Category Archives: Massachusetts Legislature

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Mass. House Legislation Assists those with Autism and the Intellectually and Developmentally Challenged

April 17, 2014

Contact: Jennifer Mercadante
(617) 722-2460


(BOSTON)- Representative Danielle Gregoire (D-Marlborough) joined her colleagues in the House of Representatives yesterday in passing legislation to assist those individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities along with their families.

This legislation would encourage educators to develop teaching plans to allow children with autism to remain in regular classroom settings and enable families to save tax-free for the care of their loved ones. In addition the bill focuses on addressing employment and housing needs of individuals with disabilities. Furthermore, this bill calls for the creation of an Autism Commission within the Executive Office of Health and Human Services. This commission will make recommendations and monitor the implementation of policies impacting individuals with autism spectrum disorders. In addition, they will investigate range of services and supports necessary for individuals to achieve full potential across their lifespan.  Members of this 34 person commission will include representatives from various agencies, affected parents, autism organizations, and representatives of the House and Senate. Finally, this legislation will use a federal definition of developmental disabilities instead of a state rule which currently makes individuals with an IQ of 70 or higher permanently ineligible for services as adults.

With April being Autism Awareness Month, I am thrilled to see the House of Representatives making significant strides towards bettering the lives of individuals with autism as well as their families, said Representative Gregoire. The Special Commission Relative to Autism established in 2010 made several recommendations and I am pleased that my colleagues have chosen to implement them to provide a better quality of life for members of our community.


Download PDF: Massachusetts House Passes Legislation to Assist those with Autism and the Intellectually and Developmentally Challenged

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Massachusetts Valor Act II

March 28, 2014

Contact: Jennifer Mercadante
(617) 722-2460


(BOSTON)- Representative Danielle Gregoire (D-Marlborough) joined her colleagues in the House and Senate to pass the VALOR Act II this week. This legislation strengthens the 2012 Valor Act which expands opportunities and services for military personnel, veterans and their families.

The legislation provides increased property tax relief and enhances employment, educational and healthcare support services. It creates a home modification program to help injured veterans stay in their homes and function independently, and authorizes the Secretary of Veterans’ Services to establish enhanced training and certification for veterans’ benefits and service officers.

“The passage of the VALOR Act II this week shows the unwavering commitment of our state to our veterans,” said Representative Gregoire. “I am so proud to have voted in support of legislation that provides our heroes with the resources, benefits and services they need and deserve.”

Additional provisions of the bill include increased penalties for disturbing military funerals or services, allows students currently enrolled in college, who are called to active duty, to either complete their coursework without penalty following duty, or to withdraw and receive a tuition refund, requires the Division of Professional Licensure to waive the initial application or certification fee for licensure for any veteran and finally, establishes a post-deployment council to make recommendations and study mental health issues to support military members transitioning to civilian life after deployment.


Download PDF: Massachusetts Valor Act II

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House Passes Enhanced Anti-Bullying Legislation

February 27, 2014

Contact: Jennifer Mercadante

BOSTON— Representative Danielle Gregoire (D-Marlborough) along with her colleagues in the House of Representatives passed legislation this week that builds on the 2010 landmark anti-bullying legislation. This legislation was overwhelmingly passed on a vote of 143-4.

While the original legislation prohibited bullying, cyber-bullying and required schools to establish related programs, the passage of this legislation ensures that the appropriate data is collected and that attention is given to specific populations that are most vulnerable to bullying. Specifically, this bill requires that schools annually report critical data to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Attorney General and the Legislature. In addition, under this legislation, parents will be made aware by the Department of the Problem Resolution System in place and the process that exists if they are interested in filing a claim. Finally, school bullying prevention plans must recognize that some groups of students are more susceptible than others to bullying.

“The educational system in Massachusetts is exceptional, however if students do not feel safe and secure, their ability to make the most of the resources and tools they are given is greatly hindered,” said Representative Gregoire. “It is crucial to ensure that our existing anti-bullying law is as effective as possible to ensure the safety, security and success of our young people.”

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