MA Legislation

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LEGISLATIVE LINKS

DRAFTS: 2021-2022 BILLS PROPOSED

EXTENSION: 1 February is the new deadline for submission of bills – possibly 19th, allowing time to edit and gather sponsors. The bills below are being revised or prepared for 2021. Please note that the credit for most goes to volunteer Kirstin Beatty (Beatty.fyi). Consider supporting Kirstin’s educational work at her website.

SECTION 1. The legislature finds and declares all of the following:

Whereas, the Journal of the American Medical Association published a 2019 study that found high levels of screen time reduces structural integrity in key brain areas responsible for literacy and language.

Whereas, the London School of Economics and Political Science published a May 2015 study finding test scores improved significantly at schools that banned mobile phone use, and that the most significant performance gains were made by the most disadvantaged and underachieving pupils.

Whereas, extended screen time is widely acknowledged as harmful to health due to time sitting, staring, blue light exposure, and lack of movement.

Whereas, encouraging digital technology use likely exposes students to powerful persuasive design from marketers, extremists, and political propagandists intended to influence behavior, thoughts, and stimulate digital addiction while capturing student data for profiling, predictive analytics, and crime.

Whereas, the Massachusetts education standards mandate screen time, For example, writing standards in Pre-K require students “use [digital tools (e.g. computers, mobile phones, cameras)] to convey messages in pictures and in words” and in Grade 1 require students “explore a variety of digital tools” for writing and publishing and in educational writing standards encourage students in and from Grade 3 to gather information from digital sources.

Whereas, mandates for screen time prevent alternative learning models that may be locally preferred, such as Montessori, Waldorf, or outdoor learning models.

Whereas, the content of corporate programs has often been found to reflect corporate interests, be generic, and lack currency or individualization, yet local educators may not be able to make corrections or recognize faults with EdTech since students interact independently.

Whereas, integrating software learning into every subject takes time away from other subjects – software requires far too much time and energy to evaluate, regulate, learn, fix and maintain.

Whereas, wireless frequencies cause or promote cancer, heart disease, and learning problems, the former being confirmed by the U.S. National Toxicological Program, yet all federal funding is for wireless technology alone.

Whereas, being near an electrical device increases exposures to magnetic and electrical fields that can harm health, yet this is poorly regulated in the USA.

Whereas, traditional education has stood the test of time, yet is being replaced by laws which favor for-profit virtual schools and EdTech programming despite missing independent evidence of safety, value and regulation.

Whereas, insuring schools or school districts set a school screen time and cellphone limit encourages greater attention and accountability and requires that the community engages and agrees upon what those limits should be.

Whereas, limiting and circumscribing use of technology from early to higher education reduces potential privacy and security risks and allows resources to be devoted to education and safer technological practices.

SECTION 2. Chapter 69 of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding the following section:-

School screen time limits

(a) Definitions. As used in this section, the following words shall have the following meanings:

“Screen time” is time viewing a technological or digital screen which includes but is not limited to a television, a smart board, projector, or computer.

“Passive screen time” is time viewing a technological or digital screen in which one only observes and does not interact or alter the screen by typing or otherwise moving the body.

“Interactive screen time” is time viewing and interacting with or altering a technological or digital screen by typing or otherwise moving the body.

“Virtual reality” is an interactive screen time experience taking place in a simulated visual environment, either real or imagined, and may incorporate auditory and sensory feedback. Augmented reality systems is a type of virtual reality in which perception of the real world is augmented by computer-generated perceptual information such as visual, auditory, haptic, somatosensory, and olfactory.

“Authority” is the authority legally invested with setting policy for a public charter school, virtual school, or, in the case of a school district, the elected school committee.

(b) School screen time and cellphone limits. Each public school authority shall set and publish a limit on school screen time and cellphone use, setting limits for both interactive screen time and passive screen time with input from the local community, school staff, students, and guardians. A baseline for school screen time and cellphone limits is provided in subsection (e), which shall apply unless the authority adopts more stringent or liberal limits. The authority must base its school screen time limits on the principles defined in subsection (c) and must follow a public commenting process as defined in subsection (d) for an initial and ensuing annual review. Except as defined in subsection (f), any other revisions to existing school screen time limits also require a public hearing.

Except as defined in this subsection and subsection (f), it shall be unlawful for any school or teaching staff to allow a student enrolled in either public primary or secondary schools in the Commonwealth to exceed screen time limits during and after school hours for school-related assignments, including extra-curricular activities.

Except as defined in subsection (c) and (f), it shall be unlawful to require screen time as a condition of public primary and secondary school required coursework or activities.

Nothing in this law requires the use of digital technology or screen time, nor preempts more restrictive state or local limitations.

(c) Screen time principles. School screen time limits must be premised on educational benefits to the student and safe use rather than simply convenience or savings to the educator or school system. Therefore, recommendations for school screen time limits must be based on the following findings:

(1) The educational goal cannot be as easily or quickly accomplished by traditional educational methods which do not use screen time;
(2) The specific use of screen time provides educational benefits superior to traditional methods which do not use screen time;
(3)The selection of products and scheduling of screen time is carefully weighed and designed to prevent physical, psychological, social and neurological adverse consequences, including digital addiction;
(4) Other than exceptions listed in subsection (f), courses and school activities revolving around prolonged screen time are limited to students in grades 8 to 12, with no more than 90 minutes of screen time daily through grade 9 and 120 minutes of screen time daily through grade 12.
(5) Other than exceptions listed in subsection (f), children or students below grade eight are not to exceed more than 5 hours of passive screen time in a month; to have no interactive screen time below grade four; and from grade four through seven are not to exceed more than 1 hour of interactive screen time weekly.
(5) Students under age 16 are not to use virtual reality technology.
(6) Students age 16 and above are not to use to virtual reality technology without an explicit opt-in form, explicit verbal warnings of potential negative effects, and, unless clear scientific evidence proves safety for both mental and physical development, must limit time spent in virtual reality to a maximum of 1 hour in a year expressly tied to a specific educational purpose other than entertainment.
(8) Courses or school activities that revolve around extensive screen time are voluntary, and screen time requirements in those activities highly relevant to the subject matter of the course or school activity.
(9) Traditional forms of instruction and learning which do not use screen time are preferred whenever desired by the educator or when these accomplish the task as well or approximately as well.
(10) Technology implementation and use follows the best practices for health, safety, and protection, and closes any intentional or unintentional gateway to products or services with adverse impacts, such as from, but not limited to, persuasive design, distracting entertainment, and data profiling.
(11) Carefully check if it is necessary to the educational purpose to use digital technology or screen time, whether students or educators must be visible on the screen and if video recordings can be avoided, and insure procedures are in place, including data processing agreements, to help protect confidential data and, when the purpose is fulfilled, destroy the confidential data.

(d) Public hearing decision. Except as defined in section (f), the authority must provide for a public hearing during annual reviews and before setting any new screen time limits.

For the public hearing, each authority shall publish a public notice and shall additionally inform all students, guardians, and school personnel of the hearing and commenting procedures using standard protocols used by the school or school district. These notices shall provide an electronic and postal address for written submissions; hearing time, date, and location; and that any party with a financial interest in promoting cellphone use or screen time is to self-identify by including the name of any relevant business and any product in conjunction with his or her name and tagged financial interest. The public hearing shall be set at time convenient to most school personnel, students, and guardians.

School teachers and school departments shall be provided time in school to meet as departments and as a school at least three weeks in advance of the hearing in order to review and discuss the proposed screen time and cellphone limits, principles, and consider recommendations for submission of public comments to the authority.

The hearing and all written comments, including the names of the testifiers, submitted shall be subject to the Open Meeting Law and written comments shall be available to the public for a reasonable sliding-scale fee or freely available for review – however, one exception to this rule shall be that any student, guardian, or teacher request based on personal needs shall not require or allow exposure of the name of the testifier unless desired by the testifier and, if relevant, his or her guardian.

Following the hearing and within eight weeks, the authority shall finalize and vote on the cellphone and screen time limits, with the decision decided by the majority, and shall prepare a public statement of its decision.

The public statement must state :

(1) all requests for additional screen time or cellphones by parties outside of the school system, excepting requests exempted under subsection (f) or (j) and given a relationship to potential future attendance;
(2) for each request for additional screen time, the relevant names of any school district or school staff who made the request, excepting requests exempted by subsection (f) or (j);
(3) a clearly marked list of all individuals with a financial interest due to business or to potential product sales that request increased screen time;
(4) the factual reasoning for the decisions based on the principles in subsection (c);
(5) how the individuals of the authority voted;
(6) optionally, a statement of reasons for dissent prepared by any individual(s) in the authority.

(e) Proposed screen time and cellphone limits. Screen time restrictions are provided according to grade level as follows:

(1) Pre-K through kindergarten screen time: maximum of 4 hours, none of which may be interactive;
(2) First through second grade: maximum 5 hours per school year, none of which may be interactive;
(3) Grade three through seven passive screen time: maximum of one hour a day and 5 hours total in the school year;
(4) Grade three interactive screen time: none;
(4) Grade four through seven interactive screen time: maximum of 20 minutes a day and a maximum of 3.5 hours total in the school year;
(5) Grade 8 through 10 passive screen time: maximum of one hour a day and 25 hours total in the school year;
(6) Grade eight interactive screen time: maximum of one hour a day and 5 hours total in the school year.
(7) Grade nine through ten interactive screen time: maximum of one hour daily and 10 hours total in the school year.
(8) Grade 11 through 12 passive screen time: maximum of one hour a day and 35 hours total in the school year;
(9) Grade eleven through twelve interactive screen time: maximum of one hour daily and 30 hours total in the school year.
(10) All grades are to leave cellphones at home or in airplane mode at school in furnished lockboxes, relying on the school telecommunications system for any necessary calls.

(f) Exceptions to screen time limits. With a public hearing, exceptions may be granted to school screen time limits beginning in the eighth grade for: (1) specialized, optional courses whose subject requires screen time, such as computer programming; and (2) extracurricular activities whose subject requires screen time, such as a computer programming club.

A Commonwealth virtual school shall be excepted from screen time limits insofar as excused by its design as described in section 94 of Chapter 71 Title I of the General Laws. Despite this exception, the virtual school must to the maximum extent seek to reduce screen time, where possible, and to meet the expectations of subsections (d) and (c), including reporting.

Some exceptions to screen time limits do not require a public hearing due to private or emergency nature. If an exception is granted to school screen time limits on the basis of a school or public emergency, the authority shall reconvene as soon as the emergency has passed to establish an orderly, swift process to end the temporary extension and return to the limits previously established without the need for a public hearing. If the reason for an exception no longer exists with respect to a private need, the exception granted is ended.

The following exceptions shall be granted with respect to school screen time limits without requiring a public hearing:

(1) when a conditon of the student’s individualized education plan, or when a licensed physician determines necessary for health, an exception to school- or district-wide screen time limits shall be granted;
(2) quarantine to prevent transmission of a dangerous disease;
(3) personal condition of a student that prevents student school attendance, such as a personal emergency or suspension from school;
(4) an unexpected school or public disaster obstructing use of classrooms for in-person learning.
The following exceptions shall be granted with respect to school screen time limits without requiring a public hearing:

(1) When beneficial to relieve disability or a medical condition, an exception to school- or district-wide screen time limits shall be granted;
(2) quarantine to prevent transmission of a dangerous disease;
(3) personal condition of a student that prevents student school attendance, such as a personal emergency or suspension from school;
(4) an unexpected school or public disaster obstructing use of classrooms for in-person learning.

