This is a report from Mass. State Sen. Will Brownsberger on the past legislative year on Beacon Hill.
On Tuesday night [July 31] (the Massachusetts state legislature) finished formal sessions for the 2011-2012 legislative session. Most of the major legislative activity for the session is therefore complete. We do have the opportunity to pass less controversial measures during the informal sessions that will continue through the end of year.
Outcomes of note in the 2012 leg of the session include:
- We passed landmark legislation to control health care costs.
- We passed a balanced budget that included substantial increases in local aid and should leave the state with a strong reserve balance.
- We passed legislation to keep the T afloat for one more year – much remains to be done next year.
- We strengthened existing environmental legislation – the Green Communities Act and the Community Preservation Act.
- We overhauled financial practice and transparency rules for state government.
- We passed our annual measure to strengthen supports for veterans.
- We passed a major sentencing reform bill which shifts prison resources away from drug offenses towards violent offenses.
- We did not pass major election reform bills.
- We did not pass the bottle bill.
- We made some progress on animal welfare legislation.
- As we do in every session we passed a bill including miscellaneous economic development measures.
- We did not pass legislation to control non-competition agreements
- We came very close to passing and may still pass legislation to control prescription drug abuse.
Outcomes of note in the 2011 legislative session include:
- We completed legislative redistricting in a process that was widely perceived as fair.
- We authorized casino gaming (I voted in the minority against this).
- We reformed health care purchasing for municipal employees
- We passed legislation to protect transgendered persons from discrimination.
- We passed pension reform very much along the lines of the Governor’s proposal (I had advocated a more ambitious reform).
Click here for my overview of the 2009-2010 session.
If there are particular bills that you want to check up on, please don’t hesitate to call my office at 617-722-1280.