Here’s a look at the winners and losers in the state’s far-reaching climate bill Boston Globe

No corner of the state’s energy industry seems to go untouched in the climate bill passed by the Massachusetts House and Senate on Monday, with just over one day left in the two-year legislative session.

Senator Mike Barrett, one of the lead negotiators of the bill, said creative builders can find ways to offset natural gas usage, such as through solar power, for example. But NAIOP blasted the bill in a statement, saying it threatens the state’s “precarious economic recovery from the effects of the global crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.” Of particular concern: the energy-intensive labs needed by life sciences companies, a proverbial golden goose for Greater Boston.

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Climate bill would clear up solar tax confusion Commonwealth Magazine

THE MASSACHUSETTS LEGISLATURE is set to clarify a confusing and outdated tax law, which had been stymying solar projects around the state.

A compromise hammered out between the state’s assessors and solar developers has made it into the final version of a climate change bill. The bill was reported out of a conference committee on Sunday and is expected to be passed by the Legislature Monday and sent to Gov. Charlie Baker.

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Massachusetts lawmakers deal blow to Springfield biomass project Mass Live

SPRINGFIELD — Power from wood-to-energy plants — like the long-proposed Palmer Renewable Energy in East Springfield — won’t qualify as “green power” for municipal power utilities for at least five years under new rules announced over the weekend by state lawmakers.

A conference committee of state senators and representatives also called on Gov. Charlie Baker and his administration to complete a new study examining the impact of these biomass plants on greenhouse emissions, global climate change and public health. The conference report – meant to hammer out differences between the Senate and House bills passed in 2020 – will go to lawmakers for a vote before the term ends Tuesday.

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Lawmakers release compromise climate change bill Commonwealth Magazine

The climate change bill includes a host of provisions that spell out how the state should move forward and on what terms, but perhaps its biggest impact is that it gives those terms the force and durability of law.

“Without the force of law, it can all evaporate with the next governor,” said Sen. Michael Barrett of Lexington, the lead Senate negotiator on the bill, in a phone interview.

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State Sen. Barrett obtains funding for local nonprofits Waltham Tribune

The Massachusetts Senate and Statehouse recently gave final approval to the state’s budget for the current fiscal year, which included amendments written by State Sen. Mike Barrett, D-Waltham, aimed at funneling $225,000 to programs in the city.

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State Sen. Mike Barrett obtains funding for Chelmsford Senior Center Chelmsford Wicked Local

The Massachusetts Senate and House gave final approval to the state’s budget for the current fiscal year. State Sen. Mike Barrett, who represents Chelmsford, wrote an amendment to secure an additional grant of $25,000 for the Chelmsford Senior Center.

The $25,000 will go to support the Senior Center’s Nutrition Program. Since the start of the COVID pandemic in March, the Program has provided between 140-160 home-delivered meals per day.

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Barrett, Gordon Secure Military Mitigation School Aid Bedford Citizen

The Mass. Senate and House have given final approval to the state’s budget for the current fiscal year.

With help from local State Representative Ken Gordon, Bedford’s State Senator Mike Barrett secured funding to mitigate the costs the town incurs for educating children of families living on nearby military bases. More than one-hundred Hanscom Air Force Base students attend high school at local expense.

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Waltham Field Station: Bill passed this week enables purchase by City Waltham Tribune

With a week before Thanksgiving, the tenants at 240 Beaver St. have a major milestone to be thankful for: the approval of a bill at the State House that will enable the purchase sale agreement of the land between owner—UMass Amherst, and buyer—the City of Waltham.

UMass is a state agency which means that Waltham’s legislative delegation needed to pass a special law authorizing the sale, according to Senator Michael Barrett’s office.

New Massachusetts Law Enhancing Unemployment Benefits Supported by Rep. Gordon and Sen. Barrett Bedford Citizen

Representative Ken Gordon (D-Bedford) and Senator Mike Barrett (D-Lexington) joined their colleagues in the Massachusetts Legislature on Monday, October 26 to pass An Act relative to additional unemployment benefits for the neediest recipients currently excluded from the Lost Wages Assistance program, which enhances unemployment benefits for certain Massachusetts workers by as much as $1,800 each. The Governor signed the legislation into law last week.

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On the Ballot ~ Bedford Legislators Sen. Mike Barrett and Rep. Ken Gordon The Bedford Citizen

Senator Barrett described campaigning as “a lot of fun, because typically you’re meeting a lot of people”, but observed that due to the pandemic he’d mostly be campaigning by phone, which is “not as satisfying” because “I love going door to door.”

He’s not having trouble staying busy, though, because he’s leading the Senate side of a conference committee that is trying to harmonize the two very different climate bills that passed in the Massachusetts House and the Senate. “It’s taking all my time.” Working out a compromise when the bills are so different, he said, isn’t the usual split-the-difference process, but “trading apples for oranges”, which he finds far more difficult to negotiate. “I’d have been hard-pressed to do both. If I’d had a serious race, I don’t know how I’d have juggled it.”

