Bills > 2015-2016 Session

2016 Bills filed

H3914, An Act relative to denying firearms and explosives to suspected terrorists (link)

Study Order (Speaker Robert DeLeo has commissioned a comprehensive follow-up study of our firearms law due out by 2017)

In this age of global terrorism, it is crucial to keep dangerous weapons and firearms out of the hands of terrorists. However, due to inaction by the federal government, people who have been placed on the terrorist watch list by the FBI are still legally able to pass background checks and purchase guns in the United States. In fact, Al-Qaeda has urged its associates in the US to take advantage of how easy it is to buy guns in this country, shifting their focus away from large-scale attacks to opportunistic lone wolf terrorism. This change in focus present law enforcement with a new set of prevention challenges that go beyond strengthening air travel security.

According to a report by the federal Government Accountability Office, more than 2,000 suspects on the FBI terrorist watchlist legally purchased weapons in the US over the last 11 years. 91% of all suspected terrorists who tried to buy guns in America passed the necessary background check and completed their purchase, because the FBI is not able to block sales due to being on the watchlist. Those who did not pass the background check failed to do so due to other disqualifying events such as a felony conviction. According to a recent article in the New York Daily News, the percentage of terror suspects who successfully purchased guns went up to 94% in 2013-14, just as ISIS was beginning its global recruitment push. The public -- gun owners and non-gun-owners alike -- overwhelmingly supports passage of this legislation at the federal level. While there is no replacement for federal action on this issue, a bill here in Massachusetts can make an impact on public safety and raise awareness in other states as well. Graphic Credit: Isabel Espanol, For The Boston Globe.

The Boston Globe & State House News Service Marblehead Lawmaker's terrorist watch list gun bill draws new interest

Marblehead Reporter White House calls on State Rep Lori Ehrlich Post-Orlando Massacre

The Salem News Ehrlich at Forefront of Closing "Terror Gap"

The Boston Globe Editorial It Doesn't Have to be This Way

The Boston Globe: Governor Charlie Baker supports banning guns for those on terrorist watch list

The Boston Herald: Bay State pols pushing to keep guns out of hands of people on federal no-fly and watch lists 'Shouldn't take a catastrophe'

NECN Broadside with Sue O'Connell Legal Guns for those on Terror Watchlist

Salem News article by Ethan Forman Bill would ban gun sales in MA to those on Terror list

The BDC Morning Show on WRKO with Kim Carrigan and Jon Meterparel Guns/No fly bill

Salem News Editorial Time to ban gun sales to those on Terrorist List

Marblehead Reporter Ehrlich files legislation to ban gun sales to those on the Terror Watch List

Boston Globe Governor Charlie Baker supports bill to ban gun sales to those on list

New York Daily News New York copies us!

State House News Service Popular Gun Measure Appears Dead on Beacon Hill

H1275 An Act to Prevent Trafficking in Ivory and Rhino Horns H1275 and S440  


The near extinction of African elephants, killed at a rate of approximately 96 per day, is being driven by a thirst for ivory -- including and especially in the U.S., the 2nd largest market. One study found the Boston/Cambridge market to be the 7th largest in the U.S. and another found Boston to have the 4th largest ivory trade on Craig's List while Elephants & Rhinos are teetering on the edge of extinction. Driven by global demand, wildlife trafficking of ivory and rhino horns is one of the world’s most lucrative criminal activities, valued at $7-$10 billion annually. Riddled with loopholes, federal regulations in force for decades have been a failure and enforcement is lax. The only way to save these creatures from the brink of extinction is to reduce demand, strengthen enforcement, and increase penalties. New York and New Jersey have already passed similar bills.

The California Bill is signed into law! 

The California legislature just sent a strong bill to the Governor.          


Humane Society's CEO Wayne Pacelle's blog                                             

Bi-Partisan Congressional letter in support of stricter Fed rule on trade, import, export. 

WBUR Bill to Ban Ivory Sales arrives on Beacon Hill

Huffington Post California passes sweeping ban on Ivory and Rhino Horn Trade

**The Boston Globe Massachusetts sees Brisk Trade in Illicit Ivory

The Boston Business Journal reports on a Concord, MA woman charged for shipping an entire rhino head from MA to China Concord Business Owner charged with smuggling ivory, rhinocerous horns from U.S. to China

The Washington Post has covered this topic extensively: Overwhelmed U.S. Port Inspectors Unable to Keep up with Illegal Wildlife Trade Losing two majestic species for what? Trinkets.