(g) Informed consent and opt-outs. Information about school technology shall be made available to school students, guardians, and staff to support the principles in subsection (c) by the school authority to the best of its knowledge and ability. The authority shall insure each educator has easy access to a printed list of all software and technologies utilized by the educator, including as specifically connected to each technology product or service, information about the data collected, parties to the data, associated companies, data processing agreements, and any attendant risks provided in the product manual or service contract and any other attendant risks that are known to exist.

The authority shall insure each guardian and student is also provided with a copy of the list as relevant to the student. This delivery of this information to students and guardians may be assigned to classroom teachers.

Given this information, each guardian and student shall be provided with the opportunity to opt out of the use of any specific product or service.

(h) Violations. Each authority shall establish a screen time policy to prevent violations and to deal with students and staff who violate this law that includes consequences to prevent violations. This screen time policy shall include staff education on the policy and the hazards of excessive screen time and redirection with education for initial mistakes.

Any outside party, including any co-conspirators, attempting to subvert this law in order to increase the use of any technological product shall be subject to civil charges and a penalty. The party or parties shall pay restitution and return profits, including earnings for lobbying. Additionally each party shall pay the amount the party has available, according to its earnings, in 15 days or, if deemed best, equivalent time in custody and to which charitable conditions or other strings may be attached.

(i) Cellphone limits. The authority shall adopt a policy to limit or prohibit the use by students of cellphones while the students are the school site or while under the supervision and control of an employee or employees of that school or school district. The authority may also limit use by staff.

(j) Cellphone exceptions. Notwithstanding subsection (i), no person shall be prohibited from possessing or using a cellphone under any of the following circumstances:

(1) In the case of an emergency, or in response to a perceived threat of danger.
(2) When a licensed physician and surgeon determines that the possession or use of a cellphone is necessary to the person’s health.
(3) When the possession or use of a cell phone is required in a student’s individualized education program.

SECTION 3. Chapter 69 of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding the following section:--

Remove technological mandate; bi-annual review to reduce and regulate technology

(a) Definitions. As used in this section, the following words shall have the following meanings:

"Board" is the board of elementary and secondary education.

''Commissioner'' is the commissioner of elementary and secondary education.

''Department" is the department of elementary and secondary education.

“information technology” is the technology involving the development, maintenance, and use of computer systems, software, and networks for the processing and distribution of data.

“Screen time” is time viewing a technological or digital screen which includes but is not limited to a television, a smart board, projector, or computer.

“Confidential data” is data collected on students or staff and which includes:
(1) standard identifying information:
i. names of staff and students
ii. dates of birth
iii. addresses
iv. grades
v. medical information
vi. exam results
vii. staff development reviews
viii. assessments
ix. other personal identifying information
(2) identifying data such as location-tracking, photographs, and biometric data, which includes unique biological or behavioral identifiers such but not limited to voice audio, fingerprints, gait recognition, and keystroke dynamics.
(3) personal writings or other personal work such as art
(4) political views
(5) socioeconomic data
(6) disciplinary data
(7) similar data or information on other individuals that are not students or staff, but may be referenced in or extracted from student and staff data.
(8) observed and inferred data from the data provided

(b) End technology mandate across curriculum. The department shall revise its education goals, curriculum frameworks, and evaluation requirements to eliminate any educational mandate for the use of information technology except in extracurricular courses in the subject area, rather than requiring and evaluating the use of digital and information technology across curriculum in all subjects.

c) Policy directives. The commissioner, board, and department shall enact and enforce the following policy directives when and wherever possible, and shall in no way limit the ability of public schools and school districts to set rules or policy that are more stringent than here listed.

(1) Safety, security, and privacy. When technology is utilized, the commissioner, board, and department shall insure the regulation of technology use and data collection by public schools and the department for privacy, safety, and security, including as follows.

(i) Limit travel and sharing of student and staff confidential data where possible, for example preferring to keep student data with the student, classroom data with the teacher, and school data housed with the school.
(ii) Prefer to publish student work on paper offline or in private, closed networks.
(iii) Avoid placement of confidential data online.
(iv) Prefer printed text or hard-wired, offline closed systems for confidential data storage.
(v) Allow and encourage use of printed text where helpful to protect privacy for students, teachers, and other school staff or administrators.
(vii) Prohibit, counsel against, and, if existing, halt collection of biometric data – if data is collected for medical purposes, then require data be destroyed following medical use, not be repurposed, or condition further use on fully informed consent of the patient or patient’s guardian freely granted.
(viii) Limit collection of data or profiles outside the needs and parameters of the educational system or which do so for third parties such as software companies, wireless providers, parent companies, affiliate companies, and others.
(ix) Identify and limit use of products, companies, or consultants with a history of disregarding privacy protections or with poor cybersecurity - decommission software and equipment which pose such risks.
(x) Reduce the collection and transmission of confidential data in evaluation of students, teachers, and schools by setting fewer confidential data points and by encouraging such assessments to remain offline.
(xi) Routinely check cybersecurity, train staff on privacy and cybersecurity, and harden systems in use for the department, schools, and all school districts.
(xii) Insure ongoing, equitable access to expert support staff and expert recommendations for all schools and school districts to address issues of cybersecurity and privacy.
(xiii) Insure where technology is utilized, access is equitably secure and respectful of privacy.
(xiv) Prevent and discourage the routine surveillance of students and school staff in classrooms or through digital school assignments and assigned technologies, excepting surveillance outside the building to prevent vandalism and burglary.
(xv) Require a police warrant for temporary surveillance cameras when criminal concerns arise.
(xvi) Insure stringent security standards for the storage and transmission of student data.
(xvii) Identify and discourage or prohibit use of new technologies and practices which threaten privacy and cybersecurity of school students, staff, and the department.
(xviii) Prohibit and discourage administrative monitoring or checking of private, external student and school staff internet use and social media accounts without a legitimate safety concern and without a warrant.
(xix) Prohibit and discourage the use of RFID and other technologies to track students and staff.
(xx) Discourage the evaluation of student and staff non-academic, health, or behavioral indicators through information technology, and instead rely on teachers, counselors, nurses, administrators, and appropriate experts to make those evaluations in real-life settings offline and, if relevant to research analysis, using paper-and-pen offline evaluations.
(xxi) Encourage the evaluation of student academics by teachers and teacher success by administrators through paper-and-pen offline evaluations.
(xxii) Prohibit and block the use of predictive analytical software regarding student and staff behaviors and futures, including sharing of such data or profiles with outside or third parties.
(xxiii) Prohibit and discourage use of software and devices which collect data outside the needs and parameters of the educational system or which do so for third parties.
(xxiv) Insure that when digital technologies are utilized for which third parties such as software companies have access to data, only the minimum of student and staff data necessary to complete a specified purpose is available to the third parties, only the minimum of data necessary is retained only as long as is needed, and that data is not further shared and is not used for purposes other than contracted, such as to develop a student profile or for other data analytics.
(xxv) Provide that schools and companies publish the types of information collected, the purposes to which the information will be used, the security practices in place, and, if relevant, the algorithms behind decision-making.
(xxvi) When technology is used, insure products, software, installation and usage reflects the best practices for safer and healthier technology with respect to chemical and electromagnetic concerns, posture, movement, screen time limits, and screen light.
(xxvii) When considering use of surveillance, require proof that less intrusive means would not suffice.
(xxviii) Require third parties providing technology, such as cable providers and software companies, to sign data processing contracts to comply with the privacy and security intent of this subsection (e), and insure these contracts are freely available to the public for review.
(xxix) Reduce dependence and reliance upon digital technology, and encourage alternatives.
(xxx) Restrict student use of information technology to students in grade 7 and higher and to online settings and assignments where student confidential data is protected.
(xxxi) When technology is used, insure accessible, equitable technological support exists.
(xxxii) Insure data and profiles are utilized only for educational purposes, never for advertising, and are not repurposed without express, fully informed student and guardian consent that is freely granted.
(xxxiii) Insure online data that is no longer needed is destroyed.
(xxxiv) Limit the use of technology in order to limit privacy and cybersecurity incursions.
(xxxv) Insure a telephone system is available at all institutions that works reliably and would work well and continuously in event of an emergency.
(xxxvi) Limit use of online voice and video calls and online proctoring, and when using justify the purpose, confirm confidential data protection, check to insure no other rights may be infringed.
(xxxvii) Enter into a contractual processing agreement with any supplier of an online application to be sure that confidential data is protected.
(xxxviii) Before using online voice, video, and proctoring, always check whether an alternative format exists that will infringe privacy less. If using online voice, video, and proctoring, the institution must record in writing the reasons why this is necessary in specific cases.
(xxxix) Insure that there are data protection resource personnel to assist educators to structure online or digital education to prevent the loss of confidential data.
(xl) Require school-wide policies on how to handle video footage in connection with online voice and video calls, including at a minimum agreements on (A) showing students and staff on screen and making recordings; (B) informing the subjects about the data, e.g. retention period and period of recordings; (C) if applicable, secure storage and who is responsible for deletion.
(xli) Set institution- and school-wide policies on remote testing.
(xlii) Allow objection to personal data processing – if a student objects to online proctoring and the school cannot demonstrate that its interests outweigh that of the students, the school must offer an alternative without any adverse consequences such as disproportionate delay to studies.
(xliii) Advise students to keep a neutral environment while being filmed and to turn off cameras if not necessary while attending a digital lesson.
(xliv) Through policy and education, prevent idle capturing of biometric data through personal and institutional digital devices, whether cellphones, laptops, or other devices.

(c) Policy directives. The commissioner, board, and department shall enact and enforce the following principles when and wherever possible, but shall in no way limit the ability of public schools and school districts to set more stringent policy.

. . . (2) Technology limits. The commissioner, board, and the department shall limit technology use for the benefit of students, education, and society, including as follows:

(i) Avoid favoring of technology in setting educational goals, curriculum frameworks, evaluation, and funding – consider technology as an secondary tool, rather than as a replacement, improvement, or requirement.
(ii) Prevent the commercialization of education and also the segue of marketing and branding into schools through digital technology.
(iii) When digital software is utilized, provide for software evaluation, swift feedback mechanisms, and encourage swift removal of software deemed poor or failing by students, teachers, or administrators.
(iv) Insure evaluation and data collection requirements do not cause more trouble and time than educational value to students, educators, and schools.
(v) Require proof that non-technological means would not suffice or do as well in regard to use of digital technology in brick-and-mortar schools, and, in regard to virtual schools or remote learning, the same proof in regard to homework, classroom assignments, and asynchronous learning.
(vi) Prohibit the collection and use of educator and student intellectual property by school leadership, the school authority, and third parties such as software and information technology companies – use of technology tools should never be tied to giving up creative work.
(vii) Set in place a process to roll back virtual school for students below grade 9 and to limit placement of traditional schooling with virtual school to students in grade 9 and higher, except where special medical or disability needs arise which cannot otherwise be well addressed or when a student’s emotional and behavioral challenges pose a danger to others or disrupt other’s education in a traditional brick-and-mortar setting.
(viii) Prevent the undermining of public school districts through financial losses by requiring virtual schools to return annual excess surplus funds and to prevent excess payments in salaries, adminstrative costs, and travel and other perks.

