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.
Now that we have nearly 40 sponsors on board and a new bill number, what do we do next?
Our next step is to get a hearing in front of the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development. We’re working behind-the-scenes to get a date for this hearing, and we expect a date in March or April.
Once we pass this committee as we did last session, we expect to move onto a First, Second, and Third Reading in the House — where we stopped last session before the session ended. Passing this step is a major accomplishment in getting this bill into law, but then the bill moves onto the same three readings in the Senate before it gets enacted.
So What Do We Do in the Meantime?
We have two major goals throughout this process that we can work on right now:
- We educate our legislators about unintended consequences of the bill. Thinking through making a bill into law involves thinking about as many potentially negative consequences as possible. Before creating a law, legislators have to consider consequences that we might not have considered. To alleviate some of their concerns, we suggest sending this flyer via e-mail to your legislators, particularly if your legislators are Republican.
- We keep this bill on top-of-mind for our legislators. The majority of the legislature will likely support this bill, but this bill may simply not be a priority. Our goal is to make the bill a priority. How do we do that?
- We contact our legislators and tell them we want House Bill 1766, the Healthy Workplace Bill, to become law.
- If you’ve done that, send our sponsors a thank-you note using our E-Z tool.
- If you’ve done that, continue to spread the word about the bill so that others can do the same. The more people we have who contact their legislators, the quicker we get this bill passed into law.
Keep in mind that most bills take years (multiple two-year sessions) to pass, and we’ve come a long way considering that thousands of bills get filed each session, but only a few hundred even make it to the House. We’re making great progress thanks to your help.
It’s crunch time: we have 9 days left in this legislative session to get this bill passed. We know that legislators push many bills through in the last days of the session. So what does 9 days mean? We have a few days to get in more calls to our legislators.
We’re concentrating on reps since the vote is in the House. Find your legislator here and call or e-mail him or her on Monday, July 22, or Tuesday, July 23:
We’ve come a long way since the Massachusetts Healthy Workplace Advocates had their first hearing at the State House in 2010, halfway into the two-year legislative session. But we introduced the bill at the beginning of this legislative session, and with a few hundred supporters to contact, we added eleven co-sponsors to the mix. We’re overjoyed at how much progress we made between these two legislative sessions.
But since it generally takes years to pass a bill into law, we knew we were up against a several year process from the getgo. And now with the most progress we’ve made in one session under our belts, we face two months left in this legislative session. We have until July 31, 2012 to pass this bill before we have to re-introduce it next January — which means that we need everyone’s help in spreading the word about the bill. Here’s how you can help »