Mass State House - call your legislators

We have a hearing date for the Massachusetts pump bill! Senate Bill S.600 / House Bill H.967, An act improving access to breast pumps, was referred to the Financial Services Committee for a hearing on Tuesday, 17 October, 10 am-1 pm. Now is the time to share your story, knowledge, and experience. Your voice matters!

The bill mandates insurance coverage for multi-user double pumps, supplies, and lactation consultant consultations for preterm and other vulnerable babies. Parents of preemies may have access to these services in the hospital but not at home when separated from their babies. This bill will close the gap.

The hearing is an opportunity for committee members to hear from experts and those directly impacted about the bills they are charged to consider. The pump bill is one of 23 bills related to women’s health insurance to be covered at this hearing.

Ways to offer testimony

There are three ways to offer testimony:

  • Orally in person
  • Orally remotely
  • Written submitted by email

Oral and written testimony are not mutually exclusive. In fact, it is a good idea to submit oral comments in writing as well. It is easier for legislators to refer to the comments, and you can add additional information. If you are not available to testify orally, you can submit written testimony.

Registration required for oral testimony

  • Registration is required for oral testimony. Please fill out this form by Thursday, October 12 at 5 pm.
  • Oral testimony is limited to 3 minutes per person. Because they are hearing about so many bills in one session, they do keep time.
  • Spoken clearly, three minutes is about 1-2 pages typed and double-spaced.
  • If you are planning to testify, please let our advocacy committee know. This will help us ensure a good balance of presenters.

How to submit written testimony

  • There are no limits on written testimony, though keeping your comments to 1-2 pages helps ensure that legislators actually read it all the way through.
  • There is no deadline on the submission of written testimony. The Committee encourages submission within 30 days of the hearing date; we encourage you to submit your testimony before the hearing date.
  • Submit written testimony to the Committee via email to jointcmte-financialservices@malegislature.gov

Is your legislator a sponsor?

Thanks to all who wrote to their legislators in the last few months asking them to support the bills. Because of your efforts, the two bills have 11 sponsors! If you contacted your legislator, especially if they are on the Financial Services Committee, please reach out to them again now about supporting the bill. To see which legislators are sponsoring the bill, go to the Petitioners tabs on the S.600 and H.967 pages.

Tips on preparing testimony

Three minutes (or 1-2 pages written testimony) is both very short and time to say a lot if you are prepared and focused.

  • Keep it brief. You don’t need to say everything, just your most important reason to support this bill.
  • What is YOUR unique contribution? Focus on one or two related points.
  • If testifying orally, write out your remarks, so you can edit and fine tune.
  • Practice reading it, so you see how it flows and how long it takes.
  • At the hearing, the more you can speak spontaneously rather than reading your remarks the better. But that takes even more practice.
  • Read more tips and talking points in our post on providing testimony.

Summary: the hearing and the bills

The two bills are identical and will be considered together.

Senate Bill S.600, An act improving access to breast pumps

House Bill H.967, An act improving access to breast pumps

Complete hearing information, including the list of bills to be considered

One-Page Information Sheet

Additional tips on preparing testimony

Questions?

Contact the Advocacy Committee of the Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition. We are happy to help.

Thank you for making a difference for Massachusetts families!

Photo by Jens Junge from Pixabay
Contributing editors: Naomi Bar-Yam & Ann Marie Lindquist

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