Consequences of the Bathroom Bill

Once the Public Bathroom Accommodations Bill is signed by Governor Baker and becomes law, will MA schools follow Washington State’s health education standards?

Washington State To Teach Transgenderism To Kindergartners

Peter Hasson,  Reporter, Associate Editor

6:15 PM 06/01/2016

By fall 2017 Washington state public schools will begin teaching gender expression to kindergarteners under newly-approved health education learning standards that designate sexual health a “core idea” of public K-12 education.

While some aspects of sexual health aren’t taught K-12 (HIV prevention begins in fourth grade), one component of sexual health titled “Self-Identity” begins in kindergarten, where students will be expected to “Understand there are many ways to express gender.”

The state’s health education glossary defines gender as “A social construct based on emotional, behavioral, and cultural characteristics attached to a person’s assigned biological sex.” Gender expression, meanwhile, is defined as “The way someone outwardly expresses their gender.”

These definitions differ from the state’s definition of “biological sex”: “Based on chromosomes, hormones, and internal and external anatomy.”

Nathan Olson, a communications manager for the statewide Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), told The Daily Caller that the glossary “was developed to support classroom instruction.” The new standards were finalized in March but OSPI has yet to issue a press release informing the public of the changes.

As part of an aspect of sexual health titled “Healthy Relationships,” kindergarteners will learn to distinguish between “safe and unwanted touch.” They will also learn to “Recognize people have the right to refuse giving or receiving unwanted touch.” OSPI did not answer a question from TheDC about whether this lesson plan amounts to teaching consent to kindergarteners.

By third grade, students will be expected to “Explain that gender roles can vary considerably” and “Understand [the] importance of treating others with respect regarding gender identity,” as part of the “Self-Identity” component of sexual health.

Gender identity is defined by the state as “Someone’s inner sense of their gender.”

“The standards don’t define ‘gender spectrum.’ But self-identity is a key component,” Olson said when TheDC asked whether learning that gender is a “spectrum” is considered part of learning about “gender identity.” Last month, Fox News’ Todd Starnes described a Virginia county’s lesson plans on gender spectrum as “the idea that there’s no such thing as 100 percent boys or 100 percent girls.”

That lesson plan–which was met with outrage from parents–was designed for middle and high school students.

By fourth grade, Washington students will learn to “Identify how friends and family can influence ideas regarding gender roles, identity, and expression” and define sexual orientation. The state defines “gender roles” as “Social expectations about how people should act, think, or feel based on their assigned biological sex.”

In fifth grade, students will learn to “Describe how media, society, and culture can influence ideas regarding gender roles, identity, and expression.” Under the guidance of school employees, fifth graders will also “Identify trusted adults to ask questions about gender identity and sexual  orientation.” It’s not clear if parents are automatically considered “trusted adults.”

By the end of elementary school (typically around age 11 or 12), students will be expected to “Understand the range of gender roles, identity, and expression across cultures.”

In seventh grade, students will learn to “Distinguish between biological sex, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.” By eighth grade, students will be expected to “Recognize external influences that shape attitudes about gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation.”

This education continues through high school where students will “Evaluate how culture, media, society, and other people influence our perceptions of gender roles, sexuality, relationships, and sexual orientation.”

OSPI denied that the state intends to force a set of beliefs upon its students.

MA House subpoenaed – Joyce investigation continues

The Massachusetts House of Representatives has been subpoenaed as part of an investigation of state Senator Brian Joyce.

The House’s chief legal counsel, James C. Kennedy,confirmed to the Boston Globe that the legislative body has “received a grand jury subpoena from the United States Attorney’s Office requesting certain records relating to an ongoing investigation of a member of the Senate. The House of Representatives is cooperating fully with the United States Attorney’s Office.”

No members of the House have been subpoenaed and no members are targeted in the investigation. The state Senate received a subpoena in May.

