Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Massachusetts Legislature Passes $2.4 Billion Environmental Bond Bill

Massachusetts Legislature Passes $2.4 Billion Environmental Bond Bill
BOSTON – Representative Ultrino joined his colleagues in the Legislature who voted today to pass a $2.4 Billion Environmental Bond Bill focused on improving climate change resiliency and adaptation; enhancing environmental and natural resource protection; and investing in parks and recreational assets.
The legislation passed today ensures that Massachusetts can continue to plan for global warming and a changing climate, including along our vulnerable coastlines.
“It is important to invest money and resources into preserving our environment which is why I was so happy to support this bill. The funds allocated in this legislation will help improve infrastructure, conservation efforts, and restoration programs” Says Representative Ultrino.
“Climate change is a real and present threat to Massachusetts, and we must treat it as a priority,” said Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). “These investments in our communities, coastlines, and in overall climate resiliency highlight our joint focus with the House on preparing Massachusetts’ infrastructure for the future, and safeguarding our residents from potential environmental disasters. I thank the conferees for their dedication to preparing this vital legislation.”
“These investments protect critical natural resources, preserve our parks and recreational areas and aim to make our Commonwealth is more resilient to the threats of climate change for years to come,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D-Winthrop). “I’m proud to work with my colleagues in the House and Senate to fund these important initiatives.”
Among other spending, the bill appropriates:
  • $225,000,000 for community investment grants;
  • $100,000,000 for energy and environment coastal infrastructure;
  • $100,000,000 for state hazard mitigation, climate adaptation, and resilient land conservation;
  • $75,000,000 for municipal vulnerability preparedness;
  • $55,000,000 for river and wetland restoration programs;
  • $54,000,000 for rural investments.
Today’s bill also requires the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security to coordinate and strengthen the Commonwealth’s climate resilience and prepare for climate change impacts; publish an integrated state climate adaptation and hazard mitigation plan every five years; and establish frameworks for state agency and municipal vulnerability assessments to be included in the state plan.
Additionally, the legislation creates and funds a Global Warming Solutions Trust Fund to fund the implementation of the Global Warming Solutions Act, the state’s Clean Energy and Climate Plan, and state and local strategies for climate adaptation.
“This bill comes results from a lot of collaborative work between the House and the Senate and I’m very pleased to see it move forward,” said Senator William N. Brownsberger (D-Belmont), the lead Senate conferee.
“I was very pleased with the hard work and collaboration put forth by my colleagues in the House and Senate in crafting an important environmental bond bill,” Representative David Nangle (D-Lowell). There were some significant differences between the House and Senate versions of this bill, but after several sessions we finalized a bill that includes funding for hundreds of worthy projects across the state, as well as a state-of-the-art agricultural composting program, a commission to study ocean acidification, a global warming solutions trust fund, an agricultural estate tax credit, and significant funding for a lobster and fisheries processing study. Taken together, this $2.4 billion dollar bond bill makes great strides towards making Massachusetts a national leader in environmental protection and control.”
The Environmental Bond Bill also emphasizes the importance of public and parkland throughout the Commonwealth, appropriating $150,000,000 to tree planting, urban and suburban parks, EEA land acquisition, and trails.
"Having the opportunity to be on the conference committee and work with my colleagues to ensure every part of the state will benefit from sound environmental investments and policies was gratifying,” said Senator Anne Gobi (D-Spencer).  “We are very fortunate to have so many wonderful natural resources and this bond bill helps to make sure that those resources will be protected and conserved for future generations."
“As Chairman of the Environment Committee, I am proud to say this bill is an amazing example of bipartisan effort and compromise,” said Representative Smitty Pignatelli (D-Lenox), Chair Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. “I’m grateful to Speaker DeLeo for including me in this conference process, and to my colleague, Representative Nangle for his leadership and understanding while we championed the issues we believed were most necessary for the environmental benefit of the Commonwealth. I understand neither side got everything it wanted out of the compromise, but I believe we’ve come out with a strong bond bill, funding necessary projects and environmental investments across the state, including an agricultural estate tax credit, integrated state climate adaptation plans, and an investment in preserving our cities and towns. This bond bill aims to preserve our land, restore dams and seawalls, and support various community investment grants which will all have lasting effects on our communities.”
Other highlights of the bill include the creation of the Agricultural Innovation Fund to finance grants for the Commonwealth’s agricultural and cranberry producers; and the Fishing Innovation Fund for the design, construction and modification of commercial fishing vessel; and for research, development, acquisition and deployment of advanced or innovative technologies such as sonar, satellite, radar and radio communications.


