Also of note:

Concord Journal

State Sen. Michael Barrett, who represents Concord, tweeted his approval of impeachment.
"In taking up impeachment, members of the U.S. House of Representatives are trying to undo some of the harm," he posted. "They're doing their jobs. In marking the seriousness of the moment, the citizens of Concord   are doing theirs. Onward."

In the State House:
"For the sake of a group of nonprofit tenants that do a great job serving the interests of everyone in Waltham," said Barrett, "we need to invest in this building. It needs a lot of work, but these organizations are well worth it."


State Sen. Mike Barrett, D-Third Middlesex, was the featured speaker at the recent Concord Democratic Town Committee.
He spoke about activities on Beacon Hill and focused his discussion on climate change legislation.

Worth reading:

New York Times

"Young people are protesting by the millions in rich and poor countries alike. Even in the United States, with its persistent denialist movement, how to deal with climate change is a resonant  issue in the presidential campaign."

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Dear Friend,
Please excuse the lack of regular reports these last few months.  I've been up to my eyeballs talking to colleagues and constituents and writing climate legislation for the Senate.  I can finally share details with you today.
Against a backdrop of devastation that rages from the Amazon to Australia to California, I am comforted in reporting that the Massachusetts Senate is now proposing a big step forward in the state's approach to combating global warming.  The full Senate has scheduled debate for next week on the legislation.
Members of the Senate Committee on Ways & Means voted earlier today to approve the bill, teeing it up for consideration on the Senate floor on January 30th.
  • Keep Massachusetts in line with the science, by setting a statewide greenhouse gas limit for the year 2050 of "net zero" emissions. The goal is to have the state do its part to keep global temperatures within 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
  • Chart a steady course to net zero by setting, every five years, both overall state limits and specific sublimits for transportation, buildings, and natural gas systems.
  • Establish the Massachusetts Climate Policy Commission, a new public watchdog to oversee government's handling of the crisis.  If the commission works as intended, it will be an independent guardian of the future, notably the future of younger generations.  It will be insulated from political pressure and consist of the most authoritative and credible Massachusetts voices we can find.
  • Put a price on carbon.  Massachusetts' governor would be free to choose among various forms of carbon pricing -- a revenue-neutral fee, a revenue-positive tax, or a "cap and trade" system similar to Governor Baker's TCI initiative -- but he or she would have to do so by Jan. 1, 2022, for transportation; Jan. 1, 2025, for commercial, industrial and institutional buildings; and Jan. 1, 2030, for residential buildings.  Throughout, carbon pricing would be implemented so as to minimize the impact on low-income households, disadvantaged communities, and vulnerable manufacturing sectors.
  • Provide first-time legislative direction to the DPU, the state's most important energy agency.  It requires the agency to balance five priorities: reliability of supply, affordability, public safety, physical and cyber security, and, significantly, reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Jumpstart efforts to supply low-cost solar electricity to poor communities.  To reverse the failure in low-income neighborhoods of state programs meant to incentivize solar energy projects -- and to spur job creation -- the bill requires the Department of Energy Resources to set aside future solar allocations for such neighborhoods.
  • Set a deadline for converting T buses to all-electric.  To reduce transportation-related emissions in city neighborhoods, the legislation 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.
  • Let forward-looking cities and towns adopt a "net zero" stretch energy code.  The bill positions the state to support communities that choose on their own to move away from fossil fuels as the source of heating for new buildings.  To get the code done, the bill shifts responsibility for its development from the Board of Building Regulations and Standards, a body beset by internal division, to the Department of Energy Resources.
  • Nudge natural gas utilities to get into a new line of work.  The bill authorizes utilities to test technology and pipelines that generate and transport "renewable thermal energy," an emissions-free way to heat buildings that draws on the relative warmth of temperatures below ground.
The rest of the content is laid out  here on my website.

This is strong, ambitious legislation.  It should give us hope.  Thank you for your encouragement during these months of drafting and re-drafting.
Sen. Mike Barrett

Visit to Lincoln's Middle School 

Should gun-owners carry liability insurance for their firearms, the way drivers do with their cars? The implementation details are tricky but, with legislation I've filed, I'm pushing to get to yes. A brainy team of 8th-graders at Brooks Middle School in  Lincoln, Massachusetts , has taken an interest in the bill, and I met with them today to get their feedback.
REDUCE Rally on Steps of State House   

On the steps of the State House, thrilled to stand with other advocates to push for eliminating styrofoam, single use plastics, and other harmful products from Massachusetts retail. Reduce, reuse, and only than recycle. Don't dote on recycling;  it can be a cover for excessive consumption. Joined by Senator Eldridge, Janet Domenitz of MassPIRG, Ben Hellerstein of Environment MA, John Hite of Conservation Law Foundation, Alex Papali of Clean Water Action, Mary Ann Ashton of League of Women Voters MA and me.