SECTION 1. The commission for a climate-ready commonwealth is hereby established to advise the general court on how to fund, implement, and prioritize climate resilience and climate adaptation infrastructure projects that will protect against and avoid risks posed and expenses incurred by climate change, including sea-level rise, coastal flooding, intense precipitation, inland flooding, heat waves, and drought, and which entity the general court should charge with the responsibility of overseeing and coordinating said resiliency and adaptation projects.
SECTION 2. The commission shall consist of up to 13 members, including a chair. The members shall include the mayors or town managers, or their designees, of seven municipalities, four of which shall be coastal municipalities. In addition to the members representing the aforementioned municipalities, the secretary of the executive office of energy and environmental affairs and the commissioner of the department of revenue shall each serve as a member of the commission ex officio. Each of the remaining four members shall be appointed by the governor and shall have expertise in one or more of the following areas: climate change and sea-level rise, wetlands and waterways policy and regulation, transportation planning, public finance and administration, and land use or development. Each member, including the chair, shall serve, without compensation, in an advisory capacity, until the report referenced in Section 6 is delivered, whereupon the commission shall disband.
SECTION 3. The commission shall, at a minimum, investigate the following topics: (i) whether the commonwealth should be responsible for, or have oversight of, climate change resiliency and adaptation infrastructure proposed to protect impacted communities from the effects of climate change and planning for, funding, and implementing said infrastructure; (ii) whether the commonwealth should create a new authority, agency, or department to be responsible for, or provide oversight of, funding, planning for, and implementing climate change resiliency and adaptation infrastructure or expand the powers and responsibilities of existing authorities, agencies, or departments of the commonwealth; (iii) identify sources of funding for the planning, construction, and maintenance of climate change resiliency and adaptation infrastructure projects; (iv) develop standards and metrics to award funding for the planning, construction, and maintenance of climate change resilience and adaptation infrastructure projects; and (v) identify existing legal, regulatory, financial, and governance barriers to expediently planning for and constructing climate change resiliency and adaptation infrastructure projects and provide recommendations to overcome said barriers, including proposed changes to existing laws and regulations.
SECTION 4. The commission may create committees and working groups to inform the commission’s investigation of the topics referenced in Section 3 and the commission may conduct its work and provide its report and recommendations referenced in Section 6 in phases. The commission, its committees and its working groups may procure services, including consulting services, and otherwise involve experts, stakeholders, and members of the public.
SECTION 5. The commission shall be supported by staff from the executive office of energy and environmental affairs and the Massachusetts department of environmental protection.
SECTION 6. The commission shall provide its report and recommendations to the joint committee on environment, natural resources and agriculture of the general court within eighteen months of the date on which the thirteenth member has been appointed to the commission.
SECTION 7. This act shall take effect upon its passage.
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