Rep. Reyes: Co-Sponsoring Environmental Legislation


By: State Rep. Estela  Reyes – Nov. 2023

First, I want to congratulate Valley Patriot publisher Tom Duggan who received an “Overcoming Obstacles” award from the Greater Lawrence Psychological Center last month. Given what Tom has been through, just in the last year alone, he has certainly earned this award.

I also want to congratulate Jana Zanni-Pesce on her decisive election win to the Methuen City Council, I am sure that Jana will serve the people of Methuen quite well over the next two years and I look forward to working with her.

As for what’s going on in state government, protecting our environment has been a main focus of the legislature this session as well as working with local unions, and “equitable work.”

As your state representative, I support policies to ensure a clean environment and growth in renewable energy careers.

There are three house bills that address this topic and I have co-sponsored these bills in hopes of creating more jobs that will support clean energy and better schools.

They are:
H.1864 An Act relative to clean energy workforce standards and accountability
This bill ensures energy construction and infrastructure projects are sufficiently staffed with highly qualified workers. It also ensures projects create quality, family-sustaining jobs through the application of the state’s prevailing wage laws. The goal of this legislation is to transition workers in fossil fuel-intensive industries to jobs in clean energy and protect their incomes and benefits through that transition.

H.1865 An Act relative to a just transition to clean energy

This bill provides training and employment opportunities to former and current energy workers being displaced. It will increase opportunities in the clean energy sector for residents of environmental justice communities. There will be benefits for workers who are displaced from the transition to clean energy jobs.

An environmental justice community is a community that is subject to a disproportionate burden of environmental hazards. The district Rep. Reyes represents the 4th Essex District, falls in that definition of being an environmental justice community, and would benefit from worker training and protections.

H.3691 An Act relative to healthy and sustainable schools
This bill will prioritize schools in environmental justice communities for implementing energy efficiency improvements and installing renewable energy systems. It will create an office to focus on schools’ efficiency improvements through enforcing contract requirements. One focus will be to hire from environmental justice communities and to comply with the state’s goal of hiring women, minorities, and veterans. Funding for this bill will be pulled from state agencies and federal environment-friendly sources.

H.444 An Act to expand the use of career and academic plans
This bill will ensure all high schools across Massachusetts participate in MyCAP by 2026. MyCAP, my career and academic plan, is a whole-school system that allows students to develop individualized college and career plans with the assistance of a counselor. MyCAP allows students to drive their education to support their post-graduation plans. Ensuring college and career counseling in schools lessens disparities household by household.

As for my time in Lawrence and Methuen, I was pleased to be at the ribbon cutting last month for Factorial Inc., an industry leader in the development of solid-state battery technology for electric vehicles. (See page 26).

The Lawrence Public Schools got $5,500 in state funding last month for MyCAP, a career planning program for students.

This program is connected to legislation that I am currently working on, along with Representative Cruz.

As always please feel free to reach out to my office if you have any concern by emailing ◊