Joyce, a Democrat from Milton, has been the subject of allegations that he used his position to benefit himself and his law office. In February, Joyce’s Canton law office was raided as part of an ongoing federal investigation.

Shortly after the raid, Joyce announced that he would not see re-election.

Previously, Joyce paid $5,000 under an agreement made public by the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance for using campaign funds to pay for his son’s graduation party. He was also questioned about free drying cleaning he received from a business in his district.

Last year, he stepped down from his leadership position as the assistant majority leader after meeting with state insurance regulators on behalf of a private client.

Joyce has not been arrested or charged with a crime.


MA Senate passes budget

A report from our friends at MassFiscal Alliance –


Friend —

The Senate approved a budget last night, and the whole shebang heads to conference committee to iron out differences with the House version. I thought you might appreciate an update on this sunny Friday.

First, on the earmark front: Splash pool funding is headed to Lowell but not Springfield, and a check for new lawn furniture for Magazine beach and the Stoneham organ restoration I mentioned in earlier emails is in the mail. Senator Joyce got his $1,000,000 for urban forestry despite the lingering cloud over the nature of his senate work.

An amendment to the budget for funding a matching grant for bullet-proof vests for police officers had members tripping over themselves. Offered by a bi-partisan quartet (Tarr, Fattman, O’Connor, and Lovely), the bill had a special resonance, as also last night was the wake for Officer Ronald Tarentino, shot in the line of duty. The bill first failed by a sliver (17-20), but as senators realized the optics of funding splash pads and lawn furniture while passing up a 2-1 match for funding to protect our law enforcement community, the measure was re-worded and passed with just a single member (Wolf, bless his philosophical consistency) calling, “Nay.”

Senator Jamie Eldridge passed a shopping bag ban (all shopping bags offend him, apparently, not just the plastic ones we usually hear about), but his bid to add $110,000 to the Climate Change Adaptation and Preparedness line item failed. We are also glad to see Senator Eldridge came to his senses and withdrew his irresponsible amendment to over regulate campaign finance law, another well intentioned solution in search of a problem.

Richard Ross offered up a requirement that make salary and bonuses for the retirement fund’s CEO contingent upon unanimous consent of the fund’s board and performance. Only two Democrats (Timilty and Moore) crossed the line to vote in favor of stronger oversight for one of the highest-paid state employees. Let’s pair its failure with that of a Ryan Fattman amendment aimed at righting the wrongs of sick-leave buybacks and mourn their demise together. Both of these ideas would vastly improve fiscal accountability.

New Senator Patrick O’Connor, offered a good government and taxpayer protection amendment. His effort would have required a series of mandatory public hearings if a tax hike is on the table. Only a few years ago, the legislature passed a new tax as a short lived computer software sales tax, before they had to repeal their failed idea once word got out. O’Connor was right to offer it and the senate was wrong to reject it.

Republican Leader Bruce Tarr scored a win on an amendment requiring the state auditor to perform an annual audit of state credit cards, and another allowing the attorney general to investigate fraud in worker’s comp cases. His move to eliminate the State Climatologist was rejected in a bundle.

Since the State Climatologist position has been vacant for several years anyway, I’d say based on this sunny weather, we are doing just fine without one. I’m pretty sure the position doesn’t actually affect the weather (or much of anything), though.

Early next week, we will update our scorecard to include many of these votes and important roll call votes. Once updated, you’ll get an update.


Paul D. Craney
Executive Director
Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance


