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Sen. Collins fights for economic justice

Major economic development bill breaks down barriers, emphasizes equity

Sen. Nick Collins

BOSTON — Recently, the Massachusetts State Senate passed a sweeping economic recovery and development bill that provides much-needed support to small businesses, addresses the housing affordability crisis, and creates new jobs in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Building off the work he had started with then-Senator Linda Dorcena Forry to implement the “Massport model”, a policy to increase diversity on the equity teams of Massport land sales and leases, Senator Collins included a section in the bill that requires this policy for all state property and quasi state property. This policy would ensure for the first time that investors of color and minority-owned businesses have the opportunity to participate in economic development at all phases, including construction, financing, planning, and ownership.

“Former Senator Linda Dorcena Forry started this work In 2014 and I was proud to partner with her then to ensure that when it comes to Massport and Convention Center assets and resources, with smart policy making, we can shape an economy that works for everyone,” said Senator Collins. “I’m just as proud now to bring those values to this major piece of legislation to ensure access and opportunity for all across the entire Commonwealth’s portfolio.”

Senator Nick Collins was also successful in including a provision that removes an onerous licensure requirement for natural hair braiders, many of whom are entrepreneurs and women of color. The law previously required hundreds of hours of training and put up costly barriers to small businesses. Additionally, Senator Collins secured funds for the City of Boston to help support the reopening of small businesses.

“A major theme of this legislation is breaking down barriers to access” said Senator Nick Collins. “Time and time again I have heard from constituents of the First Suffolk District about the need to support small businesses owned by women and people of color, and to create job opportunities and meaningful paths to economic mobility for everyone in our communities.”

The comprehensive bill also addresses vocational schools and community colleges, tourism and cultural sectors, and the restaurant industry. To promote equity and protect borrowers and workers across the Commonwealth, the bill establishes a Future of Work Commission and creates a Student Loan Bill of Rights.

The bill will now be conferenced with the House of Representatives before moving to the Governor for his approval.