Next steps for Waltham’s 240 Beaver St.: Council approval ‘is a huge victory’ Waltham Tribune

“A year ago, the survival of the Field Station was in doubt,” said state Sen. Mike Barrett in a statement. “The nonprofit tenants, all involved with heathy eating, sustainable local agriculture, and what you might call food justice, faced eviction. But the Greater Waltham community rallied. Residents demanded that the farm be preserved and the tenants be protected.

“Thanks to the Mayor, the City Council, and the tenants for working together, we took a giant stride forward,” he added.

Rep. John Lawn, Barrett, and Rep. Thomas Stanley will be guides for the legislation to move through the state House and Senate.

“What remains, importantly, is passage of some enabling legislation,” Barrett said in a statement. “I look forward to working with Rep. Lawn to get that final piece done.”

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May events canceled, drive-through testing in Lexington as town hits 250 coronavirus cases Lexington Minuteman

Lexington officials continue to prepare for a virtual version of the Annual Town Meeting, which was supposed to take place in late March. Malloy now anticipates the virtual session to take place in early June. Presentations will be posted online for viewing by Town Meeting members beforehand, in an effort to make the process as efficient as possible. The town has been working with Senator Mike Barrett and Representative Michelle Ciccolo to push a bill forward in the House of Representatives that would authorize remote participation at town meetings.

The Select Board approved a Special Town Meeting to take place on June 1. The meeting would only have one warrant item, which would provide the authority for the Select Board to confirm the validity of any action that would take place at the subsequent Annual Town Meeting. This would only be necessary if the bill spearheaded by Rep. Ciccolo does not pass in time.

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Massachusetts legislators urge Gov. Baker to quicken inmate releases Waltham Tribune

A group of concerned legislators — 15 state senators and 23 state representatives — have sent a joint letter to Gov. Charlie Baker, urging him, as part of the state’s response to the COVID-19 Health Crisis, to step up the screening and release of inmates from Massachusetts penal institutions.

The letter-writing effort, initiated by State Sen. Mike Barrett, D-Lexington, was inspired by an opinion issued earlier this month by the state’s supreme judicial court, five of whose seven current members are Baker appointees.

“Among inmates and correctional officers — we’re concerned about both — the positive cases continue to climb,” said Barrett. “We think it’s quite significant that the court has issued polite but pointed advice on how to speed up the pace of releases.”

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State Lawmakers Urge Governor To Reduce Prison Population Faster As COVID-19 Spreads WGBH NEWS

Sen. Mike Barrett, a Democrat from Lexington, said he spearheaded the letter-writing effort because he is troubled that government officials have not been adhering to a directive by the Supreme Judicial Court to speed up the process. Earlier this month, the state’s top court released a ruling directing the Department of Correction and the Parole Board to “expedite” releases in a system where social distancing is almost impossible.

“I am annoyed that the spirit of the court decision is being subverted,’’ said Barrett in an interview with WGBH News.

Nobody from Baker’s team could be reached for comment about the letter. But in a press conference on Thursday, Baker said that officials from the state Department of Correction have been working with public health officials since early March to prevent the spread of the virus.

“There’s always going to be room for improvement,’’ he said.

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Waltham Buys Field Station Property From UMass For $17.4 Million Waltham Patch

“A year ago, the survival of the Field Station was in doubt,” said State Sen. Mike Barrett in a statement to Patch. “The nonprofit tenants, all involved with healthy eating, sustainable local agriculture, and what you might call food justice, faced eviction. But the Greater Waltham community rallied. Residents demanded that the farm be preserved and the tenants be protected. This week, thanks to the Mayor, the City Council, and the tenants for working together, we took a giant stride forward.”

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New State Rules Aim To Double Solar Power Capacity WBUR

Sen. Michael Barrett, the Senate chair of the Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy Committee, said he is pleased with the updated regulations and especially with the administration’s decision to set aside 5 percent of the incentives for projects serving low-income communities.

“It’s a terrific step in the right direction,” he told the News Service, noting that a similar requirement was built into a bill the Senate passed in January. “We have a terrible track record in terms of making sure that poor people benefit from net metering. This is an important remedial step. It’s not enough, but it is directionally exactly where we need to go.”

The senator said the state isn’t yet setting the pace it will need to meet its emissions reduction targets, but that solar will be a critical component to getting there.

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Lexington Sen. Barrett gives inside look at state’s latest climate policy Lexington Minuteman

When did you start working on this climate package?

In June, so about seven months. I wanted to do a complete scan of the state government, because I chaired the energy committee and had noticed that state agencies all acknowledge the importance of climate change but still seem to be pursuing missions that were apart from it. I think climate has come up on us rather suddenly and caught us by surprise; the issue has been percolating for 30 years, but it suddenly seems very real. I had two priorities. One was to make sure state agencies were aligned and all pulling in the same direction. The other was making sure we set policies that would reassure all of us that we’re going to do something about this.

What aspects of the bill are most noteworthy?

I’ll tell you, I don’t completely trust the ability of the government to come clean about how well we’re doing. In the future, we’re going to be looking to governors to be reporting about their own performance. I don’t think that works, human nature doesn’t work like that. So we’re proposing an independent commission to really be the truth teller and the monitor. It would be the first in the country. I observed that information is held closely by the executive branch, even despite the fact that we’ve got a pretty good governor on this topic. I saw them basically holding back data that might reflect poorly on their performance, specifically around the climate issue. I should mention that this isn’t a problem with Governor Baker specifically, the same problem existed with Deval Patrick. Both Republican and Democratic governors don’t want to be held accountable. Again, I’m not even really blaming them, I think they’re embodying human nature, but I’m no longer willing to put up with it.

