Massachusetts Legislative Update- Police Reform

The Massachusetts House is now in session and will soon begin debating police reform legislation. AFSCME members still have time to contact their state representatives in support of the critical amendments listed below.

Contact information for your state representative including email addresses and phone numbers can be found by entering your home address in this link:

Members with any questions are welcome to call Jim Durkin anytime day or night at 978-866-2283.

Amendment #157
Filed by State Representative Tackey Chan, this amendment would strike a provision that would strip our law enforcement and corrections officers of so-called qualified immunity - a long-standing legal protection that protects these men and women from lawsuits targeting their personal assets. Removal of qualified immunity has far-reaching implications that demands thoughtful research and consideration. This amendment would require an in-depth legal study of the ramifications of eliminating qualified immunity by a committee that includes legal experts and a representative of the Supreme Judicial Court - before any such measure becomes law.

Amendment #30 and Amendment # 72
Filed by State Representative Tim Whelan and State Representative David Robertson respectively, these two amendments would rightfully ensure that county corrections officers, whose duties and responsibilities are substantially different from police officers, are not subject to the provisions of this legislation. Among the corrections professionals that would be protected by these amendments are our brothers and sisters in working as Suffolk County Corrections Officers in AFSCME Local 419.

Amendments #151 #153 and #159
Since the senate bill was passed last week, Council 93 has been working closely with our campus police officers in Local 1067, key state legislators, and Association of Chiefs of Police of the State Universities. Our work has been focused on making technical but important changes in the house bill – changes that ensure our dedicated law enforcement professionals working to protect students, faculty and staff on our public higher education campuses are adequately trained and remain properly licensed to carry out their duties and exercise their powers as police officers. These amendments, filed by State Representative Angelo D'Emilia, build on work already accomplished over the past week BEFORE the house bill was released by the House Ways and Means Committee on Sunday. Council 93 thanks State Representative Paul Tucker and State Representative Hank Naughton for their assistance in helping us make many important technical corrections to the original house bill.

Amendment # 155
Filed by State Representative Tackey Chan, this amendment would provide for due process protections for law enforcement professionals who are subject to the new certification standards in the legislation by providing them with an unbiased appeal venue in matters related to disciplinary action including suspension or termination. Specifically, it would allow for an appeal before the Division of Administrative Law Appeals (DALA).

Amendment # 75
Filed by State Representative Michael Finn, this amendment would provide for stronger law enforcement representation on the newly-proposed certification board. Given the proposed vast powers that would be granted to the board, it is vital that our brothers and sisters in law enforcement have fair and balanced representation from people with experience in the profession.

Amendment # 156
Filed by State Representative Tackey Chan, this amendment seeks to protect the privacy of law enforcement professionals by striking a section of the legislation that would allow for the private medical records of a law enforcement professionals to be used in a case against the officer.

Council 93 is currently reviewing all of the nearly 200 amendments filed for this legislation. Please check back frequently for additional information and updates.

Thank you in advance to all Council 93 members for taking the time to make calls on these important amendments.