The Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development will advocate for a number of state bills this legislative session that support economic mobility, education, and worker protection. These include:

An Act Creating a Maximum Allowable Check-Cashing Rate
Massachusetts is one of only eight states that does not regulate check-cashing rates. Many check cashing locations in the City of Boston are located in low-income neighborhoods and often charge high fees for these services. This negatively impacts our residents who do not have bank accounts. This legislation will create maximum rates for check-cashing to ensure that more of our residents’ money is going into their pockets.

An Act to Prevent Wage Theft, Promote Employer Accountability, and Enhance Public Enforcement
This legislation will hold general contractors accountable for any wage theft carried out by subcontractors on their projects. It will increase the ability of workers to obtain remedies for wage theft. This bill is in alignment with Mayor Walsh’s Wage Theft Executive Order, which requires vendors applying for a City contract to certify that neither they nor any of their subcontractors have violated federal and state wage laws. The Executive Order also allows the Boston Licensing Board to take into consideration whether a licensee has been found to have violated state fair labor laws or the Fair Labor Standards Act when determining whether to re-issue, modify, suspend, or revoke a license. This bill will provide sensible and effective updates to our labor laws that will complement the policies adopted by the City.

An Act Improving the Earned Income Credit for Working Families
This legislation seeks to raise the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to 50% to return money directly to low- and moderate-income working families. The EITC is almost universally seen as a great program and it should be increased and marketed so that working families know they are eligible.

An Act Relating to Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces
This legislation will require that all state contractors comply with all workplace laws, including health and safety standards, wage laws and civil rights laws before receiving any new contracts. The goal is to protect workers from wage abuse, workplace discrimination, and unsafe working conditions while ensuring a fair public contracting system. In Massachusetts, we know that pay transparency is critical to achieving pay equity.

An Act Establishing Tuition Free Community College
This legislation replicates Boston’s Tuition-Free Community College program and makes it available statewide. The need for education beyond high school is growing, as nearly two-thirds (65%) of all US jobs will require some form of postsecondary education or training by 2020. The Commonwealth would provide “last dollar” financial resources to eligible MA residents, which would complement the “Boston Bridge,” a partnership between the City and State that allows eligible students who graduate from a two-year community college to continue at a four-year college free of tuition and fees. This would increase opportunity for residents of the Commonwealth by making college affordable and accessible.

An Act to Promote Asset Building for Low-Income Residents
This bill would remove the cap on assets for families receiving temporary cash assistance. The current policy disincentivizes families to accumulate even moderate savings and makes it more difficult for them to access resources. Eight other states have enacted similar changes with positive results, spurring upward economic mobility for residents.

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