Support Common Sense for Transgender Bill

The Massachusetts legislature is considering a Transgender Public Accommodations Bill (H1577), that would modify a current law passed in 2011, which would include bathrooms and locker-rooms under its protection.  The new law  would  prohibit businesses and institutions (schools) from restricting individuals from utilizing bathrooms and locker-rooms, currently reserved on the basis of biological sex.  To be clear, there is no issue about whether a person, who has had sex re-assignment surgery, should be able to access their gender specific facility.  They should have it.
However under this new bill, a male person, with male anatomical features, could utilize a women’s bathroom or locker-room, if that person declared their gender identity as female
(H1577)  opens the door to a host of serious concerns.  The security concern presented by a male, feigning cross gender identification, to gain entrance to an intimate female facility, such as a bathroom, or a locker room, in order to commit a sexual assault, is perhaps the most critical.  Provisions have been suggested, that would allow the Attorney General to establish parameters for addressing feigned declarations.   These are very vague, and are at best a token gesture to allay growing hesitation about this legislation.  The Senate has failed to adopt them.
The next consideration is children.   In particular, young females, who would find themselves forced to share very intimate facilities with anatomical males.  Concerns about the psychological impact of such an arrangement, particularly with women in their pubescent years, was arrogantly dismissed by Attorney General Maura Healy, when she sarcastically stated  “ if they have a problem using the facilities,  they can wait”.  The matter was further compounded, when the Massachusetts Education Commissioner said  that he would not support separate facilities for transgender persons in Massachusetts schools.
The citizens of Massachusetts are faced with an unreasonable and oppressive piece of legislation, which would force them to concede a long standing practical accomodation.  All political issues involve competing interests. The interests of a small number of individuals, attempting to sort out their gender identity, confronts those of a larger number of persons, who have legitimate concerns about security and  privacy.  On this issue, the latter have the compelling case.  H1577 should be defeated.  The law governing discrimination against transgender persons should be left as it is. It is simply common sense.

  By Dennis Galvin  images-5

The ‘Millionaires’ Tax’ Jumps Its First Hurdle On Its Way To Voters

Proponents of a so-called millionaires’ tax won a major victory at the State House Wednesday. In a nearly three-hour Constitutional Convention—a joint session of the House and Senate that vets proposed amendments to the Massachusetts Constitution—the proposed measure received 135 votes, more than enough to move to the next stage of the amendment process.

If a proposed constitutional amendment receives the backing of at least 50 of the state’s 200 legislators in two consecutive years, the measure is then placed before the general public for a vote. If the millionaires’ tax is approved at a Constitutional Convention next year, voters will have the final say in 2018.

Right now, all Massachusetts voters pay an identical income-tax rate of 5.1 percent. If passed, the proposed amendment would place an additional tax of 4 percent on all income over $1 million—to “provide the resources for quality public education…affordable public colleges and universities, and…the repair and maintenance of roads, bridges and public transportation.”

The new tax would raise about $2 billion annually.


Before the vote was cast, Rep. Jay Kaufman of Lexington, the co-chair of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Revenue, spoke in favor of the proposed amendment.

“We can’t get to work without broken axles on the roads that are in bad repair,” Kaufman said. “We can’t avoid bridges that are in jeopardy of collapsing, and we can’t get the [MBTA] and other public transportation modes to run on time and safely. That’s a serious problem for all of us as citizens, and it’s a serious problem for our economy.”

“We do not have universal pre-K education in the Commonwealth,” he added. “We do not have a public higher-education system that allows our citizens to graduate without enormously burdensome debt.”

There was sharp pushback from several Republican legislators, however. Sen. Bruce Tarr of Gloucester, the Senate minority leader, said voters have previously rejected attempts to alter the Massachusetts Constitution to implement a graduated income tax—and warned that if the millionaire’s tax becomes a reality, the state’s most affluent residents will simply find ways to avoid it.

“[We’ve] isolated a select group of taxpayers who happen to be among the most mobile in the Commonwealth, in terms of their ability to move capital, to move their residence, and to avoid taxation altogether,” Tarr said.

Rep. Brad Jones of North Reading, the House minority leader, offered two proposals of his own in lieu of the millionaire’s tax. One would have set the state’s income-tax rate at a flat 5 percent—a shift that was backed by voters in 2000, but which the Legislature never fully implemented. Another would have dropped the income-tax rate to 5 percent, while also allowing an extra 4 percent tax on income over $1 million.

Neither received sufficient votes to pass.

