Legislation

This page contains explanations for State Senator Cyr's votes in the Massachusetts State Senate, and explanations of his positions on major issues.

How to Submit Testimony

A legislative hearing is one of the first steps a bill must take before it can become a law. A public hearing allows anyone the opportunity to speak in favor or in opposition of a bill, through the submission of testimony.

Testimony can be given in person or in writing, and it is one of the best ways for the public to ensure that their voices are heard.

Testimony can be submitted directly to the chairs of the committee, or through my office.

To track a piece of legislation and learn when a public hearing is taking place, click here.

To find more information about committees and their appropriate contact information, click here.

Testimony should be written in the form of a letter, addressed to the chairs of the committee.

A testimony template is available for download here


2017/2018 Bills Senator Cyr has filed

HOUSING AFFORDABILITY

An Act authorizing the establishment of first-time home-buyers savings accounts (S.1507): One of the biggest challenges for young residents on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket is being able to save for a down payment. This bill aims to make it easier for first-time home buyers to save for a single-family home in the Commonwealth. It allows any individual to open an account with a financial institution and designate the account, in its entirety, as a first-time home buyer savings account. The first time home buyer savings account is tax deductible during each tax year. 

An Act relative to the establishment of a means tested senior citizen property tax exemption (S.1506):  Addressing housing affordability on the Cape and Islands is multi-faceted. Many seniors struggle to afford increasing property taxes on fixed incomes. This bill would create a local option to allow residential property tax bills to be reduced for tax payers who qualify for the existing senior circuit breaker tax credit by the sum of (1) 10% of the total annual qualifying income for the purposes of the senior circuit breaker and (2) the amount of the credit the taxpayer was eligible to receive in the previous tax year. The tax bill may not be reduced by more than 50%.

ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP

An Act for Community Empowerment (S.1834): This bill would allow communities to transition to more renewable forms of energy. It would empower cities, towns, and community electric aggregators to use their residents’ electricity buying power to support renewable energy projects of the community’s choosing, while residents benefit directly from the projects.

An Act relative to renewable energy generation and market efficiency (S.1835): This bill aims to improve the customer experience and increase the efficiency of the solar market by making small but significant changes to the interaction between a project owner, off takers, and their utility.

An Act relative to the pesticide board (S.412): This bill ensures that when the pesticide advisory board holds an adjudicatory hearing on pesticide contamination of drinking water, and reaches a decision, the commissioner of the Department of Public Health and the commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection must concur with that decision.

An Act relative to vegetation management (S.409): This legislation would require a vegetation management proposer to negotiate with any community that did not want to use chemicals for vegetation management within their community. If the entity seeking to control the vegetation and the municipality are unable to come to an agreement within 60 days of beginning discussions, the disputes shall be decided by a mutually-agreed upon arbitrator. Should a reasonable no-spray agreement be offered to a municipality and an agreement is not reached within 90 days, the entity seeking to control the vegetation may apply its choice of pesticides/herbicides.

Resolve establishing a special commission to study the effects of coastal and ocean acidification and its existing and potential effects on species that are commercially harvested and grown along the Massachusetts coast (Resolve S.410) This commission is established to identify the actual and potential effects of coastal and ocean acidification on commercially valuable marine species, identify the scientific data and knowledge gaps that may hinder the Commonwealth’s ability to craft policy and other responses to coastal and ocean acidification, and prioritize the strategies for filling those gaps to provide policies and tools to respond to the effects of coastal and ocean acidification on commercially important fisheries and the commonwealth’s shellfish aquaculture industry.

An Act prohibiting the use of mobile gear in certain waters off the coast of the town of Nantucket (S.411): This bill would extend the same protections to the coastal waters of Nantucket which apply to most of the coastal waters in Massachusetts. Specifically, this bill would prohibit mobile gear fishing within three nautical miles of Nantucket’s coastline from May 1 to October 31.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

An Act supporting the establishment of employee cooperatives (S.993): Specialized membership shares (‘transition shares’) allow original business owners to sell their business to their employees in stages, rather than in an all-at-once transaction. This lowers the threshold that employees face when looking for conventional financing for their purchase. Upon agreeing to the terms of the staged buyout: the length of time over which said buyout will occur, the owner’s responsibilities to oversee successful cooperative conversion, and the owner’s right to dividends from his dwindling ownership, the employees will begin allocating membership shares and transition shares between employees (buyers) and owners (sellers), respectively.  In addition to allowing easier access to necessary capital, this staged transaction will require the owner to continue to contribute their expertise and help to ensure a smoother conversion process than if they withdrew upon being paid.

PUBLIC HEALTH

An Act relative to responsible emergency planning at nuclear power plants (S.1836): This bill extends the existing authority of the Department of Public Health to make assessments against the owners and operators of nuclear power plants in the Commonwealth, or sufficiently near the Commonwealth, to fund environmental monitoring and emergency response activities. Currently, the Department of Public Health’s Radiation Control Program makes assessments against nuclear power plants to defray the cost of such activities. 

An Act relative to timely notification of releases of radiation (S.1185): This bill requires that nuclear power plants post on their websites all plans for routine and continuous releases of radiation to the atmosphere, including dates, times and fissile materials, as soon as such releases are scheduled.

An Act relative to HIV screening and prevention (S.1186): This bill would allow minors to consent to HIV prevention services such as pre-exposure prophylaxis. It would also create a commission to study the feasibility of requiring insurance reimbursement for STI screening, prevention, and treatment services. The bill would also eliminate certain barriers to regular HIV testing by simplifying burdensome consent protocol.

