These Bills Passed in July. Why Are They Still in Conference Committee?

In July, the MA House and MA Senate both passed police reform bills (of varying ambition). And the House passed a climate bill (the Senate had done so back in January).

In each case, there are six-member committees of state senators and state representatives ("conference committees") working to come up with a final bill.

So where are they?

The short answer: We don't know.

The long answer: Conference committees are incredibly secretive processes. But the more your legislators hear from you about the need for the strongest bills possible on both fronts, the better the odds are that we will see better final products -- or any final bills at all.

Can you contact your state legislators this weekend with four key asks for each bill?

Climate Bill

  1. Environmental justice language to protect vulnerable and historically marginalized communities that have borne the brunt of pollution and other environmental harms
  2. An accelerated timeline for emissions targets because we are already so far behind
  3. Increased renewable electricity generation because we need to be shifting away from fossil fuels and toward clean, green energy for us to even meet those targets
  4. A clear equity focus in any carbon pricing scheme that comes out of the bill so that the communities most impacted by environmental injustices can benefit from a sustainable transition

Police Reform Bill

  1. Strong reforms to qualified immunity as well as the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act, as in the Senate bill, to ensure that victims of police brutality can have their fair day in court
  2. Breaking up the school-to-prison pipeline by granting schools discretion over whether or not to have school resource officers and ensuring that student information is not being passed on to police or ICE
  3. Reinvestment in communities because strong, thriving communities are the bedrock of any real vision of public safety
  4. Restrictions on the government use of facial surveillance because such tools are notoriously racist and inaccurate and violate basic privacy rights
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