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Legislative Action

Massachusetts Sierra Club 2011-2012 Priority Legislation

Report: How did the Environment Fare in the 2011-2012 Legislative Session - click here

The information we've provided is based on the best information available to us at time of publication. The status and/or language of bills can change quickly and the Sierra Club may change its position on a bill based on the most recent data, which may not be posted on this or the State House web site. In some cases, the Sierra Club has not yet completed a formal analysis and voted to take a position on the proposed legislation.

This is a partial list of the bills we focused on:

Key

failed/killed Killed or defeated
passed committee Passed (or successfully defeated a bad baill)
awaiting committee report Mixed
Waste and Recycling

failed/killedUpdated Bottle Bill – (H890/S1650. Rep. Wolf/Sen. Creem) Updates this highly successful program to add deposits to water, juice, and tea beverages. Improves recycling, reduces litter. Bill Text, Summary, Sierra Club Testimony
STATUS 1/1/2012: Still in committee
STATUS 3/21/2012 - deadline extended to 6/15
STATUS 6/14/2012 Committee votes against passage 10-7, other avenues being pursued. Visit www.massbottlebill.org for more info.
Click here to take action on this bill.

failed/killedProducer Take-Back for Electronics ("E-Waste") - (S2078 Sen. Pacheco) Places responsibility of disposal of electronics waste on manufacturers.  Bill TextSummary, Testimony
STATUS 11/21/2011: Passed committee, now in Sen. Ways and Means
STATUS 3/21/2012 -
Still in Ways and Means
STATUS 6/19/2012 - Still in Ways and Means
STATUS 8/1/2012 - Pending additional information

failed/killedRecycling in State Buildings (S.379) Sen. Rush- Sierra Club Testimony
STATUS 1/1/2012: Still in committee
STATUS 3/21/2012: Reported favoarbly from Com'te, sent to W&M
STATUS 6/19/2012 -
Still in Senate Ways and Means

failed/killedRecycling in Multifamily Buildings - (H.234, Rep. Koczera) Sierra Club Testimony
STATUS 1/1/2012: Still in committee
STATUS 3/21/2012:
Sent to study (bill was killed)

Plastic Bag Ban  - see toxins and pollution below

Coal and Fossil Fuels

failed/killedCoal-Free Commonwealth – (H2614 Rep. Ehrlich) Omnibus bill, would end coal burning in the state with a phase-out period and converting to cleaner fuels, and renewable energy  Bill Text H02614 
STATUS 1/1/2012: Still in committee

STATUS 3/21/2012: Sent to study (bill was killed)

failed/killedAct to Phase Out Coal Use – (H2612 Rep. Ehrlich) Seeks to end coal use through a multi-faceted phaseout approach. Bill Text, Summary  -Testimony
STATUS 1/1/2012: Still in committee
STATUS 3/21/2012 - deadline extended to 6/15
STATUS 6/19/2012 - Passed committee, now in House Ways & Means

failed/killedRegulate Coal Ash - (H1991 Rep. Ehrlich) Would classify coal ash as solid waste, and therefore allowing its regulation as a toxic substance while maintaining beneficial reuse and recycling. Bill Text, Summary  - Sierra Club Testimony
STATUS 1/1/2012: Still in committee
STATUS 3/16/2012: Reported favoarbly from Com'te, sent to W&M

STATUS 6/19/2012 - Still in House Ways and Means

failed/killedRegulate Gas Obtained by “Fracking” (H3055, Rep. Garballey) Requires that gas that’s obtained by hydraulic fracturing comply with the Safe Drinking Water Act. Bill Text, Summary  - Sierra Club Testimony
STATUS 1/1/2012: Still in committee
STATUS 3/21/2012: Sent to study (bill was killed)

failed/killedNatural Gas Leaks Protection Bills – (H4199 - was H3051/3053/2776 Rep. Ehrlich). Addresses the growing issue of natural gas leaks from aging pipes. Natural gas kills trees, it is 25X more potent a global warming gas than CO2, and there are 20,000 known gas leaks in Mass. Bill Text H4199,  (old bill text H03051, H03053, H02776)   - Sierra Club Testimony
STATUS 1/1/2012: Still in committee
STATUS 3/16/2012: All reported favorably from Com'te, sent to W&M
STATUS 6/19/2012 -
Still in House Ways and Means
STATUS 6/27/2012 - Passed by the House - now in the Senate

