Advocacy can make a difference: The Massachusetts Healthy Workplace Bill (House No. 1771; Rep. Ellen Story and Sen. Jennifer Flanagan, co-sponsors) has been reported favorably by the legislature’s Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development. This necessary and important step, which occurred on the heels of last week’s committee hearing at which numerous HWB supporters stayed until the early evening to testify, puts us closer to eventual floor votes by the House and Senate and final signature by the Governor.
This is the third straight legislative session in which the HWB has been favorably reported by this committee, so what’s different this time? Legislative sessions run two years, the current one covering 2015-16. This is by far the earliest the HWB has been moved favorably out of the committee. Previously, the HWB received committee approvals in the second half of the respective sessions, making it harder to move the bill forward within the limited time remaining.
Our voices are being heard. At last week’s public hearing, it was evident that even though it was late in the day, committee co-chairs Sen. Daniel Wolf and Rep. John Scibak were attentive and sympathetic to the personal accounts of bullying and abuse shared by workers who testified.
The next steps for the HWB within the Massachusetts legislative labyrinth have not been settled, but this is a very positive development. I’ll be providing updates here, and those who want to actively support the bill can check out some of the links below.
Massachusetts Healthy Workplace Advocates
For more about the national campaign to enact the Healthy Workplace Bill, go here.