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New Laws Possible in Massachusetts - Proponents Set Sights on 2022 Ballot

Those seeking to amend Massachusetts law or the Massachusetts Constitution through the state’s unique ballot initiative process had until Wednesday, August 4, 2021 to file their proposals with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office.  By the time the deadline was reached, 30 proposals were filed.  See below for a list of the proposals and an explanation of the process going forward.

  1. Initiative Petition 20-01: PassMass Amendment

  2. Initiative Petition 21-01: Felony to Target Another’s Ability to Make a Living Due to Postings on Social Media

  3. Initiative Petition 21-02: Ban Smoking in Multi-Living Units

  4. Initiative Petition 21-03: 21st Century Alcohol Retail Reform

  5. Initiative Petition 21-04: Voter Identification Requirement in Massachusetts

  6. Initiative Petition 21-05: Preserve the Lives of Children Born Alive

  7. Initiative Petition 21-06: Hospital CEO Financial Transparency

  8. Initiative Petition 21-07: Limit Excessive Hospital Operative Margins through Greater Financial Transparency

  9. Initiative Petition 21-08: Limit Excessive Hospital Operative Margins and Maintain Essential Health

  10. Initiative Petition 21-09: Presentation of Identification to Vote (Version A)

  11. Initiative Petition 21-10: Hand-Counted Plain Paper Ballots

  12. Initiative Petition 21-11: Defining and Regulating the Relationship Between TNCs and App-Based Drivers (Version A)

  13. Initiative Petition 21-12: Defining and Regulation the Relationship Between TNCs and App-Based Drivers (Version B)

  14. Initiative Petition 21-13: Medical Loss Ratios for Dental Benefit Plans

  15. Initiative Petition 21-14: Regulation and Sale of Consumer Fireworks

  16. Initiative Petition 21-15: Hate Crimes

  17. Initiative Petition 21-16: Public Knowledge of Conflicts of Interest of Government Officers and Candidates Thereof

  18. Initiative Petition 21-17: Whale Safe Fishing Act

  19. Initiative Petition 21-18: Preserving Consumer Access to Gasoline and Other Motor Fuels

  20. Initiative Petition 21-19: Education Massachusetts’ Youth on Our Nation’s History

  21. Initiative Petition 21-20: “Happy Hour” Practices Permitted by Licensees

  22. Initiative Petition 21-21: Presentation of Identification to Vote (Version B)

  23. Initiative Petition 21-22: Presentation of Identification to Vote (Version C)

  24. Initiative Petition 21-23: Public Disclosures by Certain Corporate Taxpayers

  25. Initiative Petition 21-24: Right to Counsel in Eviction Proceedings

  26. Initiative Petition 21-25: Zero Emission Vehicles, Zero Emission Home Heating Systems, and Home Solar Powered Electricity (Version A)

  27. Initiative Petition 21-26: Zero Emission Vehicles, Zero Emission Home Heating Systems, and Home Solar Powered Electricity (Version D)

  28. Initiative Petition 21-27: Zero Emission Vehicles, Zero Emission Home Heating Systems, and Home Solar Powered Electricity (Version B)

  29. Initiative Petition 21-28: Zero Emission Vehicles, Zero Emission Home Heating Systems, and Home Solar Powered Electricity (Version C)

  30. Initiative Petition 21-29: No-Excuse Absentee Voting

  31. Initiative Petition 21-30: Election Transparency Voting

While the filing of the petition marks a significant milestone, the initiative petition process has many hurdles that the proponents of the petitions must clear before any one petition makes it onto the 2022 ballot.  By way of background, in 2019, 16 initiative petitions were submitted for consideration but ultimately only 2 petitions were on the 2020 ballot.

The following is a brief summary of the steps that now must be taken in order for an initiative petition to make it on to the 2022 ballot:

  • By the first Wednesday in September, the Attorney General will review each initiative petition in order to confirm that the petition passes certain state constitutional requirements;

  • If the Attorney General certifies a particular petition, then the proponents of that petition must collect 80,239 signatures from Massachusetts registered voters by November 17, 2021;

  • If enough signatures are collected, then in January 2022 the petition is filed with the Massachusetts Legislature.  At this point, the legislature can debate the merits of the proposal and pass it, or it can substitute its own proposal for the petition, or it can take no action.  In the event that the legislature fails to take action on a particular petition, then the proponents of the petition can advance the petition by collecting an additional 13,374 signatures to force the matter on to the state’s 2022 ballot.

©1994-2023 Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 218

About this Author

Steven A. Baddour, Vice President of Government Relations, ML Strategies, Mintz Levin, Law Firm
Senior Vice President of Government Relations – ML Strategies / Special Counsel

Steve’s government relations practice focuses on advising clients ranging from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies on a wide range of issues at the state and federal levels. As part of Mintz's Litigation Practice, Steve represents public and private sector clients in complex civil litigation matters. In both these roles, he uses his knowledge of government and the law to benefit clients in Massachusetts, New England, and beyond.

A former Massachusetts State Senator and former Assistant Attorney General, Steve has strong bipartisan relationships...

Dan Connelly ML Strategies
ML Strategies - Senior Vice President and Compliance Officer

Dan is Vice President of Government Relations for ML Strategies. He has been directing policy in Massachusetts and the New England region for more than a decade. Dan represents trade associations and businesses across industries with interests before the executive, legislative, regulatory and municipal areas of government throughout New England.

Most recently, Dan served as Legislative Counsel in the Boston office of a large, international law firm. He previously served as the chief legal counsel to the Massachusetts Senate Committee on Ways and...

Caitlin R. Beresin ML Strategies
Vice President Legislative Affairs

Caitlin is a Senior Manager of State Government Relations at ML Strategies. With over 10 years of experience with health care matters, Caitlin focuses primarily on mental health systems, substance abuse treatment, and behavioral health related issues. In addition to her healthcare expertise, Caitlin has worked on issues related to housing development, education, public health, criminal justice and economic development.

Prior to joining ML Strategies, Caitlin worked as a staff attorney on the House Committee on Ways and Means. There she gained an...

Kaitlyn C. Sprague Government & Legislative Strategies Attorney Mintz Law Firm
Director of Government Relations

Kaitlyn is a Director of Government Relations at ML Strategies. With eleven years of experience in legislative affairs and Massachusetts state government, Kaitlyn brings a deep understanding of legislative proceedings, especially regarding the Massachusetts House of Representatives and Governor’s Office. 

Prior to joining Mintz, Kaitlyn was the Legislative Director in Governor Baker’s Office of Legislative Affairs. There, she drove the Governor’s legislative agenda from filing to passage, through bipartisan coalition building, legislative strategy sessions, and consistent...

Taylor C. Shepherd Government Relations Attorney Mintz Law Firm
Manager of Government Relations

Prior to joining ML Strategies, Taylor worked as a Budget Analyst at the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health.  At the Department, she worked closely with the Chief Financial Officer and Budget Director to develop reporting mechanisms to project payroll, monitor operational spending and facilitate Western, Central and Northeastern Massachusetts regional areas in their spending and personnel ventures. 

Previously, Taylor worked as a Legislative Aide and then as a Fiscal Policy Analyst for the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee at the Massachusetts State House.  Under...