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Legislative Action

Sierra Club Supported Legislation, 2013-2014 Session

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.


failed/killed Killed or defeated
passed committee Passed (or successfully defeated a bad bill)
awaiting committee report In process

Energy and Global Climate Change

failed/killedShifting From Carbon Emissions to Transportation Investment (Carbon Tax) (H2532, Rep Conroy, Sen. Barrett) Encourages energy efficiency by taxing those who pollute more, providing rebates to mitigate any effects of regressive taxation. Testimony  - Bill Text - 3/19/2014: Sent to study (killed)

failed/killedComprehensive Siting Reform for Land Based Wind Projects. (Wind Siting Reform)  (H2980, S1591, 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. H2980.  Bill Text - Testimony - 3/19/2014: Sent to study (killed)

failed/killedElectric Vehicles Omnibus Bill - (H.2594, Rep. Hecht) provides sales tax incentives for the purchase of EVs, adds incentives for charging stations, places charging station requirements for parking lots. .  - Summary  - Testimony - Bill Text - 3/19/2014: Sent to study (killed)

passed committee[OPPOSE] Solar Farm Restrictions (H1838, Rep. Gifford) Would change the existing state laws, resulting in more restrictions placed on solar panels.  - bill text  - Testimony - 3/19/2014: Sent to study (killed)

Thermal Renewable Energy Credits (S.1970, was S.1593, Sen. Finegold) Would add facilities generating useful thermal energy to the statutory definition of alternative energy sources; defines useful thermal energy. (The Sierra Club seeks changes to the bill.) - bill text - Testimony3/19/2014: Currently in Senate Ways and Means.

The Right to Dry (S.924, Sen. Barrett)  - bill text - Testimony Encourages municipalities to grant all residents the right to dry their laundry on clotheslines. 11/18/2013 Currently in Senate Ethics & Rules

[OPPOSED] Wind Turbine Study (H.2048) Creates a commission to study the health effects of wind turbines (opposed). - Bill Text - Testimony - 3/18/2014 - Reported Favorably

Net Metering (S2019, H3901) Testimony 3/18/2014 - Extended until 6/15/2014

Coal and Fossil Fuels

Transition to a Clean Energy Commonwealth (Rep. Ehrlich, H2935). Would phase out coal in Massachusetts, help retrain workers, and help transition communities that host a coal plant. A clean energy future will make Massachusetts a leader in the World clean energy economy.  Summary, Bill Text H2935, Testimony - 3/18/2014: Extended until 6/15/2014

Regulate Gas Obtained by “Fracking” (H.3796, was H652, H707, H2940, H788, Reps. Ehrlich, Garballey, Provost, Kocot) which regulate the process of hydraulic fracturing.  Summary1 Summary2  - Testimony, Bill text. 3/19/2014: Currently in House Ways and Means.

Natural Gas Leaks Protection Bills – (H.3873, 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 - Testimony 3/19/2014: Currently in Senate Ways and Means.

Waste and Recycling

Updated Bottle Bill – (H2943, S1588 Rep. Hecht/Sen. Creem) ould add water, sports drinks, juices, and iced teas to the existing successful nickel deposit system. It would decrease litter and increase recycling. They can take positive action now or it will appear on the November 2014 ballot. Visit www.massbottlebill.org for more info.  - Summary - Click here to take action!, Bill Text H2943, Bill Text S1588 - Testimony - 3/18/2014 - Extended until 7/15/2014

[OPPOSE] Repeal the Bottle Bill (S.379, Sen. Michael Moore) - Would replace the state's successful bottle bill with something similar to Delaware's beverage tax, a system that has already been reported as a failure. Bill Text S379Report on S.379 - 3/18/2014 - Extended until 7/15/2014

Producer Take-Back for Electronics ("E-Waste") - (Rep. Smizik, Sen. Eldridge, Sen. Pacheco, H803, S357, S386) Places responsibility of disposal of electronics waste on manufacturers.  Text H803, Text S357 Text S.386Testimony  4/9/2013: S.386 currently in Senate Ways and Means.

failed/killedIncineration Moratorium and Phaseout (Sen. DiDomenico/Rep. Garballey, H706, S1004) Places a legislated, permanent moratorium on increasing trash incineration. Phases out incineration over next 11 years. H706, S1004 - Summary - Testimony, Attachment: GAIA Incinerator Myths and Facts , Testimony on Wheelabrator Saugus H.791, Bill Text H706, Bill Text S1004 3/19/2014: Sent to study (killed)

Access to Recycling - A group of bills that would require that recycling bins and/or service for public and semi-public buildings, businesses, hotels, and apatment buildings. Includes H.734, H.765, S.353, S.367, and S.398. Testimony, Bill Text H734, Bill Text H765, Bill Text S353, Bill Text S367, Bill Text S398, S.353 Reported favorably

passed committee[OPPOSED AS WRITTEN] Study of Single Stream Recycling - (S.374) Requires a study of dual stream vs. Single stream, however, as written this doesn't study the full costs or if the contaminated collected material is actually used or significantly downcycled.
Sierra Club Testimony
Attachment 1 (summary article)
Attachment 2 (CRI study on single vs. dual stream)

3/19/2014: Sent to study (killed)

