Lemmings for Bad Bills

Lemmings for Bad Bills

By Kirstin Beatty on 10 May 2020

~ Updated 21 July 2021; Feb, July 2022

 

Please be careful and pay attention to what you support or sign. Don’t be a lemming!

I’ve noticed problematic non-ionizing radiation bills being promoted as solutions. Please take a look at the legislative analysis on Last Tree Laws (blog posts, action pages) to get a full sense of the situation before sending testimony, as you may accidentally be supporting the lesser of two evils instead of better or more ideas.

I can only guess why problem bills are promoted, but human nature is inclined to make mistakes for better or worse. I take time to review and consider existing bills, a job few do. I do it because it fits my abilities and matters so much, so please take the time to review what gets posted here (and seems to be copied without credit: down with plagiarism).

When I prepare testimony for others to sign, I make very clear what the testimony supports in fairness to signatories and legislators.

I’m hoping the promotion of problem bills will stop, but here’s the back story.

In 2015 through my legislators I first submitted non-ionizing radiation regulation legislation. I kept going, improving each session, but one or two other advocates dismissed my work, influencing others, despite changing, weak reasons.

To me, presenting a demand for effective change to legislators is fundamental to democracy. With or without passage of a bill, we need to support the best and oppose the worst ideas within any bills. This shows sincerity, that we believe that non-ionizing radiation enough of a threat to risk setting aside convention, fame, finances, power and so on in favor of unconventional truths.

To me, our demands should reflect the weight of our concerns.

Yet, as time passed, I noticed bills I didn’t like were being promoted without any cautions or warnings.

In 2019 through 2020 I saw my bill H. 587, to require school policies to limit wireless exposures, was not being given the same or greater weight as H. 1874, which encouraged wireless installation in concert with ‘best practices’ for safer use, with those practices decided, after a delayed study, by conflicted MA state education officials. At the very least, both bills could have been equally promoted by other advocates, but far better to promote H. 587 to avoid suggesting wireless could be safe.

In early 2019 I was shocked to see H. 383 promoted in a listing of bills to support online. I’d already recognized this bill as an industry bill. Legislators barely have time to examine or alter bills, and to support these bills or support them without caveat is a disaster. H. 383 is in fact to directly promote 5G – how could this help without a miracle?

By focusing support on problem bills, we waste our efforts on fixing those bills as legislators rarely have the staff and time to do so, especially given the number of bills to review, and we risk that any amendments fail. I’ve given time to this, but shouldn’t do so anymore.

Instead of supporting problem bills, bills such as to hard-wire buildings (H. 112 in 2021-2022) should get full support, especially as this could move forward even without alluding to the health aspects.

There are a few more bills, but I’m going to stop right here and leave below the old notes on some relevant bills that I’ve opposed.

H. 383 for a 5G Task Force > now H. 124 in 2021-2022

    • This bill is to create ‘equity’ in 5G development – this is a misleading objective, equity, because:
      • 5G is an injustice to our health
      • Big business would have a big seat at the table
      • Municipalities & residents are fighting to stop 5G and failing because the industry, supported by the FCC, has too much weight.
  • S. 129 Resolution for Radiofrequency Disclosure > now S. 186 (2021-2)
  • Note: For 2022, if this bill advances, I have suggested there be a detailed amendment to prevent conflicts of interest, but need a senator or representative willing to do put forward the amendment. I sought to speak with Senator Cyr in advance but could not do so.
  • Suspicious minds: This bill was put forward by Senator Cyr but was in fact developed by someone hired by a committee who changed Senator Cyr’s original bill.
  • This post discusses more issues with commissions, such as years of delay on action, and, if pushed forward, potential solutions and a tentative draft for an alternative bill (with a section on conflicts of interest).
    • This bill S. 129 was for a commission to study impact of wireless harm, but looked like planning for industry bailout – of 11 members:
      • Governor Baker, with a dark money rap, controlled all appointments.
      • 3 members depended on the wireless industry
      • 4 members were directly beholden to Baker, of which:
        • 2 work closely with IT and telecommunications
        • 1 works closely with business
        • 1 denied release of a fact sheet on reducing exposures created with the Massachusetts public health department
      • Of the remaining 4, nothing prevents conflicts of interest and every position could be filled by industry hacks
        • 2 positions as written could be filled by locally-known industry hacks: the scientist and the “environmental” lawyer
      • The first item of business for the commission is to examine how the industry may be financially impacted if wireless is harmful!
      • In 2022, if S. 186 advances, who the governor will be to appoint is still an open question, as is the ability of the new governor make good appointments on this issue.

