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Our 2 current petitions are for radiation limits and a fair legislature – we are gathering signatures now to put these on the ballot for voters to decide.
PETITION INITIATIVES FOR MASSACHUSETTS BALLOT
For information about how to sign and file a petition, please go to this page.
What is a petition? Massachusetts voters can place questions on the ballot for voters to decide on legislation, if at least 74,574 MA registered voters correctly sign and file a petition for a law (from September through mid-November).
Why not ask the legislature to pass legislation instead? We haven’t had luck, and have noticed that some proposed bills were rewritten in committees to become even more industry-friendly. We don’t want to wait, as our country seems to becoming more industry controlled and less democratic.
2023 Petition Initiative on Non-Ionizing Radiation Limits (Petition S)
This is our most important petition, as it sets limits on non-ionizing radiation emitted by electronics, wireless antennas, and electricity – even though under the proposed law you would still be able to keep your wireless devices simply because we recognize anything else might not win public support.
The proposal sets limits to reduce exposures, hard-wire public spaces, and monitor exposures. We need limits because experts, including several recently retired U.S. NIEHS leaders, say there is substantial evidence of carcinogenicity (cancer). Scientists also point to a wide range of effects with reproductive and neurological harm demonstrated thoroughly by research. Yet, the FCC has refused to set new, more reasonable limits despite a DC Circuit ruling to do so in 2021 and even though many countries have set limits far below our own. Sadly, the answer isn’t just about lowering power density, but also about regulating the type of exposure and possibly eliminating certain exposures. An official summary of content is here.
2023 Petition Initiative for a Fair Legislature (Petition I)
Massachusetts has a long history of corrupt house leadership under prosecution because the speaker of the house has more power than any other legislator, given that the house has more voting members controlled by the speaker. Because of this, many legislators just vote as the speaker desires, and many bills sponsored by a majority of legislators never come to vote. Bills also come to vote without transparency, bundled in groups or with changes unknown to all but a few.
Currently, state legislators depend on leadership in the Statehouse to get staff, keep their staff, and get bonuses. On top of their salary of about 75K, leadership can give bonuses up to 90K – yes, $90,000. Some legislators get nothing, others get $90,000. Former legislators have complained of being threatened with or losing their staff and bonuses if at odds with what legislative leadership desired. This is not democratic, and this control is ripe for getting backroom deals that favor industry.
Perhaps they have given up, are sick, or have other public hearings, but many legislators don’t attend public hearings. Do public hearings and public opinion even matter? We need a fair legislature for greater transparency, democracy, and less encouragement of corruption.
This petition is not perfect, because it was submitted last minute out of frustration – it is currently better than the existing system but could be better designed for greater support. Such a proposed amendment can be amended by a 3/4 vote of the legislature, and so it is important to also ask and lobby legislators. We are uncertain as to how the legislature might amend such a proposal, if at all. Signatures and publicity do help to get across to the legislature that we are tired of the lack of democracy caused by the top-down legislature.
DELAYED Petition Initiative on Privacy Rights
We are delaying this petition initiative because it needs work and revision.
Why do we want privacy rights? Because data and tech today can be used to predict and profile; nudge and influence; target critics and competition; see into homes; stalk; steal; and feign identities, we need formalized state privacy rights and protections. We can incorporate the best of protections suggested in current state legislation. In addition, we can strengthen protections to prevent requirements to agree to give up data for purchases, online access, or employment.
The data that can be harvested is incredible, and the implications for societal influence shocking. Tech companies are investing in tech to read minds – you can see a video at the World Economic Forum of this tech, which is in use already. Uses include to identify amorous feelings of employees (at 2:03). At 19:07, the presenter suggests people can quit their jobs if they don’t like this. At 21:37, the presenter states undesirable thoughts can be disrupted or prevented with brain wave technology.
This is proposed as a constitutional amendment because the Supreme Court, including newcomers on the right, suggested that it would respect state constitutional rights. However, we’ll look into whether this is necessary, because a law would be speedier.
