The Massachusetts House passed a big climate bill on Friday, July 31!
Thank you everyone for your time and effort and repeated calls/emails to your Reps. Thank you to the Legislative Team for your leadership and hours of planning, talking, emailing, calling and tweeting this week and over the past year and a half.
Six of the amendments we supported passed. We may still be able to influence the final bill during the reconciliation of the Senate and House climate bills which is done behind closed doors by a conference committee. We don't know the timing of that work yet.
A final ask: Please thank your State Representative for their work, cosponsorship and votes for bold climate policy. To see which of our amendments they cosponsored, click here.
What's in the bill?
The bill has many strengths, based partly on the Senate climate bill and Rep Joan Meschino's 2050 Roadmap bill. It includes backcasting from a 2050 net zero goal and intermediate targets for 2030 and 2040.
Six of the amendments we supported passed (click here for the list of amendments we supported).
With the passage of amendment 31, the Renewable Portfolio Standard is raised to 3%, to reach 40% renewable electricity by 2030.
The headline news is the major win on Environmental Justice with the unanimous passage of amendment 52. This amendment was based on the EJ bill which we have supported for multiple legislative sessions. The House leadership orchestrated a dramatic finish to two days of deliberation with Speaker DeLeo presiding and Rep Adrian Madaro's maiden speech on the floor of the chamber as well as speeches by other Reps.
We can really take pride in the adoption of amendments 15 and 19, based on the FUTURE Act. Mothers Out Front, HEET and the Gas Leaks Allies helped pass the needed language for the geomicrodistrict pilots and to set our sights on a fossil fuel free heating sector.
It was important that amendment 16 pass to save net metering for large solar.
We're disappointed that the carbon pricing amendments didn't pass, but an aspect of the environmental justice provisions from H.2810 was included with the passage of amendment 5. There must be regular monitoring and reporting of the equitable benefits of the strategies used to achieve net zero emissions.
#52 Environmental Justice PASSED!
Update Friday, July 31 8pm
16 and 31 PASSED!
If you happen to be on right now: https://malegislature.gov/Events/Sessions/Detail/3709
Amendments Passed (final):
PASSED #5. Ensuring climate benefits for all residents (Honan)
- Requires the Commonwealth to regularly report on steps taken to benefit or mitigate against economic, environmental, and public health impacts on low or moderate-income people or environmental justice populations.
PASSED #15. Utility-Scale Renewable Thermal Energy Pilot Programs (Ehrlich, Minicucci)
- Allows gas company pilots of non-emitting alternatives like GeoMicroDistrict. Here is the explanation and rationale.
PASSED #16. Net Metering (Haddad)
- Will prevent a sudden decline in rates for net metering, protecting communities with large solar arrays.
PASSED #19. Future Utility Grid Commission Mandate (Ehrlich)
- Mandates transition from fossil fuels to clean, non-emitting energy
PASSED #31. Clean Electricity Implementation (Decker)
- Accelerates the Renewable Portfolio Standard.
PASSED #52. Environmental Justice (Madaro, Pignatelli, DuBois, Miranda, Vincent, Ryan, McGonagle, Garballey)
- Increases protections for environmental justice communities by requiring environmental impact statements, increased public participation, and consideration of environmental justice principles in decision making about projects with adverse environmental impacts. Cosponsors = 82!
WITHDRAWN #14. DPU GWSA Mandate (Ehrlich, Minicucci)
- Directive to DPU to adhere to Global Warming Solutions Act Here is the explanation and rationale.
WITHDRAWN #56. Investing in working and environmental justice communities (Robinson)
- Ensures that 40% of revenues generated by a market-based mechanism are invested in greenhouse gas reducing projects that directly benefit low income households and communities.
WITHDRAWN #7. Establishing a Net Zero stretch energy code (Gouveia)
- Requires the Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS) to pass a Net Zero stretch code within a year of the bill's passage. This would give all communities the option to require a Net Zero standard for new construction.
WITHDRAWN #21. Definition of non-carbon emitting (Ehrlich)
- Eliminates landfill methane, anaerobic digester gas and biomass combustion from definition of non-emitting.
WITHDRAWN #77. Fighting the Climate Crisis (Blais, Domb)
- Changes language from "may" to "shall" to require carbon pricing.
WITHDRAWN #97. Streamlining implementation timelines (Hecht)
- Shortens the timelines in the bill by a full year.
For archive of previous updates and the original alert about the Sprint, please click here.
Update Friday afternoon, July 31
Today we added more cosponsors to our amendments. *Thank You!*
After 3 of our supported amendments passed yesterday, and today we've seen more withdrawn amendments. Seven have been withdrawn: 6, 7, 14, 21, 46, 56, 77, 97. The remaining amendments we're supporting that are still in play are 16, 31, 52.
Update Friday morning, July 31
The House adjourned last night with about half of the amendments left to consider on their climate bill. The Legislature will continue considering amendments on the climate bill this afternoon. This is the last day of the regular session; they have to vote before the stroke of midnight. The extended the session until the end of 2020 to give them time for conference committees to reconcile bills over the next few months. They will also work on the budget. Today is the last chance we have to pass legislation this year.
Three of the amendments we support passed: 5, 15, 19.
ACTION ALERT: Keep the pressure on!
Call, email, tweet your Rep and other Reps who have cosponsored some, but not all these amendments. Look up which amendments your Rep has cosponsored here.