If he were running against an opponent, Barrett told us, he would keep the focus on climate change, and try to make the election “a referendum on progressive climate policy”

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‘We should be embarrassed’: In quiet extended session, Legislature’s unfinished work will bleed past Election Day The Boston Globe

Nevertheless, those juggling a competitive race are “essentially out of commission,” said state Senator Michael J. Barrett, a Lexington Democrat who is on the six-person conference committee negotiating climate change legislation.

“There is a habit of deference to those incumbents, whether there are a lot of them or just a few of them who really have to devote September and October to campaigning,” Barrett said. The larger concern, he said, may be the raft of priorities left, all of which can suck up oxygen in an ever-shrinking calendar.

“I’m concerned overall for our productivity,” Barrett said.

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State Delegation Joins Town to Remind Residents About Bridge Repair Bedford Citizen

The bridge on The Great Road spanning the Shawsheen River near Stop and Shop Plaza will be closed for repairs from the evening of Friday, October 2, to the morning of Monday, October 5.

State Representative Ken Gordon (D – Bedford), Senator Mike Barrett (D – Lexington), and Bedford Town Manager Sarah Stanton remind residents to seek alternate routes, if possible. The work will be contained within one weekend.

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Waltham High School project breaks ground: McCarthy: “We are finally here” Waltham Tribune

As the morning ceremony started, a hawk circled overhead at 554 Lexington St.

Many in Waltham might see it as a fitting symbol for the occasion of the ceremonial groundbreaking of the new Waltham High School which will be filled with new generations of students or Waltham ‘Hawks’ by fall of 2024.

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Bedford’s Gold Star Families Speak Out Bedford Citizen

Gordon’s counterpart in the State Senate, Mike Barrett, said Trump’s “words were vile.” He observed that as there is no political constituency that supports the position, Trump was expressing his “personal reflections of contempt for people who have their lives for this nation.”

 

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Desiato and Hart families assail comments by Trump Bedford Wicked Local

State Senator Mike Barrett talks to the folks gathered along the Concord River in Bedford Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020. They came to speak out against President Trump’s recent remarks, calling the fallen “losers” and “suckers.”

 

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Lexington delegation announces local aid, education funding boost Lexington Minuteman

Lexington’s legislative delegation of Sen. Cindy Friedman, D-Arlington, Sen. Mike Barrett, D-Lexington, and Rep. Michelle Ciccolo, D-Lexington, announced that the Legislature and Baker administration have committed to providing a baseline amount of unrestricted local aid and Chapter 70 funding for fiscal year 2021.

This commitment will give municipalities and school districts a critical planning tool as they finalize their budgets.

Under the agreement, Lexington will receive $1,627,400 in local aid and $14,438,034 in Chapter 70 education funding. The town is additionally eligible for federal relief funding of $1,787,737.

“This agreement comes at a time when towns are having to overcome new challenges seemingly every week,” said Barrett. “I’m glad we were able to provide a measure of certainty when so much is still up in the air.”

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Gordon, Barrett Announce Agreement to Boost FY21 Local Aid The Bedford Citizen

Representative Ken Gordon (D-Bedford) and Senator Mike Barrett (D-Lexington) announced today that an agreement between the Legislature and the Governor will ensure increases to local aid and Chapter 70 education funding in Fiscal Year (FY) 2021. The agreement will allow cities and towns to avoid significant budget cuts despite the uncertain conditions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

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Mass. House Drops Major Climate Bill Into Busy Week WBUR

Sen. Michael Barrett, Golden’s Senate counterpart at the Committee on Telecommunication, Utilities and Energy, said the House’s bill would make it nearly impossible to monitor the state’s progress towards those goals, and said he favors the Senate’s approach of installing interim targets every five years rather than every 10 years.

“Here we have goals widely spaced apart with no accountability back to the public or the Legislature in the House bill,” he said. “There’s a reason the Senate proposed a standalone, independent climate policy commission. That’s because the executive branch charged with realizing the goals cannot also be left to report on whether they’ve achieved them. You’ve got to separate out implementation and monitoring, and I’m deeply disappointed that the early drafts of the House bill leave the two roles together.”

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Mass. lawmakers move toward extending the legislative session Boston Globe

The chambers will also probably have to reconcile different versions of health care legislation. And a climate change proposal surfaced in the House setting a new statewide goal of meeting “net-zero” emissions by 2050 — months after the Senate passed a similar but more expansive set of bills.

“There’s a difference in aggressiveness,” Senator Michael J. Barrett said of the climate change bills. But he said it’s “good news” the Legislature is likely to pass an extension on lawmaking, giving more time to settle differences on the new emissions goals.

“I don’t think we’re going to work next week. But I think we’ll be back relatively soon,” the Lexington Democrat said of returning to session. “I don’t think we’ll wait until election time.”

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House climate change bill calls for roadmap Commonwealth Magazine

Sen. Michael Barrett of Lexington, the co-chair of the Telecommunication, Utilities, and Energy Committee and the sponsor of the Senate climate change bill, said he was disappointed in reading the House bill because of its lack of aggressiveness in pursuing reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

“It’s going to be a challenging conference when we don’t yet agree on the central task at hand, which is driving down emissions,” he said.

 

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