In the year after George Floyd's murder, Beacon Hill put in place a new police oversight law and committed to a closer focus on racial issues, but the biggest change many see in the state capital has been a willingness across government to openly address structural racism.

"I think people are listening better," Roxbury Rep. Liz Miranda told GBH News near the anniversary of Floyd's killing by police in Minneapolis last year.

Rep. Nika Elugardo said she hadn't heard from nearly as many white colleagues as when Floyd's killing went viral on social media.

"Fast forward not even 24 hours after George Floyd, I'm getting phone calls from people at every level of government," Elugardo said.

"The biggest difference, I think, that George Floyd made, is that people who were formerly mainly defensive and in 'critique mode' at even the mention of the phrase structural racism, or they were intellectually on board but not experiencing an urgency," became willing to act, Elugardo said.

What the Legislature and Gov. Charlie Baker eventually arrived at was a first-in-the-nation law allowing decertification of police, new training standards and a majority-civilian oversight board that goes into effect July 1.

Miranda says she knew lawmakers and powerful Democratic leaders had conversations about race privately, but that Floyd's death and a subsequent demonstration by the Legislature's Black and Latino Caucus got the attention needed to push through the police accountability bill. Miranda said former House Speaker Robert DeLeo and his team were moved by footage of Floyd's death and became more willing to engage with Black and brown lawmakers about policing.

"We heard from every member of leadership and I think that there was an openness to realize that they didn't understand," Miranda said.

Miranda said the process to get moderates and conservatives to vote for the police bill, which was strongly opposed by police unions, was marked by consistent calls from activists, doctors, front line workers and everyday voters across the state urging their lawmakers to enact change.

"It took us six months of some very painful, uncomfortable, inconvenient, soul-strectching work in the House, in the Senate, with the executive branch, to reckon with our own history here in Massachusetts," Miranda said.

The day the House passed the police accountability bill, Stoneham Rep. Michael Day took to the floor of the House to urge his colleagues to support the bill and articulated what many suburban rank-and-file members had gone through and learned in the months after Floyd's death. Day, a white man, said every House member had been listening to communities of color about their experiences with law enforcement and how many black parents are forced to have 'the talk' with their children about how to interact with officers because they fear the police may harm them.

"That is not a fear that I have. But I have listened perhaps more intently in the past few months than I ever have before, and I know that 'the talk' is commonplace in communities of color," Day said in his remarks.

"Whether you agree that that fear is grounded in reality or think that it's misplaced is irrelevant. That talk happens all the time, and because of that fact alone, we know that a sacred trust is broken," Day said.

Starting this year, Senate President Karen Spilka and House Speaker Ron Mariano established a new joint legislative committee dedicated to racial issues that Democratic leaders say will do everything from review existing laws and proposals, make new policy recommendations and conduct assessments on how future laws will impact communities of color.

"Calls for addressing systemic inequities and racism have been heard loud and clear, and so we are prioritizing this urgent endeavor for the Commonwealth through the creation of a joint standing committee on Racial Equity, Civil Rights and Inclusion," Spilka and Mariano wrote in a joint statement announcing the new committee in February. The goal of the committee, according to Spilka and Mariano, is "to dismantle systemic racism and promote equitable opportunities and outcomes for all residents."

"This is a mandate from the top," said Samuel Gebru, the director of policy and public affairs for the Black Economic Council of Massachusetts, an organization that's been a key player in issues of race on Beacon Hill.

"President Spilka and Speaker Mariano are trying to be a lot more intentional about race and racism and looking at all bills from a racial justice standpoint. And so I am willing to take them at their word," Gebru said.

Elugardo admits there are no "silver bullet solutions" to structural racism in Massachusetts but she does see a deeper commitment to overcoming problems as lawmakers think more critically about the experiences of people of color.

"It's not like, 'Oh, the commission on this or the committee on that is going to solve the problem.' Those things are vehicles for shifting our mindset," Elugardo said.

Miranda doesn't believe "structural racism or systemic racism is going to end in a year," but that many white lawmakers now accept that deep and persistent racism is at the heart of many of the country's problems.

"It took 401 years to build this situation in America. It's going to take us real work and a lot of time. So I have felt the warmth of my colleagues," Miranda said.