The most important action you can take today is to get more cosponsors for these amendments. Cosponsors tell the leadership how the vote is likely to go. We changed our ask. Today we're asking for cosponsors for all the amendments we support, so your Rep may not have cosponsored 16, 31, 46 which were second priority yesterday.
- Put the amendments that your Rep has not cosponsored in the subject line of an email, the beginning of a call, and listed in a tweet.
- Thank them for the amendments they have cosponsored.
- Ask a friend in another district to contact their Rep too.
- Check back here for breaking news (remember to refresh if you leave this page open)
Amendment #6, #77 AND #97 were withdrawn.
WITHDRAWN #6. Prioritizing Rebates to Massachusetts Families (Driscoll)
- Requires a portion of revenues from market-based mechanisms to be directed to household-level rebates for low and moderate income households. Cosponsors
WITHDRAWN #46. Heating and Transportation Clean Energy Transition (Decker)
- Requires regulations for the transition of heating and transportation to renewable energy.
Update Thursday, July 30, evening:
LATE ADDITION: We are supporting Rep Haddad's Amendment #16, which will fix what could be a poison pill for solar in our communities. It's complicated, so you'll have to trust us that several experts went through the implications for both Nation Grid and Eversource communities with large solar arrays that would be effected. The cosponsors are:
Lindsay N. Sabadosa, Nika C. Elugardo, Antonio F. D. Cabral, Lori A. Ehrlich, Tommy Vitolo, Paul W. Mark, Jack Patrick Lewis, Alice Hanlon Peisch, David M. Rogers, Tami L. Gouveia, Kate Hogan, Natalie M. Blais, Michelle M. DuBois, Kay Khan, Tram T. Nguyen, Natalie M. Higgins, James K. Hawkins, David Henry Argosky LeBoeuf, Thomas M. Stanley, Mindy Domb, Kevin G. Honan, Dylan A. Fernandes, Carol A. Doherty, Mike Connolly, Carmine Lawrence Gentile, Danillo A. Sena, Patrick Joseph Kearney, Elizabeth A. Malia, Frank A. Moran, Sean Garballey, Christina A. Minicucci, Louis L. Kafka, Maria Duaime Robinson, Brian M. Ashe, Michelle L. Ciccolo, John J. Lawn, Jr.,
If your Rep isn't on the list, send them a quick tweet or email with Amendment 16 in the subject line or right at the top of your tweet.
Amendments #15 & #19 PASSED! Now both chambers have approved of allowing the pilot programs for microdistrict heating go foward as proposed. This is great news for the equitable transition away from heating our buildings with gas. Go #BeyondGasMA! And the mandate for the state to achieve the transition is strengthened.
Amendments #7 and #56 were withdrawn.
Update Thursday, July 30, afternoon:
Keep Tweeting! If your Rep is on board with all our supported amendments (see cosponsors listed after the amendments) then you can tweet other Reps who haven't. You don't have to know them! Now the list to include are Amendments 6, 15, 52, and 56 (ask Rep to cosponsor and vote for these). If you can, also ask them to vote for 19, 31, 46, 77 and 97.
Good news! Amendment 5 passed (with some changes)! That's a win for environmental justice communities: annual reports will be made about the benefits and impacts of new climate initiatives for these neighborhoods. Thank you all! Please continue to tweet and retweet. We've gotten cosponsors to sign on this way!
Not good news! Amendments 14 and 21 were withdrawn. We don't know why, but we can hope that the sponsors, Reps Ehrlich and Minicucci, were assured that the very important Amendment 15 would go to a vote. Without that we're not sure if the pilot programs for microdistrict heating will be viable.
Update Thursday, July 30, a.m.:
We expect the amendments to the House climate bill to be considered this afternoon. It could continue into the evening or tomorrow if they take up other bills as well. If you want a taste of our MA House at work, watch the debate live stream on the legislature’s website HERE or follow Tim Cronin's blow by blow update HERE.
Main action today (more below under Wednesday) is Tweeting Reps! We've heard that our Reps are so busy that Twitter is the easiest way for them to count the number of times they are asked to support amendments and bills. Please use our Twitter tool kit for ideas and instructions on how to make a lot of noise with Tweets. If you have time to retweet others tweets to their Reps or to tweet at Reps that no one seems to be reaching out to, you'll find their twitter handles here. Hashtags: #EJ4ma BeyondGasMA #2050Roadmap
Update Wednesday, July 29:
On Thursday, July 30, the House will vote on their climate bill!
H.4912 is the House leadership's version of the Senate's climate bill S.2500. It includes much of the Roadmap bill and some of our other priorities. But it needs more.
We have six top priority amendments that we want our Reps to cosponsor and vote for which embody environmental justice, equitable carbon pricing, and a transition from gas to renewable heat. We have seven additional amendments we are asking our Reps to vote for. The following amendments can be found on the Mass Legislature's site here. We will update this page with the cosponsors as they are added for each of our top priority amendments.
Please call, email and TWEET (contact info here) your State Representative TODAY to ask for support for important amendments. Find your legislator here. Include Amendments 5, 6, 14, 15, 52, and 56 in the subject line, second sentence of your voice mail, and Tweets. Ask Reps to cosponsor and vote for these. If you can, also ask them to vote for 7, 19, 21, 31, 46, 77 and 97.