Financial Times Oped by Sec. of State Clinton and Chelsea Clinton We all have a role to play in ending the ivory trade.  

The Lynn Item Ehrlich, Clinton discuss elephant in the room                                          National Geographic Citizens spur states to ban trade in Ivory and Rhino Horn                   

Marblehead Reporter Taking their case to Clinton

Swampscott Reporter State Rep. Ehrlich meets with Pres. Clinton

IFAW Elephant v. Mouse: Investigation of the Ivory on Craigslist

The Guardian China agrees to phase out ivory market to combat elephant poaching U.S. still complicit in worldwide slaughter of elephants

Telegraph Prince William: Elephants & Rhinos will be extinct in the wild in a few decades

Wicked Local Bill takes aim at Ivory sales in Massachusetts


S650 An Act Creating a Sexual Assault Climate Survey for Massachusetts Colleges and Universities (link


Filed with Senator William Brownsberger, this bill sets up a task force to establish and implement anonymous climate surveys at all colleges and universities in the Commonwealth, based on best practices, and report on resulting data.

Testified before the Joint Committee on Higher Education, June 3rd, 2015

For subscribers to Mass Lawyers Weekly, here is a link to an article discussing this bill and several others. Excerpt:

"The benefit of this approach is that the feedback from the survey would be uniform," Ehrlich said. That, in turn, would allow valid comparisons to made and conclusions to be drawn about aggravating and positive circumstances and best practices. Ehrlich said the results could assist prospective students as well as policymakers. "Colleges will hopefully see this as another statistic that potential students will use to judge them and seek to make their the best possible environment," she said.

Colby Bruno, senior legal counsel for the Boston-based Victim Rights Law Center, said her organization "unequivocally supports" the bill and belives the surveys would ensure any legislation that may follow will be based on good data.  

Even Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier, D-Pittsfield -- cosponsor of a more comprehensive bill in the House -- said if "we could only do one thing, the most important is the campus climate survey."



An Act Relative to the Judicial Enforcement of Noncompetition Agreements H1701 and S.957 

Bill passed by both chambers but failed to clear the conference committee in the final hours of session. 


The Boston Globe House unanimously approves limits to noncompete agreements

Vox Massachusetts just stole an important page from Silicon Valley

State House News/WBUR House passes bill with restrictions on noncompetes        


This legislation would limit enforcement of noncompete agreements in Massachusetts, bringing relief to workers and creating a better environment for growth and innovation. Recent focus has been on overuse of noncompetes in every sector of the economy in jobs such as from camp counselors, sandwich makers at Jimmy John's, event planners, pesticide applicators, yogurt shop workers, and many others.


Boston Globe: In shift, DeLeo seeks to limit noncompete job contracts

BostInno: This is the Year Boston Eradicates Noncompetes                      

COMPUTERWORLD: As Noncompete use expands, backlash grows 

BostInno: The Bid to Ban Noncompetes Shows Promise at a State House Hearing. Testimonies were about 20:2 in favor of eliminating these clauses. 

The New York Times focus on Massachusetts: Noncompetes increasingly popping up in an array of jobs 

Federal legislation filed by, among others, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, covering interstate commerce

State House News: Beacon Hill considering Noncompete Law Changes

Fortune Magazine: Are Noncompete Agreements Hurting Tech Innovation?

Boston Globe columnist Dante Ramos: Employers want noncompetes, but what is it worth to them?

"Lori Ehrlich, a state representative who introduced a recent bill earlier this year, says she wants to eliminate noncompetes because they have an “overall impact of stifling innovation.” It’s a question of fairness, she says, especially when such agreements appear as requirements for jobs in low-wage, low-skill industries. Noncompetes “are being used to control and intimidate in a realm where the power already favors the employer,” she says. It’s not a matter of preserving trade secrets, she adds; there are already nondisclosure agreements to protect against such theft."                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

H1273 An Act to Protect the Health and Safety of Animals in Cars                                                                                                              


Salem News Our View: Keeping pets safe

Boston Globe Bill would let passers-by break car windows to free hot pets

Natick Patch Hot Car Demo to Pressure Lawmakers to Pass Pet Rescue Bill 

Massachusetts has an outstanding felony animal cruelty statute that was recently strengthened in the last legislative session. However, one area where it falls short is in protecting animals confined in cars. Modeled after legislation recently passed in Rhode Island with feedback from Animal Control Officers (ACOs), this legislation creates a citation that can be issued by police or ACOs to serve as a deterrent for when the offense may not rise to the level of felony cruelty. The bill would also give police and ACOs more flexibility in being able to go into a vehicle and retrieve an animal that is suffering.

