Activists clamor for Baker to sign climate bill

  • Gov. Charlie Baker AP FILE PHOTO/STEVEN SENNE

State House News Service
Published: 7/26/2022 3:44:42 PM

With five days remaining for Gov. Charlie Baker to act on a major climate and energy bill that hit his desk late last week, advocates lobbied for the governor’s signature on the front steps of the State House on Tuesday morning, and some speakers tied their pitch to the heatwave that hit the Bay State in recent days.

“We know that our weather is getting hotter, we know we are facing devastating heatwaves with greater frequency and greater severity,” Environment Massachusetts State Director Ben Hellerstein said. “Now is the time for us to act on climate. And right now, the ball is in Gov. Baker’s court.”

Sen. Becca Rausch and Rep. Tommy Vitolo joined the group on the steps, and Rausch said state-level climate action was necessary “as we are seeing the Supreme Court roll back the federal government’s powers to regulate in this space.”

The advocates lauded aspects of the bill (H 5060), like provisions that would require reporting of energy usage by buildings larger than 20,000 square feet and require that all new vehicles sold in Massachusetts be zero-emissions models by 2035.

The governor can act on the bill up until 11:59 p.m. Sunday, the final day of the Legislature’s formal sessions for this term.

If Baker sends it back with an amendment or veto toward the end of that window, it would leave lawmakers with a razor-thin timeline to respond to his action.

MASSPIRG Executive Director Janet Domenitz pointed to Baker’s five or so months remaining in the corner office and suggested his limited time left as governor could factor into his decision.

“And he must be thinking — at the risk of sounding like I can see into his mind — he must be thinking about the legacy he’s going to leave behind,” Domenitz said. “And signing this bill would be hugely important and powerful for the future of Massachusetts.”


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