(3) Rehumanize and support education. The commissioner, board, and the department shall limit the demands on educators, students, and schools and rehumanize and support education, including as follows:

(i) Protect and encourage pedagogical and academic freedom for teachers, including protection against political firings motivated by interests in nepotism, school finances, and misplaced accountability.
(ii) Eliminate the burdensome demand that every classroom activity name associated standardized educational goals – if necessary, require only overarching unit goals rather than requiring such for every activity.
(iii) Protect and encourage interdisciplinary education, academic creativity, and connections to current events on the part of educators and local communities.
(iv) Loosen the rigid requirements set by graduation credits, the curriculum framework, educational goals, and evaluation in order to promote flexibility on the part of local schools and educators within classrooms.
(v) Prevent automation of education through rigid or complex educational goals, curriculum frameworks, evaluation, and funding which favors technology, purchase of scripted lessons, and inflexible adherence to preset curriculum content and pedagogy.
(vi) End the burdensome demands that teachers post lesson plans in public view and multiple locations for students and administrators – allow teachers to provide verbal or written instruction as convenient and allow that administrators rely for evaluation on the traditional review of plan books.
(vii) Minimize the use of educator time to collect or provide multiple points of data for teacher and school educational analytics, and respect and value teacher assessments and grading as a valid measure of student performance.
(viii) Limit data analytics to avoid detracting from a focus on academic subjects and from a focus on individuals as human beings.
(ix) In evaluating education for the purposes of the state or for federal requirements, include and highlight non-confidential data points reflective of institutional support such as, but not limited to, financial resources, staffing numbers, recess or break time, extracurricular spaces, adequate textbooks, presentation materials, humidity, sunlight, outdoor access, working windows, ventilation, mold, temperature, magnetic field levels, hard-wired technology, and similar indicators.
(x) Recognize, allow, and encourage the human need, both for school students and staff, for incidental, intermittent conversation, recess or periodic work breaks, and building personal relationships without penalty and outside of a rigid accountability or data analysis framework.
(xi) For motivation, social and emotional health, allow and encourage the teaching and reasonable use of non-digital games not directly tied to educational goals or evaluation, including games such as but not limited to checkers, tic-tac-toe, seven-up, and hangman, including longer games when educators require additional planning time.
(xii) Encourage social interaction, study and play divorced from the realm of information technology and digital technology - where possible, encourage time outdoors.
(xiii) Place greater emphasis on providing support and resources for students and teachers, rather than testing as a punitive measure.
(xiv) Insure statewide curriculum frameworks and educational goals allow and encourage schools to provide remedial lessons and subjects where needed without penalty.
(xv) Promote fewer preparations and more planning time for educators, with more time for subject areas when needed due to greater grading responsibilities or preparation needs.
(xvi) Discourage a focus upon test scores and teaching to tests.
(xvii) Encourage evaluation systems which reduce competition between teachers and promote collaboration.
(xviii) Work to insure schools are fully funded such that educators must not pay out of pocket to subsidize classroom needs.
(xiv) Recognize that personal digital devices are often a disciplinary challenge that educators cannot address alone and for which administrators and the school system bear prime responsibility.

(d) Setting rules and policy. The Board of elementary and secondary education, department of elementary and secondary education and its’ commissioner shall set rules and adopt a policy to reduce use of technology and to regulate technology used by the department, schools, educators, and students in accordance with subsections (b) and (c), and shall include within its purview but not be limited to (1) statewide educational goals, curriculum frameworks, adult basic education, vocational-technical education, school-to-work transition programs, grant programs, assessments, school and educator performance and evaluation, including but not limited to that listed in Chapter 69, Part I, Title XII of the General Laws, (2) routine school management, and (3) any information technology or data laws, rules, or other requirements at the local, state, and federal level applicable to public schools.

(e) Bi-Annual review and report. The commissioner and the department of elementary and secondary education shall undertake a bi-annual review to fulfill the intent of subsection (b) and provide bi-annual reports of its findings, progress, and recommendations for relevant changes in state and federal laws. The report shall be published bi-annually in on the first business day of the third and eighth month of the year. The report shall be freely provided to the public online and shall be easily accessible from the website for the department and the board of education. A copy of the report shall be filed with the state legislature for access by legislators and the public, and its content shall be presented before the relevant committee(s) for elementary and secondary education and for information technology. Copies shall also be provided to any federal representatives of the Commonwealth in relevant committees for information technology or education as well as to the federal senators of the Commonwealth.

SECTION 4. Section 1I of chapter 69 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2016 Official Edition, is hereby amended by adding the following paragraph after the first paragraph:-

Technology study shall be an optional and not a required public school subject. Unless voluntarily enrolling in a technology course, no public school student, legal guardian, or public school shall be treated with prejudice or found wanting in an evaluation due to following a principle of restricting or avoiding student digital technology use or choosing not to purchase or upgrade digital technological equipment. A student or school may safely restrict or avoid digital student technology use and still be provided high marks in evaluation based on other measures, and may pursue alternative models of education such as the Montessori model. Within reason, however, such a school may be expected to insure students understand age-appropriate aspects of digital technology use related to safety, health, responsibility, societal impacts, and privacy.

SECTION 5. Subsection (a) of Section 94 of Chapter 71 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2021 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out the sentence “''Commonwealth virtual school'', a public school operated by a board of trustees whose teachers primarily teach from a remote location using the internet or other computer-based methods and whose students are not required to be located at the physical premises of the school.” and inserting in place thereof the following sentence: –

''Commonwealth virtual school'', a public school operated by a board of trustees whose teachers primarily use distance learning, where the student is not required to be located at the physical premises of the school and instead uses computer-based methods, the internet, telephone, or correspondence by post.

SECTION 6. Subsection (l) of Section 94 of Chapter 71 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2021 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out “and (6) the planned use of surplus funds in the upcoming fiscal year and in future fiscal years. The board may establish limits for excess funds that may be retained by commonwealth virtual schools and may require commonwealth virtual schools to return excess funds to school districts.” and replacing with:--

(6) a process for to return excess surplus funds to school districts and reduce payments by school districts accordingly; (7) evidence that salaries, administrative costs per pupil, and work loads are reasonable or comparable to sending brick-and-mortar school districts; (8) evidence that any contractual payments to third parties are reasonable for products or services; (9) evidence spending on marketing or travel is reasonable or comparable to sending brick-and-mortar school district, and that marketing costs do not serve the school rather than the student.

SECTION 8. Section 94 of Chapter 71 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2021 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out the first sentence of subsection (k) and replacing with:--

The amount of tuition per pupil a school district shall pay for a student residing in the district who is enrolled in a commonwealth virtual school shall be based on a proposed set of tuition fees which reflects the expected costs of the virtual school and that is approved by the board and subject to adjustment based on actual costs; provided, that the department may, in consultation with the operational services division, approve provide for adjustments and alternative tuition amounts proposed by applicants that shall not exceed the state average per pupil foundation budget for students of the same classification and grade level; provided, further, that the department may authorize additional tuition assessments for services required by an individualized education program established pursuant to chapter 71B. While the tuition shall be subject to adjustment to reflect actual costs, excessive surplus of funds shall be returned to the school districts.

SECTION 9. Subsection (b) of Section 94 of Chapter 71 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2021 Official Edition, is hereby amended by adding after the third sentence the following:

In evaluating whether to allow continued certification, the board shall require the virtual school has provided evidence of serving as a benefit to the public education, of reasonable spending, and of attention to student education, including but limited to the following considerations:

(1) whether the the virtual school has appropriately entered into data processing agreements with third party software and internet providers;

(2) whether the virtual school has chosen trustworthy partners for third party software and internet providers;

(3) whether the virtual school assures the student a safe space to work and, if relevant, provides for safe and secure technology;

(4) whether the virtual school demonstrates restraint in spending tax monies, with salaries and funds for administration and staff per pupil comparable to brick-and-mortar public schools or otherwise justifiable;

(5) whether the virtual school demonstrates a failure to rein in marketing and other secondary costs, and uses funds for trivial, non-educational purposes to benefit administrators or provide high salaries for little work, and whether the administrative costs per pupil are comparable to that of sending school districts with duly elected school committees.

(6) whether the existence of the virtual school is financially sound and beneficial or, by dividing resources from brick-and-mortar schools or otherwise, is harmful to a public education system accountable to local school committees.

(7) whether there is evidence the social and emotional health of students attending the virtual school is worse as a result of attending the school, and if so, whether this is due to an aspect of the program, of the student, or both.

(8) whether the virtual school has taken reasonable measures, where possible, to reduce time spent before digital screens.

SECTION 10. Subsection (b) of Section 94 of Chapter 71 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2021 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking “and (12) a discussion of the school's outreach and recruitment efforts; provided, however, that said report shall include input from teachers and administrators at the virtual school and input from administrators in a district that has established a virtual school or districts that are members of an education collaborative that has established a virtual school.” and replacing with:--

(12) the considerations for continued certification listed in subsection (b); and (13) a discussion of the school's outreach and recruitment efforts; provided, however, that said report shall include input from teachers and administrators at the virtual school and input from administrators in a district that has established a virtual school or districts that are members of an education collaborative that has established a virtual school.

SECTION 12. Section 7A (b) of Chapter 15A of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2021 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out the “and (9) maximizing fundraising for private sources” and inserting in place thereof the following clauses: --

(9) maximizing fundraising from private sources; (10) maximizing safety, security, and privacy of digital and communications technology; and (11) protecting academic currency, diversity, and freedom against political, industrial, and technological control.

SECTION 13. Section 7A (1) of Chapter 15A of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2021 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out the “and (9) maximizing fundraising for private sources.” and inserting in place thereof the following clauses: --

(9) maximizing fundraising from private sources; (10) maximizing safety, security, and privacy of digital and communications technology; and (11) protecting academic currency, diversity, and freedom against political, industrial, and technological control.

SECTION 15. Chapter 15A of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding the following section:--

Regulation of tech in higher education.

(a) Definitions.
“Confidential data” is data collected on students or staff and which includes:
(1) standard identifying information:
i. names of staff and students
ii. dates of birth
iii. addresses
iv. grades
v. medical information
vi. exam results
vii. staff development reviews
viii. assessments
ix. other personal identifying information
(2) identifying data such as location-tracking, photographs, and biometric data, which includes unique biological or behavioral identifiers such but not limited to voice audio, fingerprints, gait recognition, and keystroke dynamics.
(3) personal writings or other personal work such as art
(4) political views
(5) socioeconomic data
(6) disciplinary data
(7) similar data or information on other individuals that are not students or staff, but may be referenced in or extracted from student and staff data.
(8) observed and inferred data from the data provided
“Staff” refers to all staff, including but not limited to professors, administrators, groundskeepers, cafeteria workers, and others at institutions of higher education within the Commonwealth.

(b) 5-year plans and mission. Following the procedures of section 7 of this Chapter, the council, board of trustees, and secretary shall revise educational missions and 5-year plans to promote privacy rights, safer technology, and to protect educational autonomy and academic freedom in the public interest over mass instruction. There shall be a focus on reducing dependence on technology and safer, regulated use of information technology by students and staff at public institutions of higher education. The secretary shall provide an annual public report and presentation to the legislative committee(s) charged with higher education on progress, obstacles, and changes in relation to the intent of this section, including with regard to safer, regulated technology as described in subsection (e).

(d) Accountability and evaluation. With respect to section 7A of this Chapter and following the procedures therein, the board of higher education shall revise accountability and evaluation standards to protect privacy rights, promote safer technology, and to protect educational autonomy and academic freedom over mass instruction along with a focus on reducing dependence on technology and regulated, safer use of technology by students and staff at public institutions of higher education. Incorporated into accountability standards shall be those listed in subsection (e).

(e) (1) Limit travel and sharing of student and staff confidential data where possible, for example preferring to keep student data with the student, classroom data with the professor, and college or university data housed with the institution.

(2) Except where the intent is to make documents or data public or systems are secure, closed networks, prefer to keep student work on paper offline or in private, closed networks.

(3) Prefer printed text or hard-wired, offline closed systems for confidential data storage.

