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Malden House delegation voted in support of Representative Steven Ultrino’s bill to prohibit discrimination of natural and protective hairstyles

MALDEN – Wednesday, March 23, 2022 – Last Thursday, The House passed H.4554, An Act prohibiting discrimination based on natural and protective hairstyles – better known as Massachusetts’ version of The CROWN Act. The bill was filed by Representatives Steven Ultrino and Chyna Tyler with the endorsement of the National CROWN Coalition in efforts to prohibit race-based hair discrimination throughout the Commonwealth. The Malden House delegation stood united in support of this critical legislation, with Representatives Paul Donato and Kate Lipper-Garabedian voting alongside other members to pass The CROWN Act in Massachusetts.

The bill was approved by the House and would define natural and protective hairstyles in statute, as well as prohibit any form of discrimination and policy restricting these respective hairstyles in schools, employment, housing, and business settings. This legislation would also expand criminal law prohibiting assault and battery for purposes of intimidation to include natural and protective hairstyles, while adding natural and protective hairstyles to hate crime data collection and reporting requirements. Shortly following the bill’s passage in the Massachusetts House, the United States House of Representatives followed suite by passing the federal version of the legislation in a vote of 235-189.

“This is an historic moment for Massachusetts. The success of the CROWN Act on the federal level speaks to its significant impact but also shows how this is a shared experience amongst many across the nation. I am beyond delighted that the CROWN Act passed unanimously in the House, and words cannot describe how great it is to see the years of hard work from advocates, staff, legislators and community members bear fruit,” said Representative Steven Ultrino (D–Malden). “We have sent a clear message: race-based discrimination has no place in our Commonwealth. With our votes, we ensured that a person’s racial and cultural identity will no longer be an obstacle to their education, professional career, and path to success. I am confident that the bill will be well received in the Senate with the support of Senators Gomez and DiDomenico. Lastly, I would like to thank Speaker Mariano, Chair Michlewitz, Chair Day and Representative Tyler for their support and guidance throughout this journey.”

"Today, marks a great day for Black & Brown communities throughout the Commonwealth,” said Representative Chynah Tyler (D–Boston), Chair of the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus. “Black women are more policed in the workplace than any other racial or ethnic group based on the way they choose to wear their hair. The passing of this legislation gets us one step closer to ending a barrier for communities of color in Massachusetts."

“I am proud to join the unanimous House in passing the CROWN Act,” said Representative Kate Lipper-Garabedian (D–Melrose). “When enacted, this legislation will end racial discrimination against natural and culturally significant hairstyles. I’m particularly mindful of the importance of this legislation for our young people who should feel embraced and empowered in their identity – from the classroom to the corporate boardroom.”

“The passing of the CROWN Act is an important step in ensuring that workplaces, schools, and places of housing across the commonwealth are creating safe and non-discriminatory environments,” said Representative Paul Donato (D–Medford). “These racist practices, often targeted at black women, are a continued attempt to override our anti-discrimination laws. We must remain committed to tearing down the barriers that people of color overwhelmingly face in their professional and personal lives.”

With overwhelming support and dedication from the National CROWN Coalition, Massachusetts Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, ACLU Massachusetts, New England Blacks in Philanthropy, and many others, Massachusetts is enroute to become one of 14 states to pass legislation prohibiting race-based hair discrimination.

H.4554 was passed unanimously by the House of Representatives with a 155-0 vote. It now stands to go to the Senate.

For more information, please contact:

Claudia Chung, Legislative Aide

(617) 722-2070

The House passed the fiscal year 2023 budget on Wednesday evening, including a total of $250,000 dedicated to expanding language access, housing assistance programs, public safety and more in Malden.

Monday, May 2 2022 - Last Wednesday, Representatives Steven Ultrino, Paul Donato, and Kate Lipper-Garabedian voted to pass the FY’23 House Budget H.4700, An Act making appropriations for the fiscal year 2023 for the maintenance of the departments, boards, commissions, institutions, and certain activities of the Commonwealth, for interest, sinking fund, and serial bond requirements, and for certain permanent improvements. The $49.7 billion spending bill was approved by the House and will balance addressing immediate needs in a post-pandemic world and a focus on sustainable long-term investments to help our economy recover. This year, legislators debated on 1,522 amendments across several spending categories. The final bill included earmarks, funding increases and mandates such as:

  • $500,000 for the creation and development of the Genocide Education Trust Fund

  • Outlawing the practice of Child Marriage in Massachusetts

  • Establishing a common application portal for all state, need-based benefits programs

  • Expanding the Medicare Savings Program to 250% of the Federal Poverty Line (FPL)

  • A $60 million increase for the Residential Assistance to Families in Transition program (RAFT)

  • $110 million investment to extend universal school meals through the 2022-2023 school year

  • No Cost Calls legislation which allows incarcerated individuals in Massachusetts to make free domestic phone calls to their loved ones

  • Allow for Chapter 70 flexibility where public school districts can carry over unused funds until June 30, 2024

The Malden delegation also filed several amendments requesting state funding for programs and services in Malden. As a result of the hard work and efforts of advocates, community organizations, and Malden legislators, the FY’23 House budget includes several key investments for Malden:

  • $75,000 for Malden's Language Access Services, including translation of city websites, documents, and reports; and developing language style guides for non-romance languages

  • $100,000 for the programs and operations of Housing Families in Malden

  • $25,000 for new rescue equipment for the Malden Fire Department

“The FY’23 budget will invest billions in local, regional, and statewide programs, services, and resources while addressing rising challenges in a post-pandemic world,” said State Representative Steve Ultrino. “Significant steps have been taken to prioritize funding for communities in need across the Commonwealth and I am excited to see the City of Malden’s language access services funded by the budget. Thank you again to all my colleagues, Speaker Ron Mariano, and Chair Michlewitz for the tireless work on this spending bill.”

