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.

Clean Energy and Climate Justice

An Act to Promote Green Infrastructure and Reduce Carbon Emissions   (HD2370)

Sponsor: Rep. Benson

In order to meet the mandates of the Global Warming Solutions Act, Massachusetts must sharply reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  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.  30% of revenues raised by this "carbon fee" will provide $400-600 million/year to invest in renewable energy, energy efficiency, transportation and resilience, and 70% 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 Re-powering Massachusetts with 100% Renewable Energy   (HD 3092, SD1625)

Sponsors: Rep. Decker and Sen. Eldridge

This bill would create a goal of reaching 100% renewable energy in every sector by 2045, create administrative councils that would create plans to fully transition our economy to renewable power and divest the state pension funds from fossil fuel companies.

An Act establishing funding to provide moneys for postclosure activities at nuclear power stations (SD598)

Sponsors: Sen. Patrick O’Connor

This bill establishes a Trust Fund to protect the Commonwealth if decommissioning funds run short, and encourages the productive use of sites where nuclear plants cease generating power.

An Act protecting the taxpayers of the Commonwealth   (HD 1752, SD 1064)

Sponsors: Rep. Muratore and Sen. DeMacedo

This bill provides safeguards so Massachusetts residents aren’t forced to bear the large decommissioning costs for Pilgrim nuclear station in Plymouth.

An Act to advance modern and sustainable solutions for transportation   (HD3009)

Sponsor: Rep. Ehrlich

This bill creates a commission to oversee a carbon reduction program in the transportation sector.

Toxic Chemical Disclosure and Consumer Safety

An Act to protect children, families, and firefighters from harmful flame retardants   (HD3012, SD1573)

Sponsors: Rep. Decker and Sen. Creem

Toxic flame retardants are added to highchairs, car seats, nursing pads, furniture, carpet pads, electronic equipment (including toys), and many more household products. Unfortunately, they 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   (HD400, SD1518)

Rep. Hawkins and Sen. Friedman

Toxic chemicals in everyday products are increasingly linked to cancer, learning disabilities, asthma and many other diseases and disorders. This bill will create a list of "toxic chemicals in consumer products" and require that manufacturers of children’s products, personal care products, cleaning products, and certain other "formulated" products sold in Massachusetts that contain those chemicals report that information to the state.

An Act to ban the use of PFAS in food packaging   (HD3750)

Sponsor: Rep. Jack Lewis

An Act relative to chemicals in food packaging   (SD678)

Sponsor: Sen. Michael Moore

Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of approximately 5,000 man-made toxic chemicals. PFAS chemicals have been found in the majority of the population's blood and are present in our food supply due to leaching from food packaging like paper trays, plates, containers and compostables. This bill would ban the use of PFAS chemicals in food packaging products.

Environmental Justice

An Act relative to environmental justice and toxics reduction in the Commonwealth  (SD1824, HD3523)

Sponsors: Reps. Miranda/Dubois and Sen. Eldridge   

An Act relative to environmental justice in the Commonwealth   (SD1885, HD3878)

Sponsors: Rep. Madaro and Sen. Didomenico 

These bills would codify the environmental justice policy of the State government, make public hearings accessible to non-English speakers and establish a fund for developing environmental projects in EJ communities, among other provisions.

Drinking Water Protection

An Act Ensuring Safe Drinking Water in Schools   (HD 3765, SD 1991)

Sponsors: Rep. Ehrlich and Sen. Lovely

This bill protects children’s health and gets the 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 testing of water at schools regularly. 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.