Legislative History

THREE MAJOR ENERGY POLICIES: Three major provisions in the Green Communities Act are concepts Rep. Patrick has filed in legislation and fought for over the years. Increasing the threshold for net metering renewable energy projects from 60 kilowatts to 2 megawatts and virtual metering will make it much more cost effective for municipalities, businesses, institutions and groups of homeowners to afford large renewable energy installations such as wind turbines and photovoltaic systems. Patrick has also fought for Least Cost Planning, which requires that the DPU prioritizes the provision of electricity through methods that cost the least in economic, societal and environmental terms. This puts energy efficiency and renewable energy in the forefront for new sources of energy. The bill is in conference now and due to be passed before the end of the session.

LOOKING AHEAD TO SAVE LOCAL TAXPAYERS A LARGE INCREASE IN REALESTATE TAXES: Rep. Patrick has filed a budget amendment to fund an alternative waste treatment pilot demonstration project to determine the scientific efficacy and social acceptance of new methods of waste treatment that could save local taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. This concept could help us reduce the expense of comprehensive waste water treatment currently estimated to be $500 million for Falmouth and $500 million for Mashpee. At that rate the betterments for local homeowners in Falmouth will be about $35,000 per house hold and in Mashpee it will be about $60,000 per house hold. The new technology is called urine diversion and it has been pioneered in the European countries of Switzerland, Sweden and Denmark. Patrick estimates that these simple alternatives could be installed and serviced at about 20% of the cost of a complete sewage treatment system per household. It is simple and it can remove up to 80 percent of the total nitrogen and 50 percent of the total phosphorus that our bodies excrete.

LEADING COLLEAGUES IN A FIGHT TO END CORPORATE TAX LOOPHOLES: Rep. Patrick recently organized members in the House to fight the Speaker’s proposed roll back of the corporate excise tax rate that was combined with closing corporate loophole legislation. Patrick organized a small group of legislators who polled their fellow members to determine how they felt about lowering the corporate excise tax rate. Seeing that they had sufficient votes they then wrote amendments to counter the rates structure proposed in the bill. In a Democratic caucus, Patrick stood and told the Speaker that while he supported closing the loop holes he opposed the rate reductions. He cited the fact that about 1,100 corporations with $100 million in sales paid the minimum tax of $456 and another 117 corporations with $1 billion in sales paid the minimum tax rate of $456. He stated further that if we wanted to level the playing field for all corporations in Massachusetts we must join 25 other states to require combined reporting. Many of his colleagues joined him in speaking out against the reduction in corporate tax rates during the caucus. Seeing that he was fighting an uphill battle, the speaker offered a compromise amendment that tied the future reduction of the corporate rates to economic indicators. This compromise gives the Senate and Governor a stronger hand in the conference committee.

SAVING RATE PAYERS $9 MILLION A MONTH: Rep. Patrick has written a letter for twenty one members of the southeast Massachusetts delegation urging the Department of Public Utilities to stop the $9 million a month bilking of electric ratepayers to keep the Canal power plant running because of a transmission problem. The same problem could be addressed much less expensively through energy conservation measures for much less money and much less pollution.

April 9, 2008, Cape Cod Times Editorial: Are we seeing the beginning of the end of an era on the canal? It was a dirty little secret in more ways than one: Cape Cod isn’t really using much electricity from Mirant’s Cape Cod Canal Power Plant and may not need it ever again. But the plant has been running at low output for the past year, burning high-sulfur oil and costing ratepayers in Southeastern Massachusetts $9 million a month. The points were made by state Rep. Matt Patrick, D-Falmouth, in a request to the Department of Public Utilities to shut the plant down for most of the year. Patrick serves on the Legislature’s committees on utilities and energy and regulatory oversight?

