MA Legislation

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LEGISLATIVE LINKS

COSPONSORSHIP DEADLINES EXTENDED!

Cosponsorship deadlines have been extended — please contact state senators and house representatives to support the below bills! Cosponsorship counts!

UPDATED LIST OF BILLS TO SUPPORT

Please see this blog posting on bills to support for 2021-2022.

2021-2022 BILLS PROPOSED

Listing below has not been updated yet!

Summary: The bill requires hard-wiring broadband services and reducing non-ionizng radiation in higher education and public schools. Departments or boards from early to higher education are to create guidelines and require those easy and cheap to do, setting reasonable deadlines for all other recommendations. Contact: Rep. Duffy can be contacted to support as a cosponsor.

History: Previous iterations of a bill to restrict school exposures have been put forward by resident and co-chair Kirstin Beatty and by Rep. Carolyn Dykema. Rep. Dykema's bills have proposed the education departments to examine how to best use wireless, while Kirstin's have sought to eliminate wireless. Questions remain as to whether wireless can be used safely, and it would be difficult for schools to enact a variety of practices to reduce existing wireless exposures. Our preferred bill is listed above, but we are weighing whether to support Rep. Dykema's bill.

An Act relative to smart meters - SD. 163 - This bill is meant to allow individuals to opt out of a wireless smart meter at no cost. This is a very good bill, although it does not address apartment dwellers who may have 20 or more smart meters on one wall. Contact: Senator Michael Moore to sign up in support.

History: This bill was written by concerned Worcester residents together with Senator Michael Moore - this bill has been presented in several sessions, each time gathering more support and cosponsors.

Wireless_Medical_Education_2021_14Feb (Updated 15 Feb)

Summary: This bill provides that doctors, nurses, and practical nurse are trained regarding health impacts of wireless & certain kinds of electricity, and that insurance covers patient education on the same. Patients with leukemia & lymphoma are given extra help to reduce harmful exposures. This bill requires that nursing homes and medical providers work towards reducing such exposures. Nutritional therapy is to adopted. Contact: Rep. Pat Duffy can be contacted by your state legislator to sign up in support.

SD. 1001 - Senator John Keenan is putting forward a bill to require railroad antennas have local zoning approval BUT ONLY for Quincy, Braintree, Abington, and Rockland.

History - it did not pass last year, a sign of an intractable legislature.

This bill is nearly finished - it is a revision of the radiation control department chapter to assist with registering, monitoring, and mapping cell towers.

    • A version of a bill written by resident Kirstin Beatty is posted online here.

Summary: This bill is not finished & needs a major overhaul, so may be tossed. The bill was written to try to provide a commission that included nominations from a wide range of stakeholders and reduced conflicts of interest.

History: Investigation bills have been put forward in different shapes for several sessions, including at one time a ballot measure for the same. Senator Julian Cyr, Senate President Karen Spilka (before president), and Last Tree Laws co-chair Kirstin Beatty have put forward bills. Representative Linsky has routinely put forward a bill to investigate health impacts of power lines and fields from electricity, due to a rash of related cancer outbreaks - his bill, however, invites some organizations with conflicts of interest such as the American Cancer Society.

PrivacySchoolsMA_2021_Feb15

An Act regulating privacy and technology in education

Summary: This bill focuses on privacy protections in PreK-12 and higher education. Institutions are take steps to protect privacy, such as set data processing agreements with providers and using less tech when not necessary. Contact: Ask your legislator to contact Rep. Patricia Duffy by 16 February to sign on in support.

History: Many legislators have put forward various bills to protect privacy. This particular bill is written by resident and co-chair Kirstin Beatty. There was no template for the bill, but take some suggestions from a report by the Dutch Data Protection Authority regarding online voice and video calls and proctoring.

ScreenTimeCellPhoneLimits_2021_Feb14

Summary: This bill allows school communities to set screen time limits, and sets limits on screen time in early education. The bill requires that Massachusetts state standards remove mandates for screen time from PreK on up, unless specific to the subject. Contact: Ask your legislator to contact Rep. Pat Duffy to sign up in support of this bill.

SECTION 1. The legislature finds and declares all of the following:--

Whereas, insuring schools or school districts set a school screen time and cellphone limit requires that the community engages and agrees upon what those limits should be.

Whereas, the Journal of the American Medical Association published a 2019 study that found high levels of screen time reduces structural integrity in key brain areas responsible for literacy and language.

Whereas, the Massachusetts education standards mandate screen time, For example, writing standards in Pre-K require students “use [digital tools (e.g. computers, mobile phones, cameras)] to convey messages in pictures and in words” and in Grade 1 require students “explore a variety of digital tools” for writing and publishing and in educational writing standards encourage students in and from Grade 3 to gather information from digital sources.

Whereas, information technology captures data for profiling, predictive analytics, and crime, and addictive persuasive design influences thoughts and behavior.

Whereas, the content of corporate programs has often been found to reflect corporate interests, be generic, and lack currency or individualization, yet EdTech is outside teacher and local control.

Whereas, integrating software learning into every subject takes time away from other subjects – software requires far too much time and energy to evaluate, regulate, learn, fix and maintain.

Whereas, an hour of videoconferencing or streaming requires 2-12 liters of water, land area about the size of an iPad mini, emits 150-1,000 grams of carbon dioxide, when a gallon of gasoline car exhaust emits about 8,887 grams), requires 2-12 liters of water and demands a land area adding up to about the size of an iPad Mini (Obringer et al, 2021).

