2022 Priority Legislation

The Regenerative Farming, Forests and Food Systems Workgroup’s bills, and status as of March 2022

An Act Relative to Forest Protection — Update: still in Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture joint committee (ENRA) awaiting action

H 912  Rep. Michael Finn

  • Would protect the 412,000 acres of lands controlled by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation from being logged, leased, or sold and would designate these lands as “parks” or “reserves.”
    • “Park” — an area designated by the Depart. of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) or Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW) that conserves unique natural and cultural resources while focusing on the provision of recreation.
    • “Reserve — an area designated by DCR or DFW that conserves intact ecosystems that are influenced primarily by natural processes.
  • Would create a “Forest Reserve Scientific Advisory Council” to oversee the designation and management of “forest reserves” and to suggest additional acquisitions to enhance the ecological value of the Forest Reserve Program as a whole.

An Act Relative to Increased Protection of Wildlife Management AreasAn Act Relative to Forest Protection — still in ENRA awaiting action

  H. 1002 Rep. Lindsay Sabadosa

  • Would designate that a minimum of 30% of the Wildlife Management Areas under the jurisdiction of the Mass. Division of Fisheries and Wildlife be preserved as “nature reserves” (Wildlife Management Area Nature Reserves)
  • Would create a “Wildlife Management Area Nature Reserves Council” to be appointed by the secretary of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
  • The Council would identify lands and waters as “nature reserves” that:
    • contain a significant proportion of very large or very old trees
    • build on large blocks of contiguous forest that contain forest interior habitats
    • have a high capacity for ongoing carbon capture and storage
    • contribute to the mitigation of climate change impacts
    • are representative of all ecoregions in the state
  • Further land designations would be made as additional lands are acquired to maintain the minimum of 30% at all times.

Improving Pesticide Protections for Massachusetts Schoolchildren  — Reported favorably out of ENRA

H. 926  Rep. Carmine Gentile

An Act empowering towns and cities to protect residents and the environment from harmful pesticides — Dead

  H. 910 & S.2545  Rep. Dylan Fernandes and Senator Julian Cyr

  • Municipalities would be able to regulate pesticides within the city or town

An Act governing the use of pesticides containing the herbicide substance glyphosate in the Commonwealth — still in ENRA awaiting action

H. 929 & S. 575  Rep. Carmine Gentile and Sen. Jason Lewis

  • Restricts the sale or use of glyphosate to licensed users 

An Act relative to food justice with jobs — still in ENRA committee awaiting action

H.967 & S. 495 Rep. Adrian Madaro and Sen. Joseph Boncore  

  • Would create a “Garden Agriculture Program” to:
    • help residents establish small-scale food gardens
    • localize food production to reduce carbon emissions
    • Increase residents’ access to food with high nutritional value
  • Would create grants to help residents buy materials necessary for gardening
    • would prioritize grant applicants with lower annual household incomes
  • Would prohibit grant recipients from using chemical pesticides
  • Would hire at least one full-time technical assistance expert with experience in organic gardening methods

An Act to prevent biomass energy to protect the air we breathe — H.3333 is still in Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy joint committee (TUE) but the senate bill, S.2197 received a favorable report

H.3333 & S.2197  Reps. Livingstone and Ramos and Sen. Lesser

  • Would prevent eligibility of biomass facilities for the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) and Alternative Portfolio Standard (APS)