Senator Friedman has co-sponsored the following bills relative to economic prosperity and opportunity in the 2019-2020 legislative session:
- Summary: The Fair Share Amendment would institute a 4% income surtax on annual incomes over $1 million, designating the new revenue to support investments in education and transportation. The proposed amendment is identical to the Raise Up Coalition’s 2018 initiative, but as an amendment initiated in the Legislature is not subject to the “relatedness” rule cited by the Supreme Judicial Court in disqualifying the 2018 petition.
- Summary: This bill would increase a family’s Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC) grant to at least 50% of the federal poverty level so that no family in Massachusetts is forced to live in deep poverty.
- Summary: This bill) would repeal the family cap, which denies benefits to children conceived while – or soon after – a family received assistance. Massachusetts is one of only 17 states that still have a “Cap on Kids” or a similar policy in place. Seven states that had family cap policies have repealed them.
- Summary: This bill would codify the healthy incentives program, run by the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR), which would allow SNAP benefit recipients to receive a dollar on their EBT card for every dollar spent on fruit or vegetable purchases, whether canned, dried, or frozen, with certain restrictions. This program would be funded through the Massachusetts Healthy Incentives Fund, established in the bill.
- Summary: This bill would create a student loan repayment program for low-wage human service workers. The program would repay qualified education loans for those making less than $50,000 per year at a rate of $150/month for a period not exceeding 48 months.
- The legislation directs the Office of Administration and Finance (A&F) in conjunction with other offices to conduct an impact study of minimum wage increases on cliff effects (families who lose essential benefits due to minor increases in incomes). It also proposes that A&F recommend directives to the state agencies to make adjustments to assistance so families don’t lose eligibility to essential assistance as minimum wage increases. The bill also asks the agencies to submit a report that examines the Economic Mobility programs administered by the state agencies and directs them to set up a mechanism to get input from participants and families to improvise on the programs and improve enrollment. The bill makes a list of data asks to achieve transparency from state agencies and to obtain data on certain homelessness related measures. The bill also proposes establishing a hotline for families at the state agencies to provide information that helps families navigate multiple programs in the agencies and provide assistance and information on potential cliff effects via phone. It aims at making benefit program information more accessible to families. (Families report lack of program information as a major barrier to applying for economic mobility and homelessness prevention programs). Finally, the bill proposes posting information of the hotline and the benefits calculator on the agency website.
- Summary: This bill would protect small brewers by ensuring that their product can be distributed in an equitable way by establishing distribution standards.
- Summary: The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is the single most effective anti-poverty program in the country. This bill would increase the Massachusetts EITC to 50% of the federal EITC level. This tax credit is a crucial investment that provides economic security for hardworking families across Massachusetts at a time when their wages haven’t caught up with the rising costs of food, housing, and health care.
- Summary: This bill would allow all qualified drivers in the Commonwealth to apply for a Massachusetts “standard” license, regardless of immigration status. In order to obtain a “standard” license, all residents, regardless of immigration status, would need to meet all other qualifications for licensure, provide satisfactory proof to the registrar of identity, date of birth, and proof of Massachusetts residency.