Sen. Brownsberger Hosts Discussion on the Future of Energy, Environmental Policy

The following announcement was provided by Sen. Will Brownsberger’s office:

Senator Will Brownsberger will host – alongside Senator Michael Barrett (D-Lexington), Transportation for Massachusetts‘ Executive Director Chris Dempsey, and the Environmental League of Massachusetts‘ Legislative Director Casey Bowers – a town hall discussion on the future of energy and environmental policy in Massachusetts. WHEN: Saturday, Dec. 8 from 2:30-4:30 p.m.

WHERE: Watertown Free Public Library, 123 Main St., Watertown, MA

This event is open to the public and all are encouraged to attend to learn more and ask questions. For more information, contact Quinn Diaz at 617-722-1280 or quinn.diaz@masenate.gov

OP-ED: Changes to Traffic Signal Timing Will Make Mt. Auburn St. Bus Lanes Work Better

The following piece was provided by State Sen. Will Brownsberger (D – Belmont) who represents Watertown:

Thousands of commuters on Mount Auburn Street and on Fresh Pond Parkway had a very rough ten days starting on Monday, November 5. That is the day that a contractor swapped in a new controller for the traffic signals and failed to properly program it. The new Siemens 60 signal controller is so sophisticated that only a few engineers have the expertise to properly program it. Commuters endured ten days of bad timing until the right specialist was able to get it working as intended. As of Thursday, Nov.

Sen. Brownsberger Seeks Residents to Apply for Citizens’ Legislative Seminar

The following announcement came from Sen. Will Brownsberger’s office:

Senator Will Brownsberger announced that he is seeking nominees to participate in the 81st Citizens’ Legislative Seminar (CLS) to be held Oct. 23 and Oct. 24 at the Massachusetts State House in Boston. CLS is a semi-annual educational seminar geared towards adults of all ages interested in learning more about state government and the legislative process. Established in 1976 through a collaborative effort of the Massachusetts Senate and the University of Massachusetts, Boston, the two-day seminar features engaging presentations by Senators and staff on aspects of the day-to-day experience of legislators in the Commonwealth.

OP-ED: State Senator’s Long Effort to Pass Non-Compete Agreement Reform Comes to Fruition

The following piece was provided by State. Sen. Will Brownsberger, D — Belmont, who represents Watertown:

Ten years ago, a friend in Belmont told me how her career had been derailed by an unfair contract.  She asked for a legislative remedy — not for herself, but to protect others. I agreed to work with her. The project became a central focus for me across five sessions of the legislature. Finally, last week, the Governor signed legislation limiting the use of “non-competition agreements.” The legislation is not the complete remedy she sought 10 years ago, but it is a big step forward.

OP-ED: End of Session Crunch in the State Legislature

State Sen. Will Brownsberger (D – Belmont) who also represents Watertown and parts of Boston, provided the following piece:

It has already been a productive legislative session, but negotiations underway have the potential to make it especially significant. In April, we enacted  a transformational set of criminal justice reforms. Last month, we settled a major package to reduce economic inequality — raising the minimum wage, providing paid family and medical leave and also resolving a dispute over the sales tax. Several measures that have significant resonance in the current national political climate have crossed or should shortly hit the Governor’s desk: Extreme risk protective orders to reduce the risk of gun suicides, automatic voter registration and the repeal of archaic anti-abortion laws. Another measure that resonates nationally is still up in the air — “safe communities” legislation that would assure that local police focus on maintaining order and protecting residents rather than doing the immigration enforcement work of ICE. The safe communities measure is pending as part of the state’s budget for fiscal 2019which is now a couple of weeks late.

OP-ED: State Sen. Brownsberger Pushing to Make Roads Safer for Bicyclists

(The following piece was provided by State Sen. Will Brownsberger (D – Belmont) who also represents Watertown and parts of Boston)
When I cycled across the country in 2011, I saw a lot of roadkill. I was constantly aware that all it would take was one mistake by me or by one of those caffeinated guys in big rigs and I’d look about the same. On the open road, I developed a profound gratitude towards the tens of thousands of drivers who did not hit me. The Senate just approved a safety package that would require a clearance of at least three feet for vehicles passing vulnerable road users like highway workers, cyclists and pedestrians.  It would add an additional foot of required clearance for each ten miles per hour of speed.

OP-ED: Mass. Senate Passes Act to Reduce Pedestrian/Bicycle Fatalities

State Sen. Will Brownsberger released the following piece on legislation, of which he was the lead sponsor, to increase bicycle and pedestrian safety:

The Massachusetts State Senate voted Thursday, July 28, 2018 to pass legislation that aims to create safer streets for all road users. Developed in collaboration with a coalition of bicycle, pedestrian and transportation advocates, S.2570, An Act to reduce traffic fatalities, includes several measures to improve road safety, lessen the severity of crashes, and standardize the collection and analysis of crash data. The bill classifies several groups, including pedestrians, utility workers, first responders and cyclists, as “vulnerable road users,” and requires motor vehicles to apply a “safe passing distance” of at least three feet when traveling 30 miles per hour or less with an additional foot of clearance required for every 10 miles per hour over 30 miles per hour. Current law only requires motor vehicle operators to pass at “a safe distance and at a reasonable and proper speed.” The bill would further require a vehicle that is overtaking a vulnerable road user to use all or part of the adjacent lane, crossing the center line if necessary, when it cannot pass at a safe distance in the same lane and only when it is safe to do so. “We need to keep working year after year to achieve a future in which traffic fatalities get as close as possible to zero,” said Senator William N. Brownsberger (D-Belmont), lead sponsor of the bill in the Senate.

OP-ED: State Senate Passes Energy Bill Aimed at Addressing Climate Change

{The following piece was provided by State Sen. Will Brownsberger (D – Belmont) who also represents Watertown}

After a long day of debate, the Senate passed the Barrett-Pacheco omnibus energy bill on Thursday — significant legislation to continue movement in Massachusetts towards a cleaner energy future. Addressing climate change is a core priority for me and I am glad to move this legislation forward. The next step will be action by the House of Representatives.   After that, the branches will need to reconcile their differences and get the bill to the Governor’s desk.  We should expect the bill to continue to evolve. As mentioned in a previous post, I am most enthusiastic about the provisions that will lead to carbon pricing in the transportation sector. A summary of the major provisions appears below, excerpted from the Senate press release on the bill:

Increasing the percentage of Class I renewable energy that must be purchased by retail electric suppliers under the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard from an additional 1% annually to an additional 3% annually. Requiring the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs to establish market-based compliance mechanisms to maximize the ability of the Commonwealth to achieve its greenhouse gas emission limits for: (i) the transportation sector not later than December 31, 2020; (ii) the commercial and industrial building sectors not later than December 31, 2021; and (iii) the residential building sector not later than December 31, 2022.