Legislative Focus FY 2013-2014

MFOFC Supports These Bills

Chapter 255 – AN ACT RELATIVE TO REAL LIVES Approved by the Governor Deval Patrick, August 6, 2014.

The Real Lives law expands the ability of individuals with disabilities to decide where and with whom they want to live and work by allowing them to self-direct their individualized support/services dollars provided under the Department of Developmental Services (DDS).

This legislation was sponsored by Rep. Tom Sannicandro and Senator Clark.

Real lives for individuals with disabilities: The bill expands the ability of people to direct their own public funds. It requires that the administration implement certain new policies and procedures so as to allow public funds to be used as flexibly as possible by the individual or family.

Real Lives Bill – Full text, as enacted

VIDEO: Rep. Sannicandro discusses the Real Lives Bill

Still Pending

S.30 An Act relative to the humane treatment of disabled persons
Senator Brian Joyce and Rep. Danielle Gregoire.

Bans aversive therapy in Massachusetts. Prohibits the use of corporeal punishment, including shocking and pinching, for the purpose of changing the behavior of persons with physical or mental disabilities by any program funded, operated, licensed or approved by the Commonwealth. Click here to read MFOFC’s Aversives Position Statement


H.137 An Act for passage to independence
Rep. James O’Day.

Bill provides for adequate funding for Community First with a focus on those served by Dept. of Developmental Services (DDS) and Turning 22 (transition from high school to adult life.)  Turning 22 dollars are allocated to DDS and the Mass. Rehab. Commission (MRC). Some monies also set aside for those on the DDS wait list.


H.87 An Act to Support the Transition to Adult Services for Persons with Disabilities
Rep. Mark Cusack.

Bill expands transition (Turning 22) services and supports to students with disabilities “without adult service agency ties” (through 688 law). It also updates and expands the types of “habilitative services” that must be provided under the 688 process. It assigns to EOHHS the obligation to monitor and collect data on the extent to which needed 688 services are not being provided, because of shortfalls in appropriations.


S.908  An Act to Permit the DDS to Provide Services to Persons with Developmental Disabilities
Senator Jennifer Flanagan and Rep. Garrett Bradley

Bill expands eligibility to add persons with Developmental Disabilities consistent with the federal definition. Many people with significant developmental disabilities, including individuals with autism spectrum diagnoses (cerebral palsy, prader-willi syndrome, etc.), can’t meet the IQ requirement but have very significant functional limitations that dramatically affect their ability to live and work independently.


H.1674 An Act to require national background checks
Rep. Marty Walsh and Senator Jack Hart

Requires national background checks for all individuals who apply for work with DDS or its vendor agencies. Currently, DDS and vendor agencies are required to conduct statewide CORI checks, but no national check, which means applicant’s criminal record outside Massachusetts will not be identified.

Legislative Focus FY 2012