As Massachusetts legislators start their new year, bills calling for carbon fees for transportation are gaining momentum, with many lawmakers and advocates optimistic that a measure could make it to the governor’s desk this session.
“This issue is now up on everybody’s radar screen,” said state Sen. Mike Barrett, a longtime advocate of carbon pricing. “Let the debate about fair and effective design begin.”
Having served as chief Senate sponsor of the proposed “Act Safeguarding the Healthcare Decisions of Young Adults” and as co-sponsor of additional bills to protect the healthcare decisions of Massachusetts women and men, I’m pleased to have received an A+ on NARAL’s first-ever Pro-Choice Massachusetts Reproductive Freedom scorecard. In our state, on the healthcare front, the 2017-2018 legislative session has given us reason to hope. We passed the Contraceptive ACCESS Act, An Act to Protect Access to Confidential Healthcare (the PATCH Act), the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act, and the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act. Still, this is but a warm-up. In the next several years, as federal protections for women suffer, state government will need to fill the vacuum and preserve personal rights.
I was delighted to attend the recent ribbon-cutting for the the Anna and Neil Rasmussen Education Center at the Concord Museum (Anna and Neil in the middle, with prominent environmental attorney Gregor McGregor).
The Rasmussen Center features cultural and educational space for learners of all ages from Massachusetts and beyond. It has three state-of-the-art classrooms, including a colonial cooking space with a working hearth, a History Learning Center for up-close encounters with the Museum’s nationally significant collection, and a Lyceum lecture hall for mock town meetings, colonial dance, and public programs.
Adjoining galleries within the facility are closed for renovation, so for now the Center hosts rare objects belonging to the museum, including Paul Revere’s lantern and Henry David Thoreau’s desk.
BOSTON — As local climate activists turn up the heat on state lawmakers, action from outside the Bay State’s borders may also increase the pressure for additional steps on energy policy.
Environmental advocates here say they’ll make the case to elected officials and the public at large that the state must boost its commitment to renewable power. Meanwhile, California recently passed a suite of new clean energy laws, and government leaders from across the globe gathered there to discuss strategies for responding to climate change.
Sen. Michael Barrett, a Lexington Democrat who is co-chairman of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy, was among the participants in the Global Climate Action Summit.
Days after the Merrimack Valley gas explosions, the company responsible for the gas lines around that region says it could take months to restore gas to some 8,500 affected customers.
Residents have already shared stories of standing in line for hours over the weekend as they waited to file claims for losses like medicine and food. So customers might be forgiven if they don’t have the greatest faith in this company at this point.
Jim was joined by state senator Michael Barrett, co-chair of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy, and State Senator Bruce Tarr, whose district includes North Andover and who also sits on that committee.
Watch the video here: https://bit.ly/2D8CHRw
State Senator Mike Barrett (D-Lexington) is in San Francisco this week to participate in the Global Climate Action Summit organized by California governor Jerry Brown and former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.
The invitation came from organizers of the event. Barrett, Senate chair of the state legislative committee concerned with energy issues, wrote legislation approved unanimously by the Senate earlier this year to “put a price on carbon.” Barrett, along with many economists, contends that carbon pricing is the single most effective step a government can take to combat climate change.
BOSTON – On the last day of July, in the closing hours of the Legislature’s two-year session, negotiators for the Senate and House hammered out agreement on a bill that will boost electricity from solar and wind, get a better handle on natural gas leaks, and create “clean peak” incentives for driving down energy use at the busiest times, when the costliest and dirtiest electric power turns on.
“An Act to Advance Clean Energy” was worked out by a six-member negotiating team led by State Sen. Mike Barrett (D-Lexington) and Rep. Tom Golden (D-Lowell). It drew the unanimous support of the Senate and every vote but one in the House of Representatives.
Local State Senator Mike Barrett secured $25,000 in this year’s long-awaited state budget to allow OARS volunteers to monitor the water quality of our three beautiful rivers! This funding covers about half the costs involved in testing the Assabet, Sudbury and Concord rivers, which generates data for the state’s pollution prevention programs.
Senator Barrett’s effort to ensure the state continues to contribute to this essential local initiative is exemplary—the program is cost-effective, quality-controlled, and engages residents in citizen science. Crucially, the scientific information it provides paves the way for sound decision-making by our towns, state and federal government, so that we can keep our MetroWest rivers safe for our families, communities and wildlife. To see what it pays for, you can download the latest report at: www.oars3rivers.org/river/waterquality/reports.
