SECTION 1. (a) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, there is hereby established a special commission on racial segregation in housing and public schools, the purpose of which shall be to make policy recommendations to: (i) combat the causes of housing segregation and increase racial integration in cities and towns; (ii) eliminate or significantly reduce interdistrict and intradistrict racial segregation, including at the school and classroom level; and (iv) to promote, as part of school integration plans, the development of racially inclusive school climates, including through: (A) culturally and racially responsive pedagogy and curriculum; (B) approaches to creating a safe and supportive school environments that do not rely on school discipline practices that have a disproportionate negative impact on students of color; and (C) access to racially diverse school staff, teachers and school leaders.
(b) The commission shall investigate the following for purposes of: (1) determining the extent to which the following contribute to housing and school segregation; and (2) making policy recommendations relevant to the following that would help eliminate or significantly reduce racial segregation in housing and public schools:
(A) existing state statute and regulations;
(B) state programs that financially support prospective tenants and prospective homeowners;
(C) state programs that finance or govern the development of affordable housing;
(D) discriminatory practices based on race in the banking industry, including underwriting practices and standards used to determine credit worthiness and interest rates for mortgages;
(E) discriminatory practices in the real estate industry, including the practices of real estate agents, property managers, and landlords, based on the race of prospective tenants or the participation of said tenants in a state or federal housing voucher program;
(F) violations and enforcement of the Fair Housing Act based on race;
(G) exclusionary zoning ordinances and bylaws;
(H) inadequate transportation infrastructure or inadequate access to affordable, reliable, and efficient public transportation;
(I) violations and enforcement of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964;
(J) Chapter 70 of the General Laws;
(K) Chapter 70B of the General Laws;
(L) the dissolution of historical policies and practices in the commonwealth that had led to substantial increases in school integration;
(M) public magnet schools or regional school districts;
(N) school district practices for assigning students to schools;
(O) interdistrict and intradistrict transfer and public school choice policies;
(P) the use of admissions practices for determining student attendance in selective public schools;
(Q) school district practices for determining student participation in different levels of coursework, such as ability grouping or tracking;
(R) the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity (METCO) program; and
(S) any other topics that it deems relevant to housing and school segregation.
(c) The commission shall convene its first meeting within 30 days of the passage of this act and shall submit its report and recommendations not later than 1 year after the passage of this act.
(d) A copy of the report and recommendations shall be submitted to the joint committee on housing, the joint committee on education, and the joint committee on transportation.
(e) Prior to issuing its recommendations, the commission shall conduct not fewer than 4 public hearings across regions of the Commonwealth, which shall take place in communities of color disproportionately impacted by racial segregation in housing and schools.
(f) The commission shall consist of: the house and senate chairs of the joint committee on housing and joint committee on education, who shall serve as the four co-chairs; the house and senate chairs of the joint committee on transportation; the secretary of housing and economic development; the commissioner of the department of housing and community development; the secretary of education; the commissioner of the department of elementary and secondary education; the commissioner of the department of early education and care; the secretary of transportation; the general manager of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority; the commissioner of banks; the attorney general or a designee; the executive director of MassHousing; the president of the senate or a designee; the speaker of the house of representatives or a designee; the minority leader of the house of representatives or a designee; the minority leader of the senate or a designee; the governor or a designee; 1 persons with relevant subject matter expertise appointed by the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus; 2 persons appointed by the commission on the status of African Americans; 2 persons appointed by the commission on the status of Latinos and Latinas; 1 person appointed by the Asian American commission; 1 person appointed by the Massachusetts commission on Indian affairs; 1 person with relevant subject matter expertise appointed by the president of the senate; 1 person with relevant subject matter expertise appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives; 1 person with relevant subject matter expertise appointed by the governor; and 2 members of the student advisory council.
(1) Members shall not receive compensation for their services but may receive reimbursement for the reasonable expenses incurred in carrying out their responsibilities as members of the commission.
(2) The commissioner of the department of housing and community development, the secretary of housing and economic development, the secretary of transportation, the general manager of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, the secretary of education, the commissioner of the department of early education and care, the commissioner of the department of elementary and secondary education, the commissioner of banks, the attorney general and the executive director of MassHousing shall furnish reasonable staff and other support for the work of the commission.
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