Whereas, mandates for screen time prevent alternative learning models that may be locally preferred, such as Montessori, Waldorf, or outdoor learning models.

Whereas, extended screen time is widely acknowledged as harmful to health due to time sitting, staring, blue light exposure, magnetic fields, and lack of movement.

SECTION 2. Chapter 69 of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding the following section:-

(a) Definitions. As used in this section, the following words shall have the following meanings:

“Board'' is the board of elementary and secondary education.

''Commissioner'' is the commissioner of elementary and secondary education.

“Confidential data” is data collected on students or staff and which includes:
(1) standard identifying information:
i. names of staff and students
ii. dates of birth
iii. addresses
iv. grades
v. medical information
vi. exam results
vii. staff development reviews
viii. assessments
ix. other personal identifying information
(2) identifying data such as location-tracking, photographs, and biometric data, which includes unique biological or behavioral identifiers such but not limited to voice audio, fingerprints, gait recognition, and keystroke dynamics.
(3) personal writings or other personal work such as art
(4) political views
(5) socioeconomic data
(6) disciplinary data
(7) similar data or information on other individuals that are not students or staff, but may be referenced in or extracted from student and staff data.
(8) observed and inferred data from the data provided

"Department" is the department of elementary and secondary education.

“Screen time” is time viewing a technological or digital screen which includes but is not limited to a television, a smart board, projector, or computer.

“Passive screen time” is time viewing a technological or digital screen in which one only observes and does not interact or alter the screen by typing or otherwise moving the body.

“Interactive screen time” is time viewing and interacting with or altering a technological or digital screen by typing or otherwise moving the body.

“Virtual reality” is an interactive screen time experience taking place in a simulated visual environment, either real or imagined, and may incorporate auditory and sensory feedback. Augmented reality systems is a type of virtual reality in which perception of the real world is augmented by computer-generated perceptual information such as visual, auditory, haptic, somatosensory, and olfactory.

“Authority” is the authority legally invested with setting policy for a public charter school, virtual school, or, in the case of a school district, the elected school committee.

(b) School screen time limits. Each public school authority shall set and publish a limit on school screen time and cellphone use, setting limits for both interactive screen time and passive screen time with input from the local community, school staff, students, and guardians. A baseline for school screen time and cellphone limits is provided in subsection (e), which shall apply unless the authority adopts more stringent or liberal limits. The authority must base its school screen time limits on the principles defined in subsection (c) and must follow a public commenting process as defined in subsection (d) for an initial and ensuing annual review. Except as defined in subsection (f), any other revisions to existing school screen time limits also require a public hearing.

Except as defined in this subsection and subsection (f), it shall be unlawful for any school or teaching staff to allow a student enrolled in either public primary or secondary schools in the Commonwealth to exceed screen time limits during and after school hours for school-related assignments, including extra-curricular activities.

Except as defined in subsection (c) and (f), it shall be unlawful to require screen time as a condition of public primary and secondary school required coursework or activities.

Nothing in this law requires the use of digital technology or screen time, nor preempts more restrictive state or local limitations.

(c) Screen time principles. School screen time limits must be premised on educational benefits to the student and safe use rather than simply convenience or savings to the educator or school system. Therefore, recommendations for school screen time limits must be based on the following findings:

(1) The educational goal cannot be as easily or as quickly accomplished by traditional educational methods which do not use screen time and the use of technology serves an educational purpose;
(2) The specific use of screen time provides educational benefits superior to traditional methods which do not use screen time;
(3)The selection of products, potential gateways to other platforms, and scheduling of screen time is carefully considered to prevent physical, psychological, social and neurological adverse consequences, including digital addiction;
(4) Other than exceptions listed in subsection (f), courses and school activities revolving around prolonged screen time are limited to students in grades 8 to 12, with no more than 90 minutes of screen time daily through grade 9 and 120 minutes of screen time daily through grade 12.
(5) Other than exceptions listed in subsection (f), children or students below grade eight are not to exceed more than 5 hours of passive screen time in a month; to have no interactive screen time below grade four; and from grade four through seven are not to exceed more than 1 hour of interactive screen time weekly.
(5) Students under age 16 are not to use virtual reality technology.
(6) Students age 16 and above are not to use to virtual reality technology without an explicit opt-in form, explicit verbal warnings of potential negative effects, and, unless clear scientific evidence proves safety for both mental and physical development, must limit time spent in virtual reality to a maximum of 1 hour in a year expressly tied to a specific educational purpose other than entertainment.
(8) Courses or school activities that revolve around extensive screen time are voluntary, and screen time requirements in those activities highly relevant to the subject matter of the course or school activity.
(9) Traditional forms of instruction and learning which do not use screen time are preferred whenever desired by the educator or when these accomplish the task as well or approximately as well.
(10) Technology implementation and use follows the best practices for health, safety, and confidential data protection, and closes any intentional or unintentional gateway to products or services with adverse impacts, such as from, but not limited to, persuasive design, distracting entertainment, and data profiling.
(11) Use of digital technology or screen time is carefully designed in by the school, teacher, and support staff to insure procedures are in place, including data processing agreements, to help protect confidential data and, when the purpose is fulfilled, destroy the confidential data.
(12) If the screen time involves voice or video recording, the careful consideration of whether students or educators must be visible on the screen or must be heard, and if video and sound recordings can be avoided in order to fulfill the educational purpose.
(13) Compliance with all confidential data protection requirements at the local, state, and federal level.

