SENATE DOCKET, NO. 844        FILED ON: 1/17/2013

SENATE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1573


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts



Cynthia S. Creem


To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
Court assembled:

The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act  An Act improving outdoor lighting and increasing dark-sky visibility.






Cynthia S. Creem

First Middlesex and Norfolk

Sean Garballey

23rd Middlesex

Kay Khan

11th Middlesex

Daniel A. Wolf

Cape and Islands

William N. Brownsberger

Second Suffolk and Middlesex

Bruce E. Tarr

First Essex and Middlesex

Kenneth J. Donnelly

Fourth Middlesex

James B. Eldridge

Middlesex and Worcester

Karen E. Spilka

Second Middlesex and Norfolk

Gale D. Candaras

First Hampden and Hampshire

Patricia D. Jehlen

Second Middlesex

Thomas M. McGee

Third Essex

Paul R. Heroux

2nd Bristol

Alice Hanlon Peisch

14th Norfolk

SENATE DOCKET, NO. 844        FILED ON: 1/17/2013

SENATE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 1573

By Ms. Creem, a petition (accompanied by bill, Senate, No. 1573) of Cynthia S. Creem, Sean Garballey, Kay Khan, Daniel A. Wolf and other members of the General Court for legislation to promote energy efficient lighting, conserve energy, regulate outdoor night lighting, and reduce light pollution.  Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy.


SEE SENATE, NO. 1651 OF 2011-2012.]


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts



In the Year Two Thousand Thirteen



An Act  An Act improving outdoor lighting and increasing dark-sky visibility.


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 2008 Official Edition, is hereby amended by adding the following three (3) sections:

Section 37. As used in Sections 38 and 39, the following words shall, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, have the following meanings:

“Direct light”, light emitted by a fixture, whether from the light source, from a reflector, or through a refractor

“Façade lighting”, permanent outdoor fixtures that are specifically intended to illuminate the exterior surfaces of buildings or structures

“Fixture”, a complete lighting unit, including a light source together with the parts designed to distribute the light, to position and protect the light source, and to connect the light source to the power supply

“Fixture lumens”, total lumens emitted by a fixture 

“Fully shielded fixture”, a fixture that emits no direct light above a horizontal plane through the fixture’s lowest light-emitting part, in its mounted position

“Glare”, light emitted by a fixture that causes visual discomfort or reduced visibility

“Illuminance”, the luminous power incident per unit area of a surface

“Light trespass”, light that falls beyond the property it is intended to illuminate

“Lumen”, a standard unit of measurement of the quantity of light emitted from a source of light

“Ornamental Roadway Lighting”, a roadway-lighting fixture that serves a decorative function in addition to a roadway-lighting function and which has a historical period appearance or decorative appearance.

“Parking-lot lighting”, permanent outdoor fixtures specifically intended to illuminate uncovered vehicle-parking areas

“Part-night service”, a rate charged by a utility company to provide unmetered electricity for permanent outdoor fixtures that operate for only a portion of each night’s dusk-to-dawn cycle.

“Permanent outdoor fixture”, a fixture for use in an exterior environment installed with mounting not intended for relocation

“Roadway lighting”, permanent outdoor fixtures specifically intended to illuminate public roadways

“Sky glow”, scattered light in the atmosphere, caused by light directed upward or sideways from fixtures, reducing one’s ability to view the natural night sky.

“State funds”, bond revenues or money appropriated or allocated by the General Court.

Section 38. 

(a) No state funds shall be used to install a new permanent outdoor fixture, or to pay for the cost of operating such fixture, unless the following conditions are met:

(1) in the case of roadway lighting or parking-lot lighting; whether mounted to poles, buildings, or other structures, the fixture is fully shielded.

(2) in the case of building-mounted fixtures not specifically intended for roadway lighting, parking-lot lighting, or façade lighting, the fixture is fully shielded when its initial fixture lumens is greater than 3000 lumens.

(3) in the case of façade lighting, the fixture is shielded to reduce glare, sky glow, and light trespass to the greatest extent possible.

(4) in the case of ornamental roadway lighting fixtures, the fixture emits no more 700 lumens above a horizontal plane through the fixture’s lowest light-emitting part.

(5) for illumination by new permanent outdoor fixtures for applications covered in Section 38(a), only the illuminance levels required for the intended purpose as defined in the 10th edition of The Lighting Handbook, published by the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES), may be used. Where local city or county laws, ordinances, or regulations specify a different requirement, only the illuminance levels required for the intended purpose by these laws, ordinances, or regulations are to be used.

(6) in the case of roadway lighting unassociated with intersections of two or more streets or highways, the Department of Transportation has determined that the purpose of the fixture installation or replacement cannot be achieved by installation of reflectorized roadway markers, lines, warning or informational signs, or other passive means.

(b)  This section shall not apply:

(1) if a federal law, rule or regulation preempts state law;

(2) if the outdoor lighting fixture is used temporarily for emergency procedures or for road repair;

(3) to navigational and other lighting systems necessary for aviation and nautical safety;

(4) to lighting for an athletic playing area; provided, however, that the fixtures used therefor shall be selected and installed so as to minimize glare, light trespass, and sky glow outside the athletic playing area;

(5) if a compelling and bona fide safety or security need exists that cannot be addressed by any other method;

(6) to the replacement of previously installed permanent outdoor fixtures that are destroyed, damaged, or inoperative; have experienced electrical failure due to failed components; or require standard maintenance;

(7) to lighting intended for tunnels and roadway underpasses; or

(8) to special events or situations that might require additional illumination, including, but not limited to, the illumination of historic structures, monuments, or flags; provided, however, that all such illumination be selected and installed to minimize glare, light trespass, and sky glow to the greatest extent possible.

(c) No public utility company shall install a permanent outdoor fixture for roadway lighting or parking-lot lighting if the cost of operating such fixture is paid for by state funds, unless the provisions specified for such uses under Sections 38 (a) and 38(b) are met.

(d) The Department of Energy Resources, in consultation with the Department of Transportation, shall develop and promulgate regulations to implement and enforce this section, including a system to ensure that the use of state funds complies with the requirements set forth herein.

SECTION 2. The Department of Transportation shall:

(a) review and update warranting and other criteria for roadway lighting, to comply with current standards, procedures, and accepted best practices;

(b) make a study of lighting operational costs, and develop recommendations on cost reduction through replacement of existing fixtures with lower-wattage, fully shielded fixtures, and by removal of unnecessary roadway lighting and installation of passive safety measures where possible.;

(c) issue the first report of its findings and recommendations as required in this section to the Department of Energy Resources on or before August 31, 2014, and annually thereafter.

SECTION 3.  The Department of Public Utilities shall, subject to its ratemaking authority, develop a rate for part-night service for unmetered roadway or parking-lot lighting to apply to each new electric utility rate case submitted after January 1, 2014.

SECTION 4. This act shall take effect on November 1, 2013.