By Bob Katzen

Bill (H 1754) creates a 15-member working group on gender equity regarding the pricing of items marketed for sale towards women in the state to better understand gender-based price discrimination on the state level.

The group would report its findings and any recommendations for changes in current law by the end of 2022.

“I filed this bill because of complaints I received that products marketed to women cost more than similar products marketed to men,” said sponsor Rep. Jay Livingston (D-Boston). “This price discrimination, also known as the ‘pink tax,’ includes body wash, shaving cream, razors, toys and accessories.”

Livingston said that reports show that women pay as much as 50 percent more than men for similar products and that this costs women an average of $1,351 more per year.

“This pink tax, in combination with gender wealth issues such as the gender pay gap, holds the women of Massachusetts back financially,” he concluded.

GAY/TRANS “PANIC LEGAL DEFENSE” (H 1470, S 956) – Prohibits any defendant from using the victim’s actual or perceived sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression or sex assigned at birth as an excuse for the provocation of an act of violence, including murder, against the victim. This includes circumstances in which the victim made a nonviolent romantic or sexual advance toward the defendant or in which the defendant and the victim dated or had a romantic or sexual relationship.

“When this defense is employed, the perpetrator claims that their victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity not only explains—but excuses—their loss of self-control and subsequent homicide,” said co-sponsors Sen. Jo Comerford (D-Northampton) and Rep. Natalie Blais (Sunderland) in a joint statement. “When successful, these defenses have resulted in murder charges being reduced to manslaughter or another lesser offense. These defenses are rooted in irrational fears based on homophobia and transphobia and send the message that violence against LGBT people is understandable and acceptable.”

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