Landslide wins on 350 Mass Supported Ballot Questions for 100% Renewable Energy and Committee Vote Transparency

Final results from non-binding public policy questions that were on the ballot in November reveal stunning landslides in favor of swift action on climate change and transparency reforms to the Massachusetts legislature.

The November election results for the state show 90% of voters supported making all votes in the state legislature’s committees publicly available on the State House website, and 80% supported swiftly moving Massachusetts to 100% renewable energy. The transparency question appeared on the ballot in 16 districts and the renewable energy question appeared in 19 districts. Both questions passed with supermajority support in every town.

350 Mass and Act On Mass organized the signature drive and promotion for these ballot questions. Both groups believe many important and popular policies, such as 100% renewable energy and the Safe Communities Act, are prevented from advancing because representatives hide behind the cover of secret committee votes in the legislature. The majority of states release these roll call votes publicly online. The 90% support for making committee votes public bodes well for a new campaign launched by Act on Mass to fight for more transparent legislative rules in January. The Transparency is Power campaign asks legislators to vote in favor of making legislative committee votes public, ensuring that legislation is public 72 hours before it’s voted on, and lowering the barrier for recording votes on the House floor. Justin Brown, a 350 Mass member and Brookline teacher said, “In talking with voters it was clear how much they cared about a clean future and more transparent government.  Additionally, most seemed stunned to learn that committee votes were not required to be public.” 

The renewable energy question proposes that the state legislature take immediate action for Massachusetts to achieve 100% renewable energy use within the next two decades. Stephen Malagodi, a Lowell resident who helped lead the renewable energy question campaign in his district, said that “We’ve been told over and over that ordinary people in Lowell don’t really care about combating climate change. Well, in the 16th Middlesex district 6,400 people, 71% of those who voted, said that they do care, and our elected representatives can’t tell us that anymore.” 

The current climate legislation remains stuck in a conference committee, and advocates say there isn’t enough being done. “Even if the best provisions in the House & Senate versions [of the current climate bill] are adopted, this bill will not get Massachusetts to 100% renewable energy in the timeframe that the science demands. It’s vital that we continue to push for the solutions that have yet to be invested in by Governor Baker despite their successes in other states,” said Cabell Eames, Legislative Manager for 350 Mass. “You can’t tell people that there is power in their vote and then disregard the core issues they vote for. Once public officials are elected, they should be held accountable to the public.” With the ballot questions, 350 Mass and Act On Mass have aimed to send a message to the MA State House that representatives should be held accountable to the needs and desires of the public. From the results, it is clear that constituents agree.

These ballot questions appeared in the following districts:

  • Dave Rogers (24th Middlesex) (Renewable Energy question only)    
  • Kenneth Gordon (21st Middlesex)
  • Nika Elugardo (15th Suffolk)  
  • Marjorie Decker (25th Middlesex) (Renewable Energy question only)  
  • Tom Golden (16th Middlesex) (Renewable Energy question only)  
  • Mike Moran (18th Suffolk)  
  • Kevin Honan (17th Suffolk)
  • Ruth Balser (12th Middlesex)
  • Kay Khan (11th Middlesex)  
  • Mindy Domb (3rd Hampshire)
  • Paul McMurtry (11th Norfolk)
  • Dan Carey (2nd Hampshire)
  • Robert Deleo (19th Suffolk)
  • Jonathan Hecht/Steve Owens (29th Middlesex)
  • Denise Provost/ Erika Uyterhoeven (27th Middlesex)
  • Tommy Vitolo (15th Norfolk)
  • Elizabeth Malia (11th Suffolk)
  • Ann Margaret Ferrante (5th Essex)
  • Natalie Blais (1st Franklin)

The full text of the 100% renewable energy question read:

Shall the representative for this district be instructed to vote in favor of legislation that would require Massachusetts to achieve 100% renewable energy use within the next two decades, starting immediately and making significant progress within the first five years while protecting impacted workers and businesses?

The full text of the transparency question read:  

Shall the representative for this district be instructed to vote in favor of changes to the Legislature's rules that would make the results of all votes in Legislative committees publicly available on the Legislature's website?