“Malden has secured funding for an array of important services in the 2023 budget. This important funding will help to improve housing, language access, and public safety services,” said Representative Paul Donato. “As always, it was great to work with Representative Lipper-Garabedian and Representative Ultrino, focusing on the most critical needs of the community to build an ever-improved Malden.”

“I’m glad to see a host of critical investments for Malden included in the House Budget,” said State Representative Kate Lipper-Garabedian. “Such investments -- which support a wide variety of populations including law enforcement, the housing insecure, and survivors of domestic violence -- reflect the resilient and diverse spirit of our City.”

The House FY’23 budget passed unanimously with a vote of 155-0. The Senate will begin the process for the Senate FY’23 budget in the coming weeks.

For more information, please contact:

Claudia Chung, Legislative Aide

(617) 722-2070

The House passed comprehensive legislation addressing barriers with the Commonwealth’s behavioral health care delivery system.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022 – Last Thursday, Representatives Steven Ultrino, Paul Donato, and Kate Lipper-Garabedian voted to pass H.4879, An Act addressing barriers to care for mental health, after a similar version of the legislation passed in the State Senate. The bill addresses longstanding issues with our Commonwealth’s behavioral health care system and places a particular emphasis on acute psychiatric care and crisis response, youth behavioral health initiatives, community-based behavioral health services, investment in workforce retention and development, and enforcement of existing behavioral health parity laws. In the House bill, an amendment filed by Representative Ultrino was adopted into the final version of the legislation with the support of House leadership and the Malden delegation. Amendment 9, Requiring Intermediary Steps Before Exclusion, expands upon the bill’s limitation on the use of suspension and expulsion by requiring administrators to pursue alternatives before resorting to suspension or expulsion in K-12 public schools. The amendment will also outline models of alternative action for school administrators including positive behavioral interventions and trauma-informed approaches, which specifically takes into account students’ mental health and emotional wellbeing when responding to incidents resulting in disciplinary action. Disciplinary action has harsh consequences on students with prior histories of trauma or emotional and behavioral problems, often re-traumatizing students without addressing the root causes of in-school incidents. The adoption of this amendment will help foster supportive and positive school cultures, representing a critical step towards increasing supports for students’ emotional and mental wellbeing in schools. “It is exciting to see this legislation passed and I am especially thankful to Speaker Mariano and my colleagues for the support and guidance on my amendment, which will support the emotional and mental wellbeing of our public school students,” said Representative Steven Ultrino (D-Malden). “The bill addresses key challenges faced by too many across the Commonwealth for simply seeking access to behavioral health care. Many of us have experienced increased anxiety, depression, and other mental and behavioral health issues during the pandemic – this bill is not only timely, but it shows the House's commitment to prioritize behavioral health care and ensure everyone has access to quality mental health services in Massachusetts.” “I’m proud of the legislation that passed through the house, addressing the most pressing barriers to mental health in Medford, Malden and across all of Massachusetts,” said Representative Paul Donato (D-Medford). “The bill includes initiatives such as expanded insurance coverage, school-based behavioral services, workforce investment, and more at a time when it’s never been more critical. I’d also like to thank Chairman Adrian Madaro for his work to get this done.” "Having heard from many constituents, practitioners, and municipal leaders who have been working to support family and friends struggling with mental health challenges, I was proud to vote for this legislation to address barriers to care,” said Representative Kate Lipper-Garabedian (D-Melrose). “The pandemic underscored the importance of access to mental and behavioral health services and resources, particularly among our youth, which this bill enhances.” Other highlights of the final bill include:

  • Addresses emergency department boarding of patients seeking mental health & substance use treatment, including the creation of an online portal and codifying expedited inpatient admissions for youth patients

  • Increase behavioral health care access by implementing the nationwide 988 hotline to access 24/7 suicide prevention and behavioral health crisis services

  • Initiating a public awareness campaign on Red Flag Laws and Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs) which limits access to guns for people at risk of hurting themselves and others

  • Funds and creates a statewide program to help schools implement school-based behavioral health services

  • Requires the DCF to evaluate each child entering foster care for behavioral health concerns, referring them to the services they need

  • Invests in expanding and diversifying the behavioral health workforce by offering grants and a scholarship program

  • Requires pediatricians to perform Post-Partum Depression screenings of mothers of newborns at all visits occurring in the infants first year of life

H.4879 passed unanimously with a vote of 155-0. The legislation will now move back to the Senate for further consideration.

For more information please contact:

Claudia Chung, Legislative Aide

(617) 722-2070

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