March 10, 2008, Yarmouth: In testimony at the Minerals Management Service, Rep. Matthew C. Patrick offered new information on the Cape Wind proposal. “Based on information I have received as a member of the Energy Committee, it is my opinion that it is likely that the Canal Power plant will be shut off most of the year if the Cape Wind Project is built and a peak load shedding program is implemented. Southeastern Massachusetts ratepayers are now paying $9 million a month to keep the Canal plant running at about 17% of its capacity and we don’t even need its electricity.”

March 30, 2008, Cape Cod Times Editorial: Regulate Dirt Bikes, Toughen state rules, prohibit pre-teens from driving dangerous vehicles. Five years ago this spring, 13-year-old Benjamin Alder of Forestdale was killed when he was thrown from his motorized dirt bike on a wooded trail near the Massachusetts Military Reservation. On March 22, the same thing nearly happened to a 12-year-old boy in Harwich. The boy suffered compound fractures in a collision with his father’s dirt bike at the capped landfill on Queen Anne Road. It’s time to help prevent similar tragedies. One way to do that is to toughen regulations relating to the use of all-terrain vehicles, including motorized dirt bikes. Last year, state Rep. Matthew Patrick, D-Falmouth, introduced an Act Relative to Child Safety on ATVs. The bill would prohibit anyone under 16 from operating a vehicle with an engine larger than 90cc, and no one under 14 years old would be allowed to operate an ATV or snowmobile. It would also require anyone under the age of 18 to complete a certified training program before riding such a vehicle.

April 14, 2008, Jake Berry, Cape Cod Times: Memorial Approved for nation’s war dogs. The overturned, water filled helmet that will one day front Washington, D.C.’s newest war memorial may seem like an odd tribute. But there’s no better way to honor some of the country’s fallen four-legged heroes, according to Alan Driscoll of Waquoit. Driscoll is part of the national War Dogs Memorial Committee that is working to secure land for a memorial to the 100,000 dogs who have served in the military since World War I. Driven in part by a joint resolution from the Massachusetts Legislature, Congress passed legislation in January proposing the monument and the President signed it a week later. “It’s nice to be able to remember these animals, which saved so many lives,” said state Rep. Matthew Patrick, D-Falmouth, who sponsored the resolution.

November 15, 2007: Legislature Approves Emergency Home Heating Assistance for Low Income Residents. Representative Matt Patrick today announced that the legislature has acted to avert a home heating crisis by unanimously approving $15 million in emergency funding to help more than 100,000 elderly residents and low income families stay warm this winter.

November 19th, 2007, Boston- Representative Patrick (D-Falmouth) has announced that House Bill 3769 “An Act authorizing the town of Falmouth to install, finance and operate wind energy facilities.” was engrossed in the House this past Thursday and today it was engrossed in the Senate. Falmouth requested Representative Patrick and Senate President Murray filed special legislation to enable it to design, install and operate wind energy facilities at its wastewater treatment facility at Blacksmith Shop Road in Falmouth. It also authorizes Falmouth to issue bonds or notes in order to finance the project. The bill was enacted by the legislature and signed by the Governor later that week.

September 20, 2007, Washington DC: Rep. Patrick testifies before Congress regarding high cost of homeowners’ insurance, “Thank you for giving me this opportunity to describe the homeowners’ insurance crisis in Massachusetts and how HR 3355 will benefit the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Beginning in late 2003 the price of homeowners’ insurance started increasing for residents and businesses of Cape Cod. On Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket the increases began earlier. Other coastal areas of Massachusetts have more recently felt the effects of the increasing cost of homeowners’ insurance. The price of insurance in these areas has gone up more than 150 percent in three years for many homeowners.”

August 10, 2007Falmouth Enterprise, Martha Scanlon: Rep. Patrick Urges Consideration of New Wastewater Technology: State Representative Matthew C. Patrick (D-Falmouth) has proposed a new wastewater treatment program for Falmouth, “The potential to save money is enormous, he said. I think if people want to clean up their bays and estuaries, and do it as inexpensively as possible, this is something to be considered.”

August 2007, Representative Matthew Patrick announced today that the Massachusetts Legislature has forwarded to Washington the resolution requesting that the Federal Government designate the Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds as “No discharge Zones.”

