Bills

An Act to expand carbon pricing in the commonwealth – SD.2477

  • Still the single best policy to fight climate change at the state level.
  • Requires a price on carbon in transportation by 2023; commercial buildings by 2024; industrial processes by 2025; and residential buildings by 2028.
  • Allows the administration to enact a revenue-neutral carbon fee (the most progressive way to protect low- and middle-income families) OR invest the money into programs to reduce emissions in each sector OR a combination of the two.
  • The bill calls for a strong but reasonable price on carbon.

An Act establishing a Climate Policy Commission – SD.2419

  • Sets up a new, independent public watchdog to oversee the government’s handling of the unfolding crisis of climate change.  Commissioners will be charged with offering a nonpartisan, science-based view of the problem as it plays out in Massachusetts with its attendant natural, economic, and demographic impacts and risks.
  • Job one for the commission is to tell us if we’re on track in bringing down emissions.  Job two is to advise us on what to do next.
  • If the commission works as intended, it will be a new voice, standing apart from politics as usual and committed to shedding light on a very hard problem.

An Act instituting a governance structure for Mass Save – SD.2420

  • Mass Save is the state’s $900 million per year program to reduce emissions in the buildings sector. Run by the utilities, it gives National Grid and Eversource a public relations win. While the program has done some good stuff on energy efficiency, it has done a poor job on the electrification of buildings — a major piece in the climate change puzzle.
  • Despite its size and importance, Mass Save has no single person in charge, someone accountable to the public and to legislators. Imagine Apple without Tim Cook.
  • This bill makes sure the buck stops with an executive director and puts in place a new governance structure.

An Act to convert the MBTA bus fleet to zero-emission vehicles – SD.2409

  • A major environmental justice initiative, this bill 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.

An Act relative to the Massachusetts fund for vulnerable countries most affected by climate change – SD.1515

  • Gives Massachusetts taxpayers a voluntary option to support poor nations around the world threatened by rising oceans and other consequences of climate change. The idea is to give residents the option, on their state income tax return form, to designate some of their own money to a special United Nations fund.  The MA income tax form already features six similar “check off options.”  This will add one more. The list of vulnerable countries, as designated by the United Nations, includes Haiti, Nepal, Cambodia, and Afghanistan.  The legislation enables Massachusetts to assist people in need and demonstrate climate leadership on the international stage.

An Act to facilitate electric vehicle ownership among low- and middle-income families – SD.2398

  • To fight climate change we need to help people buy EVs and quickly.  This bill provides an option for low- and middle-income buyers of EVs — new or used — to get a rebate equivalent to the sales tax they pay.

An Act exempting zero-emission commercial vehicles from the sales tax – SD.2431

  • Private sector fleets — including medium- and heavy-duty trucks — make up a large piece of the state’s transportation emissions. They go in and out of roads in environmental justice neighborhoods like Chelsea and East Boston, causing local pollution.
  • To help drive a transformation to clean fleets, this bill offers businesses a 50% reduction in the sales tax for commercial vehicles purchased and registered in the state.

An Act to convert the state government fleet to electric vehicles – SD.2411

  • Asks state government to take stock of its fleet and prioritize vehicles ready for replacement to EVs.

An Act to make electric vehicles more affordable – SD.2408

  • Codifies MOR-EV and greatly increases the rebate to $5,000.

An Act exempting electric vehicle chargers from the sales tax – SD.2415

  • EVs are still very expensive. So are EV chargers. This bill eliminates the sales tax on EV chargers for residents and businesses.

An Act to analyze future need for electric vehicle infrastructure within the commonwealth – SD.2390

  • Alongside public transportation and more options for walking and biking, EVs are going to play a major role in our effort to get to net zero by 2050. We need to plan for how we build out infrastructure for EV chargers. This bill requires state government to answer the question: how do we cost-effectively build enough EV chargers for residents, particularly for those who live in rural areas, environmental justice neighborhoods, and apartment buildings?

An Act to increase electric vehicle charging infrastructure in new construction – SD.2413

  • New buildings should be built with sufficient capacity to charge EVs. This bill will help ensure that new buildings don’t need to undergo costly retrofits down the road.

An Act relative to military-grade controlled property – SD.1736

  • As we learned in the aftermath of Ferguson, over the last three decades, local law enforcement agencies routinely take advantage of massive federal sales and donations of equipment and gear that would otherwise be too expensive for municipal budgets.  Deployment of this material occurs disproportionately in communities of color.
  • For Massachusetts, the issue is not academic.  Many of our cities, towns, and regional organizations are heavy users of these federal programs.
  • The changes the bill makes to state law are designed to increase state and local accountability for the acquisition of “military-grade controlled property.”
  • Among other things, the bill requires a local law enforcement agency to get approval from the appropriate local legislative body before acquiring military-grade property.

An Act restoring financial transparency in presidential elections – SD.1722

  • Until recently, many Americans just assumed that the stature of the Office of the President ensured the observance of certain practices that are unwritten but responsible and well-established, one of which is the disclosure by candidates of their tax returns and, by extension, possible conflicts of interest.  The 2016 election shattered this confidence.  I hope we can rebuild it.
  • The bill requires candidates in major party primary elections for president to submit their three most recently-filed federal tax returns to the Secretary of State, who in turn is required to make the documents public at least 30 days before the relevant primary election.

An Act relative to ensuring bereavement leave – SD.2427

  • This bill builds on the family and medical leave statute by ensuring that residents of the commonwealth can take time off to cope with the death of a family member.
  • The bill allows for up to two weeks of paid leave and an additional six weeks of unpaid leave.

An Act to eliminate the public counsel fee – SD.1730

  • Eliminates the fee charged to people receiving legal representation via public defense.
  • People who cannot afford to hire legal representation should not be charged for legal representation they are entitled to.

To see a full list of Sen. Barrett’s bills, click here.