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MA Senate Passes LSPA Bill on Insurance for Home Heating Oil Releases

The LSPA is excited to announce that on April 14, 2022, the Massachusetts Senate passed the LSPA’s bill, An Act relative to the remediation of home heating oil releases, with a unanimous vote. Senator Anne Gobi, the bill’s sponsor, spoke in support of the bill prior to the vote. Read the re-numbered bill here. The LSPA made one important edit before the bill was passed; an explanation of the edit is provided here
 
This is a significant step forward but there is still work to be done. The Senate bill has now been sent to the House Committee on Ways and Means for consideration. The LSPA’s Legislative Committee will be working on moving the bill through the House of Representatives before July 31, 2022. If passed by the House, the bill would go next to the Governor’s desk for his signature before becoming law. We’ll keep you informed on the bill's progress.
 
Special thanks to Senator Anne Gobi for sponsoring and championing this bill for three legislative sessions, through Financial Services, Ways and Means, and finally, the full Senate. Many thanks as well to Senator Michael Rodrigues, whose leadership and commitment saw this bill through the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. The media stories and support we received were significant in bringing widespread visibility to this issue; the most recent piece was run by WGBH Boston
 

LSPA Testimony on S. 676 Home Heating Oil Insurance

Led by Susan Crane (Attorney) and Kevin Beaulieu (LSP), the LSPA assembled a team to testify before the MA Legislature’s Joint Committee on Financial Services on October 20, 2021, in support of Senate Bill 676, An Act relative to the remediation of home heating oil releases.  Three homeowners recently impacted by spills, and shocked to learn the releases were not covered by their homeowners insurance, shared their unfortunate experiences.  An insurance industry spokesperson was the only person to testify against the bill. 

The LSPA was pleased that legislators had many follow-up questions that (we thought) showed their interest in pushing insurance companies to take a more active interest in addressing this issue.

To view the relevant portion of the hearing, click here – LSPA testimony begins at 16:25 and runs until 41.20. The testimony of the MA Insurance Federation representative on S. 676 runs from 42:25 to 45:40.  Q&A from legislators runs from 52:10 to 58:30.

The LSPA will continue to monitor progress on the bill, and pursue options for more visibility on the issue.


Legislative Update: LSPA’s Home Heating Oil Insurance Bill

NBC Boston ran this story on September 22, 2021 to again highlight the devastating and costly impacts of residential heating oil spills, especially for those without insurance coverage.  The LSPA continues to work with Senator Anne M. Gobi to pass S. 676, our bill that would require insurance companies to provide coverage for the approximately 700,000 homeowners who do not have it.  For two sessions, this bill has received a favorable report from the legislature's Joint Committee on Financial Services.  

For more information about the LSPA's bill, please read our fact sheet and this additional information which includes TV news coverage.

Ask Your Legislators to Co-Sponsor the LSPA’s Bill

The LSPA continues to work with Senator Anne M. Gobi (D-Spencer) to pass S. 676, our bill that would require insurance companies to provide coverage for residential heating oil spills. At the start of this new legislative session, we are asking LSPA members to write to their state senators and representatives to urge them to sign on as bill co-sponsors before June 1, 2021. The more sponsors of the bill - the better.   

A simple email to your senator and/or representative is all it takes. Enter your home address here to find your legislators.  Here is suggested text for an email.                                             

For more information about the LSPA's bill, please read our fact sheet and this additional information.


LSPA's Home Heating Oil Insurance Bill Stalled as Massachusetts Legislature Closes Out This Session

After an unprecedented year, the state legislature closed out its 2019/20 session early Wednesday, January 6, 2021 and began the new session (formally "The 192nd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts") later the same day.
Unfortunately the LSPA's home heating oil legislation, S. 594 which would mandate insurance coverage, did not proceed past the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. The LSPA expects that Senator Anne Gobi will again file the legislation in the new session on our behalf; we will begin again to make our case and tap the established strong relationships we have made to date.

Special thanks to Senator Gobi for her efforts as the bill's lead sponsor.
Thank you to former Senator James Welch and Representative James Murphy, Co-Chairs of the Joint Committee on Financial Services, for their support at the committee level.
 
We appreciate the support of our environmental partners: MA Rivers Alliance, MA Association of Conservation Commissioners, Charles River Watershed Association, Mystic River Watershed Association, and OARs: For the Assabet, Sudbury, and Concord Rivers.
 
The LSPA's Legislative Committee extends a sincere thank you to the many individual LSPA members who called, emailed, and wrote their legislators urging them to support this bill. We will call on you again!

We are confident the next legislative session is OUR TIME!


Action Alert: Urge Your State Senator to Support LSPA's Home Heating Oil Insurance Bill

Now that the Legislature has completed work on the state's FY '21 budget, it will make one last push on passing legislation before the session ends on January 5, 2021.
 
The LSPA's bill S. 594, which would require insurance companies to provide first- and third-party coverage for home heating oil releases, is still under consideration in the Massachusetts Senate Committee on Ways and Means. We only have four weeks to get this bill a favorable report out of committee and approved by the full Senate before this session ends.
 
We are asking for one last push by our members who are Massachusetts residents. Please consider writing to your state senator to urge their support of the bill. The more requests from constituents, the more likely our bill will be a priority of the Senate. Check here to find your state senator.
If your state senator is a member the Senate Ways & Means Committee and/or a co-sponsor of the bill,
NOW is the time to get their attention. Attached here is a sample email you can send. All senators' email addresses are on their home page.
 
If your senator is not a committee member or a co-sponsor, you should still write to urge her/him to encourage the Senate Ways & Means Committee to issue a favorable report on the bill. Here is a sample email you can send. All senators' email addresses are on their home page.
 
If you have experience with a home heating oil release, especially one in which the homeowner did not have insurance or had a difficult time obtaining coverage, please consider sharing this experience in your letter. Real life examples are most compelling, especially if your client's property is in the district of one of these senators.
 
For more information about the bill, please read the LSPA's letter and fact sheet, as well as a supporting letter from five state environmental organizations.
 
Please contact our Executive Director Wendy Rundle at [email protected] if you have any questions.
 
Thank you for your support; we will keep LSPA members apprised.
 
 
LSPA Legislative Committee Co-Chairs
Spence Smith, LSP, Jacobs
Tim Clinton, LSP, Fuss & O'Neill