SENATE DOCKET, NO. 738        FILED ON: 1/16/2019

SENATE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1876


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts



Jason M. Lewis


To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
Court assembled:

The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act establishing a commission on transparency and use of artificial intelligence in government decision-making.







Jason M. Lewis

Fifth Middlesex


Jack Patrick Lewis

7th Middlesex


Thomas M. Stanley

9th Middlesex


Joseph A. Boncore

First Suffolk and Middlesex


Mike Connolly

26th Middlesex


Sal N. DiDomenico

Middlesex and Suffolk


Jennifer E. Benson

37th Middlesex


Bruce E. Tarr

First Essex and Middlesex


Michael O. Moore

Second Worcester


Julian Cyr

Cape and Islands


James K. Hawkins

2nd Bristol


James B. Eldridge

Middlesex and Worcester


SENATE DOCKET, NO. 738        FILED ON: 1/16/2019

SENATE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1876

By Mr. Lewis, a petition (accompanied by bill, Senate, No. 1876) of Jason M. Lewis, Jack Patrick Lewis, Thomas M. Stanley, Joseph A. Boncore and other members of the General Court for legislation to establish a commission on transparency and use of artificial intelligence in government decision-making.  State Administration and Regulatory Oversight.


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts



In the One Hundred and Ninety-First General Court



An Act establishing a commission on transparency and use of artificial intelligence in government decision-making.


Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

SECTION 1. Chapter 7D of the General Laws, as amended by Chapter 64 of the Acts of 2017, is hereby further amended by inserting after Section 10 the following new section:-

Section 11. (a) As used in this section, the following words shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly requires otherwise:

“Algorithm”, a specific procedure, set of rules, or order of operations designed to solve a problem or make a calculation, classification, or recommendation.

“Artificial intelligence”, computerized methods and tools, including but not limited to machine learning and natural language processing, that act in a way that resembles human cognitive abilities when it comes to solving problems or performing certain tasks.

“Automated decision system”, any computer program, method, statistical model, or process that aims to aid or replace human decision-making using algorithms or artificial intelligence. These systems can include analyzing complex datasets about human populations and government services or other activities to generate scores, predictions, classifications, or recommendations used by agencies to make decisions that impact human welfare.

“Commonwealth of Massachusetts or “Massachusetts office”, any agency, constitutional office, department, board, commission, bureau, division or authority of the commonwealth, or of any political subdivision thereof, or of any authority established by the general court to serve a public purpose.

“Source code”, the structure of a computer program that can be read and understood by people.

“Training data”, the data used to inform the development of an automated decision system and the decisions or recommendations it generates.

(b) There shall be a commission within the executive office of technology services and security for the purpose of studying and making recommendations relative to the use by the commonwealth of automated decision systems that may affect human welfare, including but not limited to the legal rights and privileges of individuals. In carrying out its work, the commission shall examine the following on an ongoing basis:

(i) a complete and specific survey of all uses of automated decision systems by the commonwealth of Massachusetts and the purposes for which such systems are used;

(ii) the principles, policies, and guidelines adopted by specific Massachusetts offices to inform the procurement, evaluation, and use of automated decision systems, the procedures by which such principles, policies, and guidelines are adopted, and any gaps in such principles, policies, and guidelines;

(iii) the training specific Massachusetts offices provide to individuals using automated decision systems, the procedures for enforcing the principles, policies, and guidelines regarding their use, and any gaps in training or enforcement;

(iv) the manner by which Massachusetts offices validate and test the automated decision systems they use, and the manner by which they evaluate those systems on an ongoing basis, specifying the training data, input data, systems analysis, studies, vendor or community engagement, third-parties, or other methods used in such validation, testing, and evaluation;

(v) matters related to the transparency, explicability, auditability, and accountability of automated decision systems, including information about their structure; the processes guiding their procurement, implementation and review; whether they can be audited externally and independently; and the people who operate such systems and the training they receive;

(vi) the manner and extent to which Massachusetts offices make the automated decision systems they use available to external review, and any existing policies, laws, procedures, or guidelines that may limit external access to data or technical information that is necessary for audits, evaluation, or validation of such systems;

(vii) the due process rights of individuals directly affected by automated decision systems, and the public disclosure and transparency procedures necessary to ensure such individuals are aware of the use of the systems and understand their related due process rights;

(viii) uses of automated decision systems that directly or indirectly result in disparate outcomes for individuals or communities based on age, race, creed, color, religion, national origin, gender, disability, sexual orientation, marital status, veteran status, receipt of public assistance, economic status, location of residence, or citizenship status; 

(ix) technical, legal, or policy controls to improve the just and equitable use of automated decision systems and mitigate any disparate impacts deriving from their use, including best practices and policies developed through research and academia or in other states and jurisdictions;

(x) matters related to data sources, data sharing agreements, data security provisions, compliance with data protection laws and regulations, and all other issues related to how data is protected, used, and shared by agencies using automated decision systems;

(xi) matters related to automated decision systems and intellectual property, such as the existence of non-disclosure agreements, trade secrets claims, and other proprietary interests, and the impacts of intellectual property considerations on transparency, explicability, auditability, accountability, and due process; and

(xii) any other opportunities and risks associated with the use of automated decision systems by Massachusetts offices.

(c) The commission shall consist of the secretary of technology services and security or the secretary’s designee, who shall serve as chair; the house and senate chairs of the joint committee on state administration and regulatory oversight; the chief justice of the supreme judicial court or a designee; the attorney general or a designee; the state auditor or a designee; the inspector general or a designee; the secretaries of the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, Department of Children and Families, and Executive Office of Health and Human Services, or their designees; the chief counsel of the committee for public counsel services or a designee; the chief legal counsel of the Massachusetts Bar Association or a designee; the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts or a designee; 2 representatives from Harvard University who shall be experts in (i) data science, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, (ii) social implications of artificial intelligence and technology, or (iii) information policy, technology, and the law; 2 representatives from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who shall be experts in (i) artificial intelligence and machine learning, (ii) data science and information policy, or (iii) technology and the law; the executive director of the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute or a designee; 1 representative from a the National Association of Social Workers; and 1 representative from the Massachusetts High Technology Council.

(d) Members of the commission shall be appointed within 45 days of the effective date of this act.  The commission shall meet at the call of the chair based on the commission’s workload but not fewer than 6 times per calendar year. 

(e) The commission shall submit an annual report by December 31 to the governor, the clerks of the house of representatives and the senate, and the joint committee on state administration and regulatory oversight. The report will be a public record and it shall include, but not be limited to, a description of the commission’s activities and any community engagement undertaken by the commission, the commission's findings and any recommendations for regulatory or legislative action, including recommendations about areas where Massachusetts offices ought not to use automated decision systems, with a timeline for implementation, cost estimates and finance mechanisms. The report shall also detail the extent of algorithmic decision-making used by the commonwealth of Massachusetts and the progress made toward implementing any previous recommendations issued by the commission.