(d) Public hearing decision. Except as defined in section (f), the authority must provide for a public hearing during annual reviews and before setting any new screen time limits.

For the public hearing, each authority shall publish a public notice and shall additionally inform all students, guardians, and school personnel of the hearing and commenting procedures using standard protocols used by the school or school district. These notices shall provide an electronic and postal address for written submissions; hearing time, date, and location; and that any party with a financial interest in promoting cellphone use or screen time is to self-identify by including the name of any relevant business and any product in conjunction with his or her name and tagged financial interest. The public hearing shall be set at time convenient to most school personnel, students, and guardians.

School teachers and school departments shall be provided time in school to meet as departments and as a school at least three weeks in advance of the hearing in order to review and discuss the proposed screen time and cellphone limits, principles, and consider recommendations for submission of public comments to the authority.

The hearing and all written comments, including the names of the testifiers, submitted shall be subject to the Open Meeting Law and written comments shall be available to the public for a reasonable sliding-scale fee or freely available for review – however, one exception to this rule shall be that any student, guardian, or teacher request based on personal needs shall not require or allow exposure of the name of the testifier unless desired by the testifier and, if relevant, his or her guardian.

Following the hearing and within eight weeks, the authority shall finalize and vote on the cellphone and screen time limits, with the decision decided by the majority, and shall prepare a public statement of its decision.

The public statement must state :

(1) all requests for additional screen time or cellphones by parties outside of the school system, excepting requests exempted under subsection (f) or (j) and given a relationship to potential future attendance;
(2) for each request for additional screen time, the relevant names of any school district or school staff who made the request, excepting requests exempted by subsection (f) or (j);
(3) a clearly marked list of all individuals with a financial interest due to business or to potential product sales that request increased screen time;
(4) the factual reasoning for the decisions based on the principles in subsection (c);
(5) how the individuals of the authority voted;
(6) optionally, a statement of reasons for dissent prepared by any individual(s) in the authority.

(e) Proposed screen time and cellphone limits. Screen time restrictions are provided according to grade level as follows:

(1) Pre-K through kindergarten screen time: maximum of 4 hours, none of which may be interactive;
(2) First through second grade: maximum 5 hours per school year, none of which may be interactive;
(3) Grade three through seven passive screen time: maximum of one hour a day and 5 hours total in the school year;
(4) Grade three interactive screen time: none;
(4) Grade four through seven interactive screen time: maximum of 20 minutes a day and a maximum of 3.5 hours total in the school year;
(5) Grade 8 through 10 passive screen time: maximum of one hour a day and 25 hours total in the school year;
(6) Grade eight interactive screen time: maximum of one hour a day and 5 hours total in the school year.
(7) Grade nine through ten interactive screen time: maximum of one hour daily and 10 hours total in the school year.
(8) Grade 11 through 12 passive screen time: maximum of one hour a day and 35 hours total in the school year;
(9) Grade eleven through twelve interactive screen time: maximum of one hour daily and 30 hours total in the school year.
(10) All grades are to leave cellphones at home or in airplane mode at school in furnished lockboxes, relying on the school telecommunications system for any necessary calls.

(f) Exceptions to screen time limits. With a public hearing, exceptions may be granted to school screen time limits beginning in the eighth grade for: (1) specialized, optional courses whose subject requires screen time, such as computer programming; and (2) extracurricular activities whose subject requires screen time, such as a computer programming club.

A Commonwealth virtual school shall be excepted from screen time limits insofar as excused by its design as described in section 94 of Chapter 71 Title I of the General Laws. Despite this exception, the virtual school must to the maximum extent seek to reduce screen time, where possible, and to meet the expectations of subsections (d) and (c), including reporting.

Some exceptions to screen time limits do not require a public hearing due to private or emergency nature. If an exception is granted to school screen time limits on the basis of a school or public emergency, the authority shall reconvene as soon as the emergency has passed to establish an orderly, swift process to end the temporary extension and return to the limits previously established without the need for a public hearing. If the reason for an exception no longer exists with respect to a private need, the exception granted is ended.

The following exceptions shall be granted with respect to school screen time limits without requiring a public hearing:

(1) when a conditon of the student’s individualized education plan, or when a licensed physician determines necessary for health, an exception to school- or district-wide screen time limits shall be granted;
(2) quarantine to prevent transmission of a dangerous disease;
(3) personal condition of a student that prevents student school attendance, such as a personal emergency or suspension from school;
(4) an unexpected school or public disaster obstructing use of classrooms for in-person learning.

(g) Informed consent and opt-outs. Information about school technology shall be made available to school students, guardians, and staff to support the principles in subsection (c) by the authority to the best of its knowledge and ability. The authority shall insure each educator has easy access to a printed list of all software and technologies utilized by the educator, including as specifically connected to each technology product or service, information about the data collected, parties to the data, associated companies, data processing agreements, and any attendant risks provided in the product manual or service contract and any other attendant risks that are known to exist.

The authority shall insure each guardian and student is also provided with a copy of the list as relevant to the student. This delivery of this information to students and guardians may be assigned to classroom teachers.

Given this information, each guardian and student shall be provided with the opportunity to opt out of the use of any specific product or service.

(h) Violations. Each authority shall establish a screen time policy to prevent violations and to deal with students and staff who violate this law that includes consequences to prevent violations. This screen time policy shall include staff education on the policy and the hazards of excessive screen time and redirection with education for initial mistakes.

