Our legislative priorities articulate the MTA's long-term vision and reflect our shared commitment to public education, fairness for all workers in our communities, and a secure retirement for public-sector employees.
The MTA’s legislative priorities for the 2023-2024 session are the result of a robust process that included extensive input from MTA members, recommendations from the MTA’s member-led Government Relations Committee and the review and approval of the MTA Board of Directors.
The priorities focus on making transformational investments in public preK-12 to higher education, ending the high-stakes testing regime, ensuring the right to strike for educators and certain other public sector workers, and providing a dignified retirement for retired educators. Combined, these priorities articulate a clear vision for moving the Commonwealth's public schools and colleges forward.
To view additional bills supported by the MTA, go here.
Reinvest in Public Higher Education
The Cherish Act
An Act committing to higher education the resources to insure a strong and healthy public higher education system
Lead Sponsors: Senator Jo Comerford (D-Northampton), Senator Robyn Kennedy (D-Worcester), Senator Paul Mark (D-Becket), Senator Jake Oliveira (D-Ludlow), Representative Sean Garballey (D-Arlington) and Representative Pat Duffy (D-Holyoke)
This bill creates a framework for adequate public higher education funding levels, including expanded support for student services; ensures debt-free public higher education for all; improves wages and working conditions for faculty and staff, including benefits for adjunct faculty and part time staff; and invests in green and healthy public college and university buildings.
Lead Sponsor: Representative Erika Uyterhoeven (D-Somerville)
This bill would ensure greater economic security and dignity for Education Support Professionals in the Commonwealth by establishing a statewide minimum salary. This bill would also increase the base salary for teachers.
A Fair Share of the Fair Share Amendment for preK-12 Education
The MTA will support the allocation of FSA funds in the FY24 state budget and other spending bills for preK-12 education above and beyond Student Opportunity Act funding,
FSA funds would be required to support:
Achieving living wages for ESPs.
Creating a state fund to incentivize paid family and medical leave for public school educators
Funding to provide a professional nurse and librarian in every school
Support for recruiting and retaining a diverse education workforce
Significant increases in the number of counselors and mental health professionals available to our students
Implementing elements of a community schools model
MTA will continue to advocate for expanding the “Tomorrow’s Educators” scholarships we won last session to support diversity among future educators.
End the High-Stakes Testing Regime
The Thrive Act
An Act empowering students and schools to thrive
Lead Sponsors: Senator Jo Comerford (D-Northampton), Senator Adam Gomez (D-Springfield), Senator Liz Miranda (D-Boston), Representative Jim Hawkins (D-Attleboro) and Representative Sam Montaño (D-Boston)
This bill eliminates the high-stakes components of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS), including the graduation exam requirement and receiverships.
The first step in creating MTA legislation is the submission of proposals by members and the approval of proposals by the member-run Government Relations Committee and MTA’s Board of Directors.
Bills were drafted by MTA’s Government Relations and Legal teams as directed by the GRC and the Board of Directors. All MTA priority bills were then filed in the House and/or Senate by legislative sponsors. The next step is for each bill to be assigned to a legislative committee for consideration.
Once a bill is referred to a committee, that committee holds a public hearing and hears testimony on the bill. Hearings are typically held anytime between March and November. The time before hearings are held is used to build support for our agenda. At the conclusion of this process, the committee will recommend whether the bill “ought to pass,” “ought not to pass,” be subject to further study or be sent to another committee for additional review.
House & Senate
If a bill is reported favorably by its final committee, it will be sent to either the House or Senate for consideration. The bill may then go through several additional procedural steps before being debated and scheduled for a vote on the floor. If a bill passes one chamber, it will then be sent to other where it will go through a similar procedural process, potentially including a debate and vote.
Conference Committee (If Needed)
If the House and Senate pass different versions of the same bill, then the bill is sent to a bi-partisan conference committee of members from each branch who craft a compromise bill which will not be subject to amendment. Both the House and Senate then make a final vote on the compromise bill.
If both the House and Senate pass the same bill, it is then sent to the governor for review and action. The governor then either signs the bill into law; allows the bill to become law without signing it; vetoes the legislation; or sends it back to the Legislature with amendments. A veto by the governor can be overridden with a two-thirds vote in both legislative branches.
If Not Vetoed, the Bill Becomes Law!
About the Government Relations Committee
The members of the Government Relations Committee work collaboratively with the Government Relations team to develop the proposed 2023-2024 legislative agenda.
The development of the agenda is an intensive, member-driven process that includes significant input from educators across the Commonwealth in order to ensure that our legislation reflects the hopes and aspirations of our membership. The process commenced in September when the process and timeline for developing the agenda where established. In October, the committee begins to solicit specific legislative proposals from MTA members.
The GRC, in consultation with GR staff and other MTA divisions, carefully review each submission and proceed to craft a proposed legislative package. The proposed agenda encompasses wide-ranging issues that together articulate our shared commitment to public education, fairness for all workers in our communities, and a secure retirement for public-sector employees.