(4) Allow and encourage use of printed text where helpful to protect privacy or convenience.

(5) Prohibit, counsel against, and, if existing, halt collection of biometric data with these exceptions: (i) if biometric data is collected for medical purposes, then require data be destroyed following medical use and not be repurposed without agreement, (ii) if biometric data is collected for a research or educational project, data shall not be collected from students or staff for any project of a person in a supervisory or professorial relationship, but otherwise may be allowed with agreement (iii) all collection and use of biometric data shall require fully informed consent freely granted, and shall not be a condition of any benefits or payments.

(6) Limit collection of data or profiles outside the needs and parameters of the higher education system, including for third parties such as software companies, wireless providers, parent companies, affiliate companies, and others.

(7) Identify and limit use of products, companies, or consultants with a history of disregarding privacy protections or with poor cybersecurity - decommission software and equipment which pose such risks.

(8) Reduce the collection and transmission of confidential data in evaluation by setting fewer confidential data points and by encouraging such assessments to remain offline.

(9) Require routine checks of cybersecurity, training on privacy and cybersecurity, and hardening of systems in use.

(10) Insure ongoing, equitable access to expert support staff for all institutions utilizing technology in order to address issues of cybersecurity and privacy.

(11) Insure where technology is utilized, access is equitably secure and respectful of privacy.

(12) Prevent and discourage routine surveillance, including through digital school assignments and assigned technologies, excepting surveillance outside buildings or, if clearly marked and identified, corridors inside buildings, to prevent vandalism and burglary in locations where vandalism or burglary is likely to occur.

(13) Require a police warrant for temporary surveillance cameras when criminal concerns arise.

(14) Insure stringent security standards for the storage and transmission of confidential data.

(15) Identify and prohibit use of new technologies and practices which threaten privacy and cybersecurity of students and staff.

(16) Prohibit and discourage administrative monitoring or checking of private, external student and staff internet use and social media accounts without a legitimate safety concern and without a warrant.

(17) Prohibit and discourage the use of RFID and other technologies to track students and staff.

(18) Encourage and support use of paper, pen, and paper filing systems.

(19) Prohibit and block the use of predictive analytical software regarding student and staff behaviors and potential futures, including the sharing of such data or profiles with outside or third parties.

(20) Prohibit and discourage use of software and devices which collect data outside the needs and parameters of the educational system or which do so for third parties.

(21) Insure that when digital technologies are utilized for which third parties such as software companies have access to data, only the minimum of student and staff data necessary to complete a specified purpose is available to the third parties, only the minimum of data necessary is retained only as long as is needed, and that data is not further shared and is not used for purposes other than contracted, such as to develop a student profile or for other data analytics.

(22) Provide that institutions and companies publish the types of information collected, the purposes to which the information will be used, the security practices in place, and, if relevant, the algorithms behind decision-making.

(23) When technology is used, insure products, software, installation and usage reflects the best practices for safer and healthier technology with respect to chemical and electromagnetic concerns, posture, movement, screen time limits, and screen light.

(24) When considering use of surveillance, require proof that less intrusive means would not suffice.

(25) Require third parties providing technology, such as cable providers and software companies, to sign contracts to comply with the privacy and security intent of this section.

(26) Reduce dependence and reliance upon digital technology, and encourage alternatives.

(27) Insure data and profiles are utilized only for educational purposes, never for advertising, and are not repurposed without express, fully informed student consent freely granted, and that consent is not required in order to access benefits or requirements of education or employment.

(28) Insure online data that is no longer needed is destroyed.

(29) Limit the use of technology in order to limit privacy and cybersecurity incursions.

(30) Insure a telephone system is available at all institutions that works and would work well and continuously in event of an emergency.

(31) Prohibit the collection and use of educator and student intellectual property by institutions and third parties, such as software and information technology companies – use of technology tools should never be tied to giving up creative work.

(32) Prevent the commercialization of education and also the segue of marketing and branding into schools through use of digital technology.

(33) Provide feedback mechanisms for the educational value of software and digital tools that are separate from the evaluation of educators, and provide for swift removal of software or digital tools deemed poor or failing.

(34) Insure evaluation and data collection requirements do not cause more trouble and time than educational value to students, educators, and institutions.

(35) Limit use of online voice and video calls and online proctoring, and when using justify the purpose, confirm confidential data protection, check to insure no other rights may be infringed.

(36) Enter into a contractual processing agreement with any supplier of an online application to be sure that confidential data is protected, and insure these agreements are freely available to the public for review.

(37) Before using online voice, video, and proctoring, always check whether an alternative format exists that will infringe privacy less. If using online voice, video, and proctoring, the institution must record in writing the reasons why this is necessary in specific cases.

(39) Insure that there are data protection resource personnel to assist educators to structure online or digital education to prevent the loss of confidential data.

(40) Require institutional policies on how to handle video footage in connection with online voice and video calls, including at a minimum agreements on (A) showing students and staff on screen and making recordings; (B) informing the subjects about the data, e.g. retention period and period of recordings; (C) if applicable, secure storage and who is responsible for deletion.

(41) Set institution- and school-wide policies on remote testing.

(42) Allow objection to personal data processing – if a student objects to online proctoring and the school cannot demonstrate that its interests outweigh that of the students, the institution must offer an alternative without any adverse consequences such as disproportionate delay to studies.

(43) Provide that students are advised to keep a neutral environment while being filmed and to turn off cameras if not necessary while attending a digital lesson.

(44) Regulate cellphones in classrooms according to student needs and preferences of the professor, such as by supporting use of lockboxes.

(45) Through policy and education, prevent idle capturing of biometric data through personal and institutional digital devices, whether cellphones, laptops, or other devices.

(46) Require adoption of a policy to limit or prohibit the use by students of cellphones and recordings while on site, with professors, or in classrooms, that does not prohibit use of a cellphone under any of the following circumstances:

(i) In the case of an emergency, or in response to a perceived threat of danger.
(ii) When a licensed physician and surgeon determines that the possession or use of a cellphone is necessary for health or well-being.
(iii) When the possession or use of a cell phone is required by a student’s individualized education program.
(iv) In the case of a public interest in exposing corruption, crime, and violence.
(v) At the request of a professor for a specific educational purpose, subject to privacy, security, and other reasonable limits set by the institution or state.

SECTION 16. Chapter 15D of Part I Title II of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding the following section: -

Technology screen and privacy limits

(a) Definitions. As used in this section, the following words shall have the following meanings:

“Confidential data” is data collected on students or staff and which includes:
(1) standard identifying information:
i. names of staff and students
ii. dates of birth
iii. addresses
iv. grades
v. medical information
vi. exam results
vii. staff development reviews
viii. assessments
ix. other personal identifying information
(2) identifying data such as location-tracking, photographs, and biometric data, which includes unique biological or behavioral identifiers such but not limited to voice audio, fingerprints, gait recognition, and keystroke dynamics.
(3) personal writings or other personal work such as art
(4) political views
(5) socioeconomic data
(6) disciplinary data
(7) similar data or information on other individuals that are not students or staff, but may be referenced in or extracted from student and staff data.
(8) observed and inferred data from the data provided

“Interactive screen time” is time viewing and interacting with or altering a technological or digital screen by typing or otherwise moving the body.

“Screen time” is time viewing a technological or digital screen which includes but is not limited to a television, a smart board, projector, or computer.

“Passive screen time” is time viewing a technological or digital screen in which one only observes and does not interact or alter the screen by typing or otherwise moving the body.

“Virtual reality” is an interactive screen time experience taking place in a simulated visual environment, either real or imagined, and may incorporate auditory and sensory feedback. Augmented reality systems is a type of virtual reality in which perception of the real world is augmented by computer-generated perceptual information such as visual, auditory, haptic, somatosensory, and olfactory.

(b) Technology screen and privacy limits. The department of early education and care, the commissioner of early education and care, and the board of early education and care shall limit and circumscribe screen time and digital technology in early education and care as follows, with exceptions listed in subsection (c).

(1) Areas where children spend the majority of time shall not have a television, computer monitor, or other screen routinely playing video, including moving images, or video games, for passive or interactive screen time.
(2) Toys utilized by children in early education and care shall not have the capability for passive or interactive screen time.
(3) Toys utilized in early education and care shall not have the ability to record confidential data.
(4) Passive and interactive screen time shall be prohibited for children under age 4.
(5) Beginning at the age of 4, children may be allowed passive screen time not to exceed one of the following choices: (i) one day of each week for 90 minutes; (ii) 20 minutes daily; or (iii) three days for 30 minutes.
(6) Providers of early education and care are to be encouraged not to use screen time, and to consider alternative activities.
(7) Children are not to utilize a cellphone or other screen-based digital device as a toy.
(8) Insure electric and magnetic fields are at low levels, with magnetic fields less than 1 milligauss and electrical equipment away from play and rest areas.
(9) Avoid the use of wireless devices and WiFi near or in play or rest areas, or where children spend the majority of time – hard wire any necessary digital equipment and check that wireless transmissions have been halted.
(9) Use of screen time is to be circumscribed to prevent the impact of bright, artificial light from disrupting circadian rhythms and sleep.
(11) In order to prevent cybersecurity risks, discourage or limit the use of video and voice devices intended to monitor children.

SECTION 17. This act shall take effect upon its passage and shall expire on December 31, 2024.

The board of secondary and elementary education, as well as the associated commissioner and department shall study, propose, and provide a report on an alternative platform for virtual schools to replace the current model based on the following concept: (1) provide one state-wide platform to provide marketing, financials, and access to virtual schooling; (2) allow a simple system of ratings or testimonials from students and guardians to inform future students; (3) support rather than detrimentally impact brick-and-mortar school district funding; (4) insure participation of school districts in hiring, supervision, management, and setting accountability measures, in tandem with consideration for feedback from students and, if relevant, guardians; (5) focus only on special populations needing distance education and special courses otherwise unavailable to school districts; (6) have an evaluative process to remove subjects or technologies which fail in distance learning; and (7) avoid discrimination against distance learning by correspondence or post.

The commissioner shall provide the report to the legislature one year from passage of this act and shall present to the committee(s) of education.

    1. Do you support and care about the bill concept? One person said people would not want this. Vote here: Facebook or LinkedIn (public) or Twitter (Kirstin's page) or LinkedIn (group). Add comments for clarification.
    2. Any suggestions or edits?
    3. Please connect to offer support!

Short summary: The bill is intended to remind educators and local schools to limit technology use in schools; set community-approved limits on PreK - 12 screen time; and encourage less use in early education and more regulation in higher education. Virtual schools are also a bit more regulated such as in returning excess funds to school districts and encouraging less use at younger ages.

History: This bill is a revision in process based on 2019-20 MA S. 294 by K. Beatty.

Instead of the school technology fund set in law the following replacement is suggested to:

      • provide safe telecommunications and internet
      • study safer technology or safer substitutes
      • provide professional development that:
        • addresses issues and local district needs
        • affirms and offers tech alternatives to reduce tech reliance
        • limits screen time

Section 3A: Statewide educational technology plan; goals; development and implementation

Section 3A. A statewide educational technology plan, to be known as Massachusetts education-on-line, shall be developed by the Massachusetts corporation for educational telecommunication, hereinafter referred to as MCET. Said educational technology plan shall incorporate the following goals:

(a) health- and socially-conscious implementation of technology in public schools, including, but not limited to, the establishment of a hard-wired statewide telecommunications and technology link with minimal chemical and electromagnetic emissions among public college and university campuses and school districts through the use of computer and communications technology;

(b) facilitating the implementation of a statewide professional development plan in coordination with the commissioner of education for teachers, principals, and superintendents to reduce technology reliance and support screen time boundaries; affirm and offer technology alternatives; actively address technology issues, including but not limited to privacy, digital addiction, bullying, health, ransomware, and environmental costs; and meet needs for technology as set by local school districts; and

(c) support study and examination of options for safer substitutes or safer technology.

