Right to Counsel Bill Moves to Senate Ways and Means

On July 16, the Right to Counsel pilot bill, S.2785, moved to Senate Ways and Means Committee after being reported out favorably by the Housing Committee. It is urgent that the Senate Ways and Means Committee take action on the bill quickly as the formal legislative session ends on July 31st and as we brace ourselves for thousands of evictions when the moratorium lifts. 

Action Needed Today

  1. Email Chair of Ways and Means Senator Michael Rodrigues and ask him to take swift action to move S.2785 to the Senate floor. Use the sample email below. If you submitted testimony to the Housing Committee redo and resend your testimony to Senator Michael Rodrigues, Chair of Senate Ways and Means at Michael.Rodrigues@masenate.gov 
                   
  2. Email and Call Your Senator. Ask your Senator to ask Senator Rodrigues to advance S.2785 to the Senate floor. Asking your Senator to go to Chairman Rodrigues is very important so that he hears from his colleagues that this is a priority.
    See if your Senator is on Senate Ways and Means 
    See if your Senator co-sponsored S.2785
    Click to find your Senator's contact information
     
  3. Tweet the Governor. Keep the issue before the Governor. Here's a tweet you can use or adapt. 

    In MA, 92% of tenants face eviction without legal representation, while 78% of landlords have lawyers.  When the eviction moratorium ends, vulnerable families will face evictions during a pandemic. We need emergency right to counsel to correct this disparity. #MassRight2Counsel #mapoli

Sample email to Senate Ways and Means Chairman Rodrigues 

Dear Chairman Rodrigues, 
 
With 15,000-20,000 evictions expected to be filed when the moratorium lifts, a right to counsel pilot will ensure that in areas hardest hit by COVID that tenants and owner-occupants are protected. Time is of the essence to get legal help in place in communities hardest hit by COVID so that we can prevent mass evictions. 93% of tenants were unrepresented before COVID, while 78% of landlords were represented. This imbalance of representation will likely be even greater during the pandemic and must be corrected before it gets worse. We need to keep people housed and S. 2785 is part of the solution. Thank you for your support.  
 
New Coalition Members
Please continue to send this link to your networks and urge them to sign on by clicking https://www.massrtc.org/supporters.html
 
Thank you for your continued work on this issue. Together this Coalition is making progress!