SECTION 1. Chapter 3 of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding the following section:-
Section 70. (1) A Commission to study and examine issues which disproportionately have a negative impact on Black men and boys in Massachusetts will signal that the issues facing the Black male population are a national priority, will develop solutions to these hardships, and will help eliminate the obstacles facing Black men and boys. The Commission should work to improve economic, education, criminal justice, public safety, housing, health and wellness, father-hood, and mentorship outcomes of black men and boys in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
(2) There is established a permanent commission on the social status of black men and boys consisting of 21 persons as follows: 2 persons appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives, 2 persons appointed by the president of the senate, the commissioner of the department of public health or the designee of said commissioner, the commissioner of the department of social services or the designee of said commissioner, the commissioner of the department of education or the designee of said commissioner, and one additional member from the department of education at the discretion of said commissioner, the commissioner of the department of youth services or the designee of said commissioner, the commissioner of the department of corrections or the designee of said commissioner, the director of the department of workforce development or the designee of said director, 3 additional persons appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives provided that no said additional persons shall be members of the general court, 3 additional persons appointed by the president of the senate provided that no said additional persons shall be members of the general court, and 3 persons appointed by the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus or its successor organization provided that no persons shall be a member of the general court. Members of the commission shall be selected from diverse religious, age, sexual orientation, socio-economic, and geographical backgrounds from throughout the commonwealth and shall have a sincere desire or experience in working toward the improvement of the social status of black men and boys. Members shall be subject to the provisions of Chapter 268A as they apply to special state employees.
(3)(a) Members shall serve terms of three years and until their successors are appointed. Members may be reappointed in the same manner in which they were originally appointed.
(b) Vacancies in the membership of the commission shall be filled by the original appointing authority for the balance of the unexpired term.
(c) The commission shall elect from among its members a chair, a vice chair, a treasurer and any other officers it deems necessary.
(d) The members of the commission shall receive no compensation for their services, but shall be reimbursed for any usual and customary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties.
(4) The commission shall conduct an ongoing study of all matters concerning the social status of black men and boys in the commonwealth. In furtherance of that responsibility, the commission shall: (a) study, review and report on the social status of black men and boys in the commonwealth; (b) inform leaders of business, education, health care, state and local governments and the media of issues pertaining to black men and boys, (c) serve as a liaison between government and private interest groups concerned with issues affecting black men and boys; (d) serve as a clearinghouse for information on issues pertaining to black men and boys; (e) identify and recommend policies and programs to be implemented by state departments, agencies, commissions, and boards that will lead to the improved social status of black men and boys, as the commission deems necessary and appropriate; and (h) promote and facilitate collaboration among local agencies, including community-based organizations in the state, as the commission deems necessary and appropriate.
The commission shall annually, on or before August 31, 2020, report the results of its findings and activities of the preceding year and its recommendations to the Governor and to the clerk of the Senate and House of Representatives.
(5) The powers of the commission shall include but not be limited to the following: (a) to use such voluntary and uncompensated services of private individuals, agencies, and organizations as may from time to time be offered and needed; (b) to recommend policies and make recommendations to agencies and officers of the state and local subdivisions of government to effectuate the purposes of subsection
(3); (c) to select and executive director and to acquire adequate staff to perform its duties, subject to appropriation, provided that said persons are not members of said commission; (d) to establish and maintain such offices as it may deem necessary, subject to appropriation; (e) to enact bylaws for its own governance; and (f) to hold regular, public meetings and to hold fact finding hearings and other public forums as it may deem necessary.
(6) The commission shall set its own meeting schedule.
(7)(a) The commission may request from all state agencies such information and assistance as the commission may require. Each state agency shall cooperate with requests from the commission and shall provide such information and assistance requested, as permitted under the state law.
(b) The commission may accept and solicit funds, including any gifts, donations, grants, or bequests, or any federal funds for any of the purposes of this chapter. Such funds shall be deposited in a separate account with the state treasurer, be received by said treasurer on behalf of the commonwealth, and be expended by the commission in accordance with law.
SECTION 2: Notwithstanding the provisions of section 70 of chapter 3 of the General Laws, the initial members of the commission on the status on black men and boys shall be appointed for the following terms:-
(a) The speaker of the House of Representatives shall appoint, on or before November 1, 2019, one member for a term of one year, one member for a term of two years, and one member for a term of three years.
(b) The president of the Senate shall appoint, on or before November 1, 2019, one member for a term of one year, one member for a term of two years, and one member for a term of three years.
(c) The Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus or its successor organization shall appoint, on or before November 1, 2019, one member for a term of one year, one member for a term of two years, and one member for a term of three years.
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