Legislative Report

New Session Opens with Some Familiar Bills

A new two-year legislative session opened in January on Beacon Hill, bringing with it both new and old challenges among its 5,875 recently filed bills.

The bills are currently being processed in the House and Senate clerk's offices, where they are recorded, numbered and then assigned to appropriate joint committees.

While this is going on, MANS&C Legislative Counsel John J. Spillane is using a comprehensive bill-tracking system to flag bills that are of potential concern to our MANS&C members. Several are bills that MANS&C helped turn back during the last session.

Among them are measures that would establish a special commission to study "the use and effectiveness of the Dover Amendment," which grants nonprofit educational institutions exemptions from certain zoning restrictions. This bill was re-filed by its sponsor, Sen. Michael Moore.

Another bill re-filed by Sen. Moore would establish detailed procedural requirements for nonprofit colleges and universities regarding dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.

Preliminary indications are that a number of bills this session will focus on child protection, including student privacy, bullying, concussions, sexual assault and other issues. Another focus will be school bus safety, including seatbelts on buses, health exams for bus drivers and cameras to photograph vehicles that fail to stop for school buses.

Other bills would give private school students access to the MCAS exams, and college students would gain the right to counsel for some school disciplinary hearings.

As more details become available, MANS&C will inform members via email, LinkedIn, our newsletter and the MANS&C website, www.mansac.org.