Proposed Mass. state legislation (Night-Outdoor-Lighting Bill)

In 1994, the NELPAG provided revised wording to a bill already under consideration by the Massachusetts state legislature (which changed the focus of the bill from directing cities and towns to construct or revise ordinances to directing the state to adopt full-cutoff fixtures for state-funded outdoor lighting). This bill has wording very similar to that on a bill passed into law several years ago by the State of Maine's legislature, in which all state-funded new and replacement outdoor lighting must be fully-shielded fixtures so that no light is emitted above the horizontal; in Maine the result has been that Central Maine Power Company, which had to buy full-cutoff lights for all state-funded applications, has elected to install only full-cutoff lights in cities and towns (because it is cheaper to do so). Many other states have similar legislation now being considered (AZ, CT, TX, and NM have passed bills; and several others have pending bills).

Brief history:

First introduced in 1992 by Rep. James Marzilli, Arlington, as H.3159.
Refiled in 1993-1994 as H.1652 with 5 co-sponsors.
Refiled in FY 1996 as H.2553.
Refiled in FY 1997 as H.3418 (wording changed in 1997 to accomodate
 concerns of lighting engineers who wanted provision for semi-cutoff
 lighting in highly-trafficked urban areas)
Reported favorably by Energy Committee to House Science and Technology
 Committee on 1997 May 1 as H.4449
The Committee on Science and Technology held a hearing in which oral and
 written testimony regarding H.4449 was given by Dan Green, Bob Wylie, and
 Michael Ratner, at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, 1997 October 8, in Room B1 at
 the State House in Boston.
Reported favorably by Committee on Science and Technology Committee to
 House Ways and Means Committee has H.5069 on 1997 Oct. 23, where it died
 in 1998 due to inaction.  It was hoped that H.4449 would reach the House
 floor for a vote in 1998, as the legislative season ended in mid-November
 1997 (not enough time to bring it up after the October hearing), but the
 House Ways and Means Committee evidently let the bill die in 1998, so it
 was re-introduced by Rep. Jim Marzilli as H.3990 early in 1999, and again
 as H.3528 in 2001, and the system is set up such that we have to start
 over again from scratch, passing from committee to committee.  However, a
 new rule is that pending bills stay in the system for two years, retaining
 the same bill number for that period (formerly bill numbers would change
 every year).
Refiled in Jan. 1999 by Rep. Marzilli with 12 co-sponsors as H.3990
 in the Joint Committee on Energy,
Mario Motta and Dan Green testified for H.3990 on Tuesday, 1999 March 30,
 along with 5 or 6 other non-NELPAG people who spoke on behalf of the
 bill (see NELPAG Circular 23), and nobody speaking against.
Reported favorably out of the Energy Committee and into the Science and
 Technology Committee on 1999 April 6 (and known as H.3990 until 2000 Dec. 31).
Rep. Marzilli informs us that the bill made it through the Energy Committee
 once again in 2000, but died in the Ways and Means Committee.
Rep. Marzilli resubmitted the bill for the 2001-2002 session, the new bill
 number being H3528.  Marzilli adds (2001 March 1 e-mail):
 "The bill is scheduled for a hearing in front of the Energy Committee
 on Tuesday, March 13 at 10 AM in Room 222 of the State House.  I hope you
 will testify on behalf of the bill at that hearing or submit written
 testimony to the committee.  If you are interested, please contact my office
 at 617-722-2460 or for more information."
In 2002, the bill has been numbered H.5360, and in December it passed
 the House Ways and Means Committee, was approved in a House vote, and was
 approved by the Senate Ways and Means Committee, then sent to the Senate
 for a floor vote on Dec. 30.  Sen. Brian Lees from Longmeadow (MA)
 put in a late Dec. 30th "hold" on the bill (reportedly so he
 could personally review it), and this hold was released at about 4:45 p.m.
 on Dec. 31 after intense calling by NELPAGers, so that the Senate could vote
 on it [if approved by the Senate, it would have had to go back to the House
 for a quick second approval (and the House was reportedly waiting for this
 to happen), then back to Senate for same, then to Governor's desk (who was
 also reportedly ready to sign it!).  But in the end, the Senate recessed
 for New Year's Eve parties without action, and the whole process
 evidently must start anew with the new Gov. Romney in 2003.
In 2003,
bill No. 1273 ("An Act to reduce light pollution on the
 Massachusetts Turnpike")
 was introduced by Rep. James Marzilli along with
 the on-going pending legislation (now House bill No. 1274), and a favorable
 hearing was held under the joint (House/Senate) Energy Committee on March 25,
 in which Dan Green and Mario Motta spoke on behalf of H.1274 (and voiced
 support for H.1273).  The Energy Committee got the bill moved quickly to
 the Ways and Means Committee, and in May it was attached to the House budget
 bill.  At this point, in mid-May, a NEMA "white paper" was sent to the
 legislature that opposes the bill for very erroneous reasons, saying (for
 example) that "full-cutoff luminaires will jeopardize safety and increase
 light pollution ... [and] will increase state energy costs".  A strong
 rebuttal is in preparation.  [5/19/03]

