SECTION 1. The General Laws are hereby amended by adding after chapter 180A the following chapter:-
PAYROLL DEDUCTIONS TO PROMOTE POLITICAL PARTICIPATION THROUGH VOLUNTARY CONTRIBUTIONS TO NOT-FOR-PROFIT SOCIAL WELFARE ORGANIZATIONS AND POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEES
Section 1. Findings and public policy
The general court hereby finds that many low-income residents of Massachusetts face substantial obstacles to participating fully in the public and political life of their communities; that financial barriers, including lack of access to credit cards and banking services, often prevent these residents from contributing financially to not-for-profit social welfare organizations and political action committees that engage in the political process and help shape the policies that affect residents’ lives; and that a payroll deduction mechanism would promote political participation by enabling individuals to authorize small, regular deductions from their pay at levels they can afford to contribute to political and advocacy organizations, eliminating transaction costs for such contributions and permitting greater numbers of Massachusetts residents to engage in the political process and to participate in community and civic life.
It is therefore declared to be the policy of the commonwealth to create a payroll deduction mechanism for enabling voluntary contributions to not-for-profit social welfare organizations and political action committees, available to any individual employed by an employer with a system of payroll deduction and without cost to the individual or to the employer.
Section 2. Definitions
As used in sections one through seven of this chapter, the following words shall have the following meanings:
“Covered organization” shall mean any not-for-profit organization that is organized under the Internal Revenue Code, 26 U.S.C. section 501(c)(4), and certified by the attorney general pursuant to this chapter or any political action committee that is organized in accordance with chapter 55 of the General Laws and regulations of the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance and certified by the attorney general pursuant to this chapter; provided, however, that the not-for-profit organization or political action committee has obtained authorization pursuant to section 3 of this chapter from 250 or more residents of the commonwealth.
“Employee'' shall mean any person employed by an employer, including any person considered to be an employee under section 148B of chapter 149 of the General Laws and any person covered by the definition of “employee” in the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. section 203(e), but shall not include any person employed by the commonwealth or by any body of the commonwealth, including the legislature, judiciary, any boards, departments, and commissions thereof or authorities, and all political subdivisions of the commonwealth.
“Employer'' shall mean any individual, company, corporation, partnership, labor organization, unincorporated association or any other private legal business or other private entity, whether organized on a profit or not-for-profit basis, including any person acting directly or indirectly in the interest of an employer. The term “employer” shall not include the commonwealth or any body of the commonwealth, including the legislature, judiciary, any boards, departments, and commissions thereof or authorities, and all political subdivisions of the commonwealth.
“Remittance” shall mean a voluntary contribution duly authorized in writing by an employee, to be deducted from the employee's pay and remitted to a covered organization pursuant to this chapter.
“In writing” or “written” denotes a tangible or electronic record of a communication or representation, including handwriting, typewriting, printing, photo-stating, photography, audio or video recording, and any “electronic signature,” as defined by section 2 of chapter 110G of the General Laws.
Section 3. Requirement to deduct and remit voluntary contributions to covered organizations; standards for valid authorization; revocation of authorization, timely remittance
(a) An employer shall, upon written authorization of an employee, deduct voluntary contributions from the employee’s pay and remit them to a covered organization designated by the employee, minus a reasonable administrative fee for processing such deduction and remittance determined pursuant to regulations adopted by the attorney general; provided, however, that the employee or covered organization has provided to the employer documentation that the attorney general has certified the covered organization pursuant to subsection (b) of section 4 of this chapter.
(b) The employee’s written authorization shall include:
(i) The name and residential address of the contributing employee;
(ii) The name and address of the employer;
(iii) The occupation of any contributing employee who has authorized deduction of a contribution of two hundred dollars or more or of periodic contributions that in the aggregate exceed or may exceed two hundred dollars within any one calendar year;
(iv) The name and address of the not-for-profit organization or political action committee to which the employee wishes to contribute;
(v) The amount of the contribution to be deducted in each pay period; provided, however, that the minimum amount of such contribution shall be $2.00; and
(vi) A statement that the contributing employee’s authorization may be revoked by the employee at any time by written notice from the employee to the employer.
(c) An authorization is valid for each subsequent pay period until the employee revokes the authorization in writing and transmits the revocation to the employer.
(d) The employer shall provide a copy of any written authorization or revocation that it receives to the not-for-profit organization or political action committee to which it pertains within five business days of receipt.
(e) The employer shall commence deductions no later than the first pay period that begins 15 or more business days after receipt of the authorization and shall remit the deductions to the covered organization no later than 15 business days after deduction.
(f) An employee may authorize contributions to no more than two covered organizations at one time.
Section 4. Certification of a not-for-profit organization or political action committee as a covered organization.
(a) A not-for-profit organization or political action committee seeking to be certified as a covered organization pursuant to this chapter must provide the attorney general with the following:
(i) The name, address, email address, and phone number of the not-for-profit organization or political action committee;
(ii) Proof of current status as a not-for-profit organized under 26 U.S.C. section 501(c)(4) and incorporated under the laws of the state of its incorporation or as a political action committee registered with the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance; and
(iii) Proof that the not-for-profit organization or political action committee has obtained payroll deduction authorization pursuant to subsection (b) of section 3 of this chapter from 250 or more residents of the commonwealth.
(b) The attorney general shall provide written notice to the not-for-profit organization or political action committee that it has been certified as a covered organization within 15 business days of the date that the not-for-profit organization or political action committee has met the requirements of subsection (a) of this section to the satisfaction of the attorney general.
Section 5. No dues to labor organizations
Nothing herein shall be construed to require remittances to a “labor organization” as defined in the National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. section 152(5).
Section 6. Enforcement
(a) It shall be unlawful for any employer to interfere with, restrain, or deny the exercise of, or the attempt to exercise, any right provided under or in connection with this chapter, including, but not limited to, threatening, intimidating, disciplining, discharging, demoting, harassing, reducing an employee’s hours or pay, informing another employer that an employee has engaged in activities protected by this chapter, or discriminating or retaliating against an employee, and or engaging in any other such action that penalizes an employee for, or is reasonably likely to deter an employee from, exercising or attempting to exercise any right protected under this chapter.
(b) The attorney general shall enforce this chapter, and may obtain injunctive or declaratory relief for this purpose. Violation of this chapter shall be subject to paragraphs (1), (2), (4), (6) and (7) of subsection (b) of section 27C of chapter 149 of the General Laws.
Section 7. Attorney General’s adoption of rules and regulations
The attorney general shall adopt rules and regulations necessary to carry out the purpose and provisions of this chapter.
Section 8. Severability
If any provision of this act or application thereof to any person or circumstances is judged invalid, the invalidity shall not affected other provisions or applications of this act which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this act are declared severable.
SECTION 2. Section 150 of chapter 149 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2014 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out, in line 22, the word “or” following the word “190,” by inserting, in line 22, a “,” preceding the words “section 19 of chapter 151” and by inserting, in line 23, after the word “151”, the following words:- or chapter 180B.
SECTION 3. Section 150A of chapter 149 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2014 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting, in line 4, following the word “check-off,” the following words:-
, voluntary contributions to social welfare organizations or political actions committees pursuant to chapter 180B,
SECTION 4. Section 8 of chapter 154 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2014 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting, in line 15, following the word “plan,” the following words:-
or voluntary contributions to social welfare organizations or political actions committees pursuant to chapter 180B,
SECTION 5. This act shall take effect on January 1, 2018.
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