Proposed bill would create new commission to oversee MBTA safety


State Sen. Michael Barrett, sponsor of a bill that would remove transportation safety from the DPU, said his proposal would create a state agency that can solely focus on transportation.

“It’s not a matter of the people not doing their job, it’s a structural problem,” Sen. Barrett said. “Structurally, the DPU will always be distracted.”

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State lawmakers to debate new safety watchdog for MBTA

Boston Herald

Moving safety oversight of the MBTA out of the Department of Public Utilities should be an immediate priority, says one Massachusetts lawmaker, who is pushing to create an independent commission that would take over this watchdog role.

A bill establishing this new agency, filed by state Sen. Michael Barrett, will be considered at a Monday Joint Committee on Transportation hearing, the first step in what he hopes will be a successful legislative push.

“I don’t think the federal government will permit us to rest with the status quo,” Barrett said. “We’ve got to do something. The T is not getting any safer. I think it’s high time we acted.”

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Maine jury rules clean energy transmission line from Canada to New England can proceed

Boston Globe

Massachusetts state Senator Michael J. Barrett, who has worked on renewable energy issues, said the verdict ”couldn’t come at a better time,” especially in light of delays in the state’s efforts to create offshore wind farms near Martha’s Vineyard.

While the timeline on the project is uncertain, Barrett said that with the court decision, “It’s good to know that clean hydro from Quebec is likely headed our way.”

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Waltham paid $17.4m for historic farmland. Now the city is placing a longtime community farm at risk, advocates say.

Boston Globe

The city’s process has left Daley, and supporters such as state Senator Michael Barrett, expressing a mix of anger, frustration — and even bafflement — that Waltham’s purchase of farmland could end up harming the farm itself.

“In Waltham, you have a standout nonprofit agricultural operation that could simply collapse if you drive away the human network that has developed around the farm in the last three decades,” said Barrett, who worked on the deal. “There has to be a better way.”


Legislator of the Year

Appreciated being named Legislator of the Year by The Arc of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council. Last year, with the help of tireless proponents, we achieved a number of wins, including my proposal to create a first-of-its kind commission to study the history of state institutions for those with disabilities. After the awards event, advocates fanned out around the State House to talk to legislators. There’s more work to do.

Sen. Barrett accepts Legislator of the Year award

Healey’s First Budget Themes: Spending Increases, Tax Relief


Sen. Michael Barrett, who co-chairs the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy, said Healey’s fiscal 2024 budget proposal is “the best executive branch budget I’ve ever seen” and is “a leap over anything a governor has proposed before.”

“Making inroads against global warming is a massive job, and here’s a budget that takes up the nitty-gritty, the nuts and bolts,” the Lexington Democrat said. “It calls for training more people because we’re short on everybody from HVAC techs to solar installers to electricians to electrical engineers. It puts the Mass Clean Energy Center on a stable financial footing for the first time ever. It commits to protecting water supplies because PFAS are a major threat. It bumps up funding for DCR and the state parks, which are starved for attention. All of which takes money, so, yes, this budget asks for money.”


Healey files a ‘unicorn’ of a state budget

BRUCE MOHL, Commonwealth Journal

The budget also calls for the hiring of 28 full-time environmental justice employees across the various agencies within the executive office and the establishment of a environmental training program for governmental and nongovernmental agencies.

Sen. Michael Barrett of Lexington, the co-chair of the legislative committee dealing with energy and climate change issues, hailed the focus on the environment and climate. “For efforts in this area, this is the best executive branch budget I’ve ever seen. It’s a leap over anything a governor has proposed before,” Barrett said.


Healey’s proposed budget a boon to education and the environment

Katie Lannan, GBH News

The major funding hike prompted Sen. Mike Barrett, a Lexington Democrat who co-chairs the Telecommunications, Energy and Utilities Committee, to call Healey’s plan “the best executive branch budget I’ve ever seen” and “a leap over anything a governor has proposed before.”


Massachusetts energy efficiency programs should shift focus to emissions, critics say

Energy News Network

Barrett’s bill would essentially reorganize the program from the ground up. The proposal would create an entity dubbed the “commonwealth clean heat initiative” — though Barrett said he would expect day-to-day operations to continue under the brand name Mass Save, which has wide recognition in the state.