Massachusetts Legislative Priorities for 2019-2020

Massachusetts State House - William Zhang

When it comes to protecting children from toxic chemicals, getting lead out of drinking water, putting a stop to climate change or protecting our most vulnerable – the time is now. Clean Water Action is prioritizing 10 bills in the 2019-2020 Massachusetts legislative session.

Toxic chemicals

An Act to protect children, families, and firefighters from harmful flame retardants

S.1230/H.3500 Senator Cynthia Stone Creem and Representative Marjorie Decker

Toxic flame retardants are added to highchairs, car seats, nursing pads, furniture, carpet pads, electronic equipment (including toys), and many more household products. Unfortunately, flame retardants are a risk to our health and aren't actually needed for fire safety. These bills will ban the use of 11 harmful flame retardant chemicals in children's products, residential furniture, mattresses, bedding, carpeting and window treatments.

An Act relative to the disclosure of toxic chemicals in children’s products

S.149/H.248 - Senator Cindy Friedman and Representative Jim Hawkins

Toxic chemicals in everyday products are increasingly linked to cancer, learning disabilities, asthma and many other diseases and disorders. This bill creates a list of "toxic chemicals in consumer products" and requires manufacturers to let the state know if any listed chemicals are contained in products sold in Massachusetts.  The bill requires disclosure of harmful chemicals used in children’s products, personal care items, cleaners and certain other products.

An Act relative to chemicals in food packaging & An Act to ban the use of PFAS in food packaging

S.1315/H.3839 - Senator Michael Moore and Representative Jack Lewis

Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of approximately 5,000 man-made toxic chemicals. PFAS chemicals have been found in the blood of almost every American who has been tested.  The chemicals get into our bodies through water and air contamination and via the food we eat.  PFAS enters the food supply due to leaching from food packaging like paper trays, plates, containers and compostables. This bill bans the use of PFAS chemicals in food packaging products.

Clean Energy and Climate Justice

An Act to promote green infrastructure and reduce carbon emissions 

H.2810 – Representative Jen Benson

This bill charges fossil fuel suppliers a fee for the pollution their products emit. The fee rises over time, creating an incentive for all energy users to conserve energy and transition to cleaner options.  Thirty percent of the revenues raised by this "carbon fee" are invested in renewable energy, energy efficiency, transportation and resilience, providing a projected $400-600 million/year. Seventy percent of revenues will be returned each year to households and businesses via rebates that are carefully structured to protect low income, moderate income and rural households.

An Act relative to solar power in environmental justice and urban communities

S.1931 - Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz

An Act relative to solar power equity in low-income and environmental justice communities

H.2877 – Representative Russell Holmes

These bills would modify current laws to provide the same incentive rate for low income solar projects as residential projects (currently a community shared solar project serving low income customers only receives 60% of the net metering benefit that residential solar customers would get).  It also raises the net metering cap to allow companies to more easily transfer the revenue from solar projects to low income customers’ bills, and requires that any solar program run by the Department of Energy Resources must have a mandatory portion set aside for low-income and environmental justice communities. 

An Act to Promote Local Energy Resiliency

H2914  - RepresentativeTram Nguyen

This bill would allow for energy microgrids to be built for the purposes of energy generation or resiliency.  It gives municipalities, state agencies, and private electric customers the right to create microgrids which currently can be unilaterally blocked by utility companies with no recourse.

Environmental Justice

An Act relative to environmental justice and toxics reduction in the Commonwealth

S.464/H.761 - Senator Jamie Eldridge, Representative Michelle DuBois, Representative Liz Miranda

An Act relative to environmental justice in the Commonwealth

S.453/H.826 - Senator Sal DiDomenico and Representative Adrian Madaro

These bills would add crucial definitions of environmental justice and environmental justice populations into state law as well as modify the Massachusetts Environmental Protection Act to make sure that environmental justice communities have some consideration in whether dangerous energy infrastructure is placed in their communities.  S.464/H.761 would codify the Environmental Justice Executive Order 552 into law, adding administrative structures to force the state agencies to account for environmental justice in their policies.

Drinking Water

An Act ensuring safe drinking water in schools

S.500/H.774 - Senator Joan Lovely and Representative Lori Ehrlich

This bill protects children’s health and gets lead out of the water at all schools and child care centers by requiring: the removal of lead service lines, the largest single source of lead in water; the installation of lead certified filters or water filling stations; and regular testing of school water. The bill establishes a health-based lead level standard for schools and day care centers of 1ppb, and requires the immediate shut-off of outlets with elevated levels of lead.