Massachusetts legislators have proposed numerous bills to help those being affected by the Coronavirus.
"We have a public health crisis as the number of those infected grows every day. We have an economic crisis as the threat of a recession looms larger every day and workers risk weeks (or months) without a paycheck," wrote JP Progressives in an email. "And we have a democratic crisis as the virus outbreak challenges our ability to hold traditional in-person elections. And this is on top of the crises we already face, such as the inequality that affects all aspects of our society."
JP Progressives provided a roundup of bills the organization supports to respond to the crisis, including passing emergency paid sick time legislation. JP Progressives supports a guarantee of at least 15 additional work days (120 hours) of job-protected paid sick time can be used immediately during the COVID-19 crisis, or any future public health emergency.
One of the bills, HD.4963, is cosponsored by state Rep. Nika Elugardo (D-15th Suffolk) and Rep. Sabadosa, and it would require the "release of individuals who are currently in pre-trial detainment or under incarceration if they are a member of a population deemed especially vulnerable by the CDC, are eligible for medical parole, are almost finished with their sentence, or are only being detained due to inability to pay bail or due to minor violations of parole."
Other bills include:
- HD.4935 (Rep. Connolly and Rep. Honan): An Act Providing for a Moratorium on Evictions and Foreclosures During the COVID-19 Emergency
- HD.4945 (Rep. Gouveia): An Act providing for emergency cash assistance in response to COVID-19. This bill would send a check of $1,000 to qualifying Massachusetts households to help with the economic impacts from the pandemic.
- HD.4950 (Rep. Miranda): An Act providing emergency access to equity and justice for all in response to COVID-19. This bill would provide a $1,000 emergency benefit to qualifying households as well as ongoing amounts as long as a state of emergency is in place.
- HD.4958 (Rep. Mark and Rep. Sabadosa): An Act relative to COVID-19 emergency unemployment expansion. This bill would ensure that independent contractors, sole proprietors, partners in a partnership, freelance, and tipped employees are eligible for unemployment benefits. The bill would also make sure that COVID-19 emergency assistance does not make any worker ineligible for receiving any existing state benefits.
- HD.4951 (Rep. Decker): An Act to provide short-term relief for families in deep poverty. This bill would provide increased benefits to those receiving transitional aid to families with dependent children relief or emergency aid to the elderly, disabled and children.
- Legislation to expand options to vote by mail (such as HD.4957 cosponsored by Rep. Mark and Rep. Sabadosa).