Energy and Global Climate Change

failed/killedWind Siting Reform – (H1775/S1666, Rep. Smizik/Sen. Finegold) For siting purposes, current law discriminates in favor of fossil-fueled facilities. This bill facilitates the siting of land-based wind energy projects while still retaining local control by cities and towns. Bill Text, Summary
STATUS 1/1/2012: Still in committee
STATUS 1/24/2012: Sent to study (bill was killed)

failed/killedEfficiency Bond - (S1686, Sen. Pacheco) Creates a bonding program to improve energy efficiency in schools. Revenue neutral with significant savings in energy costs and emissions. Bill Text  - Sierra Club Testimony
STATUS 1/1/2012: Still in committee
STATUS 3/21/2012 - deadline extended to 6/15
STATUS 6/19/2012: Reported favoarbly, sent to Sen. Ways & Means

failed/killedNorth/South Rail Link – (H2655, Rep. Parisella) A bill to study the corridor to complete the northeast interstate rail system, thereby allowing the protection of the right of way. Bill Text, Summary
STATUS 1/1/2012: Still in committee
STATUS 1/24/2012: Sent to study (bill was killed)

failed/killedElectric Vehicles - (S.1490, H.1798, H.1986, H.353) Sierra Club Testimony
STATUS 1/1/2012: (all) Still in committee
S.1490, H.1986 STATUS  3/21/2012:
Sent to study (bill was killed)
H.1798 STATUS 3/21/2012 - deadline extended to 5/1
H.353 STATUS 3/21/2012 - deadline extended to 6/15
STATUS 6/19/2012:
all remaining bills sent to study (killed)

failed/killedTidal Turbines (Study) - (H.2013, Rep. Kocot)  Testimony
STATUS 1/1/2012: Still in committee
STATUS 3/21/2012: Sent to study (bill was killed)

awaiting committee reportCompetitively Priced Electricity in the Commonwealth (S.2214 - was S.2200) has the potential to cost-effectively advance the Commonwealth’s clean energy economy while enhancing our ability to achieve the Massachusetts clean energy goals, including emissions reductions targets required by the Global Warming Solutions Act. The Sierra Club supports specific amendments to this bill but opposes others. Letter to Senate
STATUS 4/17/2012 - Passed by the Senate, awaiting House action
STATUS 6/19/2012 - awaiting House action
STATUS 6/27/2012 - Passed by the House - now in the Senate
STATUS 8/1/2012 - Pending additional information

Toxins and Pollution

failed/killedPlastic Bag Ban – S2314 (was S353/H1990/H1159, Sen. Eldridge/Rep. Ehrlich/Rep. Smizik) Bans non-biodegradable plastic shopping bags that kill more than 1 billion animals/year. Bill Text, Summary Sierra Club Testimony part 1, part 2
STATUS 1/1/2012: Still in committee
STATUS 3/25/2012 - deadline extended to 6/15
STATUS 6/19/2012 - Passed committee, now in Sen. Ways and Means
Click here to take action on this bill.

failed/killedSafer Alternatives – (S2079 Sen. Tolman/Rep. Kaufman) Creates a program to support businesses and manufacturers to transition away from using and selling products containing toxic chemicals. Bill Text, Summary (courtesy of Clean Water Action)
STATUS 11/21/2011: Passed committee, now in Sen. Ways and Means
STATUS 3/21/2012 -
Still in Ways and Means
STATUS 6/19/2012 - Still in Senate Ways and Means

failed/killedMake Idling Law Enforceable – (H907 Rep. Brownsberger) The current 5-minute limit is difficult to enforce and produces excessive greenhouse gas. This reduces the limit to 2 minutes. Bill Text, Summary, Testimony
STATUS 1/1/2012: Still in committee
STATUS 3/21/2012 - deadline extended to 5/1
STATUS 6/19/2012: Reported favoarbly, sent to House Ways & Means

failed/killedIncineration Moratorium – (S346/H226 Sen. DiDomenico/Rep. Garballey) Places a legislated, permanent moratorium on increasing trash incineration. Bill Text, Summary  - Testimony
STATUS 1/1/2012: Still in committee
STATUS 3/21/2012: Sent to study (bill was killed)

failed/killedReinstate the Landfill Moratorium - (H1998, Rep. Gobi) Continues our state moratorium on new landfill sites.  - Testimony
STATUS 1/1/2012: Still in committee
STATUS 3/21/2012: Sent to study (bill was killed)

failed/killedMercury Protection - (H4207, was H.251, H.1163, S360 Rep. Smizik, Rep. Story, Sen McGee) Producer responsibility bills that require manufacturers to offer a small bounty on old thermostats in order to keep them out of the trash.  - Testimony  - Bill Text H4207
STATUS 1/1/2012: Still in committee
STATUS 3/21/2012 - deadline extended to 6/15
STATUS 6/19/2012: All reported favoarbly as H4207, sent to House Ways & Means
STATUS 8/1/2012 - Pending additional information

