Completing the MA Climate Bill: Send Our Priorities to the Conference Committee
Mothers (and grandmothers and other caregivers) make great advocates! Thanks to all of you who responded to our Action Alerts and contacted your representatives. You really made a difference!
In the last days of July, two important climate bills were submitted to the Massachusetts House of Representatives: an economic recovery bill and an omnibus climate bill. Although not everything we wanted was included, the final bills incorporated many of our amendments.
The Legislative Team has written directly to the conference committee members to share our priorities for making the final bill stronger and more equitable.
Next, we need you to contact your State Representative and Senator:
- If you have not done so already, thank your representative (and any others you may have contacted) for passing the House climate bill (H4933), especially the Environmental Justice language.
- Write a short personal note (email or tweet) to both your representative and your senator.
Share our letter and ask them to contact the Conference Committee members to express support for our specific priorities.
- If emailing, please adapt the sample script below. Attach the Legislative Team's letter to the Committee members and ask them to advocate for Mothers Out Front's priorities.
- If Tweeting, here's some tips.
Here is more information for you to use if needed.
Sample script for emails
Thank-you for your support in getting strong climate legislation passed this session! Now I need you to ask the Climate Bill Conference Committee to include our suggested points to make the legislation more effective and equitable. Please share the attached letter with the Conference Committee members.
Please let me know when you contact them. And again, thank you!
- A copy of the letter from Mothers Out Front to the Conference Committee: https://ma.mothersoutfront.org/2020_conference_committee_letter
- Click here for a guide to tweeting
- Information about the original bills and the amendments we supported (below)
- Spreadsheet showing who co-sponsored our priority amendments to H.4912 and H.4879
- Find My Legislator
- Directory of legislators’ Twitter accounts
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. For a brief summary of our wins and losses, see below.
The legislature extended the session, a very unusual move, in order to continue to address COVID needs, the budget and to have time for the Senate and House to meet in conference committees to combine and negotiate what gets into the final bills before they are sent to the Governor. We may still be able to influence the final climate bill during the reconciliation by the conference committee. We don't know the timing of that work yet.
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.
The last week of July began with a big push for a carbon pricing amendment attached to H.4879, a green recovery, housing, and it turns out, sports betting bill! Again thank you for our fast moving members who called and emailed about Amendment #163. We got 59 cosponsors in 48 hours and would have gotten more, but the sponsor, Rep Driscoll, was compelled to withdraw the amendment. This is what happens to many amendments that are not supported by the House leadership. To avoid being rejected in a floor vote, the sponsor is asked to withdraw.
We also supported several other climate-related amendments which did pass:
- Amendment #71, Healthy Soils. Sponsor: Paul A. Schmid
- Amendment #305, Clean Heating and Cooling. Sponsor: Tommy Vitolo
- Amendment #355, Rooftop Solar Ordinances & Bylaws. Sponsors: Jack Lewis, Mike Connolly, Tami Gouveia, Maria Duaime Robinson, Lindsay Sabadosa
Massachusetts Mothers Out Front's three legislative priorities
The Legislative Team has proactively advocated for three legislative goals — environmental justice, carbon pricing, and the safe transition from retail gas to clean energy.
The legislative process requires adapting to changes as bills win and lose support, as bill elements get combined, as coalitions emerge, and as strategies evolve. Covid-19 has occupied most of the legislature’s attention in the past few months and has influenced our strategy as well. Rather than restricting our focus to specific bills, our team is staying true to our values and goals while staying flexible about the most effective route to influence emerging legislation.
The State Senate put out a strong climate bill (S.2500) and now we need to get the House to step up. We pushed for key elements of the FUTURE Act included in Senate bills. Now we'll do the same in the House where it is stuck in committee. There is a gas safety bill that is progressing in the House which is the logical place to include amendments for a fair gas transition. We will follow the lead of the Gas Leaks Allies on their decision to focus efforts there.
Since our volunteer capacity is finite and the legislative process is complex, we have benefited from participating in coalitions, especially the full time staff of many advocacy organizations. We rely on them to organize virtual meetings, provide updates and strategic guidance. We are grateful for the special interest and knowledge of a few Mothers Out Front members who have contributed to and are tracking legislative initiatives. We also appreciate the need to transcend the legislative "session" and plan for continuity.
Thank you in advance for joining us as we get closer to passing impactful climate policy in Massachusetts in 2020!
- S.464/H.4264, An Act relative to environmental justice and toxics reduction in the Commonwealth, would codify environmental justice policies. It has been moved to both chambers' Ways and Means Committees. The Senate's climate bill, An Act setting next generation climate policy, S.2500, included elements of the bill such as representation of environmental justice communities in an advisory body and mandating equity in distribution of benefits and reduction of harm in communities disproportionately impacted by climate.
