The legislative program of the Needham Area Immigration Justice Task Force is following several bills listed below on the graphic. Our three priorities are early in the list: the Trust Act, the Safe Driving Act and the In-State Tuition Bill number H1061. Please note that there are three In-State Tuition bills, the first two of which would prohibit granting in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants. Only the H1061 would make in-state tuition available to them. Summary information about each bill appears below the graph.

Summary: 189th General Court Legislation to Track and Support or Oppose

TOPIC BILL # SPONSORS JOINT COMMITTEE SUPPORT BILL?
TRUST ACT H1228 Carvalho Judicary YES
SAFE DRIVING ACT H2985 Tricia Farley-Bouvier
Patricia D. Jenlen
Transportation YES
IN-STATE TUITION H1054 James Lyons
Shaunna O’Connell
Higher Education NO
IN-STATE TUITION H1953 Marc Lombardo
Kevin Kuros
Higher Education NO
IN-STATE TUITION H1061 Denise Provost Higher Education YES
EQUAL ACCESS H125 Byron Rushing Children Families and
Persons with Disabilities
YES
ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE H1026 Tom Sannicandro Health Care Financing YES
LANGUAGE OPPORTUNITIES H498 Jeffrey Sanchez Education YES
SPECIAL JUVENILES H1418 Louis Kafka
Mayor Martin Walsh
Judiciary YES
EXTENSION OF VOTING
RIGHTS FOR NON-CITIIZENS
H596 Byron Rushing Election Laws YES
TRUST ACT H1228 Carvalho Judicary YES
SAFE DRIVING ACT H2985 Tricia Farley-Bouvier
Patricia D. Jenlen
Transportation YES
IN-STATE TUITION H1054 James Lyons
Shaunna O’Connell
Higher Education NO
IN-STATE TUITION H1953 Marc Lombardo
Kevin Kuros
Higher Education NO
IN-STATE TUITION H1061 Denise Provost Higher Education YES
EQUAL ACCESS H125 Byron Rushing Children Families and
Persons with Disabilities
YES
ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE H1026 Tom Sannicandro Health Care Financing YES
LANGUAGE OPPORTUNITIES H498 Jeffrey Sanchez Education YES
SPECIAL JUVENILES H1418 Louis Kafka
Mayor Martin Walsh
Judiciary YES
EXTENSION OF VOTING
RIGHTS FOR NON-CITIIZENS
H596 Byron Rushing Election Laws YES

 

Above are the major bills in the current State Legislature, which are of interest to our Task Force. The most significant ones are the Trust Act, which failed to pass in the last session, the Safe Driving Act, which also failed, and In-State Tuition which former Governor Patrick failed to sign.

Brief summaries of the content follow.

  • The Trust Act prohibits the arrest or detaining of an individual solely on the basis of a civil immigration detainer. Massachusetts law enforcement agencies shall not allow ICE agents to use their facilities for investigative interviews or other purposes, or allow access to inmates either in person, via telephone or video conference.
  • The Safe Driving Act prohibits the registrar of motor vehicles from denying a license to operate a motor vehicle or learner’s permit based on the applicant’s failure to provide a social security number or evidence of immigration status.
  • Two bills prohibit granting in-state tuition and fees to non-citizens, whereas H1061 would allow students otherwise qualifying for admission to state higher education institutions to be eligible for in-state tuition if they affirm that they will apply (or are applying) for citizenship or permanent residency status within 120 days of applying for in-state tuition. We support only H1061.
  • Equal Access to All Services would provide services to all residents, notwithstanding alienage or immigration status including children and families as well as the disabled.
  • Access to Health Care specifies who is eligible for Medicare including non-residents who work 20 hours or more per week in the state, pay income and payroll taxes, and/or require emergency treatment for illness or injury.
  • Language Opportunities seeks to provide the highest level of education through research based instructional programs and defines English learners as children who come from diverse linguistic, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds.
  • The Special Juvenile Act allows family courts to determine that it is in the best interest of the child not to require him or her to return to the petitioner’s or the petitioner’s parents’ previous country due to abuse, neglect or abandonment.
  • Finally the act enabling cities and town to extend voting rights in municipal elections to certain non-citizens only allows the municipality to vote on it. This does not require any of the 351 cities or towns to put the issue to a local vote.

Opportunities to get involved with state legislation issues:

  • Attend public hearings on bills we are following that support the rights and opportunities of immigrants.
  • Write letters or call our state representative, Denise Garlick, and our two state senators, Richard Ross and Michael Rush, in support of these bills.
  • Submit letters and op ed pieces to the editors of our weekly newspapers, the Needham Times and the Hometown Weekly, explaining the need for selected pieces of legislation and urging readers to support the measures.

Join Us!

Point Person: Phyllis Mays maysp@rcn.com