Advance Equity in Agriculture
S.502, An Act promoting equity in agriculture
While we know people of color are significantly underrepresented among our farmers, we do not have good data to see who is receiving state grants for agriculture. The state has an obligation to act to address inequities. My bill establishes a Commission on Agricultural Equity to develop recommendations for supporting racially equitable investments, policies, and practices to promote equity in agriculture in the commonwealth.
Encourage Food Donations
S.954, An Act encouraging the donation of food to persons in need
COVID-19 has caused food insecurity levels to spike in a region where food insecurity was already high. Unfortunately, around 900,000 tons of food ends up in landfills every year in Massachusetts. My bill facilitates the donation of food by extending liability protection in existing law to allow for direct donations of food from individuals or organizations, and allows for a tax credit of up to $2,000 for the donation of food to non-profit organizations.
Make all Schools Healthy and Green
S.1382, An Act for Healthy and Green Public Schools
Long before COVID, we knew that too many students were forced to spend their days in substandard school buildings that were unhealthy places to learn. The pandemic has made this problem a visible crisis. My bill directs the state to set standards for healthy and green schools that provide students a healthy environment that is conducive to learning while efficiently using energy and resources, and a plan to equitably meet these standards for all schools by 2050.
Limit Toxic PFAS Chemicals in our Homes
S.1387, An Act restricting toxic PFAS chemicals in consumer products to protect our health
PFAS chemicals build up in our bodies and never break down in the environment. Very small doses of PFAS have been linked to cancer, reproductive and immune system harm, and other diseases. New evidence suggests PFAS increases the severity of COVID infections and weakens the ability of the vaccine to protect people. PFAS is present in scores of products we use every day, exposing us to serious risk of harm. My bill bans the sale of a number of common sources of PFAS, including child car seats, cosmetics, cookware, upholstered furniture, fabric treatments, rugs, and carpets if they contain PFAS.
Support Our Farmers
S.1822, An Act An Act Supporting the Commonwealth’s Farmers
Farms and farmers underpin our economy, our region is the breadbasket of the Commonwealth, and yet many farmers are not turning a profit but instead are struggling just to stay in business. My bill makes a number of reforms to state law to support farmers, including setting up a program to train new farmers, allowing small parcels of non-contiguous farmland that are part of the same farming operation to be taxed as a single farm, including farm stands as part of agricultural land for tax purposes, and other provisions to help farmers stay profitable.
Protect Ratepayers from Utility Rate Hikes
S.2143, An Act protecting consumers from unreasonable utility rate increases
Current rules allow utilities in Massachusetts to make higher profits off of consumers than utilities in other states. My bill protects electricity and gas consumers by eliminating automatic annual rate hikes and limiting the return on equity that utilities can earn to no more than the average of neighboring states.
Modernize Our Energy Grid to Allow a Green Energy Economy
S.2144, An Act promoting local energy investment and infrastructure modernization
We must proactively plan for phasing-out fossil fuels over the coming decades. To meet our carbon reduction targets, the electric grid must undergo significant upgrades. My bill requires natural gas companies to submit Fossil Fuel Phase-Out and Electrification plans that describe how the company will phase out natural gas service and replace that service with electric alternatives. The bill will improve interconnection processes for local renewables, promote local energy generation, create additional energy storage, and transition our grid to support a green energy economy.
Expand Solar Energy
S.2145, An Act expanding equitable access for solar energy net metering
Renewable solar energy is an important step in reducing greenhouse gas pollution, but restrictive rules prevent the use of rooftop solar panels where there is more than one structure on a single property. For example, only one condo owner in a development can install solar panels. My bill removes a current restriction on rooftop solar panels by permitting multiple solar installations on a single tax parcel when the land is used for municipal buildings, low-income housing, or separate buildings on a single parcel.
Allow Municipalities to Regulate Solar Siting
S.2596, An Act allowing municipalities to reasonably regulate solar siting
The law regulating the siting of ground-mounted solar panels was written in the 1970s, before governments were incentivizing renewable energy like they are today. Expanding the use of solar and other renewable energy sources is critical to fighting climate change. Today solar is being deployed widely throughout Massachusetts, but the law does not permit municipalities to regulate the siting of solar, except “where necessary to protect the public health, safety or welfare.” This bill updates local solar siting authority by allowing municipalities to regulate the siting of non-residential solar systems for purposes of preserving forested lands, wetlands, lands in agricultural use or to ensure compatibility with municipal zoning.