CLIMATE CONTROL BILL VETOED BY GOV. BAKER IS REFILED

By Bob Katzen

Sen. Mike Barrett (D-Cambridge) and Rep. Thomas Golden (D-Lowell) have refiled the climate control bill that was approved by the Legislature but vetoed by Gov. Baker at the end of the 2020 legislative session.

“Today, the House and Senate introduce this legislation as written and passed,” said Senate President Karen Spilka (D-Ashland) and House Speaker Ron Mariano (D-Quincy) in a joint statement. “We are confident that members of the House and Senate will again act with urgency by swiftly sending this bill back to Gov. Baker’s desk.”

The measure had passed the House 145-9 and the Senate 38-2 — margins that are big enough for the Legislature to easily override the veto. But it was too late for that. The 2020 Legislature ended on January 5 so any vetoes made, or amendments proposed, by the governor after that time cannot go back to the Legislature for an override or consideration.

“While I support the bill’s goals and am largely in agreement with many of its proposals, 35 hours was not enough time to review and suggest amendments to such complex legislation,” said Baker in his veto message. “Had this bill been presented to me with more time while the Legislature was still in session, I would have returned it with amendments to address the concerns. Unfortunately, because the Legislature has adjourned, I do not have that option, and therefore, reluctantly, I cannot sign the legislation as currently written.”

“The Massachusetts economy is just beginning to recover from the pandemic downturn caused by the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19,” Baker continued. “As we are all learning what the future will hold, I have concerns about the impacts portions of this bill will have for large sectors of the economy.”

“It’s encouraging to see President Spilka and Speaker Mariano move forward with their commitment to reintroduce last session’s climate bill,” said Ben Hellerstein, State Director for Environment Massachusetts. “I urge legislators to pass this bill and, if necessary, override the governor’s veto by mid-February, so we can move on to other important policies to prevent the worst impacts of climate change. This bill is a step in the right direction, but we’ll need to go a lot further to ensure a safe, healthy future. Here’s hoping 2021 is the year Massachusetts sets its sights on a 100 percent renewable future.”

“We appreciate the leadership of Senate President Spilka and House Speaker Mariano,” said Sen. Mike Barrett (D-Lexington), Senate Chair of the Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy. “As evidenced by their statements over the past weeks, because of them, the odds of ultimate success for this bill are excellent.”

By Bob Katzen

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