Explore EMPath’s Advocacy pages to learn more about how we advocate for legislative and budget initiatives to support low-income families in Massachusetts trying to navigate the multi-faceted, multi-year challenge of moving out of poverty.

2019-2020 Agenda

Massachusetts operates on a two-year legislative session; the current session runs from January 2, 2019- December 31, 2020. Formal session ends on July 31, 2020.

Click below to print our legislative and budget agenda.

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Urge your representatives to cosponsor the critical bills, listed below.

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Priority Legislation

Our priority bills were selected based on input from families and staff. EMPath plays a leadership role in the coalitions that are moving these bills forward.

ECONOMIC MOBILITY

1. Increasing the Earned Income Tax Credit (H2434/S1646)

Sponsors: Rep. Majorie Decker, Sen. Jamie Eldridge

Increases the state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) from 30% to 50% of the federal EITC and expands eligibility and outreach to reward work and increase economic mobility.

2. Examining Economic Mobility for Families with Low-Income (H173/S58)

Sponsors: Rep. Aaron Vega, Sen. Jason Lewis

Requires the collection of data and coordination needed to identify effective self-sufficiency programs and examines the impact of cliff effects tied to minimum wage increases.

3. Lifting Kids out of Deep Poverty (H102/S36)

Sponsors: Rep. Marjorie Decker, Sen. Sal DiDomenico

Raises the Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC) grant to 50% of the Federal Poverty Level in order to lift families out of deep poverty.

CONSUMER DEBT & PROTECTION

1. Establishing a Student Tuition Recovery Fund (H3807/S164)

Sponsors: Rep. Jennifer Benson, Sen. Jason Lewis

Creates a Student Tuition Recovery Fund (STRF) to reimburse students who are entitled to a refund of tuition and related costs if the for-profit school they attended closed, failed to provide the services promised to their students, or violated state law.

HOUSING & SHELTER

1. Improving the Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program (MRVP) (H1305/S797)

Sponsors: Rep. Adrian Madaro, Sen. Jamie Eldridge

Puts the MRVP in state statute, and would connect allowable rent levels to the current fair market rents as established by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Currently, households receiving new subsides are expected to find units at or below the 2005 Fair Market Rent (FMR), unless a waiver is issued.

2. Protecting Families Experiencing Homelessness from Sleeping in Unsafe Places (H1265)

Sponsor: Rep. Marjorie Decker

Directs the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to provide Emergency Assistance (EA) shelter to otherwise eligible families with children without requiring families to prove that they already stayed in a place not meant for human habitation.

SUPPORTED LEGISLATION

Supported bills are those where EMPath contributes to the efforts of other organizations or advocacy coalitions.

  • Closing the SNAP Gap (H1173/S678) — Rep. Jay Livingstone, Sen. Sal DiDomenico

  • Creating of a Pilot Program to Address the Impact of the Cliff Effect (H174/S57) — Rep. Aaron Vega, Sen. Eric Lesser

  • Fairness in Debt Collection (H919/S578) — Rep. Paul Brodeur, Sen. Jamie Eldridge

  • Protecting Immigrant Communities (H3573/S1401) — Reps. Ruth Balser & Liz Miranda, Sen. Jamie Eldridge