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State House Press Service

On Thursday, senators tackled a handful of topics, passing bills on protecting vulnerable children, access to HIV prevention drugs, foster parent rights, civilian property forfeiture and judicial diversion programs. for minors. Senators introduced the Juvenile Diversion Bill as a follow-up to the Criminal Justice Reform Act of 2018 and said the asset forfeiture reforms would raise the standard of proof to be more compliant to those of other states. The Senate also passed a bill removing from the books a series of archaic offenses, including a ban on buggery and the offense of being an “ordinary night walker,” which Sen. Will Brownsberger says is sometimes called the “walking as trans” law because it can be used to target trans women. This bill, Brownsberger said, would also create a permanent commission to focus on updating the laws. The senators said the laws they seek to remove can be used to target the LGBTQ+ community and that recent Supreme Court decisions, including Dobbs v. Jackson overriding the federal abortion right, makes it important that Massachusetts laws reflect state values. Before adjourning for the holiday long weekend, the Senate appointed a trio of senators to negotiate with their counterparts in the House on a general government bond bill of about $5 billion and a five-year moratorium on the construction of prisons and prisons (H 4807 / S 2951). The senators will return Tuesday at 11 a.m. without a schedule. – Katie Lannan and Chris Lisinski

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