May 29, 2007: Representative Matthew Patrick has been appointed by Speaker Salvatore DiMasi to serve as a member of the Council of State Governments? Eastern Regional Conference Environment and Energy Committee.

May 24, 2007, Aaron Gouveia, Cape Cod Times: Officials from the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station are balking at a local legislator’s proposal to require the plant to foot the bill for an emergency preparedness study on Cape Cod. Rep. Matthew Patrick wants to commission a state Emergency Management Agency study to determine which buildings in Barnstable County could be used for emergency shelters in the event of a terrorist attack or nuclear accident at the Plymouth plant.

April 27, 2007: Representative Patrick Secures Funding for District, Rep. Patrick has been successful in securing funds for the 3rd. Barnstable district in FY08 House Budget. If adopted by the Senate, funding will be provided for Veteran’s health services, the Barnstable Drug Court, School Based health programs, Reading Recovery, Housing Consumer Education Centers and funding to help pay for an ongoing program at the University of Massachusetts that is addressing the invasion of the winter moth that devastates our deciduous trees.

April 17, 2007: Members of the Cape Delegation Hold Forum to Address Health Insurance Responsibilities, Representative Matthew Patrick and Senator Robert O’Leary are hosting a forum at Cape Cod Community College to brief the public on the Commonwealth’s new healthcare law.

March 27, 2007: AG Heeds Massachusetts Legislators in filing an appeal. Attorney General Martha Coakley filed an appeal in the U.S. Court of Appeals on March 22, 2007 of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s relicensing procedures due in part to the urging of Massachusetts legislators, The AG’s appeal cites concerns for a crowded spent fuel rod pool and general security as issues that did not receive any consideration by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, (NRC). Representative Matt Patrick of Falmouth wrote and circulated a letter among his colleagues to get Rep. Mike Costello, who chairs the Public Safety Committee and many others to sign on to the letter to the AG.

February 3, 2006: Rep. Patrick earns a perfect score in the annual Massachusetts Audubon Society Legislative Report Card. Rep Patrick has always received high marks from Mass. Audubon for his votes on environmental legislation.

February 3, 2006: Rep. Matthew C. Patrick who serves on the Telecommunications, Utilities and energy Committee will hold another in a series of workshops on the future of energy in the Commonwealth. Subjects open to discussion are: the future cost of home heating, electricity and gasoline, hybrid cars, legislative initiatives in the field of energy, oil co-ops and fuel assistance.

March 3, 2006: Rep. Patrick to speak at Cape Cod Community College about his experience in the Peace Corps as part of Peace Corps Week. During his tour of duty in Ghana from 1977-1979 he taught masonry and brick making at a vocational school.

March 7, 2006 Rep. Patrick filed legislation to require testing our National Guard Troops for radiation poisoning and mandate that they are educated about the dangers of depleted uranium (DU). The Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs will hear this bill March 13th.

March 31, 2006: Cape Cod Cooperative Extension and UMass Extension will hold a workshop on Winter Moth and other Defoliating Caterpillars, State Rep. Matthew Patrick will be available to discuss legislation that he introduced which will fund the rearing of Cyzenis albicans, a biological control for the Winter moth caterpillar.

April 13, 2006: State Rep. Matthew C. Patrick and U.S. Congressman William Delahunt today announced changes to state law that will make it easier for certain retirees to continue with affordable health care coverage. Until now, Massachusetts residents could be denied health coverage by insurers if they had a pre-existing condition exclusions for a period of up to 6 months. This provision of state law hit retirees particularly hard. Many had their health coverage terminated as a result of corporate bankruptcy. Patrick authored legislation that brings the state in to compliance with the Federal Health Coverage Tax Credit passed in 2002. Under the Federal law, taxpayers can claim a credit for two thirds of their health care premiums if their company?s pension obligations are taken over by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. The Patrick legislation was inserted into the Health Care Reform Act signed into law by Governor Romney this week.

