Victory!! Governor baker creates landmark commission on bullying

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August 10, 2016. Governor Baker signed resolve S1984, thus  creating a landmark commission to protect elderly and disabled victims from harassing and bullying. Passage of this resolve demonstrates again the leadership and compassion of our legislators and of Governor Baker and their responsive concern for the well-being and rights of all citizens. It is a victory for citizen activism and democracy. There will be a signing ceremony at a later date, not at the state house as is usual, but on the North Shore as recognition for citizen initiative and the efforts of the North Shore delegation.

Senator Joan B. Lovely, sponsor of the legislation, said, “All individuals in Massachusetts have the right to live their lives feeling safe and secure, but too many citizens face bullying and harassment right in their own homes. This law is the first step towards a comprehensive and effective solution to bullying in public housing and I am proud to have worked on this legislation with my colleague, Representative Brad Hill, and my constituent, Jerry Halberstadt. I look forward to continuing this important work until we can ensure that all residents of Massachusetts are free from bullying.”

The resolve will establish the nation’s first state legislative study commission on bullying, shining light on the widespread plague of bullying impacting residents of multifamily public and subsidized housing. The commission will enable all stakeholders to work together to develop effective remedies.

The legislation was sponsored by Joan B. Lovely, Bradford R. Hill, Leah Cole, William N. Brownsberger, and other members of the General Court including Barbara L’Italien, Bruce E. Tarr, Richard J. Ross, James M. Murphy, and Jason M. Lewis. It was amended and sponsored by the Joint Committee on Housing as S1984. They were joined by their colleagues including the leadership of House and Senate in the General Court, spearheaded by the combined North Shore delegation, as all pushed to create a commission to bring together all the stakeholders in housing to better understand the causes, and find solutions to, bullying and harassing.

The 19-member commission will include leaders of the House and Senate, executives of several state agencies (Health & Human Services, Attorney General, Department of Housing and Community Development, and Mental Health), and members appointed by the Governor to represent the interests of managers and residents. The Commission is to hold hearings to gather testimony from all interested parties, and make a report by the end of 2017.

Jonathan Gale, Co-Coordinator, Stop Bullying Coalition, said, "The commission ..."

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