Tagged: HB 1771

What the Third Reading means

IMG_3315We’re in a crucial stage for getting the Healthy Workplace Bill, HB 1771, passed into law. We’re at the Third Reading. In simple terms, this stage means a reading with all amendments for final approval. In this phase, legislators examine the bill for legality, constitutionality, and the duplication or contradiction of existing law.

This step is a big deal. This stage is the furthest point in the process we reached previously. Two sessions ago, we reached this point just before the end of session. This time, we have an entire year left before the session ends.

What this stage means for you
Soon we’ll ask you to give another push to your state legislators asking them to vote in favor of HB 1771. Meeting with your legislators or their aides, who pass along information to your legislators, is the most effective action you can take at this point, but you can also email your state legislators. Feel free to use an email template to help focus your message and attach these two fact sheets:
Fact Sheet #1
Fact Sheet #2

We’ll keep you posted on when we anticipate action on this bill so you can approach your legislators when it will have the greatest impact.

Thanks for helping get us to this point. We’ve come a long way thanks to you spreading the word, and we have more hope now than ever.

Where we’re at in the State House

Massachusetts State House (photo: DY)The Heathy Workplace Bill (HB 1771) has officially been moved to the committee on House Steering, Policy and Scheduling in the State House. This committee helps the Speaker identify the priority of legislative matters in the House Calendar. So we’re waiting on where we’ll end up in the House. As soon as we know, we’ll ask you to contact your legislators again and likely ask you to ask Speaker Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop) to make the Healthy Workplace Bill a priority.

See where the bill is at in the State House by clicking on the Bill History tab at this link.

Find out how where we’re at fits into the overall steps needed to pass the Healthy Workplace Bill into law.

We have a hearing date

We now have a hearing date for the first step in getting the Healthy Workplace Bill passed this legislative session. Mark your calendars for next Tuesday, July 21 at the State House, time and room to be decided. (Check back on the Joint Committee for Labor and Workforce Development page on the Hearings tab for a time and location update.)

We need your help

We hope to fill the room with advocates to show support for the Healthy Workplace Bill. If you can take the day off and attend, join us to show your support. We have an official panel lined up but still encourage your presence and testimony at the end of the hearing.

At the hearing. legislators listen to testimony about several bills. Last session, most attendees in the room appeared in support of the Healthy Workplace Bill, so legislators waited until the end of the hours-long hearing to listen to testimony from our advocates. We encourage you to speak at the end on behalf of the bill.

Dos and don’ts of speaking at the hearing

DO speak about your experience. Speak from the heart about how workplace bullying affected you, especially how it harmed your health and affected your personal relationships. Remember that legislators want to hear from you.

DO keep your testimony to under two minutes. By the end of the hours-long hearing, legislators may be tired. The last thing we want to do is turn them off, so stick to the facts and to your own experience and keep it brief. It’s difficult to summarize months or years of bullying into two minutes, but it’s important to do so.

DO stick to our talking points. Refresh yourself on the main points we want to get across:

  1. Accountability, not just training, is what will change behavior.
  2. There will be a high threshold for recovery.
  3. The bill is based on the U.S. Supreme Court’s definition of a hostile work environment for sexual harassment.
  4. The bill enters the picture only when the bullying behaviors have become severe and harmful.
  5. Employers can minimize their liability exposure by acting preventively and responsively toward bullying.
  6. The bill focuses on addressing the bullying behavior, not killing jobs.
  7. Many workplace bullying targets already lose jobs, choosing their health over daily suffering.

DO visit your state rep and senator that day. Before or after the hearing, stop by your legislators’ offices and ask them to support the Healthy Workplace Bill. That’s one state rep and one state senator. Try to make an appointment with them beforehand. If you can only speak with an aide, do that. Aides will pass along information to legislators. The State House is hard to navigate, so write down the State House room numbers before that day, bring them with you, and don’t be afraid to ask someone how to get to those offices. Bring a copy of each of these fact sheets (two of each, one for each legislator) to leave with your legislators:
Fact sheet
Myths sheet

DO email these fact sheets to your legislators if you can’t make it that day. Your legislators want to hear from you.

DON’T mention bully’s names or workplaces — unless asked. The goal is to pass the law, not to out a boss or workplace.

DON’T feel like you have to testify to show support. If you’re not ready to speak under two minutes about your experience, don’t feel obligated to speak. You may not be ready, and that’s ok. Showing your support by attending is much appreciated whether or not you speak.

Remember that perseverance is key. Most bills take years to pass, and we’ve come a long way with just 20 advocates five years ago to now more than 5,000. Help become part of history by showing your support and helping to fill the room on Tuesday, July 21.