Legislative Priorities

Our legislative agenda is inspired by the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Rights in our Massachusetts Constitution. Through state legislative advocacy, we aim to defend and extend key constitutional principles, including privacy, equality, democracy, and justice for all. The selected bills and issues below represent a subset of our legislative agenda for 2017-2018.

Read our tips on how to advocate effectively at your state legislators’ town halls.

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Freedom Agenda

2017 Legislative Priorities

Massachusetts has always been a leader in moving freedom forward. In this historical moment, we must actively confront bold new threats to our democracy and blaze a different path in these critical areas:

  • Fundamental Freedoms: Speech, Religion & Privacy
  • Defense of Immigrants
  • Smart Justice
  • Democracy & Open Government
  • Equality & Reproductive Freedom

ACLU Priorities

Fundamental Freedoms Act (Sen. Chandler S.787 | Rep. Kaufman H.873)

Fact sheet

Protect Massachusetts residents from anti-democratic government monitoring in two ways: (1) bar the Commonwealth from participating in any discriminatory registration system based on religion, national origin or other protected identity, and (2) prevent government agencies from collecting information about residents’ protected First Amendment activity—speech, association, and religion—without reasonable suspicion that they are involved in a crime.


Electronic Privacy Act (Sen. Spilka S.943 | Rep. Peake H.2332)

Fact sheet | Testimony by the ACLU of Massachusetts

Update legal protections from searches and seizures to make sure they keep pace with technology. Require a warrant for the government to access information about your use of your cell phone and computer.


Arrest Data Transparency (Sen. Brownsberger S.1681 | Rep. Rushing H.953)

Fact sheet | Testimony by the ACLU of Massachusetts

Building on vital reforms to the public records law, we must embrace proactive transparency about key issues to inform future policymaking. Analysis by the Council of State Governments has revealed inadequate statewide data about arrests in the Commonwealth. This legislation would put a system in place to make this information available to policymakers and the public.


ACLU & Allies: Select Priorities

Reproductive Freedom

Contraceptive Access Act (Sen. Chandler S.499 | Reps. Haddad & Scibak H.536)

Fact sheet


Defense of Immigrants

Safe Communities Act (Sen. Eldridge S.1305 | Rep. Matias H.3269)

Fact sheet | Testimony by the ACLU of Massachusetts


Smart Justice

Repeal Mandatory Minimum Sentences for Drug Offenses (Sen. Creem S.819 | Rep. Carvalho H.741)

Fact sheet


Other ACLU-Sponsored Legislation

License Plate Privacy Act (Sen. Creem S.1909 | Rep. Hecht H.1842)


Social Media Privacy Act (Sen. Creem S.991 | Rep. Gordon H.158)


Student Privacy Act (Sen. Jehlen S.269 | Rep. Dykema H.2028)


Biometric Data Security Act (Sen. Barrett S.95 | Rep. Mariano H.1985)


Criminal Forfeiture Act (Sen. Creem S.820 | Rep. Livingstone H.2316)


Use of Force Transparency (Sen. Boncore S.1280 | Rep. Rushing H.1305)


Traffic & Pedestrian Stop Transparency (Sen. Chang-Diaz S.789 | Rep. Rushing H.2506)


Oversight for Police Acquisition of Military Equipment (Sen. Barrett S.1277 | Rep. Keefe H.1276)

The Latest

Demand that your state legislators work for major criminal justice reforms

We need comprehensive reforms—including repeal of mandatory minimum drug sentences—to fix our broken justice system.