Any outside party, including any co-conspirators, attempting to subvert this law in order to increase the use of any technological product shall be subject to civil charges and a penalty. The party or parties shall pay restitution and return profits, including earnings for lobbying. Additionally each party shall pay the amount the party has available, according to its earnings, in 15 days or, if deemed best, equivalent time in custody and to which charitable conditions or other strings may be attached.

(i) Cellphone limits. The authority shall adopt a policy to limit or prohibit the use by students of cellphones while the students are the school site or while under the supervision and control of an employee or employees of that school or school district. The authority may also limit use by staff.

(j) Cellphone exceptions. Notwithstanding subsection (i), no person shall be prohibited from possessing or using a cellphone under any of the following circumstances:

(1) In the case of an emergency, or in response to a perceived threat of danger.
(2) When a licensed physician and surgeon determines that the possession or use of a cellphone is necessary to the person’s health.
(3) When the possession or use of a cell phone is required in a student’s individualized education program.

(k) End technology mandate across curriculum. The Board, commissioner, and department shall revise state education goals, curriculum frameworks, and evaluation requirements to eliminate any educational mandate for the use of digital or of information technology except in extracurricular courses in the subject area, and eliminate requirements and evaluations of the use of digital and information technology across curriculum in all subjects.

SECTION 3. Section 1I of chapter 69 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2021 Official Edition, is hereby amended by adding the following paragraph after the first paragraph:-

Technology study shall be an optional and not a required public school subject. Unless voluntarily enrolling in a technology course, no public school student, legal guardian, or public school shall be treated with prejudice or found wanting in an evaluation due to following a principle of restricting or avoiding student digital technology use or choosing not to purchase or upgrade digital technological equipment. A student or school may safely restrict or avoid digital student technology use and still be provided high marks in evaluation based on other measures, and may pursue alternative models of education such as the Montessori or another model. Within reason, however, such a school may be expected to insure students understand age-appropriate aspects of digital technology use related to safety, health, responsibility, societal impacts, and privacy.

SECTION 4. Subsection (a) of Section 94 of Chapter 71 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2021 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking out the sentence “''Commonwealth virtual school'', a public school operated by a board of trustees whose teachers primarily teach from a remote location using the internet or other computer-based methods and whose students are not required to be located at the physical premises of the school.” and inserting in place thereof the following sentence: –

''Commonwealth virtual school'', a public school operated by a board of trustees whose teachers primarily use distance learning, where the student is not required to be located at the physical premises of the school and instead uses computer-based methods, the internet, telephone, or correspondence by post.

SECTION 5. Section 94 of Chapter 71 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2021 Official Edition, is hereby amended by adding the following subsection:--

In conducting certification and recertification, the board and department shall require virtual schools to adopt pedagogical strategies and curriculum to, when possible and appropriate to student ability, adopt the following policies: (1) reduce the time students spend before digital screens; (2) with remote online learning, provide real-time presence of teachers or a clearly marked method to access teachers in real-time in order to provide help; (3) provide a weekly schedule for students or guardians to access teachers with a phone call comparable to after-school hours at traditional brick-and-mortar schools; (4) avoid the use of set of predefined, rigidly scripted curriculum and instead favor curriculum the teacher has vetted, modified, and chosen or created in coordination with student needs.

SECTION 6. Chapter 15D of Part I Title II of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding the following section: -

Technology limits in early education

(a) Definitions. As used in this section, the following words shall have the following meanings:

“Confidential data” is data collected on students or staff and which includes:
(1) standard identifying information:
i. names of staff and students
ii. dates of birth
iii. addresses
iv. grades
v. medical information
vi. exam results
vii. staff development reviews
viii. assessments
ix. other personal identifying information
(2) identifying data such as location-tracking, photographs, and biometric data, which includes unique biological or behavioral identifiers such but not limited to voice audio, fingerprints, gait recognition, and keystroke dynamics.
(3) personal writings or other personal work such as art
(4) political views
(5) socioeconomic data
(6) disciplinary data
(7) similar data or information on other individuals that are not students or staff, but may be referenced in or extracted from student and staff data.
(8) observed and inferred data from the data provided

“Interactive screen time” is time viewing and interacting with or altering a technological or digital screen by typing or otherwise moving the body.

“Screen time” is time viewing a technological or digital screen which includes but is not limited to a television, a smart board, projector, or computer.

“Passive screen time” is time viewing a technological or digital screen in which one only observes and does not interact or alter the screen by typing or otherwise moving the body.

“Virtual reality” is an interactive screen time experience taking place in a simulated visual environment, either real or imagined, and may incorporate auditory and sensory feedback. Augmented reality systems is a type of virtual reality in which perception of the real world is augmented by computer-generated perceptual information such as visual, auditory, haptic, somatosensory, and olfactory.