AG HEALEY OPPOSES TRUMP ADMINISTRATION’S ATTACK ON FEDERAL FAMILY PLANNING PROGRAMProposal Includes “Gag Rule” That Prevents Some Providers from Discussing Safe and Legal Abortions with Their Patients

            BOSTON – Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey today called on the Trump Administration to withdraw its dangerous and illegal proposed rule that would effectively dismantle Title X, the national family planning program that provides more than $6.1 million in funding for health care services for Massachusetts women and families annually. The Administration’s proposal includes a “gag rule” that effectively bans Title X providers from discussing safe and legal abortions with their patients. 
            In comments submitted today to the Department of Health and Human Services, AG Healey and the attorneys general of Washington, Oregon and Vermont argue that the proposed rule would prevent millions of low-income women and families across the country from accessing critical family planning and health care services. If finalized, the proposed rule will impede Title X recipients from offering complete care to their patients by illegally preventing doctors, nurses, and other health care providers from referring their patients to a legal abortion provider, except in cases where a woman has already decided to have an abortion prior to receiving counseling.

            “Every woman in Massachusetts and across the country deserves the ability to make informed decisions about her reproductive health care with her health care provider,” said AG Healey. “This dangerous proposal puts the health of more than four million women in the country at risk by robbing them of their access to critical services. We will defend women’s access to reproductive health care.”

In 2016 alone, 90 Title X Massachusetts service sites provided more than 66,000 residents with a range of health care services including contraceptive and infertility services, pregnancy testing and options counseling, screenings for cervical and breast cancer, screenings and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, and health education. According to the letter, these services not only make a profound difference in patients’ lives, they also save the state and the federal government an estimated $140 million per year, just for Massachusetts alone.  

According to the letter, Title X-funded centers helped avert 13,000 unintended pregnancies in Massachusetts. Access to family planning services, the letter contends, can enhance many aspects of a woman’s life including making it more likely that she will achieve her educational and career goals and that she will ultimately earn more money. These services can also lead to healthier relationships, better health outcomes, and better parenting.

The attorneys general argue that by severely curtailing the ability of health care providers to discuss abortion with patients, the government is interfering with the doctor-patient relationship and infringing on a woman’s ability to receive unbiased and complete medical information. This restriction, according to the letter, would jeopardize the health of low-income women and the ethical obligations of health care providers. The comments also criticize the proposed and onerous new requirement for clinics funded under program that perform abortions to have separate physical spaces for Title X funded services and abortion services, effectively requiring two separate clinics.

“I applaud Attorney General Healey for defending women’s basic rights and the most basic medical ethics, and for once again standing up to the Trump-Pence administration’s dangerous political interference in people’s health. The Trump-Pence administration’s gag rule is designed to dismantle an effective, bipartisan public health program in order to push an extreme ideological agenda,” Dr. Jennifer Childs-Roshakpresident and CEO of Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, said. “The result of this gag rule is that people will not get the health care they need. They won’t get birth control, cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, or even general health exams. We cannot allow political interference to undermine our ability to provide the best care and information to our patients. Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts joins Attorney General Healey in calling on U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to withdraw this dangerous rule.”

“The aim of the domestic gag rule is clear — eliminate the majority of Title X providers in Massachusetts through harmful, unnecessary regulations and restrictions," NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts Executive Director Rebecca Hart Holder said. “The proposed rule poses a serious threat to Bay Staters by creating barriers to accessing critical preventative reproductive healthcare services they need and deserve. Title X program has been a critical safety next for Massachusetts for decades. Cuts to Title X will harm over 66,000 Massachusetts residents, many of whom are low-income and unable to access these essential healthcare services elsewhere. Attorney General Maura Healey is a true champion for reproductive freedom and we applaud her vocal opposition to this proposed new rule."

Today’s comments are part of AG Healey’s ongoing commitment to fight for women’s access to reproductive health care. Last year, AG Healey successfullyadvocated for the passage of legislation that requires all state-regulated plans to provide coverage without cost-sharing for all unique forms of FDA-approved contraceptives, allows doctors to prescribe a 12-month supply of contraceptives, and helps eliminate barriers to timely access to emergency contraceptives. In October 2017, AG Healey sued the Trump Administration for rolling back a requirement under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for employers to include birth control coverage in their health insurance plans.