- H.2810, An Act to promote green infrastructure and reduce carbon emissions, is stuck in the Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy Committee (TUE), and is unlikely to move forward in this session. So the hope lies in attaching amendments to another bill.
- H.2849/S.1940 focuses on transitioning the gas utilities to selling renewable heat as well as safety and accountability issues in the meantime (FUTURE is an acronym: For a Utility Transition to Using Renewable Energy). In the Senate, important parts of the bill were included in S. 2500. In the House the bill remains in TUE. In the House, the bill remains in TUE. Key components may be added as amendments to other bills.
Here is our tri-fold brochure to download and print featuring these priorities.
Other Bills We Support
In addition to our three legislative priorities for which we are harnessing Mother Power to pass this session, we have also endorsed several other bills. These are not bills that the Legislative Team is actively engaged with, but we want to lend the Mothers Out Front name on a list or letter from supporting organizations. Recently we endorsed:
Other bills that we have endorsed:
Interested in a bill that we haven't endorsed? We have a process for vetting bills to support. We need at least 48 hours if there is a deadline to sign on to a coalition letter. Contact Andra at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sign up for Action Alerts
- Sign up for MOF Action Alerts to get notified when we need everyone to call or email their legislators.
- Would you like to be added to a list of people who particularly want to show up for legislative events like hearings? Please let Andra know at email@example.com. The Legislative Team will use the list to send a special invitation to you for events at the State House, in your district, and online (like webinars on bills).
Know Your Legislators!
Find your State Legislators' phone numbers and email; look them up here. Once you've got their contact information, keep it handy on your phone or your fridge, and use it often! Our representatives rarely hear from their constituents more than once and a small group of Mothers can have a big impact by asking for their Rep to be a climate champion and checking back regularly to see what they did since you last talked. They work for us and our children, so get to know them.
Thank you for the help so many of you gave to H.2810, the carbon pollution fee and dividend bill.
With our allies, we created a buzz in the State House on January 14. Forty Mothers Out Front members and friends showed up for the hearing before the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy (TUE) and lobbying with our allies. Our Mothers panel made the environmental justice provisions in the bill vivid with personal stories by Connie Dawson, Agnieszka Rytych-Foster, and Sue Swanson. See the video here!
Also, about 40 Mothers Out Front members submitted personal written testimony that you can read here.
Thank you to all for showing up and supporting the FUTURE Act hearing
- 37 people testified for the FUTURE Act
- A bus came from Merrimack Valley with lots of folks from Lawrence and North Andover. Seven of them shared really powerful and moving testimony about their experiences over the last year.
- 4 moms from Mothers Out Front testified
- The room was packed including about 100 from Mothers Out Front.
- Boston Mayor Walsh testified in support of the FUTURE Act
- Bill Akley, President of Eversource Gas testified after us and announced their plan for 3 geothermal microdistrict pilots.
- If you want to see the 5 hours of testimony here is the video of the whole hearing.
Showing Up to Shape the Laws that will Determine Our Children's Future
Mothers Out Front was well represented at the State House on June 4th thanks to twenty members who were able to shirt up and show up. We were there to support one of our legislative priorities, Environmental Justice. The bills were heard by the Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture Committee; the room was packed and the testimony was lively. The legislators saw that we walk our talk.
Thanks also to the Legislative Team, the Environmental Justice Team, and staff members who worked together to get the word out with short notice.
What we did in January 2019
All the bills for the 2019-2020 legislative session are filed by our Representatives in the House this month. There's a mad rush to get as many Reps to cosponsor each bill before the deadline of February 3rd. Our goal is for every Community Team to meet with the Rep/s in their town, to introduce them to Mothers Out Front if they're a new Rep, and to ask them to cosponsor our two priority bills.
Learn how to run a Mothers Out Front lobbying meeting, and the exciting details of the carbon pricing and the FUTURE bills, and how to lobby your legislators the MOF way in these webinars:
- Webinar on Lobbying Legislators the Mothers Out Front Way. Here's a link to the recording. And a link to the slides.
- Webinar on the FUTURE bill.
- Thursday January 24th 11-3:00pm. Mass Power Forward Lobby Day
- Tuesday January 29th time tba. Clean Energy Future (carbon pricing coalition) Lobby Day.
This page is brought to you by the Mass Mothers Out Front Legislation Team:
Andra Rose, Ania Camargo, Ann Berwick, Bee Jay Baatz, Ed Woll, Ellie Goldberg, Hewon Hwang, Judy Leff, Marilyn Ray Smith, Mary Hutton, Melissa Downes, Nancy Clark, Peggy Duesenberry, Sharon deVos, Sue Swanson, Tanya Larkin, Zeyneb Magavi
For information, questions or to get involved, contact Andra at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- FUTURE Act
- carbon pricing
- Benson bill
- environmental justice
- legislative team
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