Jones also proposed imposing an iron-clad requirement that any revenue raised by a millionaire’s tax be spent on education and transportation, and not diverted to other purposes. Such a provision, he said, would convince skeptics that the millionaire’s tax isn’t a “Trojan tax horse” aimed at creating a graduated income-tax system.

That proposal failed as well.

Throughout the Constitutional Convention, legislators speaking in favor and in opposition of the millionaires’ tax struggled to be heard over the din created by their colleagues, many of whom engaged in loud conversation throughout the event. Senate President Stan Rosenberg, who presided over the event, repeatedly asked for quiet, but any effect his entreaties had was short lived.

After the Constitutional Convention adjourned, Kaufman told WGBH News that he was gratified by the proposed amendment’s emphatic margin of passage.

“I was surprised, but not very surprised,” he said. “By the time debate began today, I was cautiously optimistic that we would get two-thirds’ vote, which was much higher than I would have guessed a few months ago … Getting to 70 percent surprises me and pleases me to no end.”


– See more at:


State House News

Minority Leader Rep. Brad Jones spoke on the House floor during debate on the so-called millionaire’s tax to defend multiple amendments he filed. [Photo Courtesy: House Broadcasting]


Citing the need for new tax revenues and more fairness in tax policy, Massachusetts lawmakers voted 135-57 Wednesday to advance a constitutional amendment designed to generate $1.9 billion for education and transportation by assessing a new 4 percent surtax on households with incomes above $1 million. Before recessing their Constitutional Convention until July 13, senators voted 33-7 in favor of the amendment, with House members voting 102-50. Only 50 votes were needed to advance the proposal.


Meet the Dirty Dozen


ACTION ALERT: The Dirty Dozen are led by Committee Chairs Jay Kaufman and Michael Rodrigues. The other ten members are Denise Provost, James Arciero, James Timilty, Thomas Stanley, Timothy Toomey, Benjamin Downing, Eric Lesser, Alan Silvia, Daniel Wolf and James Dwyer. On January 28th, these twelve lawmakers voted in the Joint Committee on Revenue for an 80 percent tax hike, and the entire Legislature is scheduled to vote on the measure on Wednesday at the Constitutional Convention.

The stakes are high. We need your help with advocating against the new tax. Let us give you some background.

Opposition to the proposed tax scheme grows daily. Some oppose it because it is poorly written. The measure writes into the state constitution specific language on income thresholds and earmarked revenue. Others oppose the new tax because it raises the rate for top earners to 9.1 percent. The effect of the increase will likely be disastrous. High-wage industries won’t see our state as a friendly place to build, and the best and brightest will be driven away.

Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance opposes the graduated income tax proposal. The current flat tax on income builds in protection from economic downturns and ensures fairness.

The Dirty Dozen call it a millionaire’s tax. We call it what it is: an 80 percent tax hike on the state’s economic leaders. The Dirty Dozen love to quietly pervert the tax code, and we won’t let that happen. Working in secret is their top strategy for kow-towing to special interests at the expense of a healthy Massachusetts economy, so Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance will scream their intentions from the rooftops.

As part of a grassroots strategy against the graduated income tax, constituents of State Representative Jay Kaufman and Senator Michael Rodrigues, leaders of the pro-tax hike effort, received educational mailers from us explaining how these two are working to pass the enormous tax increase. To view a copy of our mailer, visit our homepage at:

To take part in the grassroots campaign against the 80 percent tax hike, contact your lawmakers and urge them to oppose the graduated income tax.

Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance · 18 Tremont St, Suite 707, Boston, MA 02108, United States
This email was sent to To stop receiving emails, click here.
You can also keep up with Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance on Twitter or Facebook.