This matter was handled by Legal Analyst Elizabeth Carnes Flynn of AG Healey’s Health Care Division, with assistance from Assistant Attorneys General Jonathan Miller, Chief of AG Healey’s Public Protection and Advocacy Bureau, Genevieve Nadeau, Chief of AG Healey’s Civil Rights Division, and Gabrielle Viator, Deputy Chief of AG Healey’s Policy and Government Division.

140+ Civil Rights Groups Call on Commerce Department to Strike Unnecessary Citizenship Question

140+ Civil Rights Groups Call on Commerce Department to Strike Unnecessary Citizenship Question

WASHINGTON – The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, along with 145 national, state, and local organizations today 
The groups write in part: “There is one constitutional purpose for the decennial census: to apportion seats in the U.S. House of Representatives among the 50 states, based on an enumeration of the ‘whole number of persons in each state’ … With this fundamental, constitutional purpose in mind, we urge the Census Bureau, in the strongest possible terms, to remove the proposed citizenship question from the 2020 Census form. This question will unnecessarily and, perhaps significantly, increase the cost of the 2020 Census, while collecting data at the census block level for which there is no credible or widely-accepted evidence of utility.”
In addition to the joint comments, The Leadership Conference Education Fund (the sister organization of The Leadership Conference), National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund, and Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC have launched a tool to facilitate participation in the public comment period on the questions proposed for the 2020 Census. The 60-day comment period, which ends on August 7, provides an opportunity to establish a strong, clear public record from a range of stakeholders who oppose the addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 Census.
The joint comments from the groups are available here.


City of Boston leads Request for Information of large-scale renewable energy projects to meet the collective demand of 20 U.S. cities.
BOSTON - Tuesday, July 31, 2018 - Mayor Martin J. Walsh today is asking renewable energy developers and other interested parties to share ideas that could lead to one of the largest renewable energy projects of its kind in the country. The City of Boston released today a Request for Information (RFI) to obtain feedback from qualified renewable energy project developers with projects throughout the United States that could support the municipal energy demand of 20 cities included in the request. The total aggregate energy demand of all cities included in the request is nearly 5.7 terawatt-hours - enough to power over half a million US homes.

"Climate change is not an issue a city can solve by itself -- but Boston's leadership can be far-reaching," said Mayor Walsh. "I applaud my colleagues in other cities for joining this effort to demonstrate our collective power in building a clean energy future, and I'm eager to see what is possible in terms of how we can power our cities and create more, clean energy jobs."

The City of Boston is working with 19 other U.S. cities to request information on projects. The cities included in the request are Arlington, MA, Atlanta, GA, Boston, MA, Cambridge, MA, Chicago, IL, Evanston, IL, Gary, IN, Houston, TX, Los Angeles, CA, Manchester, NH, Medford, MA, Melrose, MA, Nashua, NH, Orlando, FL, Phoenix, AZ, Portland, ME, Portland, OR, Providence, RI, South Portland, ME, and Somerville, MA.

"Cities wield the power to create demand and transform the energy market - and when we act together, we can show the world that environmental stewardship and economic prosperity go hand in hand," said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. "As a chair of Climate Mayors, I'm proud to stand beside Mayor Walsh in the work of amplifying the role of cities and upholding the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement."

The request is focused on information regarding project sizing, geography, anticipated completion date, technology, and indicative pricing. The information gathered will inform a future joint purchase of renewable energy. This action demonstrates the collective power of cities to invest in renewable energy and create more, middle class, clean energy jobs. If successful, a large-scale purchase of renewable energy will help power these cities, save money, and offset carbon emissions.

"As the energy capital of the world, Houston will play a critical role in transforming the way we power the future. Our city, the largest municipal user of renewable energy in the nation, is proof that even big cities in red states cities can act on climate and maintain a robust, growing economy," said Mayor Sylvester Turner.

"This RFI is an example of visionary leadership and the ability to see the big picture from a national perspective is a breath of fresh air, and I applaud Mayor Walsh for calling on the private sector to come together with local leaders across the country in the fight against climate change," said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. "Mayor Walsh understands that we will only succeed in protecting the planet for future generations when we work together towards our common goal to bring down carbon emissions as is laid out in the Chicago Climate Charter."

Mayor Walsh formally announced his plans for the renewable energy initiative earlier this summer at the International Mayors Climate Summit in Boston. Mayors from across the country and around the world joined Mayor Walsh and leaders from public and private sectors to discuss actions taken by mayors to address climate change globally and in their own communities.

"Cities that invest in renewable energy are making the responsible choice for our global future and bringing our significant purchasing power to bear in the transition to a clean energy economy," said Mayor Ted Wheeler of Portland, Oregon.

