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Dear Neighbors and Friends, 
I hope you are doing well and staying warm. I wanted to provide a quick legislative update on what has been happening in the State House regarding the VOTES Act and Joint Rule 10, which governs when Joint Committees have to report on bills. As always, please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or concerns.

This picture is from when Sarah, Cassidy, and I volunteered at Fenway Cares
this week, alongside students and other members of the Community. 

Last week, the House passed its version of the VOTES Act. The Senate previously passed its version and the bill is now in a conference committee to resolve the differences between the two. 

I am excited that this bill includes many important wins for voter accessibility and makes them permanent - including required vote-by-mail for all future state and presidential elections, the permanent expansion of early in-person voting, and reduction of the registration blackout period from 20 days prior to an election to 10 days, which gives individuals who might have moved more time to register.  All of these provisions were adopted previously just for the 2020-2021 elections on a temporary basis. Now they are permanent.

The final bill also included an amendment to strengthen jail-based voting, which I co-sponsored and for which I voted. This provision requires jails and prisons to put an official in charge of voter outreach, to report on visiting participation and to provide education on voting rights as a part of the release process for inmates. This amendment passed with overwhelming support. 

Unfortunately, the final House version does not include a provision for Same-Day Voter Registration (SDR), an issue that I have supported throughout my time in the Legislature. Instead, a further amendment was passed to direct the Secretary of State to conduct a comprehensive study on the implementation and cost of SDR. The further amendment had the impact of precluding a vote on the SDR amendment that I co-sponsored, advocated for, and supported. As a result, I voted no on the further amendment. I was joined by approximately half the Democratic caucus voting no.  

The VOTES Act must now be conferenced between the House and the Senate before it is placed on Governor Baker’s desk. I will continue to advocate for provisions that will increase access to voting for all.

Wednesday, February 2nd, was Joint Rule 10 Day in the Massachusetts State Legislature, which might just sound like weird legislative jargon, but it marks an important milestone in the two year legislative session. I wanted to provide you with a quick update on the bills that I filed that received a favorable report and an extension. These bills will be my primary focus throughout the rest of the legislative session. As always, please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or concerns. 

Joint Rule 10 Day is the deadline for Joint Committees to take action on bills. At the beginning of each two-year legislative session, all legislators must file their bills by a specific date (usually the third Friday in January in the 1st year of the two-year session). This session, more than 7,000 bills were filed in the Massachusetts Legislature. I filed 44 bills this session, you can view all of them by clicking here

During the first year of the legislative session, each bill is reported to a committee and given a hearing date. This is when the public, advocates, and legislators speak about the bill to the respective committee and urge them to provide the bill with a favorable or unfavorable report. 

Then, on the first Wednesday in February of the 2nd year in the legislative session, or “Joint Rule 10”, is the last day for reports to be made from Joint Committees (except Health Care Financing) on matters assigned to them. 

For every bill, there are four possible outcomes. 

  • A bill could be given an adverse report, which means it was rejected. 
  • A bill could be given an extension, which would allow the committee to continue working on it. 

  • A bill could be sent to study, which is essentially the end of its life for this legislative session.

  • A bill can receive a favorable report, which means it is not only still alive, but it is moving forward and is closer to being debated on the House or Senate Floor. 


H.1290 An Act to streamline access to critical public health and safety-net programs through common applications

  • This bill would allow Masshealth/Medicaid applicants to apply for other benefits simultaneously through a common application - also includes cash assistance. 

H.2018 - An Act relative to employment protections for victims of abusive behavior 

  • This bill would ensure that employers provide accommodation to and must not discriminate against hiring employees who are victims of abusive behavior or have family members who are victims of abusive behavior, if proof is provided.

H.4090 An Act improving drinking water quality

  • This bill would provide grants to environmental justice communities, including parts of Boston and Cambridge, to replace lead water distribution pipes. Doing so ensures these constituencies of their ability to guarantee necessary conditions for every last of their citizens.

H.2354 An Act to increase access to disposable menstrual products in prisons, homeless shelters, and public schools - Accompanied S.1445 

  • This bill would require that disposable menstrual products be made available to all who menstruate and attend public school OR are in prison OR are in a homeless shelter. 

H.2640 An Act authorizing independent retirement systems to divest from fossil fuel companies - Accompanied S.722 

  • This bill would give authority to the 104 independent public retirement systems in Massachusetts to divest fully or in part from fossil fuel companies, mitigating substantial losses from high-risk fossil fuel industries and driving the economy towards cleaner, renewable energy sources.

H.2716 An Act providing fair and equitable line of duty death benefits for public employees 

  • This bill would require all public workers to receive benefits if killed while working.

H.1758 An Act relative to the reform of unconstitutional archaic laws - Accompanied S.930

  • This bill would repeal archaic laws, including one that criminalizes sodomy that remains on the books and could threaten LGBTQ people in the future.

H.245 An Act to provide relief for the cost of childcare 

  • This bill would increase employment-related expense limits for one individual from $4,800 to $9,600 and for two or more individuals from $9,600 to $19,200.

H.3914 An Act designating a certain playground on the Esplanade in the City of Boston as the Gronk Playground 

  • This bill would designate and thus rename the former Charlesbank Playground as "Gronk Playground." This change would present a unique opportunity to recognize the extensive time and resources the Gronk Nation Youth Foundation has dedicated to inspiring youth to reach their maximum potential through sports, education, community, and fitness.

H.2987 An Act protecting the interests of housing cooperative shareholders 

  • This bill would extend deductions to shareholders if they have lived in the unit throughout the tax year. 

H.1757 AN Act relative to forfeiture reform 

  • This bill would require that a person be convicted of a crime before the government can take their private property. An independent survey of state forfeiture laws gave Massachusetts an ‘F’ grade in our use and abuse of forfeiture laws.


H.1426 An Act to guarantee a tenant’s first right of refusal 

  • This bill would require that the owner of a building that has tenants must notify the tenants if they intend to sell. The tenants have the right to submit an offer to buy the property. The owner must accept this offer over third-party offers if it is equivalent to the third-party offers and the tenants follow the timelines outlined in the bill.

H.2016 An Act for unemployment rules for gig economy 

  • This bill would define the employment of gig economy workers and clarify that the gig economy employees are not responsible for worker compensation contributions.

H.2015 An Act relative to employee definition harmonization

  • Excludes service performed outside of the usual course of business of the employer from being deemed “employment”. 

As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to me with any questions or concerns or regarding issues that are important to you. You can always reach me at, and my staff Sarah and Cassidy at and 

In your service,
Jay Livingstone

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