(b) Technology screen, safety and privacy limits. The department of early education and care, the commissioner of early education and care, and the board of early education and care shall limit and circumscribe screen time and digital technology for the benefit of children and staff in early education and care, including but not limited to the following conditions:

(1) Areas where children spend the majority of time shall not have a television, computer monitor, or other screen routinely playing video, including moving images, or video games, to provide for either passive or interactive screen time.
(2) Toys utilized by children in early education and care shall not have the capability for passive or interactive screen time.
(3) Toys utilized in early education and care shall not have the ability to record confidential data.
(4) Passive and interactive screen time shall be prohibited for children under age 4.
(5) Beginning at the age of 4, children may be allowed passive screen time, not interactive screen time however. Passive screen time is not to exceed one of the following choices: (i) one day of each week for 90 minutes; (ii) 20 minutes daily; or (iii) three days for 30 minutes.
(6) Promote alternative activities to screen time and do not use screen time as a reward.
(7) Children are not to utilize a cellphone or other screen-based digital device as a toy.
(8) Test electric and magnetic fields to insure that the play are rest areas have a magnetic field must be less than 1 milligauss, 60 hertz electrical field less than 1.5 V/m, and insure electrical equipment is away from play and rest areas – if stricter limits or policies are recommended by the state or federal government, adopt these stricter limits or policies.
(9) Avoid the use of wireless devices, such as routers or cellphones, and WiFi near or in play or rest areas, or where children spend the majority of time – hard wire any necessary digital equipment and verify that wireless transmissions have been halted – if stricter limits or policies are recommended by the state or federal government, adopt these stricter limits or policies.
(9) Regulate screen time to prevent the impact of bright, artificial light from disrupting circadian rhythms and sleep.
(11) Discourage or limit the use of wireless devices, including video and voice devices intended to monitor children.
(12) Limit and discourage the posting of children’s confidential data on social media, unsecured cellphones, or other nonsecure online platforms and if posting first acquire permission from the guardian(s).
(14) Provide that early education certification and recertification provides relevant education on cybersecurity, privacy, and cyber safety.

Title: An Act Regulating Screen Time in Early and PreK-12 Education

Summary: The bill is intended to allow community-approved limits on PreK - 12 screen time and encourage safer but less tech in early education.

Lead and co-sponsors: Please contact your legislators and ask to support this bill as a lead or co-sponsor. Please contact Last Tree Laws (see footer below) or Kirstin Beatty to share how it goes.

Suggestions: Please contact Last Tree Laws (see footer below) or Kirstin Beatty to share suggestions.

History: This bill is a revision based on 2019-20 MA S. 294 by K. Beatty.

SD. 573 Summary: No one may trim or cut down a municipal tree without municipal tree warden permission. Tree wardens may make regulations to be approved by town authorities. Why? Well, trees along sidewalks are being cut down to allow better 5G transmissions or to install close proximity antennas or for other construction. Sponsor: Cindy Creem

HD. 1440 Summary: Taxes at 5% use of public rights-of-way by streaming providers. Gives state right to audit profits. Sponsors: Joan Meschino , Paul F. Tucker

SD.834 - Summary: Similar, but in senate. Sponsors: Jason Lewis, Kenneth L. Gordon

HD. 260Summary: Allows independent repair of digital devices. This helps by (1) providing competition for price and quality of doing job well, (2) increases number of people able to fix and provides local jobs, and (3) reduces enormous amounts of electronic waste pollution. Sponsor: Rep. Claire D. Cronin

    • GILTI - Use the maximum 50% taxation allowed by the federal Global Intangible Low-Tax Income provision to fix tax avoidance, not the 5% rate Massachusetts currently uses.
    • Increase Corporate Tax Rate - Before 2009, the corporate tax rate was 9.5%, but now it's 8.0%.

Please note that the credit for writing several bills starred (*) above, with some help, goes to volunteer Kirstin Beatty (Beatty.fyi). Consider viewing and supporting Kirstin’s educational work at her website.

PAST BILLS (NO LONGER ACTIVE)

TERRIBLE BILL TO STREAMLINE 5G

H.383 An Act relative to a 5G technology task force

Some advocates thought the bill, to streamline 5G, had hope. This allowed the bill to advance as some legislators said they were confused by the lobbying of anti-5G activists for the bill. Here is a short article critiquing the bill. This bill needed to be stopped despite advancing to House Ways and Means.

    • Summary: This is an industry-led commission to study and propose “fair” 5G laws for 5G development - in other words, to streamline 5G. See testimony: Critique of 5G Technology Task Force H 383.
    • Sponsors: Rep. Bradley Jones, B. Hill, E. Poirer, Rep. S. Gifford, etc.
    • Favorable Report by: Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies.

AMENDMENT TO ABOVE H. 383 BILL & COMMISSION BILLS

Summary: Because advocates mistakenly pushed H. 383 and other bills without caveat, action was taken to halt these bills. A landing page petition was ready 26 May 2020 and an amendment ready in early 2020 around this time. Scroll down to the section on investigations to see one of the drafts developed.

BILLS THAT HARD-WIRE OR REDUCE EXPOSURES

S. 1988 An Act Relative to Utilities, Smart Meters, & Ratepayers Rights

All legislators need to be educated and persuaded to support this bill, which will be resubmitted! This bill was developed by and for Worcester residents with Senator Michael Moore's support. Here are recent, relevant docket submissions on smart meters from state Senator Moore, several organizations & professionals, Massachusetts Association for the Chemically Injured, and a very detailed account by advocate Patricia Burke. There is also a summary article here. An economic costs presentation was also prepared by Kirstin Beatty.

    • Summary: Allows opt out of wireless meters and does so without a fee.
    • Sponsors: Sen.s Michael Moore, D. DiZoglio, Rep. K. Hogan, Sen. D. Tran, Rep. C. Gonzalez, etc.
    • Favorable Report By: Favorable report given by the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy (Chairs Sen. Barrett, Rep. Golden, Vice-Chairs Sen. Pacheco, Rep. Dykema). See link (click bill no.) for progress and new committee).

