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SENATE DOCKET, NO. 1920         FILED ON: 10/30/2013

SENATE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1911

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

_________________

PRESENTED BY:

Richard T. Moore

_______________

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 the status of children and youth.

_______________

PETITION OF:

 

Name:

District/Address:

Richard T. Moore

Worcester and Norfolk

Michael J. Rodrigues

First Bristol and Plymouth

Katherine M. Clark

Fifth Middlesex

Michael O. Moore

Second Worcester

Brian A. Joyce

Norfolk, Bristol and Plymouth

Linda Dorcena Forry

First Suffolk

James B. Eldridge

Middlesex and Worcester

Kay Khan

11th Middlesex

Timothy J. Toomey, Jr.

26th Middlesex

Peter J. Durant

6th Worcester

Mary S. Keefe

15th Worcester

Denise C. Garlick

13th Norfolk

James R. Miceli

19th Middlesex

Brian M. Ashe

2nd Hampden

Jennifer L. Flanagan

Worcester and Middlesex

Sal N. DiDomenico

Middlesex and Suffolk

Benjamin Swan

11th Hampden


SENATE DOCKET, NO. 1920        FILED ON: 10/30/2013

SENATE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1911

By Mr. Richard T. Moore, a petition (accompanied by bill, Senate, No. 1911) of Richard T. Moore, Michael J. Rodrigues, Katherine M. Clark, Michael O. Moore and other members of the General Court for legislation to establish a commission on the status of children and youth.  Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities. 


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
 

_______________

In the Year Two Thousand Thirteen

_______________

 

An Act establishing a commission on the status of children and youth.
 

              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 3 of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding the following

              section:—

              Section: 70. (1) There is established a permanent commission on the status of children and youth consisting of 19 persons as follows: five persons appointed by the governor; four persons appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives; four persons appointed by the president of the senate; and six persons appointed by the statewide student advisory council, established pursuant to section 1E of chapter 15 of the general laws, provided, however that no more than two such persons shall be from the same regional student advisory council.  Members of the commission shall be drawn from diverse racial, ethnic, religious, sexual orientation and socio-economic backgrounds from throughout the commonwealth, provided, however that no member, at the time of appointment or re-appointment, shall be older than twenty one years of age. Members shall be subject to the provisions of chapter 268A as they apply to special state employees.

              (2) (a) Members shall serve terms of three years and until their successors are 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) Appointments shall be made in consultation with organizations that focus on children and youth including, but not limited to the Massachusetts Boys State and Girls State Programs, the YMCA Youth in Government Program, the Massachusetts Student Government Day Program, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Massachusetts, Teens Leading the Way, the Children’s League of Massachusetts, Massachusetts Citizens for Children, Generation Citizen, the Massachusetts Service Alliance, City Year, the Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps, and the Massachusetts Mentoring Partnership.   Nominations shall be solicited between May 1 and June 16 of each year for the term commencing October 1 of each year through an open application process using a uniform application that is widely distributed throughout the state.

              (d) The commission shall elect from among its members a chair, a vice chair, a treasurer and any other officers it deems necessary.

              (e) 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.

              (3) The commission shall conduct an ongoing study of all matters concerning children and youth, and shall be guided by the tenets of the Convention on the Rights of the Child adopted by the United Nations General Assembly and the Declaration and Plan of Action for the survival, development and protection of children and youth adopted by the World Summit on Children in 1990.  In furtherance of that responsibility, the commission shall: (a) study, review and report on the status of children and youth in the commonwealth; (b) inform leaders of business, education, health care, state and local governments and the communications media of issues pertaining to children and youth; (c) serve as a liaison between government and private interest groups concerned with issues affecting children and youth; (d) serve as a clearinghouse for information on issues pertaining to children and youth; (e) identify and recommend qualified youth for appointive positions at all levels of government, including boards and commissions, as the commission deems necessary and appropriate; (f) assess programs and practices in all state agencies as they affect children and youth, as the commission deems necessary and appropriate; (g) advise executive and legislative bodies on the effect on children and youth of proposed legislation, as the commission deems necessary and appropriate; (h) promote and facilitate collaboration among local youth commissions and among youth organizations in the state, as the commission deems necessary and appropriate, (i) organize programs to celebrate the positive contributions of children and youth including, but not limited to the observance of Youth Honor Day established pursuant to section 15G of chapter 6 of the General Laws and the observance of Youth in Government Day, established pursuant to section 15WW of chapter 6 of the General Laws, (j) establish a Commonwealth Award for Exemplary Community Service to be presented to a graduating senior in each Massachusetts high school in cooperation with Massachusetts Association of Secondary School Principals, and (k) encourage programs whose goal is to enhance the civic knowledge and engagement of youth in the democratic process with the goal of producing active, engaged citizens of the Commonwealth. The commission shall annually, on or before June 2, report the results of its findings and activities of the preceding year and its recommendations to the governor and to the clerks of the senate and the house of representatives.

              (4) 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 an executive director and to acquire adequate staff to perform its duties, subject to appropriation; (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.

              (5) The commission shall meet once every month, except for the months of July and August at members’ discretion. The (i) governor, (ii) speaker of the house of representatives, (iii) president of the senate and (iv) designated members of the Senate and House of Representatives shall be invited to attend the monthly meetings on a rotating basis.

              (6) (a) The commission may request from all state agencies such information and assistance as the commission may require.

              (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 of children and youth shall be appointed for the following terms:—

              (a) The governor shall appoint two members for a term of one year, two members for a term of two years, and one member for a term of three years.

              (b) The speaker of the house of representatives shall appoint two members 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 president of the senate shall appoint two members for a term of one year, one member for a term of two years, and one member for a term of three years.

              (d) The statewide student advisory council shall appoint one member for a term of one year, two members for a term of two years, and three members for a term of three years.

              SECTION 3.  There shall be an advisory council to the commission, who shall serve co-terminously with the governor, consisting of the commissioner of elementary and secondary education, ex-officio; the commissioner of early childhood education, ex-officio; the commissioner of higher education, ex-officio; the commissioner of youth services, ex-officio; the chief justice of the juvenile court, ex-officio, the commissioner of juvenile probation, ex-officio; the senate chair of the joint legislative committee on children, families, and persons with disabilities, ex-officio; the house chair of the joint legislative committee on children, families, and persons with disabilities, ex-offcio; the senate chair of the joint legislative committee on education, ex-officio; and the house chair of the joint legislative committee on education, ex-officio;   There shall be a co-chair appointed from among the executive department representatives, a co-chair appointed from among the legislative department representatives, and a co-chair appointed from among the judicial department representatives. Any ex-officio member of the advisory council may designate a representative to participate in the advisory council.  In addition to the foregoing, the governor shall appoint one member from each of the following organizations from nominees submitted by said organizations that focus on children and youth including, but not limited to the Massachusetts Boys State and Girls State Programs, the YMCA Youth in Government Program, the Massachusetts Student Government Day Program, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Massachusetts, Teens Leading the Way, the Children’s League of Massachusetts, Massachusetts Citizens for Children, Generation Citizen, the Massachusetts Service Alliance, City Year, the Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps, and the Massachusetts Mentoring Partnership.

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