ACTION ALERT - Legislative Special Edition: There's Lots Cooking and We Need Your Help!
Take Action To Clean Up Our Environment and Restore Habitat!
Updated Bottle Bill
In an exciting turn of events last week, the Senate passed the updated bottle bill as part of An Act relative to infrastructure investment, enhanced competitiveness and economic growth in the Commonwealth (SB2366). It was introduced as an amendment by Senator Bob Hedlund (R-Hull), a longtime supporter of the bill. After 14 years, this is the first time the bill has passed in either chamber! Now that the Senate has taken action, it’s the House’s turn.
Since SB2366 was already passed by the House without the bottle bill and other amendments, both the House and Senate versions will now be put before a conference committee, made up of three Representatives and three Senators, to be reconciled into one version.
The Coalition to Update the Bottle Bill is holding a press event at the State House tomorrow. Come show your support!
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
In front of the State House, Beacon Street
See below for how to contact your legislator!
Restoring rivers by removing obsolete, dangerous dams
The Senate also included a provision in An Act relative to infrastructure investment, enhanced competitiveness and economic growth in the Commonwealth (SB2366) which will make it easier to remove old dams, repair failing dams that are still serving a purpose, and restore habitat. A broad-based alliance of organizations representing municipalities, engineers and conservation and environmental organizations has asked that this provision make it to the Governor’s desk for his signature. For more, read our letter.
Did you know that over 80% of the Commonwealth’s 2,892 dams no longer serve their intended purpose and that 1,680 of the 2,892 dams in Massachusetts pose some level of risk to human life and/or property, as well as block fish and other aquatic animals?
Getting the Phosphorous Out
And finally, the House just passed a bill (HB4306) which would greatly restrict the use of phosphorous in fertilizer for non-agricultural uses. The bill must now pass the Senate. The overgrowth of plants and algae, and subsequent lack of dissolved oxygen, caused by too much phosphorous in wetlands is a major issue for aquatic ecosystem health.
The bill would:
- limit the amount of phosphorous going into wetlands and waterways by restricting the use of commercially produced fertilizer for lawns and other non-agricultural uses during the winter and near surface waters or storm drains.
- restrict the use of phosphorus containing fertilizers except for new lawns or on poor soils, which are not common in Massachusetts.
- requires that retailers display signage alerting customers of water quality threat and restrictions, including civil fines.
Senate: Contact your state senator, thank them for passing the Updated Bottle Bill, and urge them to support HB4306, An Act relative to reducing phosphorous runoff by contacting Senate leadership and asking that the bill come to the floor for a vote. This bill has passed the House and needs Senate approval.
House: Contact your state representative and ask them to support the Updated Bottle Bill. You can take action by using this form developed by our partners at the Sierra Club. Ask them to sign onto a statement of support for the bill being circulated by its House sponsors, Representatives Alice Wolf (D-Cambridge), Frank Smizik (D-Brookline) and Jonathan Hecht (D-Watertown). Also ask them to support the dam removal and repair provision in SB2366, also known as the economic development bill, by letting the House members (Reps. Wagner, Dempsey, and Kuros) negotiating the final bill know of their support.
Find out who your legislator is and how to contact them here: www.malegislature.gov/People/FindMyLegislator
Endangered Species Act Update
We’ve all been following closely the effort to gut the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act. At this time, no news is good news. The bill, now HB4208, is still before the House Committee on Ways and Means and with less than two weeks to go in this legislative session, the clock is our friend. For more on this issue, click here and stay tuned.
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About the Beacon Hill Action Alert
The Beacon Hill Action Alert lets you know when specific action is needed on Mass Audubon's legislative priorities. We encourage you to forward this alert to friends, family, and colleagues and to enlist their support.
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Legislative Tool Kit
Stay In Touch
Senators and Representatives need to hear from their constituents! Contact your legislators and share with them the environmental issues that are important to you.
Find out who represents you in the Senate and House.
Senate and House Sessions Go Live
Consistent with the theme that decision-makers act differently when they know they are being watched, Senate and House sessions are now available on live webcast. Tune in to view live web stream broadcastings of the Senate and House and watch as the Massachusetts legislative process unfolds!
Access the text of current legislation, bill histories and Massachusetts General Law by visiting one site. We encourage you to visit The General Court's website frequently as it is an important tool for conservation advocates like you!
How to Lobby
Discover effective ways to convey your environmental interests to your Senator or Representative.
View Mass Audubon’s How to Lobby document, and get started now!
How the Law is Made
Learn about the steps a bill takes before becoming law. You can also use our graphic charts to guide you through the life of a bill, from when it is first filed, to when it is signed into law.
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