Transgender ‘bathroom bill’ a battle of conflicting rights

by State Representative Jim Lyons

Courtesy of Wikimedia

None of our rights is absolute. Even our most precious rights have limitations. The First Amendment protections of the free exercise of religion, freedom of speech, and the right to assemble are expansive but hardly unconditional. The proverbial rule against “yelling ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theater” is a common example of why our individual rights must sometimes be circumscribed for the public good. Some restrictions are needed to secure the rights of all, against the abuses of the few.

We are, however, more frequently faced with “rights in conflict,” rather than clear-cut abuses. In balancing competing rights, legislatures sometimes get it wrong.  For example, in 2007, the Massachusetts Legislature passed a so-called “buffer zone” law to limit the free speech rights of pro-life activists in order to ease entrance to abortion facilities. In McCullen vs. Coakley, the United States Supreme Court unanimously held that the Massachusetts law was overly restrictive and violated the free speech rights of peaceful protestors.

Today, the Massachusetts legislature once again has before it a bill involving competing rights. In a nutshell, the question before the legislature is this: Should Massachusetts eliminate protections for persons who expect restrooms, locker rooms, and dressing rooms to remain lawfully sex-segregated?

Those longstanding rights come smack up against the Transgender Public Accommodations bill (House Bill 1577), “an act relative to gender identity and nondiscrimination.” Often referred to as “the bathroom bill,” HB 1577 removes biology and physiology from primary consideration when a person chooses to enter an intimate public place such as a rest room — whether in a school, library, restaurant, government office, department store, or sports arena.

In 2011, the Massachusetts legislature passed the Transgender Equal Rights Act. While expanding protections against discrimination for transgender persons, that bill specifically maintained traditional expectations about who is permitted in the most sensitive public settings — bathrooms and other lawfully segregated facilities.  If this new bill is allowed to become law, those expectations will be wiped away.

Now, we vividly see the rights in conflict. The goal of HB 1577 is to expand protections for transgender persons. But at what point do those broadened protections conflict with the rights and protections guaranteed to others?

If passed, this law would guarantee the ability of transgender persons to choose whichever public restroom they prefer: men’s or women’s. Access to a restroom of one’s personal choice would override the right to privacy and security that the general public has long enjoyed. Up until recently, there has never been a question about whether a public women’s room is exclusively reserved to women. This bill says that men who claim to identify as women will share access to such heretofore restricted public facilities. What matters is the personal claim of “gender identity,” not the person’s objective anatomy.

Even assuming that those who seek unfettered access to the bathroom of their choice will not abuse that right, real and potential challenges, conflicts, and tensions will remain. But what if someone does seek to abuse that right, posing an outright danger to the public?

All of these conflicts are magnified tenfold whenever children are involved. Should underage boys and girls be assured that their right to privacy is protected in public restrooms? Or should the claims of adults trump those children’s rights?

As a member of the House of Representatives, I believe that the protection of children is paramount. That’s reason enough for me to oppose House Bill 1577. Voting against the bill is the surest way to allay the apprehensions of parents who fear that their children will be subject to awkward or even traumatic situations. Always lurking in the background is the possibility of abuse of access, an abuse which we can all unite in forcefully and unequivocally condemning.

Not every parent shares these concerns. And not every family agrees as to the best resolution of the conflict. That’s the unending dilemma of rights in conflict. There’s always a need to balance one against another. As a legislator, I am constantly reminded of the ongoing need to get that balance as correct as possible. In this case, I believe the right to privacy and security for all persons, especially for children, outweighs the demand for universal access. I shall be voting to maintain current rights, policies, and protections when I vote “No” on “the bathroom bill.”

Jim Lyons (R-Andover) represents the 18th Essex District in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. 

– See more at:

Massachusetts’ Millionaires Tax

Editorial to the Lawrence Eagle Tribune

Over the past several years, there are two words that have, more than any other, sent Massachusetts lawmakers scurrying for cover: “tax increase.”

This state shed its infamous “Taxachusetts” moniker many years ago, when lawmakers rolled back a number of onerous taxes that had made the state a pariah for many companies and individuals. Every year for the past several years, top lawmakers such as House Speaker Bob DeLeo have expressed the sentiment that there is “no appetite” on Beacon Hill for tax hikes.

