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SENATE DOCKET, NO. 901        FILED ON: 1/17/2013

SENATE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 233


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts



James B. Eldridge


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 promoting equal opportunities for students with disabilities.






James B. Eldridge

Middlesex and Worcester

Kay Khan

11th Middlesex

Kenneth I. Gordon

21st Middlesex

David Paul Linsky

5th Middlesex

Michael Barrett

Third Middlesex

Marjorie C. Decker

25th Middlesex

Frank I. Smizik

15th Norfolk

Antonio F. D. Cabral

13th Bristol

Sal N. DiDomenico

Middlesex and Suffolk

SENATE DOCKET, NO. 901        FILED ON: 1/17/2013

SENATE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 233

By Mr. Eldridge, a petition (accompanied by bill, Senate, No. 233) of James B. Eldridge, Kay Khan, Kenneth I. Gordon, David Paul Linsky and other members of the General Court for legislation to provide fair process for students with disabilities.  Education. 


SEE SENATE, NO. 203 OF 2011-2012.]


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts



In the Year Two Thousand Thirteen



An Act promoting equal opportunities for students with disabilities.


              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.  Section 3 of chapter 71B of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2010 Official Edition, is hereby amended in the twelfth paragraph by inserting after the third sentence the following sentence:-

              The school committee shall have the burden of proof in any proceeding conducted pursuant to this section.

              SECTION 2. Said section 3 of said chapter 71B of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting after the twelfth paragraph the following paragraph:-

              Parents, guardians, or persons with custody of a student who have either requested a hearing before the bureau of special education appeals seeking resolution of any dispute, or are parties to a proceeding initiated by a school committee at such bureau, shall be entitled to reasonable attorney’s fees and related costs as a prevailing party if they achieve a favorable result in defense of the school committee’s action or if they obtain relief on a significant claim as a result of such request, or an appeal thereof, that effects a material alteration in the parties’ legal relationship, and is not merely de minimis, whether such relief is the result of a voluntary change in the school committee’s conduct, a settlement agreement, or a decision or order issued by a hearing officer or court.

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