S. 1982 An Act relative to wifi and cellular infrastructure along rail lines

    • Summary: Requires approval of locally elected bodies for railway antennas, but sadly only for Quincy, Braintree, Holbrook, Abington, & Rockland
    • Sponsor: Sen. JF Keenan

S. 207 An Act ensuring safer technology investment by the Massachusetts Broadband Institute

    • Summary: Adds accountability, safety & security to MBI mandate; requires use of funds for maintaining reliable, hard-wired grid & for hard-wiring public spaces including State House
    • Co-Sponsor Rep. Carlos Gonzalez
    • Sponsor Constituent K. Beatty (LTL Director)

H. 587 An Act Reducing Public School Non-Ionizing Radiation and Wireless Exposures

    • Summary: For school policy to limit wireless exposures and hard-wire connections where possible – funding needed!
    • Sponsor Constituent K. Beatty (LTL Director)

S. 1271 An Act Educating Patients on Environmental Health Risks such as Wireless Exposures

    • Summary: Patient education and health care quality control measures
    • Sponsor Constituent K. Beatty (LTL Director)

S. 1867 An Act Reducing Library Non-Ionizing Radiation Exposures from Wireless and Electricity

    • Allows state library grants to be given to hard-wire libraries
    • Sponsor Constituent K. Beatty (LTL Director)

Bill S. 155 (2009), etc., S. 125 (2019) An Act to regulate the sale and use of microwave ovens

    • Summary: To prevent leakage, sale of dysfunctional ovens, ovens sized to allow pets inside, and ownership of more than one. This is bill designed by constituent Donald Kusser.
    • Sponsor Constituent Donald Kusser via Sen. John Keenan and Rep. Michael Morrissey

BILLS FOR WIRELESS LIMITS

S. 1273 An Act banning especially dangerous wireless facilities, emissions, and products

    • Summary: To stop 5G and ban small cell towers in front of homes and allow banning other items deemed dangerous – note the state has this right based on Constitutional and federal law.
    • Sponsor Constituent K. Beatty (LTL Director)

BILLS FOR MONITORING & EDUCATION

S. 1272 An Act registering wireless facilities to allow for monitoring and to ease access to contact information

    • Registers wireless facilities with state radiation department, which is to work with MA Broadband Institute to create a map. Registration is crucial for towns & citizen knowledge.
    • Co-sponsor: Rep. Carlos Gonzalez
    • Sponsor: Constituent K. Beatty (LTL Director)

S. 1271 An Act Educating patients on environmental risks such as wireless exposures

    • Summary: Encourages doctors to educate patients on wireless, mold, digital addiction, and other pollutants as relevant.
    • Sponsor Constituent K. Beatty (LTL Director)

H. 2011 An Act Providing for environmental risk fact sheets from the Department of Public Health

    • Dept. of Public Health will prepare & publish fact sheets on environmental health risks (incl. wireless)and respond to citizen concerns—accountability measures to DPH
    • Sponsor Constituent K. Beatty (LTL Director)

S. 130 Resolve relative to disclosure of radio frequency notifications – NOT ACTIVE

    • Warns to read product manual and keep appropriate distance from cell phone
    • Editing: Best to remove suggestion that recommended distance equals safety.
    • Sponsor: Rep. J. Cyr

BILLS TO REDUCE SCREEN TIME EXPOSURES (Blue light, wireless risks, etc.)

S. 294 An Act Limiting school screen time – NOT ACTIVE

    • Removes state mandate requiring students to use technology (this begins in Pre-K) and allows schools to set school screen time limits. See screentimetestimony2020
    • Sponsor Constituent K. Beatty (LTL Director)

H 588 An Act Requiring privacy protections and supporting safer technology in schools – NOT ACTIVE

    • Allows opt outs of technology by students/parents for privacy/safety/clout; recommends hard-wiring; makes school data use for political ID, marketing, & abuse unlawful; restricts data retention to that necessary for education
    • Sponsor Constituent K. Beatty (LTL Director)

S. 295 An Act Accounting for technological privacy and safety in schools with local and state committees – NOT ACTIVE

    • Local council monitors school privacy and safety policies & creates curriculum on safer technology use. State committee provides helpful template.
    • Sponsor K. Beatty

BILLS TO INVESTIGATE & REPORT

H. 2888 Resolve to investigate the results reporting of the National Grid Worcester smart meter pilot program – NOT ACTIVE

    • Seeks to correct false financial reporting being misused to assert cost-savings of wireless utility infrastructure.
    • H. 2888 Pamela Steinberg via Rep. Mahoney

H. 2840 An Emergency Act to Investigate the Results Reporting of the National Grid Worcester smart meter pilot program . . .

    • Same as H. 2888 above.
    • Patricia Burke via Rep. S. Dooley

H. 2885 An Act establishing a commission to study the environmental and health effects of evolving 5G technology

    • A study of health risks—however, initial sentence ought to include all wireless, not just 5G; representation of others like parents, sensitives, etc., and the latter may need to be financially supported—see critique of 5G Task Force for more ideas.
    • Sponsor Rep. J. Lewis

The amendment below is to insure independence and a wide range of stakeholders in an investigation of wireless and other electromagnetic radiation. Excepting the American Environmental Academy of Medicine and the American Academy of Pediatrics, none of the organizations has made a public statement on this issue. Notes:

    • This bill provides greater independence from politics than the New Hampshire bill would be a poor choice and S. 129 and is better than H. 383 which promotes 5G.

