1) An Act Relative to the Energy Efficiency of Properties. HD 4407 -This legislation will enable cities and towns to acquire funding through bonds to help residents finance two types of improvements in their homes: energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy improvements. After loaning the money out, the municipalities will place a betterment charge on the homeowner?s property taxes. (Adopted as Section 36 in Municipal Relief Bill, July 2010)
The homeowner will get the benefit of low cost financing and pay through a betterment attached to their property taxes. An added benefit if they decide to move the new owner will take over the payments.
The high cost of the initial investment is the primary barrier for people seeking to improve the energy usage of their homes. This bill would put another tool in the tool box of the municipalities to help make Massachusetts less dependent on imported fossil fuels and maintain the affordability of our housing stock.
2) ?An Act Authorizing Contributions by Energy Company Consumers to Fund Municipal Renewable Energy Facilities?HB2851 ?This will amend Section 1D of chapter 164 of the MGL to require that gas and electric companies include a space on their bills for customers to make a voluntary payment for the purchase of municipal renewable energy systems for public buildings and facilities. The funds would be paid to the city or town in which the customer is located. The contributions would be treated as charitable for tax purposes.
3) ?An Act relative to the renewable energy income tax credit.? HB2849? This increases the renewable energy income tax credit to 50% of the cost of a solar system (maximum of $5,000). This bill restores a tax credit the Commonwealth previously had when we had a thriving solar industry in the 1980?s. It will harness the market place to encourage investment in renewable energy installations, something we all agree is necessary to reduce the need to import fossil fuels. Economic studies show that increasing the solar tax credit provides better than $2 in local economic activity for every $1 in tax credits provided by the state. California has had the tax credits for decades and they lead in the installation of renewable energy devices. We currently provide 15% with a $1,000 cap but it is not enough to stimulate investment in solar hot water systems.
4) ?An Act Relative to Promotion of Energy Efficiency through dedication of funds from Oil sales? HB3099 An assessment of $.005 cents (one half cent) per gallon of oil heat fuel sold in Massachusetts in order to establish the Oil Heat Energy Efficiency Program. We need energy efficiency programs for oil heat customers like we have for electric and gas customers. The oil dealers association supports this bill.
5) ?An Act Relative to Energy Planning.? HB3101-This legislation will require that EOEE creates a plan to make all of our constituents? homes 50% more energy efficient in the aggregate over a ten year period. This forces the Commonwealth to think and prepare for the eventual increase in fossil fuels which can come very quickly as we all learned last year. The cost to heat my own home would have jumped from $1,500 annually to over $4,000 annually if the price of oil had stayed at the high it reached in August. Many families would not be able to afford this increase. The Commonwealth should be prepared for that eventuality.
6) ?An Act relative to increasing the aggregate capacity of Net Metering.? HB3103
When the Green Communities Act was passed it created an arbitrary 1% cap on the amount of electricity produced by renewable energy projects. This is an unnecessary obstacle to new renewable resources of energy. We must all agree that the more and the sooner we have renewable energy sources on line the better it will be for the health of our society and the environment. (Revised and adopted as part of the Wind Energy Bill, July 2010)
7) ?An Act Relative to Energy Efficient Vehicles? HB2845-Creates a Clean Car Initiative, establishing a sliding scale sales tax for vehicles, rewarding fuel savers.
8) "An Act relative to decreasing environmental hazards, toxins, and litter" HB798<o:p>
This is a moderate petition that would ban the use of plastic bags by large companies while exempting small stores, those with less than $500K in annual sales. It also exempts bags such as those found in fruit and vegetable aisles and in applications where small loose hardware is sold. It should be workable.
Alternatives to plastic bags include reusable cloth bags and paper bags. Many stores are now selling reusable cloth bags for 50 cents to $1. Some are offering affinity discounts by placing barcodes on the bags that result in a 10¢ discount. It is time to take the next step to protect the environment. Let?s make 2009 the year we stopped using plastic bags.