For the purposes of this section, said educational technology plan shall be broadly construed to include, but not be limited to, programs, courses, and capital expenditures including computer hardware and software, networks, television, --[cross out satellite transmissions]---, fiber optics cable, calculators and video and audio tapes. Subject to appropriation, MCET may provide grants to universities, colleges, schools and school districts for the purposes of purchasing the equipment and other materials necessary for the implementation of said educational technology plan. The MCET executive director, in consultation with the secretary and the board of education and the board of higher education, may establish such advisory groups or committees as he deems necessary for the development and implementation of said educational technology plan.

Updated version of 2019 bill S. 295, this bill could be split in two and modified to allow more time, but any modification should insure that local control is retained. The bill has two parts:

    1. Requires schools to set processes and evolving, benchmarked goals to support privacy and safer technology behaviors.
    2. Establishes state and local committees to develop policy and a scope and sequence for curriculum on digital tech issues and mitigation.

An Act Accounting for technological privacy and safety in schools with local and state committees

SECTION 1. Chapter 71 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2016 Official Edition, is hereby amended by adding, after Section 93, the following section:-

SECTION 93A. DEVELOPMENT OF TECHNOLOGY PRIVACY AND SAFETY MEASURES

(a) As used in this section, the following words shall have the following meanings:

“Granular opt-out processes for different uses of data” is providing separate options to refuse different types of data sharing. Considerations include but are not limited to placement in a yearbook or directory, using cloud services, or using school-issued devices or personal devices.

“Opt-out alternatives for technology” is an opt-out of using technology with a comparable or alternative non-technological assignment.

“Students and staff” includes all students in pre-K through 12th grade, including students in home schooling, as well as preK-12th grade staff and teachers, including tutors and extra-curricular leaders. Tutors or other arranged staff, including legal guardians or volunteers, that provide extra-curricular activities or other educational learning, are also included.

“Scope and sequence” refers to a document providing an overview of the scope, or depth and breadth, of content to be taught at a specific grade level and the sequence, or order in which content should be taught throughout the year.

“Confidential data” is data collected on students or staff and which includes:

(1) standard identifying information:

i. names of staff and students

ii. dates of birth

iii. addresses

iv. grades

v. medical information

vi. exam results

vii. staff development reviews

viii. assessments

ix. other personal identifying information

(2) identifying data such as location-tracking, photographs, and biometric data, which includes unique biological identifiers such as voice audio or fingerprints

(3) personal writings or other personal work such as art

(4) political views

(5) socioeconomic data

(6) disciplinary data

(7) similar data or information on other individuals that are not students or staff, but may be referenced in or extracted from student and staff data.

(8) observed and inferred data from the data provided

(b) Each school committee in conjunction with the superintendent or with the board of trustees of a charter school shall support the security, privacy, safety, and wellbeing of students and staff by establishing the following, allowing for exceptions when not applicable:

(i) Granular opt-out processes for different uses of data;

(ii) Identification and labeling of processes and equipment which may risk confidentiality or safety;

(iii) Respectable informed consent and opt-out procedures;

(iv) Shredding or secure erasure of unneeded data;

(v) Access to clearly described vendor data collection policies and data security for relevant students, legal guardians, and staff;

(vi) Preferred technology vendors, software, websites, and equipment to meet considerations for privacy, health, safety, access, and limitations on marketing;

(vii) Staff training and student technology education on confidentiality, privacy, safety, health, security, and marketing concerns;

(viii) Policies on digital devices to protect confidentiality, privacy, health, security, safety, and prevent marketing concerns;

(ix) Policies and procedures on screen time limits;

(x) Timelines to move towards hard-wiring equipment, isolating systems, providing safer technology, reducing technological reliance, and other more expensive or time-consuming procedures for security and safety;

(xi) Full identification and records of preferred vendors, software, and equipment, to allow legal redress;

(xii) Evolving goals and established processes for reducing staff and student reliance on and use of technology that undermines confidentiality, health, safety, security, wellbeing, or serves marketing purposes; and

(xiii) Yearly benchmarks set by the district and schools to move towards goals set in (b) (xii).

(c) Each public school committee in conjunction with the superintendent and each board of trustees of a charter school shall provide for a scope and sequence for curriculum on using digital technology more safely and with sociological awareness, hereafter called Digital Scope & Sequence (DSS). The DSS shall include, as age-appropriate, personal, health, and sociological problems arising from technology use. DSS topics shall include but not be limited to the areas of privacy, automation, addiction, job turnover, monopoly, propaganda, marketing, stalking, profiling, health, environment, resource scarcity, programming errors, and weapons. In conjunction with these topics, the DSS shall require education on mitigation of technology problems and age-appropriate practices in healthier, safer and more environmentally-friendly and responsible technology use, behavior, and communication.

The DSS shall be designed flexibly to allow for integration of concepts across disciplines, current events, and to respond to rapidly evolving technology.

(d) Each public school committee in conjunction with the superintendent and each board of trustees of a charter school shall provide for a Digital Safety Policy, hereafter called DSP, for safer use of technology. Any such DSP shall:

(1) Require the notification of the parents, legal guardians, students, and additional stakeholders of the policy and any changes to it every two years at the beginning of the academic year with opportunity for public input and recommendations;

(2) Be evaluated at least every two years by the school committee in conjunction with the superintendent or board of trustees of a charter school to ensure that the policy conforms to current law, internet practices and technical requirements of teachers, provided that the results of the evaluation are made subject to a public hearing to accept public comment and input;

(3) Require employment of a DSS pursuant to subsection (c) of this section;

(4) Insure technology use is educationally-focused;

(5) Provide for accessibility through universal design;

(6) Provide a procedure for legal guardians and students to register complaints with respect to DSP failures;

(7) Establish and make publicly available the specific measures to protect privacy, safety and health pursuant to subsection (b) of this section, and make publicly available the individuals responsible for making these decisions; and

(8) Restrict access to online content that contains obscenity, pornography, or material harmful to minors including the following measures:

i. Make publicly available specific measures to block, filter, or alter websites, the basis for doing so, and the individuals who are responsible for making those decisions;

ii. Provide a procedure for teachers to override a website that has been blocked, provided that the website does not contain obscenity, pornography, or material harmful to minors;

iii. Establish criteria for the overruling of a request by a teacher to allow access to a website that is blocked by internet protection measures, a procedure to provide the requesting party with an explanation of the reasons for denial of a request, and a procedure to record and submit any requests and overrulings to the school committee every two years;

(e) Each district or charter school shall establish a Digital Safety Council with relevant expertise or abilities to develop, examine, and review the DSS and DSP, and shall publicly invite and not exclude parents, legal guardians, and local public school teachers as members who must be in the majority. Digital Safety Council members may not have served or serve as a product defense consultant or expert for the industry, and members must submit conflict of interest statements that shall be retained in district or charter school records and be freely available to the public. The Digital Safety Council shall have 9 months to provide an initial draft, which shall be provided to the local public school teachers and the local community for a 45-day review period to allow for criticism and ensuing revision for a period of four months.

(e) The state Board of Education shall provide a template for the DSP and DSS and may provide additional recommended resources and materials. The Board of Education shall establish a state-wide Digital Safety Council, hereafter called DSC, to prepare templates and additional materials, and shall provide support, a platform for reports, and coordination of meetings, whether by secure conference call, online exchange, or in person.

The state DSC shall include 6 public school teachers (including former or retired public school teachers), 3 legal guardians of public school students, 3 advocates, 2 medical professionals, and 1 public school administrator. The state Education Board shall insure the DSC is established by accepting for appointment teachers nominated by the Massachusetts Teachers Association, an advocate nominated by the Massachusetts ACLU, an advocate nominated by the Children’s Screen Time Network, an advocate nominated by [uncertain – Environmental Health Trust?], a physician nominated by the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatricians, and a psychologist nominated by the Massachusetts Psychological Association. If any organization listed chooses not to nominate to the DSC, then the state Education Board may select an individual. The Education Board shall also be tasked with identifying a public school administrator to join the DSC.

DSC members shall be provided with reasonable costs for travel, conferencing, and research needs. For low-income DSC members with need, an hourly wage or stipend for meeting attendance shall be provided to prevent exclusion.

The DSC shall invite public comment and presentations or information from technology experts, scientists, and doctors with relevant, current expertise regarding DSS and DSP concerns.

The process and publication the DSP, DSS, and relevant materials shall be within one year from appointment, with drafts published at 3, 6, and 9 months for public comment. The DSS and DSP model materials, including the scope & sequence, shall be updated every two years or sooner to reflect the evolution of technology, society, and the continuing advice of the legal guardians, students, parents, teachers, and school administrators, as well as privacy and safer technology advocates. Updates shall require only one draft and comment period before publication.

A suggested revision is below of H. 587 which in 2019-2020 asked for policy to reduce electromagnetic exposures only K-12 - the revision below includes the collegiate level.

Section 3 changes the education board current goals #3 & #4 and adds #5 for eco-health from this top-down, automated version: “(3) a deliberate process for establishing and achieving specific educational performance goals for every child, and (4) an effective mechanism for monitoring progress toward those goals and for holding educators accountable for their achievement.”

H. 587 needs sponsors in 2021 - was previously put forward on behalf of co-chair Kirstin Beatty by Rep. Aaron Vega, who is leaving office.

SECTION 1. Chapter 71 of Part I Title XII of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding a new section:-

SECTION 1D. WIRELESS AND NONIONIZING RADIATION EXPOSURES

Section 1D. Every public school shall have a policy to limit exposures to non-ionizing radiation stemming from wireless connectivity and from electricity. This policy shall insure that schools not only work to reduce or eliminate wireless exposures, but also work to reduce or eliminate electrical and magnetic fields emitted by electricity as well as artificial light. This policy shall also encourage students and staff, including any operating via remote education, to reduce electromagnetic exposures at school and at home in alignment with cautious interpretation of current science.

Every public school shall use this policy to work towards hardwiring Internet connections, reducing wireless connectivity, and reducing use of wireless devices. If access is wireless, ideally use of technology shall be limited and use of wireless connections by staff shall occur after regular hours when students have left the school, until such time as a hard-wired connection can be obtained. Ideally, to control and monitor equipment, a segregated area of the school shall be set aside for internet use by the staff and students.
Policy and any standards or rules enforcing the policy shall be provided by the school committee or charter school board, and shall be subject to development and review by a local committee inclusive of and not exclusive of student guardians, parents, and teachers belonging to the school or district.

SECTION 2. Section 15A of chapter 15A of Part I Title II , as appearing in the 2019 official edition, of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after the following section:-

SECTION 15A. WIRELESS AND NONIONIZING RADIATION EXPOSURES
Section 15A. Every public or independent institution of higher education located in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and authorized to grant degrees pursuant to any general or special law shall set a policy to limit student and staff exposures to non-ionizing radiation stemming from wireless connectivity, technology use, and electricity. This policy shall insure that institutions not only work to reduce or eliminate wireless exposures, but also work to reduce or eliminate the electrical and magnetic fields emitted by electricity as well as artificial light. This policy shall encourage students and staff, including any operating via remote education, to reduce electromagnetic exposures at school and home in alignment with cautious interpretation of current science.