The tax rollbacks and the Legislature’s stand on taxes is a strategy that has made this state more competitive. Boston is one of the top 15 creators of new-economy jobs in the nation, according to Bloomberg.

A well-considered tax strategy can lead to job growth and economic expansion, and a habit of sticking to the strategy is something that long-term business investors seek.

But for some lawmakers, the old habits die hard. Take longtime state solon and current Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, for example.

The Amherst Democrat, speaking before a crowd of labor union representatives this week, trumpeted his support for a graduated income tax that would place a 4 percent surcharge on anyone who earns more than $1 million per year. You can sure more and more people will wind up paying the surcharge as legislators tinker with the tax code once the flat income tax is replaced by the grad tax.


That money — perhaps $2 billion initially — would be used to create good-paying middle-class jobs and pay for better education, said Rosenberg. More money for road repairs and teachers, that’s the promise. Cue the thunderous applause.

Ah, yes, the rich. They don’t pay enough. Make them pay more. It plays well with many audiences, probably most audiences these days.

But this simplistic “solution” is a worn-out platitude to the working middle class. It feeds the worst impulses of politicians and the public, and in the end, it doesn’t accomplish what Rosenberg and other supporters claim.

If the surcharge were to pass, Massachusetts would regain its Taxachusetts reputation. It would have the third-highest graduated income tax rate in the nation, according to the State House News Service. Its impact on job growth is something that is harder to determine, but certainly it would give pause to start-up executives who want to locate in the Northeast. Consider, for example, that although Boston placed No. 15 in the nation for high-tech job creation in Bloomberg’s study, Manchester, New Hampshire, placed No. 6. Part of the reason for its high ranking is its tax policy. New Hampshire, which has no state income tax or sales tax, will no doubt use the millionaires’ tax to lure more businesses over the border.

The bigger problem for Bay Staters is the way that Rosenberg and other top lawmakers have punted down the road one of the worst fiscal problems in the state — the cost of universal health care, or MassHealth. A decade ago, when Massachusetts became the first state in the nation to pass universal health care, lawmakers failed to take action on a known ramification, controlling costs. Politically, it’s far easier to just pass the costs on to taxpayers, rather than face an office full of angry lobbyists.

As a result, the amount of money that taxpayers shell into the health care system is growing wildly. It now consumes half of all state spending, and most of the new tax revenue being generated annually is being fed into it, according to the Massachusetts Tax Foundation, a budget watchdog group. Little wonder why we have no money left over to put toward increased spending on schools and roads.

The problem with MassHealth will be punted even further down the road if Rosenberg gets his graduated income tax. With such a huge influx of money, there’s even less incentive to fix the spending problems.

The “tax the rich” mantra is the battle cry of politicians who lack the fortitude to take on the tough problems they had a hand in creating.

Please see the earlier post dated January 29, 2016 to view the list of representatives in favor of the bill (H3933). Representative Arciero is on the list. House Bill 3933 is a MA Constitutional Amendment that reads:

Amendment Article XLIV of the Massachusetts Constitution is hereby amended by adding the following paragraph at the end thereof:

To provide the resources for quality public education and affordable public colleges and universities, and for the repair and maintenance of roads, bridges and public transportation, all revenues received in accordance with this paragraph shall be expended, subject to appropriation, only for these purposes. In addition to the taxes on income otherwise authorized under this Article, there shall be an additional tax of 4 percent on that portion of annual taxable income in excess of $1,000,000 (one million dollars) reported on any return related to those taxes. To ensure that this additional tax continues to apply only to the commonwealth’s highest income residents, this $1,000,000 (one million dollar) income level shall be adjusted annually to reflect any increases in the cost of living by the same method used for federal income tax brackets. This paragraph shall apply to all tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2019.

This amendment will be heard in Joint Session on May 18, 2016.