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Senate Moves Trio of Climate-Change Bills WickedLocal: Cape Cod

Emitting carbon would come with a new price in Massachusetts and the state would embark on a more aggressive timeline for reducing its greenhouse gas emissions under a bill that overwhelmingly passed the state Senate Jan. 30.

The electric vehicles bill (S 2476) directs the MBTA to limit its bus purchases and leases to zero-emissions vehicles starting in 2030 and operate an entirely zero-emissions passenger bus fleet by Dec. 31, 2040. It also makes permanent an existing rebate program for consumers buying electric cars.

The bill (S 2477) cleared the Senate on a 36-2 vote.

The energy efficiency bill (S 2478), which passed on a 35-2 vote, sets efficiency standards for a range of products, including new faucets and showerheads.

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Episode 117: From Net-Zero to Hero The Horse Race Podcast

[The bills] include, among other things, the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, which, Sen. Barrett describes as, “a very ambitious goal.” He said, “It puts Massachusetts right where the United Nations body wants the world to be, and in that sense we are offering world leadership.”

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State Senate Approves Climate Policy The Millbury-Sutton Chronicle

The Massachusetts State Senate recently advanced three bills that boldly tackle the contributing factors of climate change, chart one of the most aggressive courses of action against global warming in the country, and pave the way for a clean energy future for all of its residents.

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Poll Surveyed Public Opinion on Climate Change Wicked Local

The MassInc Polling Group’s survey of 2,318 Massachusetts residents was conducted between Oct. 10 and Nov. 8, 2019 and released Monday, four days after the state Senate passed climate legislation that included deadlines for the state to impose carbon-pricing mechanisms in the transportation sector, homes and commercial buildings.

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After Months of Urging Senate to Take Action, Taunton Senator Lauds Passage of Climate Change Bills Taunton Daily Gazette

All of the bills passed by a majority vote.

“Together the three really do constitute an historic new moment in the fight against climate change,” Sen. Michael Barrett (D- Lexington), who chairs the Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy Committee, said on the Senate floor Tuesday.

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In Senate Climate Bills, Lawmakers SeeNew Jobs, Economic Opportunity for Western Massachusetts MSN

 

Western Massachusetts lawmakers are hopeful that a set of climate change bills that passed the Senate Thursday night could bring new, innovative jobs in the energy sector to the region, if the legislation become law.

 

The cornerstone of Barrett’s package was the carbon pricing bill that would update the state’s 2050 target from reducing emissions by 80% of the 1990s levels to reducing emissions by 100%.

 

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Massachusetts Senate Approves ‘Net-Zero’ Environmental Bills Boston.com

The package of the bill envisions transition cars, trucks, and busses to carbon-free electric power, jump-starting efforts to supply low-cost solar electricity to low-income communities, and requiring appliances meet energy efficiency standards.

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Massachsetts Senate to Consider Climate Change Amendments on Electric Car Rebates, Solar Projects MassLive

Lawmakers plan to debate three bills that were introduced Jan. 23 by Senate President Karen Spilka and Senator Michael Barrett.

Hallmark of the proposals is a goal of reducing carbon emissions by 100% below 1990 by 2050, with five-year sub-limits along the wat, rather than the state’s current target of cutting emissions of 80% by then.

“I really commend Senator Barrett” – Senator Eldridge

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The Mass. Senate is Slated to Vote on the State’s “Next Generation Climate Policy”: Here’s What to Know Boston.com

“Getting to net zero is absolutely necessary, but it’s also a big lift,” state Sen. Mike Barrett, lead author and the chair of the Senate Utilities & Energy Committee, said in a statement. “This bill is all about the how of it, as in ‘Here’s how we are going to get there.’”

“We want this commission to be an independent guardian of the future, notably the future of younger generations, insulated from political pressure and consisting of the most authoritative and credible Massachusetts voices we can find,” Barrett said. “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.

“The commission will give us objective information about the performance of both government and the private sector and will pay special attention to the impact on low-income and other disadvantaged communities,” he added. “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.”

“We want this commission to be an independent guardian of the future, notably the future of younger generations, insulated from political pressure and consisting of the most authoritative and credible Massachusetts voices we can find,” Barrett said. “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.”

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Waltham’s Senator Barrett Helps Lead Charge Against Climate Change Wicked Local Waltham

Sen. Michael Barrett, who represents Waltham, told reporters Thursday that he “wanted to put a price on carbon by any path we could lay our hands on.” Barrett joined Sen. Michael Rodrigues and President Karen Spilka to detail the Senate’s climate bill which has been teed up for debate next week.

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StateHouse Roundup: Climate Tops Baker’s 2020 Goals WickedLocal Duxbury

Senate President Karen Spilka built upon the net-zero pledge on Jan. 23 when she joined Sen. Michael Barrett and Sen. Michael Rodrigues to outline a package of three bills to codify the 2050 emission goal, accelerate the electrification of state’s cars and trucks and task the administration with pricing carbon through the economy, including the transportation and building sectors.

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State senators to debate ambitious environmental plan WWLP

The Next Generation Climate Policy Plan is one of the most aggressive environmental plans in the country and if it goes into effect it could change how you live and how you commute.

The plan features a series of long and short term environmental goals, including net zero emissions by 2050.

In an attempt to do so, all public transportation as well as personal vehicles will have to be electric. The way you heat your home is also subject to change.

“Every house virtually and certainly every business won’t be able to use by 2050 heating oil or natural gas,” Senator Michael Barrett (D-Lexington) said.

The bill would authorize carbon-pricing which in turn could increase the gas tax, but supporters of the plan say the status quo needs to change.

Monday was the last day lawmakers had to file amendments to the bill. They are expected to have a full debate on the proposal on Thursday.

Watch the News Clip here –>