Each legislative session, MassFamilies establishes legislative priorities to guide our advocacy work.
These priorities are in response to current legislation that affect individuals with developmental disabilities in Massachusetts and their families.
Scroll down to learn more.
An Act Addressing the Inequitable Impact of the Pandemic on Black and Latinx Individuals with Autism
HD 1984 / SD 1904
– Filed by Representative Christine P. Barber and Senator Joan Lovely
This legislation ensures that the Massachusetts Autism Commission addresses the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Black and Latinx individuals with autism. Black and Latino individuals in Massachusetts have been infected with COVID-19 at rates three times higher than White residents. Furthermore, Black and Latinx families are less likely to have the necessary devices and high-speed internet connection necessary to access remote services and are more likely to experience additional barriers related to family illness,
death, and other COVID-19 stressors. Inequities faced by individuals with autism cannot be effectively identified and addressed without gathering race specific data for this population.
This bill directs the Autism Commission to investigate
available data regarding services provided to individuals with autism by racial and ethnic group, primary language, economic status, and gender. The legislation also requires the Autism Commission’s annual report to include recommendations to improve services and address the inequitable impact of the pandemic and recovery process on Black and Latinx individuals who have autism.
Introduced on March 29 2021. The House concurred.
An Act to Ensure Equitable Access to Education, Including Special Education Services, for All Students in Massachusetts
– Filed by Representative Marjorie C. Decker
This bill will make education data available to the public in a manner that reveals inequities for specific subpopulations of students. Providing the Commonwealth and local communities access to this information is particularly urgent during the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery as Black and Latinx communities, and students within these communities, have been significantly and disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. School districts are already required to submit this data to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) pursuant to state and federal law. This legislation would not require the collection of additional data. It would direct DESE to publish data on the delivery of educational opportunities to students in a manner that will provide important information about the range of demographic subgroups facing the most significant inequities, such as low-income Black students, Black males with disabilities, or Latino English Learners with disabilities. With this information, DESE, educators, and local communities will be better positioned to address identified disparities. In the future, this legislation will require that DESE publish data in a similar manner regarding access to special education services for students throughout the Commonwealth.
Introduced on March 29 2021. Virtual hearing scheduled for 07/06/2021 from 12:00 PM-05:00 PM
Legislative Alerts & Advocacy Updates
Valentine's Day is right around the corner and it's time to spread some love. For Valentine's Day, we are encouraging all families in our network to send a Valentine to their State Representative and Senator. We are deeply appreciative to our legislators for all they...
MassFamilies board members and advocates were honored to be part of the The Arc of Massachusetts 45th Annual Legislative Reception last week on March 7, 2023. View our photo gallery from the event below. MassFamilies board members and advocates with Legislative...
February is right around the corner and it's time to spread some love. This year, for Valentine's Day, we are asking all families in our network to send a Valentine to their State Representative and Senator. We are deeply appreciative to our legislators for all they...
Calling all Massachusetts Family Leaders!! Your voice is needed to support the creation of a paid caregiver role for parents through MassHealth. MassHealth is creating a Complex Care Assistant role as a means to allow parents to get paid for providing care to members...
We interrupt the mundane this week to bring you this special edition of our MassFamilies Family Leaders in Action. You may already recognize her, but we'd like to introduce you to Loida Love Dominguez. Loida is a Family Leadership Series graduate and strong voice for...
Our partners at Parent/Professional Advocacy League (PPAL) sit at the table with partners on the Children's Mental Health Campaign. PPAL is the only family organization at the table to provides the family voice. The Campaign partners have asked PPAL to bring...