Every institution shall use this policy to work towards hardwiring Internet connections, reducing wireless connectivity, and reducing use of wireless devices. If access is wireless, ideally use of technology shall be limited and use of wireless connections by staff shall occur after regular hours when students have left the school, until such time as a hard-wired connection can be obtained. Ideally, to control and monitor equipment, a segregated area of the school shall be set aside for internet use by the staff and students.

SECTION 3. Section 1 of chapter 69 of Part I Title XII of the General Laws is hereby amended by striking out the last sentence and inserting in place the following sentence:-

It is therefore the intent of this title to ensure that each public school classroom provides: (1) the conditions for all pupils to engage fully in learning as an inherently meaningful and enjoyable activity without threats to their sense of security or self-esteem; (2) a consistent commitment of resources sufficient to provide a high quality public education to every child; (3) a respectful process for attending to student academic needs and developing talents; (4) an effective mechanism for supporting positive school climates and teacher quality and professionalism; and (5) insuring the environmental health and safety of public school classrooms by allowing for policies and procedures designed to improve and monitor environmental health of public school buildings.

If fixed the 2019-2020 bill H. 1874, likely to be resubmitted by Rep. Carolyn Dykema, would be a fine supporting measure to accompany the other billsetting policy.

Problem to Fix: In 2017 (H. 2030) and 2019 (H. 1874), the submitted bill assumed habits or "best practices" can reduce harmful effects of wireless exposures; allows wireless installations; and trusts a non-elected department to decide what is safe. Below is a suggested revised text.

SECTION 1. Chapter 71 of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding the following section:--

Section 98. The department of elementary and secondary education shall develop best practices and guidance for the purchase and installation of wireless internet service and telecommunications in schools to minimize electromagnetic exposures. In developing these guidelines, the department shall consider and prioritize practices that protect the health and safety of public school students and staff. These guidelines shall provide varying approaches in order to account for variable financial abilities or investment of school districts. To develop these guidelines, the department shall consult with engineers and other experts in the field of reducing non-ionizing electromagnetic exposures, including transients and harmonics. Simultaneously, the department shall revise its accountability and education standards to allow school districts to limit electromagnetic exposures by reducing technology use.

SECTION 2. Chapter 15A of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding the following section:--

Section 45. The board shall develop best practices and guidance for the purchase and installation of wireless internet service and telecommunications in public institutions of higher education to minimize electromagnetic exposures. In developing these guidelines, the board shall consider and prioritize practices that protect the health and safety of public institutions of higher education students and staff. To develop these guidelines, the department shall consult with engineers and other experts in the field of reducing non-ionizing electromagnetic exposures, including transients and harmonics.

A public statement by the state legislature would be helpful. A helpful statement would reduce electromagnetic exposures by urging the following steps:

      1. allow consideration of environmental & health effects in denying zoning requests by amending Telecommunications Act of 1996 47 U.S.C. 332(c)(7)(B) iv;
      2. demand a revision of FCC exposure guidelines in alignment with current science and decent caution;
      3. encourage divestment from wireless communications;
      4. encourage a slow economy and slow, healthy jobs;
      5. research and identify safer communication design;
      6. fully fund safer, hard-wired communications;
      7. increase whistle-blower protections in industry and federal government;
      8. limit agency conflicts of interest by criminalizing such abuse;
      9. encourage medical training and public health wireless and electromagnetic education; and,
      10. at the state and federal level, eliminate any mandate to require use of digital technology K-12 through college in any subject unless digital technology is the subject of the course.

Help:Reaching the stakeholder organizations listed in the bill is difficult - contact is needed to insure these organizations support being listed and involved in such a commission. The updated bill is posted in the LinkedIn Last Tree Laws group for feedback and support - support IS NEEDED!

Summary:This bill is for an investigation of electricity and wireless concerns, such as health, with ensuing recommendations. Commission members are to be appointed by a wide range of stakeholders, to improve chances of political and industry independence. Stakeholders include education and other union representatives as well as other large, powerful or respected organizations, which increases respectability and attention. FYI, note high-voltage line (electricity) placement by schools is regulated in California, to prevent proximity of student to high fields considered dangerous and that some districts forbid placement of cell towers on school property - steps that help address wireless and electrical concerns.

Why this bill:This bill is designed to generate publicity, invite stakeholders, and limit political influence - in Massachusetts this is a big concern due to the influence of the technology lobby. The New Hampshire Commission bill would likely fail in Massachusetts due to politics and the lack of engagement of big organizations.

An Electromagnetic (Wireless, Electricity) Investigation

Prepared by Kirstin Beatty of Last Tree Laws and Beatty.fyi

Resolved, Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, there shall be a special commission to research the impact of electromagnetic (EMR) radiation from zero to 300 Ghz on consumer protection, public health, and the environment to determine, if detrimental, how to allay impacts on the public, with mental, physical, and environmental health having primacy.

The commission shall be composed of the # members, as follows:

(a) The Attorney General or designee;
(b) A nominee of the Massachusetts Teachers Association or Boston Teachers Union;
(c) A nominee of the Massachusetts School Nurse Association;
(c) One union member nominated by the Massachusetts AFL-CIO;
(d) One telecommunications worker representative nominated by the Communications Workers of America;
(e) One doctor nominated by the American Environmental Academy of Medicine;
(f) One scientist nominated by the Silent Spring Institute;
(g) One doctor nominated by the Massachusetts Medical Society, ideally with expertise in either cancer, neuroscience, or infertility;
(h) One scientist nominated by New England-based Community Action Works, formerly the Toxics Action Center;
(i) One pediatric doctor nominated by the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics;
(j) One doctor nominated by the Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility;
(k) One doctor or scientists nominated by the Environmental Health Trust [or Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition];
(l) One representative or lawyer nominated by the Massachusetts Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action;
(m) 2 representatives nominated by the Massachusetts American Civil Liberties Union;
(n) 2 nominees from the Institute of Building Biology & Sustainable IBN
(o) A representative of the State House selected by the Speaker of the House;
(p) A senator of the State Senate selected by the President of the Senate;
(q) A representative of small business appointed by the governor;
(r) 3 non-voting members appointed by governor:
Telecommunications representative;
Medical system representative;
Engineer in wireless networks;
(s) 4 non-voting commissioners, directors, or their designees for the following departments:
Public Health;
Telecommunications and Cable;
Technical Assistance and Technology Office;
Consumer Affairs & Business Regulation.

Chairmanship, legislative and policy decisions for reports to the Commonwealth shall be decided by vote of all members with voting status. Commission members shall elect a chair by majority vote, who may be replaced at any time upon majority vote.

No voting member or spouse of voting member of the commission shall have a history involving current telecommunications, energy, IT, or utility industry clients or job dependency; nor shall any voting member have an current investment portfolio conflicts of interest, including in the areas of energy, telecommunications, IT, or utility. No voting member or spouse of a voting member of the commission shall receive funding or a job from telecommunications, energy, IT, or utility sectors in the two years following the commission’s final report. All commission members must file a statement detailing any relevant conflicts of interest as specified, including activities in relation to immediate family and extended family members – copies must be freely available to the putlic. These statement must be filed with the Secretary of State during the commission period and in the two years following closure of the commission.

The commission’s meetings and communications shall be subject to the Massachusetts open meeting laws so as to be transparent. The commission shall be assisted by and have access to the resources available to the legislature and the executive branch in its investigations. For commission members with financial hardship, a stipend may be offered for meeting attendance, not to exceed $40 per hour. As needed for the completion of its report or series of reports, the commission shall invite outside experts to present substantively in areas such as law, policy, electrical codes, information technology, insurance, electromagnetic reduction, science and engineering.

The commission shall file a report of its recommendations and proposed legislation or regulatory changes, if any, with the clerks of the House and Senate and with the chairs of the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure not later than December 31, 2022, and may file a series of reports.

This is a 2019-2020 bill - this is so important! The bill is decent, but could be revised.

S. 1271 An Act Educating Patients on Environmental Health Risks such as Wireless Exposures – NOT ACTIVE

    • Summary: Patient education and health care quality control measures - divided into sections for each part.
    • Sponsor Constituent K. Beatty (LTL Director)

Such a bill may not be worth moving forward due to likely losing a legal challenge. Please consider the bill below to require a standard format for warnings.

Cellphone labeling was recently blocked by a ninth circuit federal Appeals Court in an ordinance, and appears to have the backing of the U.S. Supreme Court due to a remand requesting reconsideration based on certain decisions.

For this reason, state cellphone labeling may also face legal challenges.

Senator Cyr submitted a cellphone labeling bill in 2019-2020, MA S. 130, and may resubmit. Below there is a recommended rewording.

"For safety, The Federal Government requires that cell phones meet radio frequency (RF) exposure guidelines. If you carry or use your phone in a pocket or the phone is otherwise in contact with your body when the phone is on and connected to a wireless network, you may exceed the federal guidelines for exposure to RF radiation. Refer to the instructions in your phone or user manual for information about how to use your phone safely."

Since a specific cellphone warning label has been prohibited by a federal appeals decision, instead recommended is a standard format for warning labels that can can be implemented for all new manufactured goods by a set time (a year?) from pasage of the act, and that:

      • Requires all manufacturer warnings, for any product,
        1. to be accessible for reading before purchase of any product;
        2. include on product packaging clear directions for accessing warnings and any relevant requirements of use necessary to avoid harm;
        3. be written in simple language.

A bill requiring approval of cellular infrastructure by the local governing authority will likely be resubmitted by Sen. Keenan.

This is a small step in the right direction, but we recommend a few changes in the text as follows to apply the rule to the entire state:

An Act relative to wifi and cellular infrastructure along rail lines

SECTION 1. Notwithstanding the provisions of any general or special law to the contrary, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority or its successors, including but not limited to the Division of Public Transit in the Massachusetts Surface Transportation Authority shall be prohibited from constructing, erecting, placing and/or maintaining any monopoles or antennae to support wi-fi or cellular service within the City of Quincy and the towns of Braintree, Holbrook, Abington, and Rockland, without approval from the local governing authority, which in a city having a Plan D or Plan E charter by the affirmative vote of a majority of all the members of the city council, in a city not having such a charter by vote of the city council, subject to the provisions of the charter of such a city, and in a town by a majority vote of the board of selectmen.

A bill to allow opting out of smart meters will likely be resubmitted by Sen. Michael Moore unless passed in 2020. We support the bill, as written below, but would create an additional bill or add:

      • addressing solar incentives, such as a requirement that solar incentives allow for use of analog meters without penalty;
      • a requirement for a digital opt-in when new utility meters are needed; or
      • going forward, a replacement with analogs of all transmitting meters.

An opt out is a step in the right direction of stopping smart meters. The problems of smart meters are manifold, including: (a) intense wireless exposures; (b) circuitry and fire hazards; (c) frequent billing errors; (d) surveillance; (e) additional energy and other expenses; (f) variable billing and remote shut off likely to hurt the poor.

An Act relative to utilities, smart meters, and ratepayers’ rights

SECTION 1. Chapter 164 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 116B the following section:-

SECTION 116C: Smart/wireless utility meter information

a) As used in this section, the following terms shall have the following meanings:

(1) “Electromechanical analog meter”, means a purely electric and mechanical device, using no electronic components, no switch mode power supply, no transmitter, no antenna, and no radio frequency emissions.

(2) “Utility company”, shall mean an electric, gas, or water company, or town or city-owned utility or other utility provider.

(3) “Wireless meter” shall mean: Any transmitting metering device with electronic components and/or any electric or battery operated meter that is capable of measuring, recording, and sending data by means of a wireless signal from a utility consumer or member to a utility company, municipality, or cooperative association in a manner utilizing one-way communication, two-way communication, or a combination of one-way and two-way communication either through the meter itself or through a device ancillary to the meter. Common names include, but are not limited to, AMR, ERT, smart, AMI, and Comprehensive Advanced Metering Plan CAMP.