Some of the bills submitted to the Massachusetts legislature on wireless may look good on the surface, but the devil is in the details as noted. The same can be true for requests for testimony – you must be sure to know what the bill actually represents before signing.

In addition to the above bills, here are examples of  2019-2020 Massachusetts bills that need a little work to meet public needs:

      • The Best Management Practices bill H. 1874 > Now H. 115
        • For 2021, a constituent and I contacted Representative Dykema and discussed all the issues below and she did not want to change the install wireless phrasing, and in fact nearly did not submit the bill as she did not have the interest. Yet, advocates pushed for this bill in previous sessions and in 2021-2022, advocating even for sponsors for this bill instead of other bills to hard wire. Dykema has several sponsors for this bill, but an actual bill to hard wire, H. 105, has only Rep. Patricia Duffy and I as sponsors. I find this a mistake on the part of advocates who apparently don’t understand that Rep. Patricia Duffy is willing to do more and deserves support.
        • This bill was marketed in 2019-2020 as a solution for harm from school wireless, but phrasing was to install wireless and use “best practices” – in 2021-2022, the bill was then marketed as an investigative commission.
          • In real life, asking individual teachers and students to turn wireless on and off is impractical, and being near a router to turn off the router is a higher exposure that needs to be avoided as well.
          • The education department under Governor Baker has been closely tied to technology interests and may not be the best for developing “best practices.” There is no telling who the next governor will be, and at this point no one has championed this issue despite most being informed.
          • This bill offers a small step of consideration but needs improvement to prevent promotion of wireless – in the 2019-2020 session, H. 587 did better at effecting changes – but with tweaks, both might work well together.
          • In the previous  2017-18 session, Dr. Devra Davis offered support for the best management bill and my bill criminalizing wireless.
      • The Commission to Study Power Frequencies bill 1956 > Now H. 2351
        • 2021 – As a sign that legislators do not read emails, this bill has been regularly submitted each legislative session without any changes to the criticisms below. Before this session, I asked a constituent who knew Representative Linsky to catch him and discuss these issues, as well as sponsor bills, but have the sense that never happened as there are not any changes or sponsorships. True, this session the time frame for sponsorships was odd due to Covid19 but it is disappointing.
        • Independence of the commission needs to be examined as the American Cancer Society is known to have serious conflicts of interest. The Environmental League of Massachusetts is also of concern due to working closely with a corporate council and other reasons (see the MA legislation page).

I’ve heard advocacy for the above problem bills without any discrimination, despite my critiques or warnings.

Better bills have been highlights on the page for MA legislation. Some examples I prepared in MA for 2019-2020 include:

        • S. 294  An Act Limiting School Screen Time – to allow schools to opt out of mandated technology use in every classroom;
        • S. 295 and H. 588 – bills which protect student and staff privacy and support a more thorough education about technology risks.
        • S. 1271 – Educating patients on environmental health risks – initially conceived in 2015 and submitted then as SD. 2256.
        • A bill to require release of a fact sheet on wireless and other electromagnetic radiation – that flew under the radar . . .
        • Etc. . . .

 

2 Replies to “Lemmings for Bad Bills”

  1. Well said, Kirstin! Very important what you wrote here! People, especially our legislators,need to pay attention to what you are saying here.

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