WHEREAS, the continued existence of nearly 14,000 nuclear weapons worldwide poses a grave and existential threat to the citizens of the Commonwealth; and
WHEREAS, the citizens of the Commonwealth have expressed their deep concern about this continuing threat over many decades and continue to do so; and
WHEREAS, this concern has been expressed through numerous Town Meetings and City Council resolutions throughout the Commonwealth; and
WHEREAS, this concern has also been expressed through numerous resolutions and bills brought before this General Court, including at least 5 such bills introduced in the last legislative session on this topic; and
WHEREAS, in general it is the federal government and not the state which has jurisdiction over matters relating to nuclear weapons, this does not mean there is no role for the Commonwealth to play in this regard; and
WHEREAS, in fact, it has been shown that the policies and actions of states can lead the way to important and necessary changes at the federal level and even internationally; and
WHEREAS, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts played a leading role in ending the nuclear arms race with the Soviet Union in the 1980s, by adopting a Nuclear Freeze resolution and encouraging other states to follow our example and
WHEREAS, 40 years later it is not a “freeze” of nuclear weapons that is needed to save the Commonwealth, and the world, from the unthinkable catastrophe of a nuclear war or a nuclear accident, but the complete elimination of these weapons, in line with the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, which enters into force as international law on January 22, 2021; and
THEREFORE, be it resolved that the General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts congratulates the 51 countries that have signed and ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and joins the legislatures of California and Oregon, the Maine State Senate, the New Jersey Assembly, and the 15 cities and towns in Massachusetts which have taken action to protect their citizens from the existential threat of nuclear war by embracing this Treaty and endorsing the national Back from the Brink platform, which calls on our federal leaders to embrace the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and to take immediate steps to prevent nuclear war by renouncing the option of using nuclear weapons first, ending the President’s sole, unchecked authority to launch a nuclear attack, taking U.S. nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert, canceling the plan to replace its entire arsenal with enhanced weapons, and actively pursuing a verifiable agreement among nuclear-armed states to eliminate their nuclear arsenals, and be it further
RESOLVED, that it shall henceforth be the policy of the General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to pursue whatever measures may be found necessary and appropriate to protect the citizens of the Commonwealth from the existential threat posed by nuclear weapons and to contribute in whatever ways it can, as a Commonwealth, towards the total elimination of these weapons from all countries, in line with the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons; and be it further
RESOLVED, that copies of this resolution be transmitted forthwith by the clerk of the Senate to the President and Vice President of the United States, the Speaker and Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives, the Majority and Minority Leaders of the United States Senate, and to each Senator and Representative from the Commonwealth in the Congress of the United States, and to the Governor of the Commonwealth.
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