On Tuesday, December 5, 2023, the Massachusetts Joint Judiciary Committee heard testimony on An Act relative to fair investment practices. The bill aims to protect founders in protected classes from discrimination in investment settings.
Founders and investors, including Amy Spurling, appeared to speak in support of the bill. No one opposing the bill testified.
You can show your support for An Act of Relative to Fair Investment Practices here.
About the Massachusetts bill
Presented to the House by Representative Tram T. Nguyen of Andover and to the Senate S.978 Cindy F. Friedman, the legislation would be the first of its kind in the Commonwealth and create a system to pursue justice for acts of discrimination.
Acts of discrimination include sexual advances in verbal or physical form, requiring such advances for funding, and not limited to sexual harassment but include acts against any member of a protected class, including race, gender, gender expression, disability and all who fall into legally protected groups.
The Bill offers founders three years to bring their claim to the Attorney General, who is “the sole authority” to take enforcement action.
Investors found to have made could be held liable for damages, “including, but not limited to, 44 compensatory, incidental, consequential, and punitive damages and injunctive and other 45 appropriate equitable relief.”
California passed first law on investment equity
California’s Senate Bill 54, a venture capital bill, became law on October 8, 2023, with Governor Gavin Newsom’s signature. The law requires investors to report data on each member of the founding teams. This includes gender identity, race, ethnicity, disability status, LGBTQ+, veteran or disabled veteran and if they are a resident of California. The goal is to improve access to venture capital.
The investment gap holds back many founders – Massachusetts and California are setting the pace toward fairer practices.
Read more about investment equity in this article.