(4) “Equivalent technology” shall mean utility infrastructure that communicates data using wireless frequencies, but which may be undisclosed due to proprietary rights.

b) The department of public utilities shall direct utility companies to provide ratepayers the following:

(1) a choice of the type of utility meters to be installed and operated on their places of residence, property or business; among the choices offered shall be the installation and ongoing operation of an "electromechanical analog meter"; and

(2) the ability to retain and operate an “electromechanical analog meter” on an ongoing basis at no cost; and

(3) the right to replacement of a wireless meter with a non-transmitting electromechanical meter at no cost.

c) The utility companies shall be required to obtain the ratepayer’s written consent:

(1) before installing wireless meters or "equivalent technology" on the ratepayer’s property and

(2) before altering the functionality of said meters.

d) The utility companies shall provide written notice to ratepayers within 90 days of the effective date of this act for the purpose of informing said ratepayers if wireless meters have been installed on their properties. Ratepayers shall have the right to request that the utility companies remove said wireless meters and install in their place electromechanical analog meters that emit no radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation. There shall be no cost or other periodic usage charges to the ratepayer for such removal, replacement installation, and use of a non-wireless utility meter. The utility company shall promptly comply with such removal and replacement installation request made by the ratepayer to said company.

e) Utility companies are:

(1) prohibited from shutting off service to a ratepayer based on the ratepayer’s utility usage or on the ratepayer having electromechanical analog meters;

(2) prohibited from imposing any disincentive on a ratepayer for not consenting to the installation or use of wireless meters;

(3) required to notify ratepayers in writing that the installation and use of wireless meters are not mandated by state or federal law and are not permitted without the ratepayer’s consent;

(4) prohibited from discriminating against ratepayers who may have medical conditions that are exacerbated by exposures to pulsed microwave radio frequencies; and

(5) prohibited from installing "equivalent technology", such as direct wireless connection to devices in the home or business, on poles or in any other manner near the home or business of an individual requesting a non-transmitting meter.

f) The department of public utilities shall establish terms and conditions to comply with the requirements of this section.

g) This section shall take effect upon its passage.

A bill to allow libraries to hard-wire using state library funds, S. 1867, will likely be resubmitted and may be improved.

This needs sponsors in 2021 - this was previously put forward on behalf of co-chair Kirstin Beatty by Sen. Humason, who has left that office.

An Act reducing library non-ionizing radiation exposures from wireless and electricity

SECTION 1. Chapter 78 of the General Laws is hereby amended, in Section 19G, as appearing in the 2016 Official Edition, by inserting after the first paragraph the following paragraph:-

The board shall use funding to encourage public libraries to reduce non-ionizing radiation exposure, including from use of wireless communications and electronic technology, through hard-wiring connections, segregating areas of exposure, product purchase, and other means to reduce non-ionizing emissions from technologies.

The following bill was submitted in 2019-20 for hard-wired investment. Several questions:

    • Is this the best option?
    • Can the cost be shunted on industry?

S. 207 An Act ensuring safer technology investment by the Massachusetts Broadband Institute- NOT ACTIVE


    • Summary: Adds accountability, safety & security to MBI mandate; requires use of funds for maintaining reliable, hard-wired grid & for hard-wiring public spaces including State House
    • Co-Sponsor Rep. Carlos Gonzalez
    • Sponsor Constituent K. Beatty (LTL Director)

This sounds radical, but allows for a process - a ban may remove claimed FCC jurisdiction. Does not address satellite WiFi, however.

S. 1273 An Act banning especially dangerous wireless facilities, emissions, and products – NOT ACTIVE

    • Summary: To stop 5G and ban small cell towers in front of homes and allow banning other items deemed dangerous – note the state has this right based on Constitutional and federal law.
    • Sponsor Constituent K. Beatty (LTL Director)

A section of this bill provides quality control measures to encourage nursing homes and health care facilities to reduce EMR.

S. 1271 An Act Educating Patients on Environmental Health Risks such as Wireless Exposures – NOT ACTIVE

    • Summary: Patient education and health care quality control measures
    • Sponsor Constituent K. Beatty (LTL Director)

This is a bill introduced by a constituent on a regular basis that is not likely to pass - could be modified for greater chance of passage:

Bill S. 155 (2009), etc., S. 125 (2019) An Act to regulate the sale and use of microwave ovens – NOT ACTIVE

    • Summary: To prevent leakage, sale of dysfunctional ovens, ovens sized to allow pets inside, and ownership of more than one.
    • Sponsor Constituent Donald Kusser via Sen. John Keenan and Rep. Michael Morrissey

This is a bill from 2019-2020. May need to require proof positive of identify by registering board members as entities as well.

S. 1272 An Act registering wireless facilities to allow for monitoring and to ease access to contact information – NOT ACTIVE

    • Registers wireless facilities with state radiation department, which is to work with MA Broadband Institute to create a map. Registration is crucial for towns & citizen knowledge.
    • Co-sponsor: Rep. Carlos Gonzalez
    • Sponsor: Constituent K. Beatty (LTL Director)

The state could require of all cellular infrastructure the following:

    • proof of identify - registration of board members
    • electromagnetic pollution insurance
    • bonds
    • ?

PAST BILLS (NO LONGER ACTIVE)

TERRIBLE BILL TO STREAMLINE 5G

H.383 An Act relative to a 5G technology task force

Some advocates thought the bill, to streamline 5G, had hope. This allowed the bill to advance as some legislators said they were confused by the lobbying of anti-5G activists for the bill. Here is a short article critiquing the bill. This bill needed to be stopped despite advancing to House Ways and Means.

    • Summary: This is an industry-led commission to study and propose “fair” 5G laws for 5G development - in other words, to streamline 5G. See testimony: Critique of 5G Technology Task Force H 383.
    • Sponsors: Rep. Bradley Jones, B. Hill, E. Poirer, Rep. S. Gifford, etc.
    • Favorable Report by: Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies.

AMENDMENT TO ABOVE H. 383 BILL & COMMISSION BILLS

Summary: Because advocates mistakenly pushed H. 383 and other bills without caveat, action was taken to halt these bills. A landing page petition was ready 26 May 2020 and an amendment ready in early 2020 around this time. Scroll down to the section on investigations to see one of the drafts developed.

BILLS THAT HARD-WIRE OR REDUCE EXPOSURES

S. 1988 An Act Relative to Utilities, Smart Meters, & Ratepayers Rights

All legislators need to be educated and persuaded to support this bill, which will be resubmitted! This bill was developed by and for Worcester residents with Senator Michael Moore's support. Here are recent, relevant docket submissions on smart meters from state Senator Moore, several organizations & professionals, Massachusetts Association for the Chemically Injured, and a very detailed account by advocate Patricia Burke. There is also a summary article here. An economic costs presentation was also prepared by Kirstin Beatty.

    • Summary: Allows opt out of wireless meters and does so without a fee.
    • Sponsors: Sen.s Michael Moore, D. DiZoglio, Rep. K. Hogan, Sen. D. Tran, Rep. C. Gonzalez, etc.
    • Favorable Report By: Favorable report given by the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy (Chairs Sen. Barrett, Rep. Golden, Vice-Chairs Sen. Pacheco, Rep. Dykema). See link (click bill no.) for progress and new committee).

S. 1982 An Act relative to wifi and cellular infrastructure along rail lines

    • Summary: Requires approval of locally elected bodies for railway antennas, but sadly only for Quincy, Braintree, Holbrook, Abington, & Rockland
    • Sponsor: Sen. JF Keenan

S. 207 An Act ensuring safer technology investment by the Massachusetts Broadband Institute

    • Summary: Adds accountability, safety & security to MBI mandate; requires use of funds for maintaining reliable, hard-wired grid & for hard-wiring public spaces including State House
    • Co-Sponsor Rep. Carlos Gonzalez
    • Sponsor Constituent K. Beatty (LTL Director)

H. 587 An Act Reducing Public School Non-Ionizing Radiation and Wireless Exposures

    • Summary: For school policy to limit wireless exposures and hard-wire connections where possible – funding needed!
    • Sponsor Constituent K. Beatty (LTL Director)

S. 1271 An Act Educating Patients on Environmental Health Risks such as Wireless Exposures

    • Summary: Patient education and health care quality control measures
    • Sponsor Constituent K. Beatty (LTL Director)

S. 1867 An Act Reducing Library Non-Ionizing Radiation Exposures from Wireless and Electricity

    • Allows state library grants to be given to hard-wire libraries
    • Sponsor Constituent K. Beatty (LTL Director)

Bill S. 155 (2009), etc., S. 125 (2019) An Act to regulate the sale and use of microwave ovens

    • Summary: To prevent leakage, sale of dysfunctional ovens, ovens sized to allow pets inside, and ownership of more than one. This is bill designed by constituent Donald Kusser.
    • Sponsor Constituent Donald Kusser via Sen. John Keenan and Rep. Michael Morrissey

BILLS FOR WIRELESS LIMITS

S. 1273 An Act banning especially dangerous wireless facilities, emissions, and products

    • Summary: To stop 5G and ban small cell towers in front of homes and allow banning other items deemed dangerous – note the state has this right based on Constitutional and federal law.
    • Sponsor Constituent K. Beatty (LTL Director)

BILLS FOR MONITORING & EDUCATION

S. 1272 An Act registering wireless facilities to allow for monitoring and to ease access to contact information

    • Registers wireless facilities with state radiation department, which is to work with MA Broadband Institute to create a map. Registration is crucial for towns & citizen knowledge.
    • Co-sponsor: Rep. Carlos Gonzalez
    • Sponsor: Constituent K. Beatty (LTL Director)

S. 1271 An Act Educating patients on environmental risks such as wireless exposures

    • Summary: Encourages doctors to educate patients on wireless, mold, digital addiction, and other pollutants as relevant.
    • Sponsor Constituent K. Beatty (LTL Director)

H. 2011 An Act Providing for environmental risk fact sheets from the Department of Public Health

    • Dept. of Public Health will prepare & publish fact sheets on environmental health risks (incl. wireless)and respond to citizen concerns—accountability measures to DPH
    • Sponsor Constituent K. Beatty (LTL Director)

S. 130 Resolve relative to disclosure of radio frequency notifications – NOT ACTIVE

    • Warns to read product manual and keep appropriate distance from cell phone
    • Editing: Best to remove suggestion that recommended distance equals safety.
    • Sponsor: Rep. J. Cyr

BILLS TO REDUCE SCREEN TIME EXPOSURES (Blue light, wireless risks, etc.)

S. 294 An Act Limiting school screen time – NOT ACTIVE

    • Removes state mandate requiring students to use technology (this begins in Pre-K) and allows schools to set school screen time limits. See screentimetestimony2020
    • Sponsor Constituent K. Beatty (LTL Director)

H 588 An Act Requiring privacy protections and supporting safer technology in schools – NOT ACTIVE

    • Allows opt outs of technology by students/parents for privacy/safety/clout; recommends hard-wiring; makes school data use for political ID, marketing, & abuse unlawful; restricts data retention to that necessary for education
    • Sponsor Constituent K. Beatty (LTL Director)

S. 295 An Act Accounting for technological privacy and safety in schools with local and state committees – NOT ACTIVE

    • Local council monitors school privacy and safety policies & creates curriculum on safer technology use. State committee provides helpful template.
    • Sponsor K. Beatty

BILLS TO INVESTIGATE & REPORT

H. 2888 Resolve to investigate the results reporting of the National Grid Worcester smart meter pilot program – NOT ACTIVE

    • Seeks to correct false financial reporting being misused to assert cost-savings of wireless utility infrastructure.
    • H. 2888 Pamela Steinberg via Rep. Mahoney

H. 2840 An Emergency Act to Investigate the Results Reporting of the National Grid Worcester smart meter pilot program . . .

