Thursday, April 27, 2006

Family Leave Bill

The new family leave bill we mentioned earlier in the week has been assigned bill number S2535.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Paid Family Leave

According to today's Boston Globe, Senate President Robert Travaglini will unveil new legislation tomorrow designed to provide paid leave for "all workers in Massachusetts up to 12 weeks' paid time off to care for newborn and adopted children or sick family members, financed by an employee payroll premium of at least $1.50 a week." We'll be watching this closely, and will provide a link to the bill as soon as it becomes available. In the meantime, you can find more information on current leave laws at Mass. Law About Employment Leave.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

New Health Insurance Law

The new health insurance law, which we mentioned on April 6, has been signed by the governor and is now available at Chapter 58 of the Acts of 2006: An Act Providing Access to Affordable, Quality, Accountable Health Care. More information, including the Health Care Access and Affordibility Conference Committee Report Summary, Conference Committee Report Section-by-Section Summary, and the Conference Committee's Joint Caucus for House Members April 3, 2006 Presentation, as well as other links to health insurance topics, is available at Mass. Law About Health Insurance.

Access to Student Records Eased

Access to their children's school records got a little easier for noncustodial parents last week with the enactment of Chapter 62 of 2006: An Act Regulating Access to Student Records. As we noted in February, the previous law required a noncustodial parent to prove s/he was not denied custody as a threat to the children or former spouse before being granted access to student records. Under the new law, records will be provided to the noncustodial parent upon request, "unless the custodial parent provides to the principal of the school documentation of any court order which prohibits contact with the child, or prohibits the distribution of the information referred to in this section...". This brings state law in line with applicable Federal standards. More information on issues affecting students is available at Mass. Law About Student Records.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Health Care Reform

The state legislature has passed, and Gov. Romney is expected to sign, H4850, An Act Providing Access to Affordable, Quality, Accountable Health Care. Key provisions of the bill include subsidized health insurance for residents earning less than 300% of the Federal Poverty Level, and low-cost insurance for all other residents who are not eligible for insurance through their employers. As of July 1, 2007 all residents will be required to maintain health insurance. More details are available in the Health Care Access and Affordibility Conference Committee Report Summary, Conference Committee Report Section-by-Section Summary, and the Conference Committee's Joint Caucus for House Members April 3, 2006 Presentation.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Gangs, Weapons and Witnesses

Last week, the Governor signed An Act Reducing Gang Violence, St.2006, c.48. The law creates a statewide witness protection program, and establishes penalties of up to 10 years in state prison and up to a $5,000 fine for tampering with a witness. It also creates also creates harsher penalties for illegal weapons possession. Finally, it eases the standard required to prove perjury. More information on these topics is available at Law About Victims and Witnesses, Law About Criminal Procedure, and Law About Weapons.

Probate and Family Time Standards

The Probate and Family Court Department issued new case management and time standards effective today. According to the Press Release, "the revisions will encourage the use of administrative and telephonic procedures to reduce the cost of appearing at the courthouse. Among the revisions are the scheduling of the Case Management Conference after the return of service has been filed, which will also give the opportunity in divorce cases for the initial required exchange of discovery, and the increased use of Joint Stipulation on Case Management Conference, eliminating the need to appear in person at Case Management Conference, if a Joint Stipulation is accepted by the Court." This and other court Time Standards are available at Mass. Rules of Court.