Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts
105 Chauncy Street, 8th Floor, Boston, MA 02111
Ph: 617.973.6666 Fax: 617.973.6663

wba@womensbar.org       www.womensbar.org

Jessica Babine
Women's Bar Association of Massachusetts
Margaret Talmers
Executive Director
Women's Bar Association of Massachusetts
(617) 973-6666

WOMEN’S BAR ASSOCIATION HIGHLIGHTS 2024 LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES - WBA Honors Senator Jamie Eldridge with the 2024 Public Official of the Year Award


On March 7, 2024, the Massachusetts Women’s Bar Association (WBA), led by the WBA’s Legislative Policy Committee (LPC), hosted its 30th annual Legislative Breakfast. The LPC was joined in the Statehouse by legislators, their staff, WBA members, and coalition partners for its presentation of the organization's 2024 legislative agenda. The annual breakfast serves as a platform for the WBA to advocate for its important legislative priorities.  

The WBA presented the 2024 Public Official of the Year Award to Senator Jamie Eldridge for his tireless advocacy for women, children, and families within the Commonwealth. 

            Several notable speakers voiced their support for the WBA’s 2024 legislative priorities: 

  • Senator Jamie Eldridge, while accepting the 2024 Public Official of the Year Award, highlighted the importance of civil engagement.  He emphasized the important work of the Women’s Bar Association, and discussed many of the important bills he has worked with the WBA through the years, including the ROE Act passed in 2020.
  • WBA President Jessica Babine spoke of the WBA’s efforts to advance its legislative priorities and budget items this session, including mention of the legislative policy committee’s advocacy by submitting written testimony on several bills.

    “Our successes remind us that our collective voices have the ability to influence the process and effect change. With over 1400 members, we can and do make a difference. To the WBA members participating this morning: I encourage you to talk to your legislators and their staff. If you support a bill, tell them. The more we educate and advocate, the more likely they are to support it.” stated WBA President Jessica Babine.
  • Pauline Quirion, Director of the CORI and Reentry project at Greater Boston Legal Services celebrated the legislative victory on An Act Relative to Inmate Telephone Calls (H.1796) which was passed through the Budget. Pauline spoke on the importance of the bill’s broad coalition which was undoubtedly a victory itself. She noted how the passage of this legislation will allow incarcerated individuals to maintain cost-free connections with their families and loved ones, ultimately reducing rates of recidivism. 
  • Representative Marjorie Decker spoke on An Act to Lift Kids Out of Deep Poverty H.144/S.75 and touched on her personal experiences growing up in a single income household as the child of a disabled veteran. Representative Decker spoke of how poverty encompasses children, the elderly, and the disabled and stressed how clear the choice is for lawmakers to make equitable decisions concerning financial support to reduce suffering in these populations. In closing, Representative Decker urged her fellow legislators to continue their support of this important legislation.
  • Megan Driscoll, Board Member of MassHire State Workforce Board and Member of the Wage Equity Now coalition spoke on An Act Relative to Salary Range Transparency (H.4109/S.2468), a bill that calls on employers to disclose salary ranges to prospective employees to ultimately remedy unjustified pay disparities which disproportionately affect women and people of color. Megan advised attendees that similar legislation has already passed at the federal level and urged legislators to help progress this important bill through the conference committee and to the finish line here in Massachusetts.  
  • WBA Member, Andrea Kramer of the Protected At Work Task Force, stressed the importance of supporting H.1918/S.1152 An Act Relative to Employment Protections for Victims of Abusive Behavior (“Protected At Work”), which would add to employment nondiscrimination laws by prohibiting against discrimination based on an employee’s status as a victim of abusive behavior or who have a close family member who is a victim of abusive behavior. Andrea noted that this bill was initiated by the WBA and urged advocates and attendees to contact leadership to support this imperative legislation. 
  • Kate Symmonds, LPC Co-Chair, & Leimary Morales Llopiz spoke on An Act Relative to Medicaid Coverage for Doula Services (H.1240/S.782), which would provide additional support for MassHealth coverage of doula services in the Commonwealth. This bill would pave the way for the investment in the development of doula services and create an advisory committee to ensure that the MassHealth doula program is effective. Leimary shared a personal and touching story about how access to doula services could have supported a different outcome in the birth of her late son, and championed the need for this important bill. 

The WBA’s legislative priorities for the 2024 legislative session also includes Civil Legal Aid Funding: FY2025 Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation State Budget Line Item: 0321-1600 with a funding request of $55 million.