Summary – Petition S (Radiation Limits 2023)

Besides our simple summaries on our handouts, the Massachusetts attorney general’s office is required to create summaries for initiative petitions that are concise and accurate, though not necessarily detailed.

The following is the attorney general’s summary of petition S, which is online in full form here, for which we are gathering signatures – emphasis has been added in bold along with the sections in brackets []:

SUMMARY OF PETITION S (Topic: Radiation Limits)

This proposed law would establish new requirements for private corporations and governmental agencies to reduce and mitigate the effects of certain electromagnetic radiation.

The proposed law would require technology companies, including internet and personal wireless services providers and electronic product manufacturers, to limit electromagnetic field exposures to the minimum required for access to their services and operation of their devices. This limit would apply to new products, services, and installations and, where compatible, to service and product upgrades and software updates. The proposed law directs the Attorney General to enforce compliance. These limits must be implemented by two months, one year, or one year and three months, as further specified in the proposed law. [See section 1, page 1, here]

The proposed law would require carriers, personal wireless services, wireless facilities, and any corporation offering internet and telecommunications access to limit electromagnetic field exposures to the minimum required for operation of services. The proposed law directs the Attorney General to enforce compliance. [See section 8 on page 20]

The proposed law would require the Department of Telecommunications and Cable (DTC) to monitor and collect data on electromagnetic radiation emitted from wireless facilities [see section 2, page 4], expand the DTC’s policy development authority to include transmission media and technology that best reduces electromagnetic radiation exposures [see section 4, page 5, here], and create a new Division of Communication and Electronic Radiation Monitoring that would collect and share data on electromagnetic radiation from wireless facilities and other technologies [see section 5, page 5]. This would take effect one year from the effective date of the proposed law.

The Department of Public Utilities and utility companies would be required to offer ratepayers non-wireless equipment [see section 14, page 38 – this is modified slightly from Senator Moore’s current bill S.2152 – please tell your legislator to support his bill which has not moved forward since submitted in 2013 or 4 legislative sessions even though considered quite problematic].

The proposed law would establish new requirements for wireless facility operators, including annual radiation testing, certification, and reporting; minimum cash or conventional and environmental pollution insurance coverage; and a ban on the installation of wireless facilities on public higher education and public school campuses, state parks, and state forests, except for basic emergency services at state parks and state forests. Violations of these new requirements would incur civil and criminal penalties. [See section 6 on page 11]

The proposed law would update the mission and board composition of the Massachusetts Broadband Institute (MBI) to prioritize MBI’s pursuit of hard-wired connectivity and expertise in Building Biology and reducing exposure. [See section 14 on page 37 – specifically, the text redirects the MBI to maintain & develop wired infrastructure used for telecommunications and IT; divest from wireless except for emergency services; and to support hard-wired connectivity in public spaces.]

The proposed law would update the Code of Massachusetts Regulations to include Electromagnetic Sensitivity (EMS) as a disease subject to Department of Public Health (DPH) surveillance. DPH would educate health care providers and the public on EMS, including through an EMS disease registry advisory committee within DPH. [See section 6 on page 17 – this section is based on Representative Farley-Bouvier‘s state bill H.2158 – please encourage your legislator to support this bill]

The proposed law would require the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), public schools, public school districts, the Board of Higher Education (BHE), and public or independent institutions of higher education to reduce or eliminate man-made non-ionizing radiation emissions that are known, likely, potentially, unintentionally, or unknown to be harmful. DESE and BHE would develop guidelines and recommendations to reduce or eliminate harmful radiation for their respective stakeholders. [For example see section 11 on page 27, which requires public schools to set objectives within their means to reduce exposures, and see section 13 on page 33, which requires the DESE and BHE to develop recommendations.]

The proposed law would establish a commission to investigate the health and environmental effects of electromagnetic radiation and prohibit further installation of small cells and wireless facilities during the investigation. [See section 10 on page 22]

The proposed law would establish a commission to determine how to minimize non-ionizing radiation exposure for first responders who use wireless technology. [See section 11 on page 25]

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