Right of Repair & Facial Recognition Ban Hearings this week!

There are two important hearings at the State House this week that we urge you to attend:

  • Digital Right to Repair (S.107 & H.218), this Monday, 10/21, 1pm, Gardner Auditorium, Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure
  • State & Local Facial Recognition Moratorium (S.1385 & H.1538), this Tuesday, 10/22, 1pm, Room A-1, Joint Committee on the Judiciary

We support both sets of bills since the first would ensure that you really do control the devices you own and the second would help rein in the surveillance state.

It is vital to have as many Pirates attend both hearings as possible. Even if you choose not to testify in person, your presence there will demonstrate to the committee that these bills deserve their attention and support. The ACLU will have “Press Pause” t-shirts for all supporters of the Facial Recognition Ban and would appreciate it if you told them you plan to attend.

Both hearings are at the State House, 24 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02133 and are short walk from the Park St. Green/Red line MBTA stop. You should arrive 20-30 minutes before the planned beginning of the hearing.  It will take significant time to get through security and metal detectors, so plan accordingly and travel light. If you plan to attend the whole hearing, you might want to bring a water bottle.   

Members of the public get an opportunity to comment on bills at legislative committee public hearings. You can testify about why you support (or oppose) a bill and describe how a proposal for a new law could affect the lives of you, your community and Massachusetts residents. You have the power to share information and a personal perspective that can influence how a legislative committee deals with a bill. Your story matters! 

If you plan to testify at the hearing:

  • Once you find the hearing room, sign-in on the sheet provided. There will be coalition volunteers outside the hearing room to answer any questions and provide lapel stickers and posters to hold up.  
  • Individual testimony should last no more than 3 minutes, and ideally less.
  • Be sure to thank the committee for the opportunity to testify, and provide your name and any relevant title or affiliation. Mention the bill number and that you support the bill before setting out your reasons or providing your personal perspective. Then urge the committee to pass the bill from their committee quickly.
  • Ideally, you should bring a few copies of your testimony to give to the committee and others who may want it (media, coalition partners etc).
  • If you have more to say than can be conveyed in 3 minutes, it should be in your written testimony.

Witnesses/experts may be invited to testify or organized in pre-set panels. The committee will determine how they are calling those wishing to testify. Sometimes in order of sign up, sometimes alternating pro and con. It is customary for elected and other public officials to be invited to testify “out of turn” or whenever they show up.

Written Testimony

Everyone can submit written testimony. This is a written letter or statement on why you think the committee should pass the bill. If you are unable to attend or just planning on submitting written testimony you can give to the committee on the day of the hearing or email it ahead of the hearing to address below. Written testimony can be written as a letter addressed to the Chairs and the “Members of the Committee”.  Make sure to prominently indicate the bill number, and whether your testimony is in support or opposition to the bill. Include your name and address.

Committee Contact Information

Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure:

  • Chair Paul R. Feeney – paul.feeney@masenate.gov
  • Chair Tackey Chan – Tackey.Chan@mahouse.gov

Joint Committee on the Judiciary:

  • Chair James B. Eldridge – James.Eldridge@masenate.gov
  • Chair Claire D. Cronin – Claire.Cronin@mahouse.gov​​​​​​​
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