    • Same as H. 2888 above.
    • Patricia Burke via Rep. S. Dooley

H. 2885 An Act establishing a commission to study the environmental and health effects of evolving 5G technology

    • A study of health risks—however, initial sentence ought to include all wireless, not just 5G; representation of others like parents, sensitives, etc., and the latter may need to be financially supported—see critique of 5G Task Force for more ideas.
    • Sponsor Rep. J. Lewis

The amendment below is to insure independence and a wide range of stakeholders in an investigation of wireless and other electromagnetic radiation. Excepting the American Environmental Academy of Medicine and the American Academy of Pediatrics, none of the organizations has made a public statement on this issue. Notes:

    • This bill provides greater independence from politics than the New Hampshire bill would be a poor choice and S. 129 and is better than H. 383 which promotes 5G.

An Amendment of H. 383 or S. 129 - initial drafts in early 2020

  • Summary: Because of concerns that S. 129 would be a political football and H. 383 streamline 5G, the following amendment was developed. Attached is one of the drafts, designed to bring in big stakeholders and provide a appointees originated from a diversity of stakeholders to support independence. Initially, when asked, Cece Doucette was not interested, hoping both bills would just move forward in committees. A draft was sent to Helen Walker who suggested reaching out to different groups for feedback. Kirstin joined one strategy session with Ruth Rin, Cece, and God knows who else, for positive feedback and ideas from strangers but Cece was proposing that the bills be replaced with language from the New Hampshire state commission. Kirstin felt that commission also lacked controls to prevent the bill from being a political football in Massachusetts, where the administration and legislature and heavily lobbied by the technology industry. Kirstin has continued to work on revising the bill, getting feedback, and reaching out to stakeholders without much luck making contact.
  • Author: Kirstin Beatty, co-chair of ballot committee, director of Last Tree Laws
    • A Wireless or Electromagnetic Investigation
    • Resolved, Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, there shall be a special commission to research the impact of electromagnetic (EMR) and radiofrequency (RFR) radiation on consumer protection, public health, and and the environment, and determine, if detrimental, how to allay health and financial repercussions, the former having primacy.
    • The commission shall be composed of the following 21 members, as follows:
    • (a) The Attorney General or designee;
    • (b) A nominee of the Massachusetts Teachers Association;
    • (c) One union member nominated by the Massachusetts AFL-CIO;
    • (d) One telecommunications worker representative nominated by the Communications Workers of America;
    • (e) One doctor nominated by the American Environmental Academy of Medicine;
    • (f) One scientist nominated by the Silent Spring Institute;
    • (g) One doctor nominated by the Massachusetts Medical Society, ideally with expertise in either cancer, neuroscience, or infertility;
    • (h) One scientist nominated by Community Action Works;
    • (i) One pediatric doctor nominated by the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics;
    • (j) One representative or lawyer nominated by the Massachusetts Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action;
    • (k) 2 representatives nominated by the Massachusetts American Civil Liberties Union;
    • (l) A representative of the State House selected by the Speaker of the House;
    • (m) A senator of the State Senate selected by the President of the Senate;
    • (n) A representative of small business appointed by the governor;
    • (o) 3 non-voting members appointed by governor:
    • -Telecommunications representative;
    • -Medical system representative;
    • -Engineer in wireless networks;
    • (p) 4 non-voting commissioners, directors, or their designees for the following departments:
    • Public Health;
    • -Telecommunications and Cable;
    • -Technical Assistance and Technology Office;
    • -Consumer Affairs & Business Regulation.
    • Chairmanship, legislative and policy decisions for reports to the Commonwealth shall be decided by vote of all members with voting status. Commission members shall elect a chair by majority vote, who may be replaced at any time upon majority vote.
    • No voting member or spouse of voting member of the commission shall have a history of or current telecommunication, energy, IT, or utility industry clients or job dependency; nor shall any voting member have current telecommunications, energy, IT, or utility direct financial investments exceeding the sum of $5,000. No voting member or spouse of a voting member of the commission shall receive funding or a job from telecommunication, energy, IT, or utilities in the two years following the commission’s final report. All commission members must file a statement of any relevant conflicts of interest as specified above, including in relation to immediate family members, i.e. parents, children, siblings, uncles, aunts, with the Secretary of State during the commission period and continuing through each year until two years after the commission ends. These statements must be made public by the Secretary of State.
    • The meetings and communications shall be subject to the Massachusetts open meeting laws so as to be transparent. The commission shall be assisted by and have access to the resources available to the legislature and the executive branch in its investigations. The commission shall file a report of its recommendations and proposed legislation or regulatory changes, if any, with the clerks of the House and Senate and with the chairs of the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure not later than December 31st 2022, and may file a series of reports.

ONLY GOOD IF AMENDED -AN INVESTIGATION OF WIRELESS

S. 129 Resolve relative to disclosure of radio frequency notifications

Please see criticism and appointee problems below. Here is a short article critiquing the bill.

      • Summary: Establishes a commission to investigate wireless but as written has significant risks of politicization.
      • Status: Click bill no. above and scroll down – presently in Senate Ways and Means
      • Favorable report by Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure [Members: Paul Feeney, Bill Welch, Tackey Chan, Jay Livingstone, Diana DiZiglio, Joseph O. Boncore, Ryan Fattman, Jonathan D. Zlotnick, Adrian C. Madaro, William J. Driscoll, Jr., Mindy Domb, Tami Goveia, David H.A. Lebouef, Jack Patrick Lewis, Steven S. Howitt, Joseph D. McKenna]
      • Criticism:
        • Most appointment descriptions are ideal for filling with industry representatives or dependents;
        • Lacks specificlanguage to prevent appointment of compromised individuals – no limit on industry clients, no limits on voting by industry reps or dependents, no limits on financial interests, no limits on career dependence – nothing;
        • Industry has influence not just from the vote of an industry rep, but from people whose jobs depend on industry;
        • Why give industry, a non-person, a vote? Industry, a non-person, has a seat but the people who have been harmed lack a seat. The point is protect the people and even the economy for the people, not industry;
        • Lacks full breadth of representation. Here is a relevant copy of a May 2, 2020, request for a changes by Kirstin Beatty naming some groups that could be included – but these would still be too few to be a counterweight.
      • More Appointee Problems: The governor has in the past appointed industry insiders and lobbyists to fill his cabinet and commissions. Highlighted in red below are individuals who could easily favor or be chosen to represent industry rather than the people:
      • Dept. Commissioners, Director, or designees:
        1. Public Health
        2. Telecommunications and Cable
        3. Technical Assistance and Technology Office (Dir.)
        4. Consumer Affairs & Business Regulation (Dir.)
      • Other appointees:
        1. Telecommunications Representative – beholden to industry
        2. Engineer in wireless networks – career dependent upon industry
        3. Attorney in environmental law – easily filled by MA-based industry lawyer in environmental law who represents the industry and is involved in “environmental” nonprofit focused on corporations
        4. Academic who researches medical technology (?) and public health – career likely dependent on grants from Big Pharma for which wireless has become important as a new and large source of profits
        5. Scientist in environmental medicine knowledgeable of electromagnetic and radiofrequency radiation and research methodseasily filled by industry “scientist” such as Peter Valberg
        6. Massachusetts Medical Society member with background in environmental medicine
        7. Pediatrician knowledgeable of electromagnetic radiation in children – May be a token member, easily overruled

ONLY GOOD IF AMENDED – FOR WIRELESS LIMITS

H. 1874 An Act relative to best management practices for wireless in schools and public institutions of higher education – NOT ACTIVE

    • Important Edit: Replace “purchase and installation of wireless internet services” with “reducing wireless and electromagnetic exposures.”
    • Improvements:
      • Something concrete, such as requiring removal of wireless from schools, would be better for quick results.
      • Building Biologists and electrical engineers could be brought in for an independent report of how best to cut electromagnetic exposures.
    • Sponsor Rep. C. C. Dykema

ONLY IF AMENDED – TO INVESTIGATE

H. 2901 (2011) H. 2032 (2013) H. 2007 (2015) H. 1192 (2017) H. 1956 An Act relative to a special commission to study electric and magnetic fields

    • Help Request: Critique was sent to Linsky’s office and the committee by constituent Kirstin Beatty prior to 2019 – 2020, but his resubmission in 2019 was the same. Perhaps the written submission was not reviewed – if someone could pass on the information to him personally that would be helpful.
    • Issue 1: Appointees Environmental League of Massachusetts and American Cancer Society are connected to the utility and/or telecommunications industry.
    • Issue 2: Given that the science is fairly solid that electric and magnetic fields can cause ill health, why not immediately adopt the ALARA principle, “As Low As Reasonably Allowable,” as other states and countries already have in place?
    • Sponsor Rep. D.P. Linsky

Previous Wireless Legislation 2017 – 2018

S.2080 An Act increasing medical awareness and insurance coverage of non-ionizing radiation injury and reliance upon credible independent medical research (Constituent Kirstin Beatty) ~ Detailed bill for quality control for electromagnetic exposures in hospitals; that credible research be defined; and medical insurance coverage be included for electromagnetic harm.

S.2079An Act reducing non-ionizing radiation exposure in schools (Constituent Kirstin Beatty) ~ Idealistic bill demanded removal of school wireless and addition of criminal penalties, yet was passed forward from Education committee.

H. 2030An Act relative to best management practices for wireless in schools and public institutions of higher education (Rep. Carolyn Dykema)~ Similar to 2019-2020 bill of same name and to a Maryland bill, decent in concept except for an important error - allowed continued wireless installation - and as the Massachusetts education board was not then particularly free of industry influence.

Resolve S.2431Resolve relative to disclosure of radio frequency notifications (Sponsor Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure) This bill resembles a bill of the same name submitted in 2019 – 2020.

S.107An Act relative to disclosure of radiofrequency notifications (Sen. Julian Cyr) ~ A labeling bill.

S.108An Act relative to the safe use of handheld devices by children (Sen. Julian Cyr) ~ Labeling bill modeled on Berkeley ordinance.

WIRELESS LEGISLATION 2015 – 2016

Bill SD. 2212An Act relative to studying radiation health and safety risks for protective measures

    • This investigative commission was empowered to enact bans, etc.
    • This was not resubmitted.
    • Sponsor Constituent K. Beatty (LTL Director)

Bill SD.2256An Act requiring physician training on non-ionizing radiation and electrohypersensitivity

    • Short bill requiring physician training in electromagnetic sensitivity and other harms of electromagnetic radiation.
    • Sponsor Constituent K. Beatty (LTL Director)

WIRELESS LEGISLATION 2015 – 2017

H. 2868 (2015) S.1864 (2017) An Act relative to utilities, smart meters, and ratepayers’ rights (Sen. Michael Moore) – Similar to 2019 -2020 bill of same name. Critique was made by Director Kirstin Beatty that bill did not apply to town-owned utilities, and changes appear to have been made. This bill was originally submitted on behalf of concerned Worcester residents and Halt Smart Meters Massachusetts, which no longer has a website.

S. 1222 (2015) S.1268 (2017) Resolve creating a special commission to examine the health impacts of electromagnetic field (Constituent Cece Doucette 2015, Sponsor Sen. Karen Spilka 2017) Initially this bill did not prevent industry influence, and some changes were made in following sessions.