On January 15, the House of Representatives unanimously passed Nicky’s Law. More than 50 families gathered in the House Gallery to watch the vote and thank their Representatives and House leaders. The bill authorizes a registry to hold the names of employees who have committed acts of substantiated abuse which have resulted in serious physical injury or serious emotional injury for adults served by the Department of Developmental Services. The registry will be housed at the Disabled Persons Protection Commission (DPPC).
“All of us at The Arc, families and colleagues sincerely appreciate Speaker Robert DeLeo, Chair Aaron Michlewitz, and their colleagues for bringing the registry bill, known as Nicky’s Law to a vote in the full House,” said Executive Director Leo Sarkissian.
The Senate passed Nicky’s Law in October after both chambers worked closely with The Arc and the Disability Law Center. These efforts were led by the Chair of Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities, Kay Khan and included the leadership of Senate Chair Sonia Chang Diaz. Senator Michael Moore and Representative Linda Dean Campbell sponsored the bill, which has the support of Governor Charlie Baker. Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders has been supportive throughout the past two sessions.
Before the vote, Chair Khan, Representative Denise Garlick, Representative Josh Cutler, and Representative Paul Frost all spoke about the bill. Rep. Campbell spoke about the importance of the voices of the advocates and she encouraged the group to continue to bring issues to the legislature and to continue to tell our stories. Some praised the courage and conviction of Cheryl Chan, Ann Joyce, the families and individuals who advocated for the bill, and The Arc and the Disability Law Center. AFAM also worked with The Arc on the bill’s passage.
The entire House Chamber gave the group a standing ovation. A celebration commenced after the vote.
The Arc is advocating to expeditiously move the bill back to the Senate so it will get to the Governor in the next 10 days. “So much effort given by all. We are so grateful to the House and Senate for passing this bill in just one and a half sessions,” said Leo. “Although the original bill did include due process language, as the bill moved forward, other groups advocated for more procedures to safeguard those wrongfully substantiated of abuse. An additional three years prior to the bill filing were required to work with stakeholders across the state on the nature of the bill and the requirements for the registry.”
Stay tuned to The Arc for more details regarding the bill signing and please thank Senator Moore, Representative Campbell, as well as your own Representatives and Senator!