failed/killedProtecting Children from Bisphenol-A  - (H2360 and S382, Rep. Jones, Sen. Spilka), Testimony
STATUS 1/1/2012: Still in committee 
H2360 - STATUS 3/21/2012:
Sent to study (bill was killed)
STATUS 6/19/2012: S382 deadline extended to 6/29/2012

failed/killedHazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs) H2343, Rep. Ehrlich - Testimony
STATUS 1/1/2012: Still in committee 
STATUS 3/21/2012: Reported favorably from Com'te, sent to Health Care & Financing
STATUS 6/19/2012: Still in HC&F deadline extended to 6/29/2012

failed/killedParticulates, H2905/H.2753, Rep. Provost - Testimony
STATUS 1/1/2012: Still in committee
H2905 - STATUS 3/21/2012: Reported favorably from Com'te
STATUS H2753 3/21/2012:
Sent to study (bill was killed)
STATUS H2905 6/19/12: reported favoarbly, sent to House Ways & Means

Protecting our Natural Environment

failed/killedArticle 97/Public Lands Protection Act – (H3438 Rep. Balser/Sen. Eldridge) Requires “no-net-loss” replacement of lands for parks being used or transferred from protected status.  Bill Text, Summary  - Sierra Club Testimony
STATUS 6/6/2011: Reported favorably from Com'te, sent to W&M
STATUS 3/21/2012: Still in House Ways & Means

STATUS 6/19/2012: Still in House Ways & Means  
Click here to take action on this bill.

failed/killedOld Growth Forest Initiative - (H236, Rep. Kulik) Establishes Reserves to protect the few remaining Old Growth Forests, which have escaped the clear-cutting of the past and provide unique habitats. Bill Text, Summary  - Testimony
STATUS 1/1/2012: Passed committee, now in House Ways and Means
STATUS 3/21/2012: Still in
W&M 
STATUS 6/19/2012: Still in W&M

passed committeeAn Act relative to land-taking regulations, aka Gut the Mass Endangered Species Act (MESA)  - (S1854, Sen. Candaras) Would effectively gut The Massachusetts Endangered Species Act. The bill undoes protections for rare species provided by the Massachusetts legislature and rolls back almost 20 years of conservation of rare plants and animals. We are in opposition to this bill. Bill Text - Testimony in opposition
STATUS 3/21/2012: deadline extended to 6/15
STATUS 6/19/2012: PASSED by committee, sent to Sen.
W&M

failed/killedPublic Postings when Making Changes to Parks/Forests – (H2008, Rep. Kocot) Requires DCR to notify the public and allow for comment when making changes (e.g. cutting trees) to public lands. Bill Text, Summary Testimony
STATUS 3/21/2012: Sent to study (bill was killed)

failed/killedProtect the Northern Right Whale - (H2009, Rep. Kocot) With just 300 Northern Right Whales left, their greatest threats are boat strikes and fishing net entanglements. Bill Text, Summary  -
STATUS 3/21/2012: Sent to study (bill was killed)

failed/killedProtect Tropical Forests – (H836, Rep. Rushing) This Act would protect tropical forests by restricting state purchases of certain wood products. Bill Text - Testimony
STATUS 11/23/2012: Reported favorably from Com'te, sent to W&M
STATUS 3/21/2012: Still in
House W&M 
STATUS 6/19/2012: Still in House W&M

failed/killedLocal Control of Personal Watercraft (“Jet Skis”) - (H1565 Rep. O’Day) Enables cities/towns to place restrictions on smaller bodies of water that are enclosed within the municipality if they so desire, for example limiting hours, or curtailing use during sensitive waterfowl migration periods. Bill Text, Summary - Sierra Club Testimony
STATUS 3/21/2012: Sent to study (bill was killed)

failed/killedOutdoor Lighting ("Dark Skies") - (H.1762/S.1651, Rep. Garballey, Sen. Creem) Not only do some outdoor lights waste energy, they also jeopardize wildlife and interfere with bird migration - Testimony
STATUS 3/21/2012: Sent to study (bill was killed)
Status 4/6/2012 - Sen Creem is reintroducing this as an amendment
STATUS 6/19/2012: Bill is apparently dead for the session

Other Bills

passed committeeNational Popular Vote - (H.212, H.1977 Rep. Straus, Rep. Jones) Testified in support of NPV, against bills which would have weakened or replealed it. Sierra Club Testimony in opposition
STATUS 3/21/2012: Sent to study (bill was killed). (This is good!)

See Also

The Legislative Action Committee

Contact your State Representative and Senator and ask them to cosponsor all these important bills. Click here to contact them or call 617-722-2000.

2009-2010 Victories - and a few loose ends

2009-2010 bills that we worked on

 

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