Toxins and Pollution

Plastic Bag Ban – (Sen. Pacheco, Rep. Ehrlich, Sen. Eldridge, Rep. Provost) Bans plastic shopping bags that kills countless millions of animals/year. Allows exemptions for small stores. Requires that paper bags be 80% recycled material. H.3438, (was H696, H787, S359) - Summary  - May 2013 Testimony -  - June 2013 Testimony - Bill Text of H.3438, 4/23/2013: currently in House Ways and Means - - Click here to take action!

failed/killedBan Polystyrene – (Rep. Smizik, Sen. Barrett). Bans polystyrene (#6 plastic) in all forms when in contact with food. H2087 - Summary  - May 2013 Testimony  - June 2013 Testimony, Bill Text H2087, 3/19/2014: Sent to study (killed)

Make Idling Law Enforceable – (S.1636 Sen. Brownsberger) The current 5-minute limit is difficult to enforce and produces excessive greenhouse gas. This reduces the limit to 2 minutes.  Summary  - Testimony, Bill Text S1636, 3/18/2014 - Reported favorably

Safer Alternatives – (H235, H2086, S354, S387  Rep. Smizik, Sen Donnelly, Sen Pacheco) Creates a program to support businesses and manufacturers to transition away from using and selling products containing toxic chemicals. H2086 Would require the use of green cleaning practices in public buildings, schools and daycare centers and provide health and safety training for custodians. Would help to improve public health and reduce the prevalence of asthma. ) Testimony, Bill Text H235, Bill Text H2086. 3/18/2014 H235 reported favorably.

Mercury Protection - (Rep. Smizik) Producer responsibility bills that require manufacturers to offer a small bounty on old thermostats in order to keep them out of the trash. H802, H814. NOTE: The state senate passed a weak mercury bill in March. Contact your state rep to ask them to make it stronger!   - 2013 Testimony, Bill Text H802, Bill Text H814. Two versions: Version S.1758 (opposed) passed senate. Version H.3601 (supported) passed house. 12/12/2014 - in Joint Conference Committee

Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPs) (Rep. Ehrlich H1944). Hazardous air pollutants are toxic chemicals that are known or suspected to cause cancer, to cause birth defects, to cause serious health effects, or to cause adverse environmental effects. This provides a small pollution mitigation fee from HAPs producers; the proceeds would fund research and health studies on the health impacts from air pollutants. Testimony, Bill Text H1944. 3/18/2014 - reported favorably.

failed/killedParticulates, (Rep. Provost, H2059) Requires a study of the health effects of particulate air pollution from surface transportation, e.g. highways and rail. Testimony, Bill Text H2059 3/19/2014: Sent to study (killed)

failed/killedRestrictions on Bisphenol-A (BPA) (S.400, Sen. Spilka) - 2013 Testimony - 3/19/2014: Sent to study (killed)


Save our Public Lands - The Public Lands Protection Act (PLPA) (Rep. Balser, Sen. Eldridge, H657/S361) Our public parks are often threatened with development. The PLPA would provide important protection for these public lands in our communities. This is already administrative policy; this bill just affirms it and makes it permanent.  2013 Testimony, Bill Text H657, Bill Text S361 - 3/17/2014 - extended until 6/15/2014

Old Growth Forest Initiative - (H.3670, was H749 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.  - 2013 Testimony, Bill Text H749 - Text H3670, 9/30/2013 - reported favorably.

Protect the Mass Endangered Species Act (MESA) - (Rep. Kulik) Strengthen protections for rare species provided by the Massachusetts legislature, almost 20 years of conservation of rare plants and animals. H756. Testimony, Bill Text H756, 3/17/2014 - extended until 6/15/2014

[OPPOSE] Repeal of the Mass Endangered Species Act (MESA) (Sen. Candaras, Sen. Tarr S345, S411) These would eliminate or weaken of the state's protections for rare species, with a successful history of 20 years of conservation of rare plants and animals. We urge the committee to report S345/ S411 unfavorably. Testimony Bill Text S345, Bill Text S411, 3/17/2014 - extended until 6/15/2014

Outdoor Lighting Standards ("Dark Skies"), (S.2041, was H2941, S1573 Rep. Garballey, Sen. Creem) Not only do some outdoor lights waste energy, they also jeopardize wildlife and interfere with bird migration. This requires that streetlights, etc., don’t endanger wildlife by simply directing the light downwards. Testimony, Bill Text H2941 , Bill Text S1573. 3/18/2014 - currently in Senate Ways & Means


passed committee[OPPOSED] National Popular Vote, (H591, Rep. Brad Jones)- The Sierra Club has testified in support of NPV, and against bills which would have weakened or repealed it. This bill would have repealed existing laws allowing the state to participate in a NPV. - 2013 Testimony - Bill Text. 3/19/2014: Sent to study (killed)

Prevent Farm Animal Cruelty (H1456/S741) - Would prohibit the industrial agriculture practice of confinement of gestating sows and calves raised for veal in cages that are so narrow they cannot even turn around. - Testimony, Bill Text H1456 , Bill Text S741  3/19/2014 - extended until 6/15/2014

PRIT Fossil Fuel Divestment - (S.1225, Sen. Downing) Requires the Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Trust (PRIT) to freeze any new investments in fossil fuel companies, and to divest from direct holdings in fossil fuel companies within 5 years. Bill Text -3/19/2014 - extended until 6/30/2014

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.

2011-2012 bills

2009-2010 Victories - and a few loose ends

2009-2010 bills that we worked on


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