Get ready to start defending the election on Nov. 4

350 Mass joins with many other organizations in calling on people to get ready to resist an illegitimate power grab with massive peaceful protests, and to insist that all votes be counted.  History teaches that responding promptly with massive peaceful protests – such as demonstrations, strikes, and other forms of nonviolent resistance - is the most effective way to resist a coup. 

Hopefully that will not be necessary. If the results are clear enough by the end of election night to lock up a majority of the Electoral College votes, that probably would deter any coup-like activity. We may wake on November 4 knowing who our next President will be, and the results of many other important races.

Or not. 

President Trump has expressed a disturbing willingness to ignore the popular vote - for example, demanding that the election results be decided on election night, without waiting for all the mail-in ballots to be counted. He has repeatedly alleged that such ballots can’t be trusted. Political leaders in some battleground states have already discussed the possibility of rejecting the popular vote as too fraud-ridden to be binding, and appointing their own chosen set of electors to the Electoral College!

So, how can you and others get ready?

  1. Save the date! Be ready to show up Nov. 4 (and possibly beyond).
  2. Take this pledge, sign this petition to Governor Baker, and ask your friends to do the same.
  3. RSVP here to the rally on Boston Common currently planned for 3:30 pm on Nov. 4, or enter your zip code and choose another event near you. (RSVP in order to get updates.)
  4. Pick a buddy – or a squad – to go with you. (More safe, more fun.)

Want more background? Sign up for the webinar How to Beat an Election-Related Power Grab (offered nightly Oct. 25 - 30). 

Willing to help out the Boston rally? Email David at dbklafter@gmail.com if you have been trained as a marshall or peacekeeper. You can register here for online marshal training this Wednesday, 10/28, 5-7 pm (for both first-timers and those with experience; will separate into breakout rooms based on experience).  And potentially useful for anyone: Nonviolent action training (basic skills for mass mobilizations; offered every night Oct. 25 – Nov. 3)

Spread the word! Share this document or otherwise make people aware & ready. Think about a broad reach, not just to known progressives & political activists. Such peaceful protests succeed when they include the “center”, not just the left. 


Roadside Standouts Call Attention to the Climate Crisis

As the West burns and Massachusetts legislators ponder climate legislation, 350 Mass volunteers take it to the streets

BOSTON, MA — 
350 Mass members and friends began a series of covid-safe standouts to help boost public attention to the climate crisis. Multiple teams posted up on busy commuter routes, each team holding a series of signs that combined to spell out the message – somewhat like the roadside advertisements for Burma-Shave in the 1930s. Check out this video from one of these actions.

These actions speak in part to the crucial upcoming action in the Statehouse, where a conference committee will soon be deciding what climate bill will be put before both the House and Senate for final action this year. So one team spelled out “CLIMATE CRISIS – HOTTEST YEAR – LEGISLATORS – GET IN GEAR – ACT ON CLIMATE NOW!” The huge wildfires recently ravaging the West add urgency to these efforts, so another set read “THIS IS DIRE – HOUSE ON FIRE – ACT ON CLIMATE - NOW”. Each set ended with a “350 MASS” sign, to help people find out more on the web.

In a parallel effort, on September 11, 350 Mass wrote to all members of the conference committee, detailing which aspects of the House and Senate bills we believe should be kept in the final conference bill. In this we are aligned with the broad coalition of environmental groups known as Mass Power Forward. The stakes are high, due to big differences between the two bills. So we ask all 350 Mass volunteers and allies to reinforce the above request by calling, emailing, and/or writing to their legislators - see model scripts here.

The roadside standouts were dreamed up by the 350 Mass non-violent direct action working group known as Climate Courage. Individual 350 Mass Nodes then made their own signs and chose when and where to stand out. Click here for more information on the Climate Courage group, and indicate if you’re interested in getting involved. Click here to find a list of our Nodes (local chapters) and check out one of their regular meetings.  You can channel your climate concern and personal creativity into actions with impact!


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