DONATE online or BY CHECK TO PRIVACY RIGHTS AT LAST TREE LAWS!
Q1. When can I sign in support?
Signature gathering must be from registered Massachusetts voters beginning in the fall through mid-November 2023 and again maybe for a second signature gathering session the following spring 2024.
Check your voter registration or register here! People who have not voted for 4 years or registered in that time get removed from voter lists. Please register to vote by August of this year and follow our campaigns to get details on the future signature drive.
Signature gathering success depends on state certification of the petition, thousands of signatures, delivery of official forms to town clerks by deadline, and delivery of enough certified signatures to the secretary of state. We need your support!
Q2. Have these petitions been certified by the state?
In 2023, our petition for a fair legislature was approved.
In 2022 our privacy petition was approved but we delayed because we believe it needed revision.
In 2022, a radiation limits submission was not approved and we were given specific advice on a small amount of corrections and advised that we could increase the scope. In 2023 we resubmitted and the new analysis suggested the scope was too large. The industry had complained extensively during the process, suggesting that very little could be included in a petition as the industry would be okay, apparently, with some kind of ambiguous reducing of exposures, but not much else. Though it is unclear what exact parts are considered too much, the response and process reduces chance of getting policy changes that protect people quickly and simultaneously makes it harder to submit a petition again that has been revised as it is not clear where the dividing line might be. You can read the analysis here. In order to argue before the Supreme Court, we need to gather enough signatures to file for certification and so we are gathering signatures for this petition along with the petition for a fair legislature.
Q3. How can I help?
We need money, expertise, and volunteers – even would greatly appreciate if you sent a letter to the editor. We’re updating the site, preparing handouts, getting voting lists, etc. We have a lot to do and could use help. We’ve done a lot without money, other than our own limited funds, but at some point we need donations to access skills we don’t have.
Q4. Why not get the state legislature to pass this legislation?
We need to convince the state legislature to support any petition initiative which is successful and only amend laws positively. Please join our email list at the top of the page to help us convince the state legislature to do so.
We and others have lobbied the legislature on these topics. To the present, useful legislation has failed to come to vote. Legislators may express support but any bills that have moved forward have allowed industry to continue with harm. Some legislators have expressed support while putting forward bills that do the opposite. A related problem is that house representatives have had uneven staff support and uneven or little time to research and consider bills, and at the end of each legislative session bills are usually brought to vote in large blocks rather than in timely way with votes on individual topics. The Speaker of the House, Ron Mariano, has great influence over the legislature but has not shown interest. The Speaker Mariano’s district is in 3rd Norfolk, including the Quincy, Weymouth, and Holbrook — we’d love to have voters from those areas engage in lobbying the Speaker of the House.
Q5. Are you submitting these petitions to the state legislature?
These petitions will be submitted if there are enough signatures. The legislature is given the chance to vote on any initiative petition that is successful.
Petitions for a law are voted upon by the legislature shortly after enough signatures are gathered, before the first Wednesday in May, and if approved becomes law and if not, is placed on the ballot for voters to decide.
Petitions for a constitutional amendment are placed on the ballot for voters to decide provided that in 2 legislative sessions the petition comes to a vote and wins the support of at least 25% (50) of the 200 legislators.
Q6. Why two petitions?
We will bundle them for signatures. Radiation limits was chosen first because of concerns over health impacts, because if we lose our health we struggle to do anything at all. A fair legislature was chosen next as a better, more transparent legislature might be more attentive to the public and pass many laws on many subjects that benefit the people, including laws on privacy, neurorights, health insurance, etc.
Q7. How can I help?
We welcome all kinds of help – contact us if you can. We are looking for staff who can volunteer, including for fundraising, software management, website security, taxes, other legal, etc. – you name it. We do not know if or when we can pay anyone — this will depend on finances and expertise. Of course we also need donations, we already owe.
We’d love help lobbying and educating the state legislature. Please join our email list at the top of this web page as well, for updates and requests for help.