The new legislative year on Beacon Hill is off and running, but there remain a few leftovers from the 2018 session still sitting on the governor’s desk. Two of them ought to become law.
The so-called Equifax bill to protect consumers in the wake of data breaches was amended at the request of the governor as formal sessions ended last summer. Its technical flaws fixed, it should surely now be ready for the governor’s signature.
Another bill, long overdue, was a surprise end-of-the year entry. It would ban sex discrimination in disability insurance sold on the individual market, where women have paid premiums averaging some 23 percent above those paid by men for the same coverage. Gender neutrality is already the rule on group policies for disability insurance — those purchased through an employer. Yet it’s not the rule for the estimated 11 percent of women who buy individual policies. Health insurance is already gender neutral, and in this state so are auto and homeowner’s insurance.
The bill, filed by state Representative Ruth Balser of Newton, has long been on the agenda of the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women and was supported by a legislative commission set up to study the issue. It’s simply a measure whose time has come.