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Legislative History

This MMR statute, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 112, 12F, was passed in 1970, renumbered once in 1971, and amended once in 1975. While researching the legislative history, the LO learned that the Judiciary Committee introduced the original bill to the Senate on April 28, 1970, it was accepted the next day, and then reconsidered and laid on the table the following day on April 30. The Journal of the Senate notes indicated unanimous consent to the reconsideration of the ``legislation to permit emergency medical treatment and relative to the liability of physicians in said emergency treatment.''98 However it also mentions the following: ``pending the recurring question on accepting the report, it was laid on the table, on further motion of the same Senator'' who sponsored the bill.99 While we do not know at this point what the pending question entailed, the legislation was not taken up again until August 19 of the same year. However, once the Senate promptly passed the bill, it moved quickly through the third reading in the Senate, engrossment, the House of Representatives, and was sent to the Governor five days later on August 23 and signed into law on August 31, 1970.100

Similar swift movement occurred during the 1975 Amendment process. Introduced to the House of Representatives on June 18, 1975, by the Health Care Committee, this bill permitted ``certain minors to consent to certain medical care.''101 With some apparent fast moving amendments adopted by both the House and the Senate, it was sent to the Governor on August 18 and signed into law on August 28. This rapid progress may indicate a lack of opposition or a pressing need at the time to pass such legislation. Indeed, the Bulletin of Committee Work, which reports the acts approved by the Governor for 1975, states: ``Approved August 28. Declared to be an emergency law by the Governor, effective, October 29.''102 This leads to the question of why a statutory Amendment was needed at this time. It also leads us to the question of why this statute has not been expanded since then. Has there been no need for minors expanded consent or possibly no advocates to bring the issue to Legislators attention?

Although LO #2 recommends furthering this background research, the next LO will have to decide if continuing the legislative history will be a priority or if this background information is sufficient.



Footnotes

...98
Journal of the Senate, p. 1170, Thursday April 30, 1970.
...99
Id.
...100
See Appendix A.
...101
See Appendix A.
...102
Bulletin of Committee Work, p. 466A (1975).

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