Legislation Regarding Campus Sexual Misconduct Surveys, Civics Education, and Consumer Protections against Data Breaches

Submitted by the Office of Rep. Ken Gordon (D-Bedford)

Representative Ken Gordon (D-Bedford) joined his colleagues in the Legislature to numerous pieces of legislation last week including a bill requiring civics education curriculum in all Massachusetts public schools, a bill that would protect Massachusetts consumers, and a bill that would require higher education institutions to conduct climate surveys relative to sexual misconduct every two years.

With the goal of fostering safe and inclusive campus environments, the surveys – known as campus climate surveys – will assist institutions with gathering sexual misconduct data, including the number of incidents of misconduct as well as provide information about student awareness of campus policies and procedures, and help campuses identify at-risk groups.

“Campus climate surveys are crucial to ensuring that Massachusetts college campuses are places where students feel safe. I applaud the efforts of students across the Commonwealth including the students at Middlesex Community College who made their voices heard in advocating for this legislation” said Rep. Ken Gordon.

“Sexual violence and misconduct continue to be a problem on many college campuses,” said Representative John Scibak (D-South Hadley), Chair of the Committee on Higher Education.  “While several of our colleges have led the way in utilizing climate surveys to address the issue, not all institutions have done so.  This bill, which was championed by students across the Commonwealth, is an important step in addressing this problem and ensuring the safety and well-being of students on all of our campuses.

The Legislature also enacted S.2631, An Act to Promote and Enhance Civic Engagement. This legislation promotes a hands-on and experiential approach to fostering civic engagement and incorporates project-based learning components, encourages the instruction of civic competencies – including news and media literacy – and provides extracurricular civic-participation opportunities.

Finally, Legislators took on legislation to protect consumers following the data breach of Equifax which left the personal information of 143 million Americans at risk. The bill includes provisions that make it easier for consumers to monitor their credit, request security freezes on data, limit fees associated with data breach protections as well as requires transparency from breached companies and their affiliates.

“This bill empowers consumers to take charge of monitoring their credit and to protect their personal data against harmful data breaches,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, (D-Winthrop).  “We have taken important steps to protect privacy and increase the requirements for transparency by those entities that are breached. Thank you to Representatives Chan and Benson and our colleagues in the House and Senate for their work on these important issues.”

“I am proud that the Legislature took steps to protect consumer’s data and privacy this session. This legislation will give Massachusetts consumers more control over their data so that they may protect themselves in the future” said Rep. Gordon.

Each of these bills has gone to the Governor for his consideration.

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