page lists important Ballot Questions and Massachusetts State Legislation that
Individual Artists of All Disciplines should know about as well as key information on the State's Budget process. Join this site's list serve to be notified when action is needed. First step, however,
is for you to introduce yourself to your elected State Legislators (and
Federal elected officials) and you can find out who they are on our the
Policy Makers section.
Also see our News
Section to keep up with other important issues. To learn more about
how legislation becomes law see Lawmaking
in Massachusetts. To register to vote and/or find out who represents
you in government - ie How to find your state representative and your state senator (Note they are listed under District Representatives and Senator):http://www.wheredoivotema.com/bal/myelectioninfo.aspx
(This page was updated on 2/2/17)
Massachusetts State Budget Process
The State's budget process restarted in January 2017 with the Governor filing his budget on January 25th. To see Governor Baker FY18 Budget: http://www.mass.gov/bb/h1/fy18h1/ Next the House will file its budget followed by the Senates. The next step in the process is the what is called the Conference Committee. There is a key page on the state's official website that allows one to learn about and track the Budget Process and the Budget Documents. To read MALC's blog posts on the Governor's budget: http://artistsunderthedome.org/malc/news/state-budget-first-step-governors-budget-part-three/
Massachusetts Film Tax Credits Program: One of the key programs worth following and protecting is the Massachusetts Film Tax Credit Program.
2017- 2018 Massachusetts
Legislation-is now underway and we will list key legislation as soon as they are given bill numbers.
You can easily track pieces of legislation
ARTISTS RIGHTS/LABOR ISSUES & INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY:
An Act Relative to the Creative Economy Bill -has been refiled and we will post a links to it when it assigned bill numbers
The Independent Contractor 2004 law change has been an issue that has been negatively impacting those in the Creative Economy. These two identical bills fix this issue for our sector with an intellectual property carve out. The 2004 Independent Contractor law change made
it next to impossible for people to be classified as independent contractors
in this State. Once you are classified as an employee you do not own or control your intellectual property*. It is the property of the employer. The Senate Bill has been filed by Senator Michael Moore and the House Bill was filed by Representative Chris Walsh.
OF note is a version with new language passed the Senate last session- S2451.
Background information on the issue
These are important pieces of legislation and need to be supported. Note: there were several other Independent Contractor Bills filed. None of them fix it for artists working in all disciplines.
*Intellectual property encompasses copyright, patents, trademarks, royalties, licensing rights, publishing rights, etc.
----- filed by Rep. Chris Walsh & Senator Michael O. Moore
An Act Establishing a Disaster and Emergency Aid Fund for Massachusetts Artists-has been refiled
bill was originally filed in 2008 and was been refiled in 2009, 2011 and 2013 and 2015. It would
allow for the State Treasurer's Office to establish a specific state
fund for Disaster/Emergency Aid for Massachusetts Artists working in
all disciplines. This fund will be used to help artists who have had
a health care emergency (i.e. could not pay their medical bills or medical
insurance) as well as to help those artists who suffered other types
of emergencies (fires, floods, theft). The funds would be generated
from funds raised from the private sector.
--It has been Filed by Representative Chris Walsh and Senator Forryr
This is a great bill for artists.
An Act Relative to Resale Royalties for Artists-has been refiled
The need for this legislation to become law is urgent. Visual artists should be able to earn royalties when their work is resold. Artists in other disciplines (musicians, songwriters, writers etc..) have such needed revenue streams. The Massachusetts Cultural Council would be part of this needed solution to ensure visual artists are paid for their work when it is resold in the market place.
There is also a Federal version of this legislation: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christopher-rauschenberg/artists-deserve-royalties_b_5588388.html
----- filed by Rep. Chris Walsh
An Act To Prevent Trafficking in Ivory & Rhino Horns-several version of this legislation have been refiled
It is clear that not enough is being done to protect those animals who are being killed for their ivory (elephants, rhinos, whales, walrus, hippos). These two pieces of legislation would make it illegal to sell ivory in Massachusetts. The Federal Government recently strengthened its regulations around this very issue.
However, there needs to be exemption for existing musical instruments that contain ivory. Musicians often have spent their life savings to purchase and care for their instruments and they need to be able to resell those instruments. The resale monies are often their retirement monies and/or needed to buy a new instrument. All states that have enacted similar legislation have made exemptions for existing musical instruments. The proposed new Federal Regulations also have such an exemption.
These bills last session did not pass. MALC will be working to ensure that these pieces of legislation do not harm musicians.