Transparency in the MA Legislature

At our last RDTC meeting on May 22nd, we heard from local SwingLeft activist Alix Smullin on efforts to improve transparency in the MA Legislative process. Climate related legislation in MA has the broad support of both voters and legislators, yet has difficulty getting passed into law. Alix brought to our attention a recent policy brief by the Climate and Development Lab at Brown CSSN Research Report 2021: Who’s Delaying Climate Action in Massachusetts? TwelveFindings .

1:​ Four distinct industry coalitions lobby against environmentalists
2:​ Testimony in legislative committees is nine to one in support of climate action
3:​ On lobbying, clean energy advocates are outspent more than 3.5 to 1
4:​ Renewable energy interest groups stick to narrow industrial interests
5:​ Utilities lobby against solar energy, but support large hydro & wind power
6:​ Utility companies are uniquely successful throughout the legislative process
7:​ AIM (Associated Industries of Mass.) lobbies and speaks against rapid climate action
8:​ The fossil fuel industry lobbies heavily against pipeline rules, divestment, and carbon pricing
9:​ The real estate industry resists residential energy efficiency bills
10:​ Power generators fight hydro and wind supply
11:​ Opponents no longer deny the reality of climate change, but focus on cost and reliability
12:​ Climate action is tightly controlled by State House committees and leadership’

They recommend, ‘far greater transparency on committee and floor votes, better reporting on lobbying and committee inputs, better controls on utilities, and broader engagement by renewable energy companies in climate policy.’

In other legislative districts, local committees have formed to work with their representatives. Some town committees have joined the effort as a committee.

For more information see A Campaign for Rules Reform by Act on Mass. If you have an interest in joining the local effort to improve transparency, please contact Alix.