May 2, 2006: State Rep. Matthew C. Patrick announced today that the House passed a budget with record amounts of Local Aid and Chapter 70 Education Funding.

May 2006 and 2007, Rep. Patrick secures money in the budget that enables UMass Agricultural Department to propagate the natural predator of the Winter Moth (European Bud Worm) which is decimating deciduous trees in Massachusetts and threatens to get worse without a natural predator. May 2006 and 2007, Rep. Patrick secures funding for Cape Veterans to assist in travel expenses to the Brockton Veterans Hospital and to fund health services in the Cape Cod Free Clinic. May 2006 Rep. Patrick secures funding for sidewalks along route 28 in East Falmouth.

June 30, 2006: Rep. Patrick and many others fought hard to keep the 102nd Air National Guard Fighter wing stationed at Otis Air Base before it was placed on the preliminary list for closure under the Base Realignment and Closure Act (BRAC). Senator Murray added $500,000 to the supplemental budget for the planning to be executed by the Massachusetts Air National Guard at Otis Air National Guard Base and $500,000 for the homeland security training center at the MMR. Governor Romney vetoed the money saying, “I am vetoing this item which funds programs not recommended.” In reply, Rep. Patrick said, “I would like to know what the Governor considers a “recommended program.”

June 27, 2006 Cape Cod Times editorial says, “Override this veto, Winter moth control is no pet project.” Introduced by Rep. Patrick it funds the breeding of millions of the winter moth’s natural predator to end the infestation which is killing our trees.

August 11, 2006: Cape Cod Times, MASHPEE – After 25 years of negotiations, Mashpee will finally have the key. To the gate that is. The state has agreed to return a 10-acre stretch of South Cape Beach to the town as per an agreement signed in 1981. State Rep. Matthew Patrick and state Sen. Robert O’Leary went to bat for the agreement as well, and with a negotiation in place, they were able to snag a vote from the state Senate with four days left to go in this year’s session.

November 25, 2006, Patriot Ledger, PLYMOUTH, James Anderson, 14, of Brockton, Kyle Rabe, 10 of Oregon, and Sean Kearney 8, of Plymouth have one thing in common. They all died while riding adult sized all-terrain vehicles. Now a Cape Cod lawmaker is drafting a new law aimed at keeping kids in Massachusetts off adult ATVs. State Rep. Matthew Patrick, D-Falmouth, was working on the bill even before Kearney’s death last month.

November 28, 2006, Rep. Matt Patrick, concerned about the risks of nuclear accident at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant in Plymouth, has worked for five years to provide potassium iodide, known as KI to Cape Cod, Nantucket and Vineyard towns. The Department of Public Health has finally begun to comply with the law.

Awards in 2006 – 2008 June 20, 2007, Rep. Patrick receives an award for his service to veterans from the Massachusetts Veteran’s Administration Association (MVAA) for his continued support of veterans and their families. At the annual meeting of the MVAA, Jay Hill, the Falmouth Veterans Agent, took Rep. Patrick by surprise with the presentation of the award. Mr. Hill said they wanted to recognize Patrick for his efforts in securing $100,000 to fund healthcare for veterans at the Cape Cod Clinic and community Health Center and for transportation to veteran’s hospitals. Patrick also co-sponsored a section of the Welcome Home bill that provided a check off on state income tax returns for taxpayers to donate to the families of our National Guard Troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has also filed legislation to protect our National Guard troops from exposure to depleted uranium.

November 15, 2007, Rep. Patrick receives an award for Excellence in Public Sector Leadership from the Mass Energy Consumers Alliance. The award cites his sponsorship of progressive, pro-consumer and pro-environment energy legislation; early support for Cape Wind; and a long-time commitment, many years prior to his election to state representative, to making energy affordable and environmentally sustainable.

February 12, 2007, The Cape & Islands Renewable Energy Collaborative (CIRenew) presented Representative Matthew C. Patrick with the CIGoGreen award. Patrick earned this award for demonstrating energy-related vision, leadership, and action.