For Immediate Release: 3-6-23 

Contact: Peter Jasinski | 

BOSTON – State Senator John F. Keenan filed 47 bills this legislative session dealing with issues including mental health treatment, substance use disorder, and workforce development. These bills join the nearly 7000 bills in total and the more than 80 bills filed by other state senators and representatives that Sen. Keenan has cosponsored. 

“With every new session comes countless opportunities to improve the lives of those living in the Norfolk and Plymouth District and throughout Massachusetts. Legislation plays a big part in that,” said State Sen. John F. Keenan. “These 47 bills have the potential to help so many should they be signed into law on their own or as part of larger legislative packages.”   

Filed bills ware now being assigned to committees for review, the first step in as they advance through the legislative process.   

Notably, Sen. Keenan filed SD724 An act relative to transmitting indecent visual depictions by teens and the unlawful distribution of explicit images, which would enact the Commonwealth’s first criminal charge for so-called “revenge pornography.” 

“Over the last year, my staff members and I have met with so many whose lives, and the lives of their loved ones, have been negatively impacted by revenge pornography. Evolving technologies have done so much for us as a society, but we need to make sure our laws evolve along with it,” said Sen. Keenan.  

In addition to establishing the new criminal charge and setting sentencing guidelines, the bill also creates a youth diversion program to account for the disproportionately high number of youth impacted by this crime. 

Other priority bills filed by Sen. Keenan include:  

Healthcare Access & Substance Use:  

SD2022, An Act relative to removing barriers to non-opioid pain management 

To improve a patient’s access to non-opioid pain management options, this legislation removes the prior authorization requirement, meaning an insurance provider would not need to be consulted prior to a patient receiving these treatments. These non-opioid pain management options include, but are not limited to, physical therapy, acupuncture, and massage therapy. The bill also expands patient notification so patients understand what alternative treatments they can access.     

SD2391, An Act to remove administrative barriers to behavioral health services  

Prior authorization can delay a patient’s medical treatment by requiring healthcare providers to consult with a patient’s insurance provider as to whether a treatment is covered before it can be administered. 

This legislation expands the number of behavioral health settings that must be covered by insurance without prior authorization. This change will streamline the process and expand treatment options for those in need. 

SD2107, An Act relative to recovery coach licensure  

Recovery Coaches are trained professionals who work individually with those in recovery to meet their recovery goals. These mental health professionals have successfully helped so many patients but the lack of licensure for this position limits employment opportunities.  

This legislation creates a licensure process for recovery coaches, including criteria they must meet for licensure, regulations they must comply with, and a certification board that reviews applications and compliance. This is a necessary step in making recovery coaches not just accessible treatment resources but a viable career to anyone interested in working in this field.  

SD2003, An Act relative to dual diagnosis treatment coverage  

Many patients deal with substance use disorder and other mental health needs at the same time. Unfortunately, many health insurance plans do not address this increasingly common scenario. 

This bill ensures that an individual admitted to an inpatient psychiatric facility for mental health needs can also trust that their insurance will cover substance use treatment. 

SD.733, An Act directing the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority to place naloxone at Red Line stations 

Think of the importance of fire extinguishers in public places. We have them there in the event of the worst-case scenario. In this age of wide-spread substance use disorder, we need to take similar precautions.  

This legislation creates a pilot program to install three Naloxone boxes at MBTA stations in Boston, Braintree, Cambridge, Quincy, and Somerville. This life-saving treatment can resuscitate a person experiencing a potentially fatal overdose. 

SD.1163, An Act strengthening prescription drug safety and drug stewardship 

To prevent prescription medications from falling into wrong hands, the Commonwealth enacted a program to collect and properly dispose of unused prescription pills. Despite the success of the program, a built-in sunset clause has made this program temporary. This legislation does away with the sunset clause so that safe drug disposal can continue indefinitely.  

This legislation would also guarantee funding for safe drug disposal while continuing to hold accountable the individuals who profited from the opioid epidemic. The program is funded by drug manufacturers, including Purdue Pharma, as a result of the Commonwealth’s lawsuit against them for their role in creating the opioid epidemic. This legislation would ensure these drug manufacturers fund the program in perpetuity. 

SD.1164, An Act providing continuity of care for mental health treatment 

Finding a treatment, doctor, or prescription that works can prove difficult and time-consuming. Further complicating matters is the possibility of a patient losing access to a successful treatment due to changes in insurance.  

