Statement on H.3361 (Demographic Data Disaggregation)

Following a thorough process during which testimony was heard and collected from over 500 members of the public regarding H.3361, the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight has voted to substitute the original bill with new legislation, titled “An Act to Establish a Special Commission to Investigate and Study the Feasibility and Effects of Collecting Disaggregate Data.”

This legislation would establish a special commission to study the feasibility and impact of directing state agencies to collect disaggregated demographic data for all ethnic and racial groups, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The proposed special commission would be comprised of 11 commissioners, including legislators, as well as members of the Governor’s Advisory Commissions, and appointees from the Attorney General’s Civil Rights Division, the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, and the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s Office. The commission would submit its recommendations to the Legislature by December 31, 2018.

I had concerns about the original legislation from the start, but every bill must have, and deserves, a thorough process in committee and in the hearing room. I was disappointed at the vitriol aimed at Chairman Chan, Chairman Timilty, and myself from some opponents of H.3361. It was inappropriate and damaging to this process. I am appreciative of those who conducted themselves with civility while delivering passionate testimony.

Jennifer Benson
Chair, Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight

A Statement from Representative Benson on the Passage of the ACCESS Bill

“Today, the House of Representatives voted to guarantee the women of Massachusetts access to copay-free birth control. Birth control allows women to plan when and if they want to start a family, and is used to treat a number of health conditions that affect women. Nearly 99% of women have used birth control at some point in their lives.

I was an early cosponsor of the ACCESS bill when it was filed in January, but I regret that I was unable to cast my vote for the bill due to my attendance at the Women in Government State Directors and Health Care Summit. I applaud the House’s actions today, and the leadership of Representatives Haddad and Scibak. I plan to formally record my support for the bill with the House Clerk’s office.

Due to the Affordable Care Act, since 2010, 1.4 million women in Massachusetts have gained access to birth control with no out-of-pocket costs. With the Trump Administration’s decision last month to undermine the women’s health provisions of the Act, it is vital that this bill is quickly passed into law to ensure that Massachusetts women continue to have access to affordable and safe birth control.”