Lynn Item Looking out for hot dogs                                                       

Salem News Bystanders allowed to rescue pets under proposed law?   

Mass Live Massachusetts Senate taking up bills on animals left in hot cars, sale of dogs and cats


H2494 An Act Relative to Consumer Protection With Regard to Pipeline Tariffs 

House side: Removed from Energy bill, Senate side: Removed and banned in the future



BOSTON GLOBE: SJC rejects ratepayer charges for pipelines                                                                                                                              

Hearing on June 2, 2015. 

Boston Herald: Bill: No pipeline fees, tax for ratepayers This bill was sent to a study order but the concept of a tariff levied on electricity customers for pipeline infrastructure through Massachusetts was excluded from the House version of the energy bill already passed. 

State House News and Western MA TV22: Bills seeks to block tariffs for LNG export

Boston Globe: State Rep testifies on bill to curb LNG exports -- on the same day as Salem plant groundbreaking

Boston Globe: Kinder Morgan shelves New England Pipeline Glad to see that it appears this bill is no longer needed. 


H2870 An Act relative to protecting consumers of gas and electricity from paying for leaked and unaccounted for gas 




Ratepayers foot the bill annually for the lost and unaccounted for gas that seeps through the aging, leaky natural gas pipelines under our feet. Utility companies are responsible for repairing these gas leaks or replacing the pipes, but with the ability to pass the cost of lost gas on to the consumer, they don’t have the incentive to do so. This legislation will incentivize repair or replacement of gas pipes by prohibiting utilities from charging ratepayers for the cost of lost and unaccounted for gas. This legislation would encourage efficiency in every step of the process, benefitting consumers and the environment. Pennsylvania and Texas have already passed legislation prohibiting utilities from passing these costs on to consumers and businesses; we should act quickly and become the third state to do so.

Harvard Study finds natural gas leaks much worse than previously thought:

Boston Globe Leaks in Boston area pipes much worse than previous estimates

Link to study by the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University Methane emissions from natural gas infrastructure and use in the urban region of Boston, Massachusetts

(Front page) The Boston Globe New Law casts light on Natural Gas Leaks

Beacon Hill Times Changing the World...Leak by leak                                                                                                                                    


H2871 An Act relative to gas leak repairs during road projects    




Under the gas leaks law signed by Governor Patrick in 2014, all grade 1 and grade 2 gas leaks under a road dug up for a construction project must be repaired while the road is open. However, the law does not address grade 3 leaks in these construction zones. While grade 3 leaks may not pose an immediate explosion hazard, the leaking pipes waste money and contribute to methane emissions. This bill would require all leaks, including grade 3 leaks, to be repaired when a road is opened up for a construction project. It is a common sense addition to existing regulation that will save ratepayers money.

(Front page) The Boston Globe New Law casts light on Natural Gas Leaks

Beacon Hill Times Changing the World...Leak by leak

Harvard Study finds natural gas leaks much worse than previously thought:

Boston Globe Leaks in Boston area pipes much worse than previous estimates

Link to study by the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University Methane emissions from natural gas infrastructure and use in the urban region of Boston, Massachusetts                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

H3901 An Act Clarifying Eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit  


With the recently expanded Earned Income Tax Credit, Massachusetts will be sending more than $7 million to about 20,000 filers who are residents of other states. The earned income tax credit serves as both an effective anti-poverty program and a very helpful stimulus to the economy because the money that people receive from the credit goes right back into the economy. The way the credit is structured now however, there is no residency requirement for recipients. The aim of this bill is to use the EITC to help Massachusetts residents and stimulate the Massachusetts economy.

Commonwealth Magazine: Rep: Millions in Tax Credit go out of State


Click to continue for additional 2015-2016 bills filed