Until later in May, the House will be focused on budget issues, digesting the Healey budget, and then hammering out their own. The budget process wraps up in July when the governor gets to exercise her line-item veto on a budget bill worked out by a House/Senate conference committee.
Our budget working group will be testifying on our behalf at upcoming hearings on climate-related funding issues. Down the road, the Legislative Team is looking to do a deep dive into the pros and cons of all the financing/funding options available for state climate programs and other community decarbonization efforts.
Our team will have its recommendations for ECA Mass policy and legislative priorities ready when committee hearings begin later next month and will present priorities beginning at the May chapter meeting. Among those priorities: decarbonizing residential and large buildings; establishing a climate bank; electrifying trains, buses, and vehicle fleets; protecting our forests; and fixing the grid.
In the meantime, team members have been busy connecting with key legislators and their staff, our allies, and Healey administration leaders at meetings with climate chief Melissa Hoffer, the new climate legislative caucus and the Roadmap Coalition. At a recent Legislative Team meeting, Senator Creem’s climate staffer Garrett Casey talked about climate bills the senator is sponsoring on promoting low-carbon construction materials, assuring that new buildings are all electric, municipal reforestation, and climate resilience.
Representative Meschino reviewed her priorities (climate bank, electrification of school buses and vehicle fleets, building decarbonization, solar for low-income residents) with the Roadmap Coalition, which includes many of our allies. The coalition originally came together to support Meschino’s Roadmap bill and will continue to meet regularly.
Our team members produced a presentation on the Massachusetts legislative process that was previewed at a recent ECA Mass new members meeting. One message is that getting impactful climate legislation passed can be fun. However, it can also be frustrating if you don’t know the milestones, the hurdles, and the pitfalls.
The NYU master students we are sponsoring in their capstone project have completed interviews with Massachusetts legislators and climate movement leaders and will present their findings on Thursday, May 4 at 6 PM (see Zoom link and report outline here). All are welcome. Come hear what some up-and-coming advocacy experts have to tell us about improving our advocacy efforts.
Jeff Clark and Roger Luckmann