An Amendment of H. 383 or S. 129 - initial drafts in early 2020

  • Summary: Because of concerns that S. 129 would be a political football and H. 383 streamline 5G, the following amendment was developed. Attached is one of the drafts, designed to bring in big stakeholders and provide a appointees originated from a diversity of stakeholders to support independence. Initially, when asked, Cece Doucette was not interested, hoping both bills would just move forward in committees. A draft was sent to Helen Walker who suggested reaching out to different groups for feedback. Kirstin joined one strategy session with Ruth Rin, Cece, and God knows who else, for positive feedback and ideas from strangers but Cece was proposing that the bills be replaced with language from the New Hampshire state commission. Kirstin felt that commission also lacked controls to prevent the bill from being a political football in Massachusetts, where the administration and legislature and heavily lobbied by the technology industry. Kirstin has continued to work on revising the bill, getting feedback, and reaching out to stakeholders without much luck making contact.
  • Author: Kirstin Beatty, co-chair of ballot committee, director of Last Tree Laws
    • A Wireless or Electromagnetic Investigation
    • Resolved, Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, there shall be a special commission to research the impact of electromagnetic (EMR) and radiofrequency (RFR) radiation on consumer protection, public health, and and the environment, and determine, if detrimental, how to allay health and financial repercussions, the former having primacy.
    • The commission shall be composed of the following 21 members, as follows:
    • (a) The Attorney General or designee;
    • (b) A nominee of the Massachusetts Teachers Association;
    • (c) One union member nominated by the Massachusetts AFL-CIO;
    • (d) One telecommunications worker representative nominated by the Communications Workers of America;
    • (e) One doctor nominated by the American Environmental Academy of Medicine;
    • (f) One scientist nominated by the Silent Spring Institute;
    • (g) One doctor nominated by the Massachusetts Medical Society, ideally with expertise in either cancer, neuroscience, or infertility;
    • (h) One scientist nominated by Community Action Works;
    • (i) One pediatric doctor nominated by the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics;
    • (j) One representative or lawyer nominated by the Massachusetts Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action;
    • (k) 2 representatives nominated by the Massachusetts American Civil Liberties Union;
    • (l) A representative of the State House selected by the Speaker of the House;
    • (m) A senator of the State Senate selected by the President of the Senate;
    • (n) A representative of small business appointed by the governor;
    • (o) 3 non-voting members appointed by governor:
    • -Telecommunications representative;
    • -Medical system representative;
    • -Engineer in wireless networks;
    • (p) 4 non-voting commissioners, directors, or their designees for the following departments:
    • Public Health;
    • -Telecommunications and Cable;
    • -Technical Assistance and Technology Office;
    • -Consumer Affairs & Business Regulation.
    • Chairmanship, legislative and policy decisions for reports to the Commonwealth shall be decided by vote of all members with voting status. Commission members shall elect a chair by majority vote, who may be replaced at any time upon majority vote.
    • No voting member or spouse of voting member of the commission shall have a history of or current telecommunication, energy, IT, or utility industry clients or job dependency; nor shall any voting member have current telecommunications, energy, IT, or utility direct financial investments exceeding the sum of $5,000. No voting member or spouse of a voting member of the commission shall receive funding or a job from telecommunication, energy, IT, or utilities in the two years following the commission’s final report. All commission members must file a statement of any relevant conflicts of interest as specified above, including in relation to immediate family members, i.e. parents, children, siblings, uncles, aunts, with the Secretary of State during the commission period and continuing through each year until two years after the commission ends. These statements must be made public by the Secretary of State.
    • The meetings and communications shall be subject to the Massachusetts open meeting laws so as to be transparent. The commission shall be assisted by and have access to the resources available to the legislature and the executive branch in its investigations. The commission shall file a report of its recommendations and proposed legislation or regulatory changes, if any, with the clerks of the House and Senate and with the chairs of the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure not later than December 31st 2022, and may file a series of reports.

ONLY GOOD IF AMENDED -AN INVESTIGATION OF WIRELESS

S. 129 Resolve relative to disclosure of radio frequency notifications

Please see criticism and appointee problems below. Here is a short article critiquing the bill.

