Policy Library

Issue Watch with Mike Avitzur: What’s Hot in the Courts, Legislature and Policy World

July 09, 2024

What’s Hot in the Courts, Legislature and Policy World

I’m Mike Avitzur, the BBA’s Government Relations Director. In Issue Watch, I’ll address news and developments related to the courts, the legislature, and policy of interest to the Boston legal community. Without further ado, here’s…

What’s Happening

It’s June, and the Supreme Court is issuing its most prominent decisions (perhaps even bleeding into July this term), while the Massachusetts state budget is in the hands of a bipartisan, bicameral conference committee (also likely to continue into July). And, since this is an even-numbered year, the Legislature is also facing a late burst of activity as its July 31st end-of-session approaches.

We have our eyes on all three fronts, plus recent judicial confirmations to close with:

State Budget

The conference committee is currently negotiating differences between the Senate and House bills. Once they’re done ironing out the wrinkles, the final version will go through a procedural vote in each chamber before landing on the Governor’s desk.
We’ve thrown our hat into the ring with a letter to the conferees, asking for their support on our top priorities in this Fiscal Year 2025 budget:

  • Increased funding for MLAC, the Trial Court, and CPCS—always among our core issues.
  • A new Access to Counsel Program for tenants and landlords facing eviction.
  • Reforming state law on home-equity theft, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling on Tyler last year.


Just this month, we’ve commented on two abortion decisions from the Supreme Court:

  • The Court dismissed a challenge to the FDA’s mifepristone approval, based on lack of standing. We welcomed that ruling—but cautioned that continued vigilance is key to protecting women’s access to safe, medically appropriate care and doctors’ rights to provide it amidst efforts to roll back access nationwide.
  • And just this morning (after an extraordinary leak previewed it yesterday), the Court dismissed as improvidently granted (“DIG” in SCOTUS parlance) a case testing whether a federal law created to protect hospital patients’ health preempts certain state laws criminalizing abortion, even when the mother’s health is at risk. In similar fashion, since the underlying issues still haven’t been addressed, we expressed guarded relief.

For context:

Other cases catching our members’ attention include:

  • The Purdue Pharma bankruptcy case, in which the Court today narrowly rejected a settlement that would’ve benefited opioid victims and their families but protected the Sackler family from future litigation.
  • A rejected challenge to a federal tax on unrealized income, which could’ve unsettled federal tax policy generally.
  • A challenge to the “Chevron deference” standard in federal regulatory enforcement, which is yet to be decided but could send shockwaves through a number of practice areas.

Legislative Sprint to the Finish Line

The Legislature is racing toward that July 31st finish line for its 2023-24 session, and we’re eyeing a number of bills we’ve endorsed, such as those on:

  • Child-custody enforcement, trying to make us the 50th (!) state to join an interstate compact honoring custody agreements when parents move;
  • Trust decanting, to modernize and clarify how and when this can be done, since statutes and case law offer limited guidance;
  • The UCC, adopting model language from the Uniform Law Commission that addresses new issues like digital assets and electronic money.

Newest State Judges

Finally, on behalf of the entire BBA, I want to congratulate the three judges who were confirmed by the Governor’s Council yesterday—with a special mention of Judge Dubin, who sits on the Boston Bar Journal’s Board of Editors and previously served on the BBA Council and co-chaired our Family Law Section. Best wishes to all!

Frederick DeCubellis (District Court)
An alumnus of Southern New England School of Law, Judge DeCubellis has been an assistant clerk magistrate in New Bedford District Court who previously had a civil and criminal solo practice in New Bedford for 22 years.

Carla Salvucci (Probate and Family Court)
Judge Salvucci has been the lead attorney and owner of Salvucci Law, LLC, which specialized in all aspects of family law. She had been a Litigation Associate at Brown Rudnick and Todd & Weld, after graduating from BC Law School.

Jessica Dubin (Probate and Family Court)
Judge Dubin graduated from Harvard Law School and has been a partner at Lee & Rivers, LLP, also offering pro bono representation to survivors of domestic abuse.

The continued excellence of our state judiciary depends on the willingness of attorneys to put themselves forward for judgeships, so we encourage all interested members to apply.

I hope this has been of interest, and I look forward to sharing updates with you next month!

Mike Avitzur
Government Relations Director
Boston Bar Association