9) ?An Act relative to Nuclear Reactors; monitoring and surveillance; charges and assessments.? HB3596-Massachusetts is directly impacted by three operating nuclear reactors - Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station located in SE Mass.; Vermont Yankee NPS that directly impacts NW Mass.; and Seabrook NPS that impacts NE Mass. Additionally Yankee Atomic NPS in Rowe Massachusetts is only partially decommissioned and has high level spent fuel on site. Because every corner of the state is potentially impacted by a reactor, and/or the transportation of its fuel and waste, it is imperative that Massachusetts Department of Public Health have sufficient funding for surveillance and monitoring for all nuclear reactors impacting the Commonwealth. Currently funds are not adequate; pertinent legislation (Chapter 111H, Section 5K (E) needs to be amended.
10) ?An Act Relative to Emergency Planning? HB3596-This bill directs Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) to assess the present state of preparedness in Barnstable County in the event of a radiological emergency at Pilgrim Station and to determine the need for, and appropriateness of, any additional specific steps.
A re-assessment of planning is appropriate to determine if public safety is best protected by continuing to simply test food and water for contamination in a nuclear accident or also to include measures to protect the public from exposure to airborne contamination in consideration of: Barnstable County?s proximity to Pilgrim station; the inability of its citizens to evacuate in a timely fashion in the event of a radiological emergency at Pilgrim Station (in a disaster the Sagamore Bridge is closed to out-bound traffic, only a portion of the Bourne Bridge will be open to out-bound traffic); and post 9/11, the threat of a terrorist attack on nuclear reactors.
11) ?An Act relative to automatic sprinklers? HB 2257 -amends Section 26I of chapter 148 of the MGL by adding that inspections on sprinkler systems for new construction of dwellings for residential purposes be inspected once annually by the fire department instead of twice annually.</o:p>
12) "An Act to establish the Massachusetts Health Care Trust" HB 2127- Single Payer Health Care System-This legislation guarantees every Massachusetts resident first class health care coverage by replacing the current patchwork of public and private health care plans with a uniform and comprehensive health plan. It creates a single public entity called the Health Care Trust to replace all the present public and private bureaucracies. <o:p></o:p>
13) ?An Act relative to the Cape Care Community Health Trust? HB 4138 -This is a single payer health care system for Barnstable County. The Trust will guarantee access for every Barnstable County resident to appropriate health care services, will achieve measurable improvements in outcomes, will save money through a single administrative structure and improve satisfaction among both care providers and consumers.
The Trust shall be the payer for all covered services to residents; and public education as indicated and health-risk reduction efforts.
14) ?An Act relative to the assessment of the real property of certain elderly persons? HB2850- ?An Act relative to the assessment of the real property of certain elderly persons? This legislation proposes to allow cities and towns the option to freeze the assessment of the property of residents at the age of 65 or at the time of retirement. To qualify a resident would have to prove primary residency for 5 years or more, or a person who owns the same jointly with a spouse who is 65 years of age or over and who, during the preceding year had a gross income not exceeding 50% of the Commonwealth?s medium income.
15) ?An Act relative to credit cards? HB 284?Proposes to regulate the percentage a credit card company can charge on late payments.
16) ?An Act relative to condominium owner?s interest in common areas? HB1234 -Intent to give associations the ability to ?correct? apparent inequitable designations of units in the last phase of development as compared to the first phase without the necessity of a 100% affirmative vote of all the unit owners.
17) ?An Act relative to the taxation of condominiums? HB2848- Would address a loop hole in the taxation of condominiums. In developments where the first phase of construction consists of only half a dozen units on a hundred-acre tract of land, the land value implicit in the reserved right to build new units may be much greater than the total market value of the units in the first phase. The land value of the development?s rights can escape taxation until the rights are exercised and additional units are created.
18) ?An Act designating a ?No Name Calling Day? HB3013- To designate the 4th Wednesday in January as in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as ?No Name Calling Day?. This day shall be set aside annually to educate the public as to the devastating effects of verbal bullying. Encouraging positive dialogue and pledging not to name call on this designated day reaffirms the commitment of the citizens of the Commonwealth to basic human rights and dignity while respecting differences and promoting tolerance.
19) Woods Hole License Plate HD 4283
This legislation would create a funding source for WHOI.
20) An Act Relative to Bicycle safety HD 4595 this legislation would provide clarification for bicyclists and automobile drivers on crosswalk safety.
It is a spiritually impoverished nation that permits infants and children to be the poorest Americans.-- Marian Wright Edleman