"All cities have a stake in the fight against climate change," said Evanston Mayor Stephen Hagerty. "I'm proud to partner with Mayor Walsh and mayors from across the country to explore ways to collectively reduce carbon emissions in our cities. Global climate action begins at the local level, and by working together we can have a much greater impact."

Mayor Walsh is the Co-Chair of Climate Mayors, a network of U.S. mayors that participated in a similar joint-city initiative last year that demonstrates the collective power of cities to advance climate goals. The Climate Mayors initiative, led by the City of Los Angeles, issued an Electric Vehicle Request for Information (EV RFI) with 30 other cities in efforts to aggregate municipal demand of electric vehicles across the country. The EV RFI demonstrated demand for nearly 115,000 vehicles of all classes, including trash trucks, street sweepers, semis, shuttles, and buses - with an estimated value of $10 billion to replace the entire fleet. The RFI received 40 responses across all vehicle segments, and is now moving into a formal procurement.


Boston is taking bold action on climate to become a carbon neutral, climate ready city as outlined in its updated Climate Action Plan. Boston's Climate Action Plan serves as Boston's roadmap for reaching its goals of reducing carbon emissions and preparing for the impacts of climate change. The goals are supported by Imagine Boston 2030, the first citywide plan in 50 years, that helps to ensure that climate plays a role in aspects of city planning.

The city's current climate initiatives are laying the groundwork to advance its climate goals and to accelerate progress. Carbon Free Boston is analyzing the options and pathways to achieve deep decarbonization. The initiative is weighing the costs and benefits of technologies and policies across key action areas including electric power, buildings, transportation, and waste. As part of this effort, Zero Waste Boston is exploring pathways to turn Boston into a zero waste city through planning, policy, and community engagement.

Additionally, Climate Ready Boston is strengthening Boston's climate change resilience with near- and long-term planning. It is actively advancing Boston's vision of a resilient city through a comprehensive citywide vulnerability study, a community outreach program, and neighborhood-level implementation projects, including the installation of a flood wall in one of Boston's most flood-prone neighborhood.

All of these initiatives will inform the upcoming update of Boston's Climate Action Plan.