This legislation would allow patients of mental health providers to maintain access to treatment regardless of changes in insurance. Sen. Keenan last session successfully passed into law a similar requirement that insurance companies provide coverage for treatment of individuals with multiple sclerosis regardless of changes in insurance. 

SD.2355, An Act relative to hospital closures and health planning 

The closure of a hospital is disruptive for any community, which is why we need regulations to ensure such situations do as little harm as possible.  

This legislation extends the public notification process so that stakeholders can have more time to plan accordingly. This change would also help ensure that patients can find new replacement care providers so their treatment is disrupted as little as possible. 

SD.1781, An Act providing access to patient protection services for MassHealth consumers 

Approximately 2 million people currently rely on MassHealth for their insurance coverage, yet they lack many of the same protections and services other insurance policy holders have. This bill seeks to provide MassHealth patients access to the same appeals process for refusals of coverage for prescribed treatments and services.  

The current appeals process for MassHealth patients is much slower than the appeals process for non-MassHealth patients, which operates through the Office of Patient Protection. A quicker appeals process would ensure care delivery is not interrupted. 

SD.2103, Resolve establishing a commission to encourage acceptance of insurance by outpatient mental health providers 

With mental-health treatment becoming more and more common, patients should be guaranteed they can receive their treatment as easily from a behavioral health provider as they would from any other healthcare professional. 

This legislation creates a commission to study why many behavioral health providers do not currently accept many types of insurance. This work of the commission will provide invaluable context for how to make the mental healthcare system more equitable.   

SD.1780, An Act relative to collaborative drug therapy management optimization 

Recent years have put severe stresses on medical professionals and resulted in staff shortages in hospitals, urgent care centers, and community health centers. This bill would seek to help address situations when staffing shortages have blocked patients from receiving prescriptions.  

Currently, an attending physician needs to be on-site before an outpatient facility can provide a patient with prescription medication. This legislation would allow physicians to be consulted over the phone by facility staff, smoothing the way for patients to receive their medication in a timely manner. 

Workforce Development:  

SD1165, An Act promoting workforce development and provider retention at community health centers 

A big part of ensuring Massachusetts can keep up with the health needs of its residents is employing enough well-trained medical professionals throughout the Commonwealth 

This bill would create a state-level nurse practitioner residency program overseen by the Division of Medical Assistance. Those interested in entering this field would have a new and reliable pipeline for training and employment. Medical facilities, particularly community health centers, would have greater options for expansion and safeguards against short staffing. Patients would have better access to care and medical professionals. 

SD1928, An Act regulating surgical assistants 

Further addressing workforce shortages in the medical field, this bill creates new regulatory infrastructure to get more individuals licensed as surgical assistants, ultimately increasing the number of surgical assistants working in Massachusetts. 

Existing regulations under the Board of Registration and Medicine prohibit surgical assistants from working without a license; Massachusetts does not, however,  have a system to license these individuals. This bill creates a board of registration specific to surgical assistants while also allowing nurses and other health care professionals to perform surgical assistant duties if those duties fall within the scope of their licenses.  


SD728, An Act creating the Massachusetts healthy homes program 

People need safe and healthy environments in which to live. The presence of lead paint, poor indoor air quality, and other substandard housing conditions lead to developmental delays in children, respiratory disease, accidents and injuries, potential displacement when individuals become disabled, and spread of infectious disease, among other serious, preventable health consequences. The passage of this legislation will create the Massachusetts Healthy Homes Program to scale up the Commonwealth’s efforts to address serious health problems caused by substandard housing. 

Sports Betting:  

SD.766, An Act related to deceptive advertising 

With sports betting now legal in Massachusetts and its promotion seen everywhere on television, social media, and billboards, advertising for this new industry should not cross the line into invasive or even harmful territory. Existing deceptive advertising regulations in consumer protections statutes already prohibit certain forms of advertising. This legislation would classify certain sports betting practices as deceptive.  

Under this bill, sports betting entities could not advertise bonus promotions, same-game parlays, and odds boosts, or utilize terminology like “risk free” or “no sweat” wagers. 

A complete list of bills filed by Sen. Keenan for the 193rd General Court will soon be available for review on, including summaries of each piece of legislation. A full list of bills cosponsored by Sen. Keenan can be viewed at