Thank you, Senator Barrett! We are also grateful to the chief budget negotiators, Senator Karen Spilka and Representative Jeffrey Sánchez, for their role in securing this funding.
OARS Executive Director
With the support of area state senator Mike Barrett (D-Lexington), Massachusetts Senate has passed major legislation to tackle the opioid crisis. Provisions of the bill increase access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT), explore tools to reduce harm and save lives, expand education and prevention efforts, and address the high rates of co-occurring conditions of substance use disorder (SUD) and mental illness.
The legislation draws on extensive new research into evidence-based best practices and accents collaboration among healthcare researchers and clinicians, hospitals, behavioral health providers, law enforcement officials, patient advocates and individuals with lived experience, to develop policies to address the opioid epidemic.
“There’s help here for addicted people whether in the community, the emergency room, or in prison,” Sen. Barrett said. “Whether they’re in long-term recovery or the immediate throes of an overdose, we’re bringing a determined effort and the latest thinking to every link in the addiction chain.”
BOSTON – Local State Senator Mike Barrett (D-Lexington) joined his colleagues in the Massachusetts Senate to pass legislation meaning eligible voters will be automatically registered to vote when receiving services from the RMV, MassHealth, and other state agencies.
This means that the burden to register voters now falls upon the state, instead of individual citizens, and it will allow hundreds of thousands of eligible citizens who are currently not registered to have their say at the ballot box.
As temperatures soared on Saturday morning, so did hearts filled with anticipation of the ribbon-cutting for the new Friendship Park at Roberts Field on June 30.
State Sen. Michael Barrett, of Lexington, calling attention to the new playground equipment’s emphasis on accessibility, said the playground represents “the cutting-edge of awareness, for people with all kinds of challenges and disabilities. You are causing us to rethink all manner of things.”
Read the Chelmsford Independent article
BOSTON – Local State Senator Mike Barrett (D-Lexington) joined his Senate colleagues to pass a bill requiring cable companies to provide High Definition (HD) capability to Community Access channels and to include detailed programming information in viewers’ electronic guides.
The bill means that community TV will be on the same playing field as bigger channels. It allows local media stations access to Electronic Programming Guides and channel signal quality that is comparable to pay stations — now and in the future.
BOSTON – State Senator Mike Barrett (D-Lexington) joined his Senate colleagues this week to pass bills raising the minimum wage, creating a paid leave program, banning the sale of ivory and rhino horn products, and putting an end to the practice known as wage theft.
A “grand bargain” bill — a product of months of deliberation between lawmakers, activists, and business groups — raises the minimum wage to $15 per hour, establishes a paid family and medical leave program, and creates a permanent sales tax holiday.
BOSTON — In passing comprehensive energy legislation Wednesday night, the Massachusetts Senate approved a “revenue-neutral” carbon fee designed to incentivize low-emissions lifestyles and business practices.
An Act Combating Climate Change, sponsored by Michael Barrett, D-Lexington, would add a “pollution charge” to fossil fuel prices and return that money in equal measure to people and businesses.
Read the Mass Live article
In passing a major clean energy bill today, the Massachusetts State Senate voted to authorize the most comprehensive carbon pricing program in the country. Its author, State Sen. Mike Barrett (D-Lexington), told his colleagues, “In taking a fresh run at combating climate change, you’re putting Massachusetts state government at the forefront — right where our constituents want it to be.”
The action made history, in that the Senate became the first legislative body in the U.S., either federal or state, to approve revenue-neutral fees as a carbon pricing option. If the policy survives intact after debate in the Massachusetts House and is signed into law, the Commonwealth will also become only the second state, after California, to extend the concept of carbon pricing to transportation.
BOSTON — A state lawmaker wants to let Massachusetts residents donate to poorer countries hit hardest by climate change when they fill out their tax returns.
Sen. Mike Barrett said his bill is in part a reaction to President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Paris accord meant to address climate change.
The bill would add a line to state tax forms to let taxpayers make a donation over and above their regular payment.
Read the Washington Times article
On the first anniversary of the Trump Administration’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement, State Senator Mike Barrett (D-Lexington) is promoting innovative legislation that would change Massachusetts tax forms and let taxpayers direct voluntary contributions, over and above their regular payments, to poverty-stricken countries hit hardest by climate change.
The full title of Barrett’s bill is An Act enabling taxpayer donations to the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF), an initiative of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.