I am writing to request your co-sponsorship of a bill to help ensure the integrity of the
Commonwealth's laws and regulations, including those protecting public health, worker rights,
and the environment.
Foreign governments have begun to demand that the U.S. government require the repeal of state
laws and regulations that are deemed barriers to trade. They are basing these demands on the
authority of the treaties which established and empowered the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Such demands can be brought before a WTO panel and if the United States losses and does not
persuade the state to repeal its law, the U.S. can be required to pay annual damages, or face
arbitrary tariffs (including tariffs on products produced in the affected state).
The California legislature has established a committee to monitor such impacts and to have a
voice in future international trade treaty negotiations. A Georgetown University study this year
concluded that the WTO has the authority to undermine California standards relating to labor
protection, economic development, human rights, the environment, and public health.
This bill will provide the Massachusetts legislature with the information to assess these threats
to our laws and sovereignty by creating a commission which will examine the impacts on state
laws and regulations of the WTO, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and other
global trade and investment agreements. The commission would help maintain the legislature's
authority to pass legislation in a broad range of areas.
The resolution has been assigned docket #2213 by the House Clerk's office.
Representative Byron Rushing
NOTE: The resolution is now bill H.2119
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
In the year 2001
PROVIDING FOR THE CREATION OF A SPECIAL COMMISSION RELATIVE TO THE IMPACT ON THE
COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS OF THE WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION (WTO) AND THE
NORTH AMERICAN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT (NAFTA)
That a special commission is hereby established for the purpose of estimating the probable
further impacts on state laws and regulations of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and its
current agreements including expansion of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)
now under negotiation, and similar instruments such as the North American Free Trade
Agreement (NAFTA), available drafts of the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA)
and Transatlantic Economic Partnership (TEP), and of the dormant Multilateral Agreement on
Investment (MAI), and to report from time to time to the Legislature and to our federally
elected officials on such probable impacts upon laws and legislative and regulatory processes of
the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Said Commission shall recommend when the Commonwealth may support or withhold support
for any new provisions of the WTO, NAFTA, or similar instruments.
Said Commission shall consist of two members of the senate, three members of the house of
representatives, the Attorney General or his nominee, the Treasurer of the Commonwealth or
her nominee and two persons appointed by the Governor.