Legislation

For a full list of bills I am filing in the current session, please visit my page the Massachusetts Legislature website at https://malegislature.gov/Legislators/Profile/PDJ0.

An Act further regulating the Commission on Falls Prevention

This bill amends language to accurately reflect current name of Assisted Living Association (formerly Assisted Living Facilities Association).
 

An Act directing the administration to amend the Frail Elder Home and community-Based Waiver to permit eligible older adults to choose to reside in Certified Assisted Living

This bill requires the Executive Office of Health and Human Services to report on the availability and estimated cost of said waiver which would allow individuals qualifying for Medicaid and at-risk for entering a nursing home to reside in an certified assisted living residence.
 

An Act establishing a home care aide training registry

The purpose of this legislation is to establish a home care aide workforce training registry focused on quality with safeguards and privacy protections for home care aides to monitor completion rates and certificates of home care aide training graduates as well as in-service and advanced training qualifications of home care aides trained by home care agencies.
 

An Act relative to training of elder services workers in dementia and Alzheimer’s

This legislation would require elder protective service caseworkers to have training specifically focused on recognizing the signs and symptoms of cognitive impairments, including Alzheimer’s disease, and understanding how cognitive impairment may affect screening, investigation, and service planning.
 

An Act including transitory student enrollment in the calculation of aid under Chapter 70

This bill would allow students who transition into a district after October 1 to be factored into the student census for purposes of calculating the Foundation Budget and, consequently, state financial aid to the school district. This will ensure that state aid to Massachusetts cities and towns should more accurately reflects district demographics by creating provisions to fund expenses related to transitory student enrollment.
 

An Act relative to student assessment data

Most communities in the state have a cap of 9% on the amount of tuition that can be sent to charter schools.  However, communities in the bottom 10% of MCAS scores have an 18% cap.  This legislation would determine the lowest 10% of communities, for the purposes of lifting the cap, using the measure of student growth rather than static measures.
 
MCAS scores are highly correlated with socio-economic status.  Districts which rank lowest on MCAS have the highest poverty levels, and this is extremely unlikely to change.  School effectiveness, however, can change. MCAS scores are a limited and often misused measure of school effectiveness.  But if we are going to use them to measure effectiveness, we should use student growth rather than a static measure.  Schools should be judged not by the student body they serve, but by how well they educate the students.
 

An Act updating the wrongful convictions compensation law

This bill would update the wrongful convictions compensation statute for the first time since it was passed 12 years ago to ensure that those wrongfully imprisoned for crimes they did not commit are compensated in a fair and timely manner.  A person often leaves prison with nothing and it can take up to 3 years for a person to receive compensation.  This forces some to settle for less than they are due in order to receive money quicker.  This bill is designed to speed up the process and to increase the compensation.  We will never be able to fully compensate those who were wrongfully imprisoned, but we can do better.
 

An Act decriminalizing non-violent and verbal student misconduct

Statements and non-violent actions by students that used to result in detentions are now too frequently resulting in arrests and criminal prosecutions.  These unnecessary arrests for non-violent and verbal conduct curtail future educational and employment options for the students and increase the burden on our court system.  This legislation would revise current criminal law and prohibit its use for non-violent misconduct in schools, allowing arrest and prosecution only for more serious acts of misconduct.  It would also further define the role police officers have in schools to ensure they are there to promote safety rather than enforce school discipline.
 

An Act to protect victims of rape and children conceived during the commission of said offense

This billl would modify General law to give rape victims and their children legal protection from their abusers, so that convicted abusers cannot seek custodial or visitation rights. Contact with their attacker is harmful for the parent of the child concieved through rape, and this bill would end the neccesity for contact.  Currently, Massachusetts does not have these legal protections for rape victims, which leaves these victims vulnerable to further detriment from their abuser.

An Act relative to medical placement of terminal and incapacitated inmates

This legislation would reduce the amount of money that the Department of Corrections and the Houses of Corrections spend on health care for inmates with irreversible conditions that are terminal or incapacitating.  Under this legislation, a person is deemed to be incapacitated to the point that they no longer pose any danger to society would be eligible for medical parole.  The individual will remain under supervision after the placement and would be reincarcerated if they recover.  Massachusetts is one of only a handful of states without a provision like this.