Who is a member?
Our members are the local governments of Massachusetts and their elected and appointed leadership.
An omnibus climate bill passed by the Legislature in the final days of the last legislative session and vetoed by Gov. Charlie Baker on Jan. 14 has been re-filed by legislative leaders.
After both the House and the Senate voted to pass the bill on Jan. 4, the governor had 10 days to decide whether to sign or veto it in its entirety. (Since the end of the session dissolves the sitting Legislature, and since the bill in question was not an appropriations or bond bill, the governor could not return it with amendments for consideration or veto sections of it.)
The governor outlined several policy concerns in his veto letter, including that the legislation could inhibit his recently passed priority, the Housing Choice Act, part of an economic development bond law that would facilitate new housing construction across the state.
The governor cited concerns voiced by the construction industry that one provision of the climate bill, to allow municipalities to update their building codes to require net-zero energy usage, would be damaging to housing production goals.
Other areas of contention include a difference between the Legislature’s proposed 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels by 2030 and the administration’s preference for a 45% target.
The governor also highlighted a gap in the area of climate adaptation, which has been a priority for his administration.
“If we intend to comprehensively address climate change, we must give ourselves and our colleagues in local government the tools necessary to create a Commonwealth that is more resilient to the destructive weather events and natural disasters we continue to face because of ongoing climate change,” he wrote.
Even before the governor had announced his decision to veto the climate bill, newly elected House Speaker Ron Mariano and Senate President Karen Spilka announced their intention to jointly re-file the bill as soon as possible should the governor decline to sign it.
“Climate change is the greatest existential threat facing our state, our nation, and our planet,” the leaders stated in a press release, “and so Gov. Baker should sign the climate change bill that is now on his desk. Should he not take this important step, the Senate and House are united in our intention to refile and pass the [House-Senate] conference committee bill in its entirety and get it onto the governor’s desk in the coming days.”
The conference committee’s co-chairs re-filed the bill (S. 9) in the Senate on Jan. 19.