Mass Attorney General Campbell Supports 5 Bills Protecting Vulnerable Communities & Building Economic Prosperity

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In full transparency, the following is a press release from the Massachusetts Attorney general’s office submitted to SOURCE media.

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BOSTON – Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell today, January 25, announced her support for legislation in the 2023-2024 session to create safer communities, build economic prosperity and stability and protect vulnerable communities.

The five bills filed prior to last Friday’s legislative filing deadline align with ongoing work in the Attorney General’s Office as well as the priorities laid out in AG Campbell’s inaugural address.

The bills include proposals to bolster the tools used by the AG’s Office to address abuse and neglect of elderly and disabled patients, strengthen protections for consumers, electric ratepayers, victims of crime and better enforce the state’s common-sense gun laws.  

 The AG’s Office will also partner with the Legislature on other shared priorities, including pushing for safer, healthier communities free of environmental injustices, tackling wage theft and prioritizing reforms in our criminal and juvenile justice systems. AG Campbell also plans to work with leaders at the state level to address the urgent need for accessible, high-quality mental health resources for our youth and the ongoing need for gun violence prevention measures.  

 “If these bills become law, they will ensure we have the tools to fully protect our residents and our most vulnerable from abuse while holding bad actors accountable,” said AG Campbell. “Our office will continue to partner with the Legislature to pass laws that allow for greater economic prosperity for our residents while building safer, healthier communities so the next generation can do better than the last.” 

AG Campbell has signed on to the following bills:  

  • An Act strengthening the Attorney General’s tools to protect nursing home residents and other patients from abuse and neglect. 
  • An Act modernizing protections for consumers in automobile transactions. 
  • An Act relative to silencers. 
  • An Act relative to electric ratepayer protections. 
  • An Act to protect the privacy of crime victims. 

Summaries of these bills include: 

SD968 / HD3662, An Act strengthening the Attorney General’s tools to protect nursing home residents and other patients from abuse and neglect 

Sponsored by: Senator Jason Lewis (D-Winchester) and Representative Ruth Balser (D-Newton) 

An Act strengthening the Attorney General’s tools to protect nursing home residents and other patients from abuse and neglect strengthens the civil enforcement tools used by the AG’s Office to address abuse and neglect of elderly and disabled patients, whether they are cared for at home or in nursing homes. The bill increases the civil penalties that the office can seek for the mistreatment, abuse or neglect of nursing home residents or other covered patients. It also increases the time in which the office can bring a civil suit from two years to four years. In December 2022, the office announced a settlement with a chain of nursing homes operated by a Connecticut company to resolve a series of allegations, including that the company failed to meet the needs of nursing home residents experiencing substance use disorder. Previously, the AG’s Office reached settlements with nursing homes for systemic issues that tragically led to the death, injury, or potential injury of nursing home residents. 

SD1829 / HD3258, An Act modernizing protections for consumers in automobile transactions 

Sponsored by: Senator Paul Feeney (D-Foxborough) and Representative Carlos González (D-Springfield) 

An Act modernizing protections for consumers in automobile transactions enhances consumer protection laws related to the purchase of used or leased automobiles. A vehicle is one of the largest purchases consumers make and can significantly impact residents’ economic security, as many people need a safe and reliable car to maintain their job, transport children to school, and access health care. Year after year, auto issues are among the most frequent consumer complaints the AG’s Office receives, and this bill aims to directly address the issues raised by consumers. The bill seeks to strengthen the state’s Lemon Aid Law to ensure consumers can obtain a timely inspection of their newly purchased vehicle, increase the maximum mileage for coverage under the Used Vehicle Warranty Law to 200,000 miles, improve a consumer’s ability to file a claim against a car dealer’s surety bond, establish the ability of the AG’s Office to file on behalf of a class of consumers, and add notice and right to cure period requirements prior to repossession for leased vehicles. 

SD1829, An Act relative to silencers 

Sponsored by: Senator Michael Moore (D-Worcester) 

An Act relative to silencers will strengthen current state law prohibiting the purchase, possession and use of silencers by amending the definition of “silencer” to mirror the definition in federal law. At a time when law enforcement officials are seeing an increase in the purchase and possession of illegal firearms, including ghost guns, and firearm accessories, this bill will strengthen enforcement capabilities and protect public safety by helping to keep these devices out of the hands of dangerous individuals. 

SD648 / HD3214, An Act relative to electric ratepayer protections 

Sponsored by: Senator Brendan Crighton (D-Lynn) and Representative Frank Moran (D-Lawrence) 

This billbars competitive electric suppliers from enrolling new individual residential customers in contracts. The bill is part of the Attorney General’s Office’s ongoing efforts to protect Massachusetts residents from the unfair and deceptive practices in the competitive electric supply market for residential customers. Following multiple investigations of the industry by the AG’s Office and the Department of Public Utilities, data analysis show that competitive electric suppliers cost consumers more than $526 million between 2015 and 2021. The AG’s Office has issued  three reports on the impact of the market in Massachusetts, which together with additional analysis found that low-income residents and residents of color are disproportionately affected by the industry. 

SD1511 / HD709, An Act to protect the privacy of crime victims; An Act protecting the safety of victims of violent crimes 

Sponsored by: Senator Cynthia Creem (D-Newton) and Representative Chynah Tyler (D-Boston) 

This legislation would statutorily protect the confidentiality of information contained in a crime victim’s compensation application. The AG’s Victim Compensation & Assistance Division administers the state’s Victim Compensation Fund, which provides financial assistance to eligible victims of violent crimes prosecuted by the state, for crime related expenses including medical and dental care, funeral and burial costs, mental health counseling crime scene clean-up services and security measures. The applications for assistance from the fund routinely contain private information including the victim’s home or work address and telephone numbers, the names and address of the victim’s family members, and the victim’s medical information. 

The AG’s 2023-2024 legislative agenda was compiled by Division Chief Anne Johnson Landry, Senior Policy Advisor Shane Blundell, and Policy Coordinator Robert Fernandez, all of the AG’s Policy and Government Division, and Senior Policy Advisor Elizabeth Mahony of the Energy and Telecommunications Division, with assistance from staff in the AG’s Criminal Bureau, Civil Rights Division, Consumer Protection Division, Consumer Advocacy and Response Division, Energy and Telecommunications Division, Medicaid Fraud Division, and the Victim Compensation & Assistance Division. 

editor

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