On Wednesday, September 29th, the Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy (TUE) committee heard testimony on a number of bills related to decarbonizing the Commonwealth or otherwise improving environmental quality. Among the most ambitious of the bills heard was Building Justice with Jobs (H.3365/S.2226), which would retrofit one million homes over ten years while prioritizing environmental justice communities and upholding fair labor standards. Building Justice with Jobs was drafted through the collaboration of the 75+ organizations that comprise the Mass Renews Alliance along with lead sponsors Sen Marc Pacheco and Rep Robinson.

“I am very pleased to have testified on behalf of Building Justice With Jobs Bill at today’s hearing,” said Senator Marc Pacheco, Vice Chair of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, & Energy. “This critical piece of legislation would help address the ongoing climate emergency by reducing emissions from residential housing with a plan to retrofit 1 million homes over the next decade throughout our Commonwealth. Unfortunately, we are well past the point where mere ‘goals’ or ‘aspirations’ will suffice - we need steadfast political will and bold climate action, and we need them now.”

Rep Maria Robinson, who was recently nominated by the Biden administration to fill the Assistant Secretary position in the Office of Electricity, was unable to testify in person and provided written testimony in favor of the bill.

The Mass Renews Alliance, a coalition of Massachusetts organizations that represent environmental justice, labor, youth, Indigenous, disabled, and climate-concerned communities, organized three panels to testify in favor of the bill. Brian Doherty of the Boston Building Trades, Michelle Walsh of SEIU 509, and Lee Matsueda of Community Labor United spoke on the Union panel. Youth leaders Hawa Hamidou Tabayi of Our Climate and Tarang Shah of Sunrise Worcester were joined by Colin Killick of the Disability Policy Consortium and Jeuji Diamondstone of Neighbor 2 Neighbor to speak on the environmental justice panel. Expert testimony was provided by architect Lisa Cunningham, Sarah Dooling, Executive Director of the Mass Climate Action Network, and Mark Dyen of 350 Mass.

The Mass Renews Alliance announced their goal to have supporters submit 100+ testimonies in favor of Building Justice with Jobs by October 6. The hearing for Building Jobs with Justice came the same week that the Federal budget reconciliation and infrastructure bills are being finalized. If Building Justice with Jobs passes, it will be partially funded by the infrastructure and reconciliation package.

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