As of 2001 Jan. 22, Mike Hansen (Cambridge, MA) reported that the following co-sponsors had signed onto this bill: Rep. Alice Wolf, Rep. Paul Demakis, Rep. Doug Petersen, Rep. Cheryl Rivera, Rep. Chris Hodgkins, Rep. Ed Connolly, Rep. Ruth Provost, Rep. Ruth Balser, Rep. Pat Jehlen, Rep. Theodore Speliotis, Rep. Matt Patrick, Rep. Anne Paulsen, Rep. Benjamin Swan, Rep. Frank Smizik, Rep. Kay Khan. Hansen added that he thought the bill number was H.3737 last year, but this is news to me (though it doesn't matter, since the new bill number was introduced in the last month or so, as noted above).

The version of the bill below is the current version, which has been revised after a mistake in wording was made in 1997 by editors at the State House (there may be a few minor insignificant differences between the version below and the actual current wording). We have learned that one must constantly check the wording of the bill each time it moves from one committee to the next, because typographical errors do arise! The order of the bill has been greatly changed from its status in 1996, and some important new material has been added to address (a) the voiced concerns of lighting engineers and (b) the energy-savings issue. Prior to 2003 May 19, the form given below had been that reported out of the Committee on Science and Technology as H.5069 on 1997 Oct. 23 (and to the House Ways and Means Committee) and also the form of H.3990 in 1999 and 2000 (and presumably also now H.3528 in 2001). The form reported out of the Energy Committee in March 2003 is now that given below, which has some significant changes from the earlier version, including the first couple of paragraphs, and sections c, d, and e; the seven (previously five) exemptions have been moved up to be under section e, and the whole very long last sentence of Section 1 is new, as is Section 2.

  Title:  An Act to Limit Outdoor Night Lighting, Conserve Energy, and
          Reduce Light Pollution

  Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court
  assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:

      Section 1.  Chapter 85 of the General Laws, as appearing in the
  2000 Official Edition, is hereby amended by adding at the end thereof
  the following new sections:
      Section 37.  As used in section thirty-seven A, the following words
  shall, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, have the following
  meaning: --

     "Direct light", Light emitting generally in a downward
          direction by a lamp, off a reflector, or through a refractor of a
     "Full-cutoff luminaire", a luminaire that allows no direct light
          from the luminaire above a horizontal plane through the luminaire's
          lowest light-emitting part, in its mounted form.
     "Glare", direct light emitted by a luminaire that causes reduced
           visibility of objects or momentary blindness.
     "Lamp", the component of a luminaire that produces light.
     "Light Pollution", general sky glow caused by the scattering of
          artificial light in the atmosphere.
     "Light trespass", light emitted by a luminaire that shines beyond
          the boundaries of the property on which the luminaire is located.
     "Lumen", a specific standard unit of measurement of luminous flux.
     "Luminaire", a complete lighting unit, including a lamp or lamps together
          with the parts designed to distribute the light, to position and
          protect the lamps, and to connect the lamps to the power supply.
     "Non-cutoff luminaire", a streetlight luminaire in which either the
          lamp and surrounding glass lens extends below the horizontal
          plane of opaque shielding elements of the luminaire, or the lamp is
          situated on top of a post or on a pivoting support on the side of a
          building, causing light to be cast as glare outward and upward,
          beyond its useful range.
     "Outdoor light fixtures", outdoor artificial illuminating devices,
          installed or portable, used for flood-lighting, roadway and area
          lighting, general illumination, or advertisement.
     "Permanent outdoor luminaire", any fixed luminaire or system of
          luminaires that is outdoors and that is intended to be used for
          seven days or longer.
     "Roadway lighting", permanent outdoor luminaires that are
          specifically intended to illuminate roadways for automotive vehicles.
     "Semi-cutoff luminaire", a luminaire that allows no more than 6
          percent of the light from the lamp to be emitted above a horizontal
          plane passing through the luminaire's lowest light-emitting part.
     "State funds", any bond revenues or any money appropriated or
          allocated by the General Court.

