The 2011-2012 Massachusetts Legislative Session
With the swearing in ceremonies over, the 2011-12 State Legislature is in full session and the deadline for filling bills is Friday, January 21. The following is a preview of what to expect on Beacon Hill these next two years concerning traditional family values.
Though the State House remains solidly in the hands of liberals, the results of the November elections have enhanced the number of conservatives, especially in the House. Having these new legislators gives MFI and our allies renewed confidence as we lay out our offensive goals.
Here are the bills that we will work to pass into law this session:
- Students Religious Freedom – MFI has filed a bill protecting the religious freedom of students in schools. While students already have the right to express their religious beliefs in school, many teachers and administrators are uninformed or misinformed on these rights, confused about the so-called “separation of church and state.” This law will codify the individual rights of students and compel the state to inform school districts of these rights.
- Parental Notification and Consent – Sponsored by Representative Brad Jones of North Reading, this is an updated parental notification and consent bill. It changes the policy from “opt out” to “opt in,” allowing parents to sign their children up for elective sex education instead of having to take them out. It also provides a “conscience clause” for teachers and administrators to prevent them from being forced to participate in anything that violates their religious beliefs.
- Protecting Minors from Harmful Materials in School – Schools have custody of our children for the better portion of their waking lives in their formative years and should not be allowed, with impunity, to disseminate obscenity, child pornography, or matter that by definition is “harmful to minors.” Current obscenity, child pornography and “harmful to minors” laws exempt “schools, museums and libraries,” providing an “affirmative defense” against prosecution for violating those laws.
- Laura’s Law (A Woman’s Right to Know) – Named after Laura Smith, the young woman who died at the hands of an abortionist in Hyannis, MFI is partnering with Massachusetts Citizens for Life in championing this women’s health bill. A woman considering abortion should be provided with the most accurate information available concerning the physical, psychological and emotional risks and complications associated with abortion. She should also be given a 24-hour waiting period between her request for an abortion and the scheduling of the procedure, offered an ultrasound of her preborn child, and informed of alternatives to abortion, as well as the services available should she decide to not abort the child.
This is a women’s health care issue. Any facility in which abortions are performed should be held to the same medical standards as other surgical offices. Women should be treated by an abortion provider under the same careful scrutiny of personnel, procedures and facilities that applies to other surgical providers.
- State Partial Birth Abortion Ban – This bill, sponsored by Massachusetts Citizens for Life (MCFL), would prohibit a baby in the process of being born from being deliberately killed.
- Sex Selection Abortion Ban – This bill, sponsored by MCFL, would prohibit performing an abortion when it is known that the abortion is for the purpose of sex selection.
- Strengthening the state Baby Safe Haven Law – Sponsored by Representative Steven Levy of Marlborough, this bill would allow a woman to call 911 if she were not able to get to a hospital or other location to safely and anonymously give up her baby.
Our opponents and their friends at the State House will continue to push a radical agenda on issues ranging from the “Bathroom Bill” to funding for programs that push the normalization of homosexuality and abortion in public schools. Governor Deval Patrick has been reenergized by his re-election victory, and the leadership in both the House and Senate remain solidly anti-family. MFI and our allies will be playing very serious defense against some extremely dangerous bills.
Here are the bills we will actively oppose this session:
- “Bathroom Bill” – The homosexual special interest groups have pledged once again to devote significant resources to a bill that would normalize transvestism or so-called “transgenderism.” If adopted, this bill would allow virtually anyone, regardless of sex, to enter single-sex bathrooms and locker rooms including public schools. It would also add the vague term “gender identity or expression” to the hate crimes law.
- Expanded Gambling – Though a combination of egos and political “pay back” prevented the passage of a casino bill last session, we fully expect another heated debate over resort casinos and slot machines at racetracks this session. Tough economic times will continue to push legislators towards the revenues that come from expanded predatory gambling. MFI will work with our allies on this issue to continue to inform legislators on the false economics and horrific social costs of expanded gambling, especially the impact of hyper-addictive slot machines.
- Comprehensive Sex Education – Planned Parenthood and its pro-abortion allies will make another attempt to establish comprehensive health (read: sex) education from grades K-12 as part of the core curriculum required for graduation from Massachusetts public schools. The “Health Curriculum Framework” contains very offensive requirements in the family and sexuality sections, but is currently optional for school district, allowing local control to remain intact. We will work to keep it that way.
- Funding for homosexual agenda in schools – MFI will continue to work to eliminate taxpayer funding for groups such as the state’s Independent Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth that seek to normalize homosexuality in the eyes of school children. Organizations and promoters of these programs continue to use the guise of “suicide prevention” and “diversity” training to gain support for the funding, and demonize those who question the wisdom of encouraging behavior that is dangerous and potentially deadly.
- Illegal immigration – Though illegal immigration is not a top tier issue for MFI, we strongly believe in upholding and enforcing our nation’s immigration laws. MFI strongly supports legal immigration, but opposes the passage of in-state tuition for illegal aliens. We will also lobby for passage of what was known as the “Perry Amendment” to ban taxpayer funding of benefits for illegal aliens.