An Act relative to the availability of sunscreen for students (S.229): Sunscreen products are regulated at the Federal and State level pursuant to the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act as “drug” products. Drugs are specifically restricted in public schools and this law will specifically exempt sunscreens from those requirements. Students who currently take necessary precautions to protect their skin could be violating existing state laws, school district guidelines, or other requirements. Skin cancer is the fastest growing form of cancer and experts note that much of the damage is generally based upon lack of adequate protection in the early years of life. This act services to fully allow the use of sunscreens in all public schools in the Commonwealth.

An Act relative to disclosure of radiofrequency notifications (S.107): Cellphone manufacturers are required to include safety notices in the owner’s manual or other packaging. This bill would ensure that the full language of the safety notifications is plainly visible on the outside of the product packaging; or a label is plainly visible on the outside of the product packaging directing customers to the safety notifications within the manual. 

An Act relative to the safe use of hand-held devices by children (S.108): The federal government requires that cell phones meet radio frequency exposure guidelines. If you carry or use your phone in a pocket or the phone is otherwise in contact with your body when the phone is on or connected to a wireless network, you may exceed the federal guidelines for exposure to RF radiation. This bill requires that all mobile telephones sold or leased clearly disclose a safety notice regarding radiofrequency exposure.

An Act modernizing childhood lead poisoning prevention (S.1184): This bill would modernize Massachusetts's childhood lead poisoning prevention laws, bringing the Commonwealth's definition of lead poisoning in line with approaches taken in neighboring New England states. It would also raise penalties for housing discrimination, and modestly increase fees that fund lead poisoning assessment and prevention, which have not increased since the early 1990s.

An Act to ensure effective health care cost control (S.610): This bill would require the state to compare our total health care spending with our projected health care spending in the Commonwealth implemented a single payer health care system; if after several years the “Single Payer Benchmark” outperformed our actual health care spending, the state would be responsible for developing a single payer implementation plan and submitting it to the legislature.

An Act establishing a low vision registry (S.31): The Cape and Islands District is the oldest district in the Commonwealth, and as a result is one of the fastest growing regions in the state for visual impairment. While the MA Commission for the Blind provides many valuable services, the commission cannot aid a person until they are considered to be “legally blind.” This bill would lower the threshold which triggers the requirement for a physician or clinic to report the finding of vision impairment to the commission. If implemented, the low vision registry would allow for data collection to determine the extent to which low vision impacts residents of the Commonwealth. Specifically, this would mandate reporting for a visual acuity finding of 20/70 or above. 

An Act relative to the safe treatment of pain (S.1182): This act would define dry needling as within the scope of the practice of acupuncture so that the same licensure standards would have to be met by people who perform dry needling.

An Act relative to ensuring coverage for craniofacial disorders (S.511): Requires various kinds of health insurers to provide coverage for medically necessary functional repair or restoration of craniofacial disorders, with the exception of coverage for cleft lip and cleft palate which is prescribed elsewhere in the General Laws. Coverage does not include cosmetic surgery or dental or orthodontic treatment unrelated to congenital defects, developmental deformities, trauma, tumors, infections or disease.

An Act requiring pain assessment and management in healthcare facilities (S.1183):  This bill adds to the Massachusetts Patients’ Bill of Rights the right to prompt “assessment, management, and treatment of pain.”

An Act relative to oral health access for MassHealth patients (S.611): This act establishes that no dentist can refuse a patient solely on the basis that services for that patient are reimbursed by Medicaid. Dentists who deny dental services to MassHealth patients solely because of MassHealth status would be subject to disciplinary action by the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Dentistry.

PUBLIC SERVICE

An Act relative to airport firefighters (S.1391): The bill would remove Martha's Vineyard Airport rescue firefighters into Group 4 retirement group. This bill would also codify the existing Group 4 status of the Barnstable and Nantucket Airport rescue firefighters.

An Act Extending the Veterans status for the National Guard and Reserves (S.2010): This bill will extend Veterans privileges to members of the National Guard and reserves, who have achieved retirement eligibility by serving twenty or more years of honorable service.

GOVERNMENT EFFICIENCY

An Act relative to government efficiency (S.1690): This bill is aimed at encouraging administrative agencies, independent agencies, and judicial administration to identify policies, programs, and operations where applying behavioral science insights may yield substantial improvements in public welfare, program outcomes, and program cost effectiveness.

CONSUMER PROTECTION

An Act providing for provisional licensure for speech-language pathologists (S.106): Would establish a provisional license for speech pathologists that are not licensed, but are in a period of supervised professional practice. This provisional license would also be accepted by insurance companies as a full license would.

TRANSPORTATION

An Act relative to the maintenance of private roads, bridges, and amenities in municipalities (S.1910): The proposed bill would provide updated procedures for calling a meeting of proprietors and rightful occupants of a: private way, private bridge, private parks, private buildings, private recreational facilities, private beaches, or privately owned utility lines. The bill would expand the universe of property owners entitled to call a meeting and provides the necessary framework for the property owners’ association where none currently exists. This framework includes requirements with respect to establishing an association board and holding annual meetings, and also establishes requirements to be adhered to with respect to the raising of funds as reasonably related to the cost of maintenance and repairs of the common amenities. The association would also make assessments for maintenance and repair costs and establish lines against the title of those who do not pay their assessed share.  


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