing in order to perform two or more activities of daily living.

Accessory Housing: An Act relative to accessory dwelling units (H.1250, S.820) – Sponsored by Representative Christine Barber and Senator Bruce Tarr
This bill would allow the development and preservation of affordable housing for persons with disabilities and the elderly. It is designed to encourage creation accessory dwelling units in the form of 2 bedroom accessory apartments for people with disabilities and the elderly. the bill would make creating an accessory apartment (an in-law apartment, for example) added to a single family home for the benefit of a person with a disability, or an elderly person, a right.

Supported Decision Making: An Act relative to supported decision-making agreements for certain adults with disabilities (H.172, S.64) — Sponsored by Representatives Aaron Vega, Paul Tucker and Senator Joan Lovely
This bill, allows certain adults, including those with disabilities and elders, to maintain their rights, dignity, and independence by choosing one or more trusted supporters to provide assistance making decisions about their lives.

Human Services Workforce

Loan Repayment for Human Service Workers: An Act relative to a loan repayment program for human service workers (H.163, S.56) — Sponsored by Representatives Jeff Roy and Smitty Pignatelli and Senator Eric Lesser
This bill would create an education loan repayment program for human service workers that work under state contracts to serve clients on behalf of the Commonwealth. To be eligible, workers must be working at least 35 hours per week, have an individual income of no more than $50,000 per year and have maintained 12 consecutive months of employment in the sector. The program would allow workers to receive up to $150/month for a period not to exceed 48 months to repay a qualified education loan that was used to attend an institution of higher learning

Fair Pay for Comparable Work: An Act relative fair pay for comparable work (H.138) - Sponsored by Representative Kay Khan
This bill seeks to have staff at private providers be paid the same as those in state-operated programs in the same fields. Providers would be given higher reimbursements to address the salary disparity while allowing the elderly and those individuals with disabilities, to maintain their rights, dignity, and independence by choosing their support staff.


An Act relative to persons with developmental disabilities (H.155, S.61) — Sponsored by Representative James O’Day and Senator Joan Lovely
This bill adopts the federal definition of developmental disability in place of the current state definition of developmental disability and will amend the definition to include all adult individuals with a developmental disability, e.g. cerebral palsy and fetal alcohol syndrome.

Katie’s Law: An Act relative to individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities (H.141) Sponsored by Representative Kay Khan
This bill (Katie’s Law) would strike out certain phrases/words and outdated language (mentally retarded, handicap, etc.) in the General Laws and replacing them with more appropriated words as disability or intellectual or developmental disability.

For more details on our 2019-2020 Priority and Support Bills, click here. Contact us at for more information on the progress of these bills. You can also track the bills on the Massachusetts Legislature’s website.

Prior Legislative Platforms: