Massachusetts Senate Passes Next Generation Climate Policy

The Massachusetts State Senate has passed comprehensive legislation strengthening the state’s approach to protecting the environment.

The legislative package, passed by the Senate on January 30, sets a statewide greenhouse gas limit for the year 2050 of “net zero” emissions. To achieve this, it requires the state to hit near-term limits in 2025, 2030, and every five years thereafter; set sub-limits for transportation, buildings, solid waste, natural gas distribution, and other major sectors; and make clear implementation plans.

Under the legislation, cities and towns will be able to adopt a net zero stretch energy code. The bill allows the state to support communities that choose on their own to move away from fossil fuels as the source of heating for new buildings. The state will promulgate a net zero energy code, so that municipalities have the option available if they want to use it.

The bill directs the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) to set emissions reduction goals for each three-year plan utilities formulate for the MassSave program. It requires the Department of Public Utilities (DPU), at the conclusion of each three-year plan, to certify how much the plan actually contributed to meeting the Commonwealth’s greenhouse gas emission limits.

The legislation also directs the MBTA to limit bus purchases and leases to zero-emissions vehicles beginning in 2030, and to aim for an all-zero-emissions fleet by 2040, to reduce transportation-related emissions in city neighborhoods.

Under the bill, Massachusetts appliance standards are updated to improve energy and water efficiency standards for common household and commercial appliances, helping to conserve energy and save consumers and businesses money.

“With the passage of this legislation, we have taken long overdue action to reduce emissions and develop a plan for a healthier, more sustainable future in the Merrimack Valley and across Massachusetts,” said State Senator Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen). “Thank you to Senate President Karen Spilka (D-Ashland) and Senate Chair of the Utilities & Energy Committee Michael Barrett (D-Lexington) for their leadership in bolstering the Commonwealth’s position as an ideal state wherein to build a strong clean energy economy.”

Newburyport’s Mike Sullivan Honored at State House

Mike Sullivan

Newburyport resident Mike Sullivan was recently honored at the Massachusetts State House for his 25-year tenure as director of the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF).

Sullivan, who in December retired from OCPF, served as director under six governors, seven Senate presidents and four House speakers and is the only director in OCPF history to be reappointed to the position. He led the office’s transformation from a paper to nearly all-electronic agency and twice served as president of the Council on Governmental Ethics Laws.

Prior to his service at OCPF, Sullivan served as city clerk in Newburyport.

State Senator Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) presented a Senate resolution in honor of Sullivan’s accomplishments, co-sponsored by legislators from across the Commonwealth.

“Over his 25 years at OCPF, Mike was always committed to the utmost accountability in Massachusetts’ public elections,” said DiZoglio. “His commitment to transparency resulted in greater accuracy and efficiency in government operations – goals we at the state level should be striving for daily. Mike will be missed on Beacon Hill but I wish him all the best in his retirement.”

Gretchen Carlson, Julie Roginsky of Lift Our Voices Join Senator DiZoglio at State House in Call for Action on Bill Banning NDAs

State Senator Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) will be joined by journalist, author and empowerment advocate Gretchen Carlson and political strategist Julie Roginsky, both of the advocacy group Lift Our Voices, for a State House press conference on Monday, January 27, regarding the continued use of non-disclosure agreements in cases of harassment, discrimination and assault in state government and across Massachusetts.

Lift Our Voices was founded by Carlson, Julie Roginsky and Diana Falzone in an effort to end the practice of mandatory NDAs, confidentiality provisions and forced arbitration clauses that seek to silence workers who want to speak publicly about toxic workplace conditions. Carlson and Roginsky both sued former Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes for sexual harassment, while Falzone sued Fox News for gender discrimination.

“It is beyond past time that the abuse of non-disclosure agreements come to an end in the Commonwealth,” said DiZoglio. “I am beyond grateful to be joined by Gretchen Carlson and Julie Roginsky, who have tirelessly worked to raise awareness around these issues.”

Also speaking at the press conference will be attorney Mitchell Garabedian and State Representative Alyson Sullivan (R-Abington).

The event is open to the public.

WHO: State Senator Diana DiZoglio, Gretchen Carlson and Julie Roginsky of Lift Our Voices, attorney Mitchell Garabedian and State Representative Alyson Sullivan

WHAT: News conference and individual interview opportunities

WHEN: 1pm; January 27, 2020

WHERE: Massachusetts State House, Nurses Hall