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Governor Baker Signs Nicky’s Law To Try To Deter Abuse of Disabled

February 19, 2020

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has signed a bill into law that is designed to keep disabled people from being abused.

Baker signed Nicky’s Law (Massachusetts Senate Bill 2367) into effect on Tuesday, February 18. The law will create a database of caretakers who abuse their clients, as MassLive.com reports.

The idea is to make it easier employers to have a potential employee’s history before hiring that person, in hopes of preventing likely abusers from taking care of disabled people.

The bill passed the Massachusetts Senate by a vote of 40-0 (which means all senators voted for it) on October 17, 2019. The bill passed the Massachusetts House of Representatives by a vote of 154-0 on January 15.

Massachusetts will become the 27th state to have such a registry.

“Only 10 or 15 percent actually get prosecuted. That’s why this law is so important,” Leo Sarkissian, the executive director of The Arc of Massachusetts, which advocates for disabled people, told WBZ-TV Channel 4 in Boston. “To capture those that do registerable abuse, abuse that’s physically or psychologically very harmful, that they can be placed on a registry.”

The bill is named for 26-year-old Nicky Chan, who was beaten several years ago while attending a day program for people with intellectual disabilities in Millbury.

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