The Joint Committee on Housing of the Massachusetts Legislature (the General Court) has amended and now sponsors our bill to create a legislative study commission, S1984. The commission will study ways to prevent bullying of tenants in public and subsidized multi-family housing.
The Joint Committee on Housing made only two changes to S709: the addition of MassNAHRO, the organization representing managers of public housing, to the list for gubernatorial appointments to the commission, and the date for reporting, now set for the end of 2016.
The bill goes first to the Joint Committee on Rules, and could soon advance to consideration on the floors of the senate and house, after going through the formal evaluations of one or more committees.
This progress, rapid by the standards of Beacon Hill, is the result of strong support and eager collaboration by citizens and legislators.
Thanks to everyone for their testimony, support, and advocacy, and our appreciation for the Chairs, Senator Forry and Representative Honan, and each of the members of the Joint Committee on Housing for their early action. We owe a great debt to the sponsors of S709: Joan B. Lovely, Second Essex; Bradford Hill, 4th Essex; Leah Cole, 12th Essex; William N. Brownsberger, Second Suffolk and Middlesex; Barbara L'Italien, Second Essex and Middlesex; Bruce E. Tarr, First Essex and Middlesex; Richard J. Ross, Norfolk, Bristol and Middlesex; James M. Murphy, 4th Norfolk; Jason M. Lewis, Fifth Middlesex.
Bill S.1984 189th (Current)
An Act Resolve creating a commission to study ways to prevent bullying of tenants in public and subsidized multi-family housing
Joint Committee on Housing
Referred to Joint Committee on Rules
Resolved, there is hereby established a commission to consist of 19 members, 1 of whom shall be the secretary of the executive office of health and human services, or a designee, who shall serve as chair of the commission; 1 of whom shall be the attorney general, or a designee; 1 of whom shall be the secretary of the executive office of elder affairs, or a designee; 1 of whom shall be the undersecretary of the department of housing and community development, or a designee; 1 of whom shall be the commissioner of the department of mental health, or a designee; 2 of whom shall be the chairs of the joint committee on housing, or their designees; 2 of whom shall be the chairs of the joint committee on elder affairs, or their designees; 2 of whom shall be the chairs of the joint committee on mental health and substance abuse, or their designees; 1 of whom shall be appointed by the minority leader of the house of representatives; 1 of whom shall be appointed by the minority leader of the senate; and 6 of whom shall be appointed by the governor, and shall be representatives of housing and consumer protection advocacy organizations, such as the Massachusetts Association of Independent Living Centers, Jewish Family and Children’s Services, Massachusetts Alliance of HUD Tenants, Massachusetts Union of Public Housing Tenants, MassNAHRO, Stop Bullying Coalition, and legal services organizations such as Mass Law Reform Institute and Disability Law Center, and individuals with direct experience and knowledge of the issue that can contribute to the commission.
The commission shall study the prevalence and impact of the bullying of tenants, with a focus on elderly and disabled tenants, in public and subsidized multi-family housing. This shall include, but not be limited to identifying the conditions that give rise to and cause bullying; researching and investigating successful methods for preventing bullying in other contexts, including but not limited to schools, nursing homes, assisted living, the workplace, and housing. This research shall be used to identify and develop best practices; raise public awareness; and propose public policy recommendations and legislation necessary to protect tenants from harm and preserve their rights.
The commission shall identify and invite to participate and contribute individuals with experience and knowledge of bullying in public or subsidized housing including tenants who have been victimized by bullying, managers who coordinate resident services, industry professionals and stakeholders, and individuals who have direct experience with bullying prevention. The commission shall hold public meetings in various locations throughout the Commonwealth in recognition of the difficulty some individuals may have in travelling long distances to attend commission meetings.
The commission shall submit its findings and recommendations with the clerks of the house of representatives and senate, the joint committee on housing, the joint committee on elder affairs and the joint committee on mental health and substance abuse not later than December 31, 2016.