THE SAUGUS ADVOCATE – FRIDAY, JULY 22, 2022 Page 19 BHRC | FROM PAGE 9 gal hunting that harms or kills wildlife including fish, birds, mammals and endangered or threatened species. Other provisions elevate the fi nes and penalties for poaching; align Massachusetts poaching regulations with other states; and bring Massachusetts into the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, which helps states to work together to prevent illegal hunting across state lines. “It has been nearly a century since many of the commonwealth’s anti-poaching laws were last updated,” said sponsor Sen. Michael Moore (D-Millbury). “The absence of action on anti-poaching laws has resulted in outdated penalties that result in no more than a slap on the wrist for offenders. This legislation fi nally brings our laws, fi nes and penalties in line with other states. It also brings Massachusetts into the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, a nationwide law enforcement network that allows our wildlife protection agencies to share information about poachers with other states. With the passage of this legislation, Massachusetts is making it clear that we will no longer be a safe haven for those who wish to do harm to our wildlife, marine life and ecosystems.” $56 MILLION FOR FAMILIES OF VICTIMS OF HOLYOKE SOLDIERS’ HOME (H 4932) — The House and Senate gave fi nal approval to and sent to Gov. Charlie Baker $56 million in funding for the families of the victims of the COVID-19 outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home. Sen. John Velis (D-Holyoke), chair of the Veterans and Federal Affairs Committee said that these families have been through so much over the past two years. “No dollar fi gure will ever bring their loved ones back, but this resolution does end the painful process of litigation,” said Velis. “What happened at the home will forever leave a scar on our commonwealth, especially Western Mass. Now we must continue to work to get much needed reforms for the home signed into law as well.” PROHIBIT REVOCATION OF PROFESSIONAL LICENSES IF A PERSON DEFAULTS ON A STUDENT LOAN (H 425) — House gave initial approval to legislation that would repeal current state laws which created professional licensure consequences for anyone who defaults on their student loan. Under existing law, a borrower’s state-issued professional or occupational certifi cate, registration or license can be suspended, revoked or cancelled if the borrower is in default on an education loan. “As a former seventh grade public school teacher and an education attorney for more than a decade, I’ve come to expect Massachusetts to be identifi ed as a pioneer in a promising practice or out in front on an education issue,” said sponsor Rep. Kate Lipper-Garabedian (D-Melrose). “So I was quite surprised to find that Massachusetts is one of the only states that mandates the denial of professional licenses to student loan defaulters. This draconian approach prevents an individual from access to the profession for which he or she has trained and has the perverse result of furthering hindering their ability to earn a living and making it more diffi cult to make loan payments. And as families work to recover from the fi nancial fallout of the pandemic, the last thing the state should do is deny them access to their professional pursuits because of student loan defaults.” “CROWN ACT” — FORBID DISCRIMINATION AGAINST A PERSON WITH A NATURAL HAIRSTYLE (H 5028) — The House and Senate approved a new version of a bill that would prohibit any person or entity including educational institutions workplaces and public spaces from implementing any policy that would explicitly target someone who wears their natural hairstyle. The measure defi nes natural hairstyle as hair texture, hair type and protective hairstyles including braids, locks, twists and other formations. Only fi nal Senate approval is needed prior to the measure going to Gov. Baker for his signature. “Racial discrimination is unacceptable in all of its forms,” BHRC | SEE PAGE 22

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