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NASW-MA Priority Bills/Legislative Agenda for 2017-18

The Massachusetts Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW-MA) is the largest professional social work organization in the state with 7,000 members representing every Senate and House district across the Commonwealth. Our members work in a broad range of settings including hospitals and health care settings, community agencies, jails and courts, government, academia, nursing homes, schools, and private practice. The proposed agenda of priority and supported bills represents the diverse and varied social work and social justice concerns among our members.


  1. SD1890-HD1110 Social Work Loan Forgiveness: Act establishing education loan repayment program for social workers in areas of need: Pilot program, cost $1.2 million, to forgive loans for social workers in underserved communities or jobs. (Sponsors: Rep. Smitty Pignatelli, Sen. Jamie Eldridge)
  2. SD212-HD3230 Clawback: Act to limit retroactive denials of health insurance claims for behavioral health and substance abuse services: Prohibits insurance companies from going back further than 6 months to renege on prior approval and payment for mental health treatment. (Sponsor: Rep. James O’Day)

  4. SD1652-HD2337 Solitary Confinement: Act promoting humane conditions of confinement & enable safe reentry: Limit use of solitary confinement; ensure step down from solitary to release. (Sen. Jamie Eldridge; Rep. Ruth Balser)
  5. SD1921 Addiction Treatment: Act providing access to full spectrum addiction treatment services: require commercial insurance to expand coverage from 14 to 30 days of treatment at a cost of only 5 cents per insured member per month. (Sen. John Keenan)
  6. SD1768-HD3650 PFMLA: Act establishing a family & medical leave insurance program: Employers pay into a disability insurance fund to enable paid family medical leave. (Sen. Karen Spilka; Rep. Antonio Cabral)
  7. SD247-HD655 SNAP Gap: Act improving public health through a common application for core food, health and safety-net programs: Create a single application for benefits. (Sen. Sal DiDomenico; Rep. Jay Livingstone)

  9. SD 1128-HD 2714 Jobs Not Jails: Act for justice reinvestment: End mandatory minimums for non-violent drug convictions; raise felony-larceny threshold from $250 to $1500; lower probation and parole fees; CORI reform; improve in-jail education & job training; increase re-entry services, medical release of terminally ill. (Rep. Mary Keefe; Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz)
  10. SD1596-HD3052 Safe Communities: Act to protect the civil rights and safety of all MA residents: Prohibits participation in Muslim registry; ensures that police do not support immigration enforcement efforts. (Sen. Jamie Eldridge; Rep. Juana Matias)

Supported Bills List: These are additional bills that coalitions and legislators have asked us to support.


  • TeleMed Parity: Assures equal reimbursement for phone or skype appointments, includes all insurers, and covers mental health. (Sen. Jason Lewis, Rep. John Scibak)
  • Antitrust Immunity for Private Practitioners: Allows LICSWs to negotiate with insurers around rates, determination of medical necessity, and other issues.


  • Conversion Therapy Ban: Ban sexual orientation and gender identity conversion therapy by licensed professionals for under 18. (Sen. Mark Montigny; Rep. Kay Khan)
  • Continuity of Mental Health Care: Clients can continue with the same mental health provider if their insurance changes. (Sen. Barbara L’Italien, Reps. Ruth Balser and Tricia Farley-Bouvier)
  • PATCH: Ensures confidentiality for patients who are not the insurance holder, important for domestic violence victims and young adults covered by their parents. (Sen. Karen Spilka; Rep. Kate Hogan)
  • Free Birth Control: (ACCESS): Requires insurance carriers to provide all contraceptive methods without a co-pay; a provision in ACA that will likely be overturned. (Sen. Harriet Chandler; Rep. Patricia Haddad)
  • Health Care for DCF Youth: Ensure continuous healthcare coverage until age 26 for youth who have aged-out of DCF. (Sen. Sal DiDomenico; Rep. Danielle Gregoire)
  • Healthy Youth: Requires school districts to create a comprehensive, age-appropriate, and LGBT-inclusive sex education plan. (Sen. Sal DiDomenico, Rep. Jim O’Day)
  • Nursing Home Bed Hold: Ensure residents return to the same nursing home, room, and bed after a hospital or family visit. (Sen. Mark Montigny)
  • Nursing Home Personal Needs Allowance: Raise the monthly allowance for nursing home residents to $100/month. (Sen. Pat Jehlen, Rep. Jen Benson)
  • LGBT Older Adults: LGBT sensitivity training for older adult service providers. (Sen. Pat Jehlen, Rep. Liz Malia)
  • Parental Consent for Abortion: Repeal the current law requiring a parent or a judge’s consent for an abortion if under age 18. This would remove all state limitation on abortion rights. (Rep. Mike Connolly)
  • Death with Dignity: Allows terminally ill people with less than 6 months to live to end their lives with medical support. (Sen. Barbara L’Italien, Rep. Louis Kafka)
  • Expand Dental Care: Establish a mid-level dental provider, between a hygienist and a DDS. (Rep. Smitty Pignatelli)


  • End discrimination against condo owners of color and other vulnerable groups: Establishes a condominium ombudsman for the state for condo owners to make complaints and receive assistance. (Rep. Kevin Honan)
  • Lift the Family Welfare Cap: $100/month welfare benefit is currently denied to children born while or after their mothers first receive TAFDC. (Sen. Sal DiDomenico; Rep. Marjorie Decker)
  • Fight for $15: Raise the minimum wage to $15/hour over a period of time. (Sen. Ken Donnelly, Rep. Dan Donahue)
  • Rape Survivors Rights: Gives women the right to end custody and visitation when a child is conceived through rape (Sen. Sal DiDomenico; Reps. Carmine Gentile, Michelle DuBois)
  • Prohibit gender discrimination in disability policies: Currently women pay more for disability, accident or sickness insurance policies (Rep. Ruth Balser)
more Featured Events

Social Work in End of Life Care - 1.5 CEs

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