      Section 37A.  No state funds shall be used to install any new
                  permanent outdoor luminaire or to replace an existing
                  permanent outdoor luminaire unless the following
                  conditions are met:

      (a)  The new or replacement luminaire is a full-cutoff luminaire when the
        rated output of the luminaire is greater than one thousand eight
        hundred [1800] lumens;
      (b)  If a lighting recommendation or regulation applies, the minimum
        illuminance specified by the recommendation or regulation is used;
      (c)  If no lighting recommendation or regulation applies, the average
        minimum illuminance adequate for the intended purpose is used with
        consideration given to recognized standards, including, but not
        limited to, recommended practices adopted by the Illuminating
        Engineering Society of North America (IESNA);
      (d)  For roadway lighting unassociated with intersections of two or
        more streets or highways, a determination is made by the department
        of highways that the purpose of the lighting installation or
        replacement cannot be achieved by installation of reflectorized
        roadway markers, lines, warnings or informational signs, or other
        passive means; and
      (e)  Adequate consideration has been given to the conservation of
           energy and to the minimization glare, light pollution, and light
           trespass.  The requirement of this section shall not apply in
           any of the following circumstances, settings or location:

      (1)  a federal law, rule or regulation preempts state law;
      (2)  the outdoor lighting fixture is used on a temporary basis by
        emergency personnel requiring additional illumination for
        emergency procedures or used by repair personnel on a temporary
        basis for road repair;
      (3)  navigational lighting systems at airports and other lighting
        necessary for aircraft safety;
      (4)  special events or situations that may require additional
        illumination, including, but not limited to, sporting events and
        the illumination of historic structures, monuments, or flags;
        provided, however, that all such illumination shall be selected
        and installed to shield the lamp used from direct view to the
        greatest extent possible, and to minimize upward lighting and
        light trespass;
      (5)  any urban area where there is high night-time pedestrian
        traffic which has been examined by an engineer employed by the
        commonwealth and experienced in outdoor lighting and deemed to be
        an area where the installation of semi-cutoff luminaires is
      (6) a state prison, county house of correction or county jail; or
      (7) when a compelling safety interest exists that cannot be
        addressed by any other method.

        The division of energy resources, in consultation with the department
        of highways, shall promulgate regulations to implement and enforce
        this section, including a system to ensure that the use of state
        funds for street lighting compliles with the requirements set forth
        herein.  Said regulations shall include the establishment of a
        waiver process, to be administered by the secretary of administration
        and finance or his designee, whereby a state agency, division or
        department may apply for and be granted an exemption from the
        requirements of this section on the grounds that a bonafide
        operational, temporary, safety or specific aesthetic need exists
        to an extent that warrants such an exemption or upon the
        establishment by said agency, division or department that the
        installation and use of the permanent outdoor luminaries [sic]
        required by this section will not be cost effective over the
        expected use life of said luminaries [sic].

    SECTION 2.  The provisions of this act shall take effect as of
        November 1, 2003.

Recommended submitting changes to the wording of the bill, submitted to the House by NELPAG/IDA on 2003 May 28 (revised slightly from the version submitted on May 27):

Suggested revisions to Massachusetts HR 1274 (2003 May 28)
 (Proposed by the NELPAG and the IDA through consultation with
 IESNA and IDA members)

Section 37, REVISED definitions:

  "Light pollution":  artificial light directed, reflected, or scattered
   upward into the atmosphere.

  "Semi-cutoff luminaire":  a luminaire whose light distribution
  restricts the candela per lamp lumen to no more than five percent at
  angles exceeding 90 degrees above nadir.

[NOTE:  limit also changed from six to five percent; official IESNA
 definition for "semi-cutoff"]

DELETE the definition for "Non-cutoff luminaire"

ADD two definitions:

  "Candela":  a unit of luminous intensity.

  "Illuminance":  the luminous power incident per unit area of a surface,
   as measured in lux (lumens per square meter) or foot-candles (lumens
   per square foot).

If possible, modify section (a) to read:

   The new or replacement luminaire is a full-cutoff luminaire when
   the rated output of the lamp is greater than one-thousand-eight-hundred
   (1800) lumens;

[it has been noted that it is better to say lamp than luminaire for
the lumen-output level, because this can be read off the side of a box,
whereas the luminaire level must be measured]

REPLACE the words "upward lighting" [undefined] with "light pollution"
 in section (4)

We recommend that the lengthy last sentence of Section 37, added newly
this year (and containing typographical errors), be eliminated from the
text, as it is awkwardly worded and it weakens the whole purpose of
the bill ["Said regulations shall include ... expected use life of said


section (c), capitalize "Illuminating Engineering Society of North America"

Those wishing to write and/or call your state senator and representative to ask them to support this bill can get information on their elected officials from the State House website at