Monday, July 30, 2018


After the Trump administration failed to meet a court-ordered family reunification deadline last week, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and 77 civil rights groups sent a letter urging the U.S. House of Representatives to convene oversight hearings to demand answers. The administration has missed all of its court-ordered deadlines for reuniting children with their parents, and, as the letter notes, “It is inappropriate for 435 House members to return to their districts and to their families for the August recess while more than 700 young children are still being kept from their parents.” Congress needs to ensure the administration fixes the catastrophe it created – including by providing far more clarity on its plans for reunifying families, explaining how it will address the trauma that children have suffered under this policy, and clearly spelling out plans for the expansion of humane, lawful, and cost-efficient alternatives to detention in the future.
The letter sent to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi today can be read in its entirety here, and is pasted below my signature.
Letter to Speaker Ryan and Leader Pelosi re: Oversight of Family Separation Policy
July 30, 2018
Recipient: United States House of Representatives
Dear Speaker Ryan and Leader Pelosi:
On behalf of the undersigned civil and human rights organizations, we write to express our profound concern regarding the Trump administration’s unacceptably slow response to its self-created crisis of family separations at our Southern border. The administration has now missed all of its court-ordered deadlines for reuniting children with their parents, and we urge you to convene oversight hearings to demand answers about this cruel and ineffective policy. It is inappropriate for 435 House members to return to their districts and to their families for the August recess while more than 700 young children are still being kept from their parents.
As you know, in April, the Trump administration announced it would criminally prosecute all undocumented immigrants who were detained at the U.S.-Mexico border, even those seeking asylum, with no exceptions made for those who were traveling with their children. This resulted in parents being sent to jails, and in their children being taken away and placed in the custody of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In less than two months, more than 2,500 children were needlessly taken away from their parents.
While the bipartisan outcry against this cruel practice eventually pressured the administration to reconsider its approach, the damage to the affected children has been incalculable, and the administration’s response has been nothing short of incompetent. Last month, a federal district judge ordered the administration to reunite all children under the age of five with their parents within a two-week period. Only a fraction of children in that age group were reunited by the deadline, and weeks later, dozens remain separated. The same court also ordered the administration to reunite all children between 5 and 17 years of age within one month – and yesterday we learned that the government again has fallen far short. To complicate matters further, the administration acknowledged that it has deported as many as 468 parents without their children, making it likely that this crisis will continue for a significant period of time.
This summer, we saw the administration and its allies try to use this manufactured crisis as leverage to force votes on a slew of unrelated immigration law reforms. We now urge you to use your oversight and appropriations authority as leverage to ensure the administration fixes the catastrophe it created – including by providing far more clarity on its plans for reunifying families, explaining how it will address the trauma that children have suffered under this policy, and clearly spelling out plans for how it will instead use humane, lawful, and cost-efficient alternatives to detention in the future.
For example, the administration still needs to explain:
  1. Why it is unilaterally making “eligibility” determinations that narrow the numbers of families that “qualify” for reunification;
  2. What its plan and timeline is for finding deported parents and reunifying them with their children in the United States;
  3. Why it is pushing to deport families as quickly as possible after reunification;
  4. Why it continues to needlessly jail thousands of children, separated parents, and immigrants in inhumane ICE detention facilities when they are eligible for release; and
  5. How it responds to reports that it has destroyed records related to family separations.
Again, this is not the time for Congress to return to their families while so many children are waiting to return to theirs. The Senate intends to hold a hearing this week, but we need both chambers of Congress to do everything in their power to help resolve this crisis. Members of Congress should also use this upcoming month to visit detention facilities nationwide as well as at the border, and with jailed immigrants to better understand the chaos and cruelty that this administration has wrought.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
Action Together Network
American Federation of Teachers
American Humanist Association
Andrew Goodman Foundation
Anti-Defamation League
Arab American Institute (AAI)
Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum
Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance
Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence
Autistic Self Advocacy Network
Center for Community Self-Help
Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)
Center for Popular Democracy
Children’s Defense Fund
Coalition on Human Needs
Conference of Major Superiors of Men (Catholic)
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Defending Rights & Dissent
Democrats for Education Reform
Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund
Equal Justice Society
Equality California
Farmworker Justice
Freedom Network USA
Futures Without Violence
Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Inc.
Hispanic Federation
Human Rights Campaign
Immigration Hub
Impact Fund
In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda
Japanese American Citizens League
Justice in Motion
Leadership Conference of Women Religious
Legal Momentum, the Women’s Legal Defense and Education Fund
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
Mi Familia Vota
Muslim Public Affairs Council
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
National Action Network
National Association of Human Rights Workers
National Association of Social Workers
National Black Justice Coalition
National Center for Transgender Equality
The National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA)
National Council of Jewish Women
National Council on Independent Living (NCIL)
National Disability Rights Network
National Employment Law Project
National Immigrant Justice Center
National Immigration Law Center
National Indian Education Association
National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health
National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund
National Organization for Women
National Partnership for Women & Families
National Women’s Law Center
Oxfam America
Partnership for America’s Children
Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law
Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
Sikh American Legal Defense and education Fund
The Sikh Coalition
Sisters of Mercy of the Americas – Institute Justice Team
Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC)
Teach Plus
Truman National Security Project
U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
UnidosUS (formerly National Council of La Raza)
Union for Reform Judaism
United Church of Christ

Saturday, July 28, 2018


(Boston Orange整理)哈佛大學在週五(727)早上遞交給法庭的文件中,費力地否認該校歧視亞裔美籍申請者的指控。
哈佛大學在週五遞交的報告是代表數名亞裔美籍學生的學生爭取公平錄取(Students for Fair Admissions)”所提出,持續進行中的控告案件的一部分。
代表學生爭取公ˊ錄取的主要人物Edward Blum週五在一份聲明中表示,學生爭取錄取公平期待十月份在審訊中陳現個案,到時候剩餘的節錄資料,備忘錄,電子郵件,以及哈佛大學拒絕透露的證詞,將會被公開。
學生爭取公平錄取的會長Edward Blum曾經餐與反平權行動個案,最近還支持德州大學一名白人學生挑戰基於種族的入學許可。在德州大學的這宗個案中,最高法院決定,大學可用種族作為許多因素之一。
學生爭取公平錄取聲稱哈佛限制接受亞裔美籍申請者的數目,而且從整個的學術圈來看,亞裔美籍學生在個人美德這一項上,從大學入學許可官員納德到的評分,遠低於他們的同儕,根據他們對申請書的審閱,學生爭取錄取公平聲稱有許多申請成為哈佛1600名新生之一的亞裔美籍學生,被形容為標準優秀(standard strong)”,即使他們的學術表現比被入學許可官做同樣形容的其他族裔學生更好。