      • Summary: Establishes a commission to investigate wireless but as written has significant risks of politicization.
      • Status: Click bill no. above and scroll down – presently in Senate Ways and Means
      • Favorable report by Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure [Members: Paul Feeney, Bill Welch, Tackey Chan, Jay Livingstone, Diana DiZiglio, Joseph O. Boncore, Ryan Fattman, Jonathan D. Zlotnick, Adrian C. Madaro, William J. Driscoll, Jr., Mindy Domb, Tami Goveia, David H.A. Lebouef, Jack Patrick Lewis, Steven S. Howitt, Joseph D. McKenna]
      • Criticism:
        • Most appointment descriptions are ideal for filling with industry representatives or dependents;
        • Lacks specificlanguage to prevent appointment of compromised individuals – no limit on industry clients, no limits on voting by industry reps or dependents, no limits on financial interests, no limits on career dependence – nothing;
        • Industry has influence not just from the vote of an industry rep, but from people whose jobs depend on industry;
        • Why give industry, a non-person, a vote? Industry, a non-person, has a seat but the people who have been harmed lack a seat. The point is protect the people and even the economy for the people, not industry;
        • Lacks full breadth of representation. Here is a relevant copy of a May 2, 2020, request for a changes by Kirstin Beatty naming some groups that could be included – but these would still be too few to be a counterweight.
      • More Appointee Problems: The governor has in the past appointed industry insiders and lobbyists to fill his cabinet and commissions. Highlighted in red below are individuals who could easily favor or be chosen to represent industry rather than the people:
      • Dept. Commissioners, Director, or designees:
        1. Public Health
        2. Telecommunications and Cable
        3. Technical Assistance and Technology Office (Dir.)
        4. Consumer Affairs & Business Regulation (Dir.)
      • Other appointees:
        1. Telecommunications Representative – beholden to industry
        2. Engineer in wireless networks – career dependent upon industry
        3. Attorney in environmental law – easily filled by MA-based industry lawyer in environmental law who represents the industry and is involved in “environmental” nonprofit focused on corporations
        4. Academic who researches medical technology (?) and public health – career likely dependent on grants from Big Pharma for which wireless has become important as a new and large source of profits
        5. Scientist in environmental medicine knowledgeable of electromagnetic and radiofrequency radiation and research methodseasily filled by industry “scientist” such as Peter Valberg
        6. Massachusetts Medical Society member with background in environmental medicine
        7. Pediatrician knowledgeable of electromagnetic radiation in children – May be a token member, easily overruled

ONLY GOOD IF AMENDED – FOR WIRELESS LIMITS

H. 1874 An Act relative to best management practices for wireless in schools and public institutions of higher education – NOT ACTIVE

    • Important Edit: Replace “purchase and installation of wireless internet services” with “reducing wireless and electromagnetic exposures.”
    • Improvements:
      • Something concrete, such as requiring removal of wireless from schools, would be better for quick results.
      • Building Biologists and electrical engineers could be brought in for an independent report of how best to cut electromagnetic exposures.
    • Sponsor Rep. C. C. Dykema

ONLY IF AMENDED – TO INVESTIGATE

H. 2901 (2011) H. 2032 (2013) H. 2007 (2015) H. 1192 (2017) H. 1956 An Act relative to a special commission to study electric and magnetic fields

    • Help Request: Critique was sent to Linsky’s office and the committee by constituent Kirstin Beatty prior to 2019 – 2020, but his resubmission in 2019 was the same. Perhaps the written submission was not reviewed – if someone could pass on the information to him personally that would be helpful.
    • Issue 1: Appointees Environmental League of Massachusetts and American Cancer Society are connected to the utility and/or telecommunications industry.
    • Issue 2: Given that the science is fairly solid that electric and magnetic fields can cause ill health, why not immediately adopt the ALARA principle, “As Low As Reasonably Allowable,” as other states and countries already have in place?
    • Sponsor Rep. D.P. Linsky

Previous Wireless Legislation 2017 – 2018

S.2080 An Act increasing medical awareness and insurance coverage of non-ionizing radiation injury and reliance upon credible independent medical research (Constituent Kirstin Beatty) ~ Detailed bill for quality control for electromagnetic exposures in hospitals; that credible research be defined; and medical insurance coverage be included for electromagnetic harm.

S.2079An Act reducing non-ionizing radiation exposure in schools (Constituent Kirstin Beatty) ~ Idealistic bill demanded removal of school wireless and addition of criminal penalties, yet was passed forward from Education committee.

H. 2030An Act relative to best management practices for wireless in schools and public institutions of higher education (Rep. Carolyn Dykema)~ Similar to 2019-2020 bill of same name and to a Maryland bill, decent in concept except for an important error - allowed continued wireless installation - and as the Massachusetts education board was not then particularly free of industry influence.

Resolve S.2431Resolve relative to disclosure of radio frequency notifications (Sponsor Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure) This bill resembles a bill of the same name submitted in 2019 – 2020.

S.107An Act relative to disclosure of radiofrequency notifications (Sen. Julian Cyr) ~ A labeling bill.

S.108An Act relative to the safe use of handheld devices by children (Sen. Julian Cyr) ~ Labeling bill modeled on Berkeley ordinance.

WIRELESS LEGISLATION 2015 – 2016

Bill SD. 2212An Act relative to studying radiation health and safety risks for protective measures

    • This investigative commission was empowered to enact bans, etc.
    • This was not resubmitted.
    • Sponsor Constituent K. Beatty (LTL Director)

Bill SD.2256An Act requiring physician training on non-ionizing radiation and electrohypersensitivity

    • Short bill requiring physician training in electromagnetic sensitivity and other harms of electromagnetic radiation.
    • Sponsor Constituent K. Beatty (LTL Director)

WIRELESS LEGISLATION 2015 – 2017

H. 2868 (2015) S.1864 (2017) An Act relative to utilities, smart meters, and ratepayers’ rights (Sen. Michael Moore) – Similar to 2019 -2020 bill of same name. Critique was made by Director Kirstin Beatty that bill did not apply to town-owned utilities, and changes appear to have been made. This bill was originally submitted on behalf of concerned Worcester residents and Halt Smart Meters Massachusetts, which no longer has a website.

S. 1222 (2015) S.1268 (2017) Resolve creating a special commission to examine the health impacts of electromagnetic field (Constituent Cece Doucette 2015, Sponsor Sen. Karen Spilka 2017) Initially this bill did not prevent industry influence, and some changes were made in following sessions.