Thursday, August 9, 2018

Throwback Thursday - Sales Tax Holiday 2015

Three years ago this week Governor Charlie Baker signed the Sales Tax Holiday bill in to law, this was the last time we had a weekend free of sales tax. Consumers and retailers have always valued these opportunities to save money, that's why I have always offered legislation to make it happen permanently.

This year, I successfully added a Senate amendment to to authorize a Sales Tax Free Weekend for August 11 - 12. While the state's Department of Revenue has produced regulations for the weekend it only becomes official with the Governor's signature.


Wednesday, August 8, 2018

National Night Out

National Night Out last night was wonderful. Had some fun in Wilmington and North Andover - and so did many others. Great turnout and excellent job by Wilmington, MA Police Department and North Andover Police Department.


WWII Veteran Frank Korycki of North Andover Turns 100

Please join me in wishing a very happy birthday to a remarkable man- Frank Korycki of North Andover. Frank, a World War II Army Air Corps veteran who earned the rank of 1st Lieutenant, celebrated his 100th Birthday.

District Director of Veterans Services Joe LeBlanc and I led a chorus of Frank’s friends from Lawrence and North Andover in a hardy rendition of “Happy Birthday”.

It was a pleasure to present Frank with a Senate Citation that recognized his special day and a special Citation from Governor Charlie Baker. Thank you for your service to our nation Frank and thank you for letting me join you and your friends.


Monday, August 6, 2018

Bluefin Blowout – A Total Blast!

Congratulation to the organizers and participants of the Bluefin Blowout - a multiday fishing tournament and charity fundraiser.

The Bluefin Blowout is an amazing fishing tournament for Bluefin tuna presented by the Lyon-Waugh Auto Group, and hosted by Cape Ann's Marina Resort in #Gloucester.

The events were very well attended and proceeds benefited the Alzheimer's Association. Year after year this event continues to attract great competitors who have two days of fishing to land giant tuna and more than $40,000 in cash prizes, and the “Bluefin Blowout Trophy”.

The event raised more than $36,000 for the Alzheimer’s Association. The volunteers, visitors, crews and friends made the Blowout a blast. There was a cook-off, corn hole tournament, a children’s fishing derby, an auction, wonderful vendors, raffles and great food.

This year’s winner Dog House, had the home-town edge, the Gloucester boat pulled in the winner with a 680 pound tuna.


Thursday, August 2, 2018


Very happy to report that my bill to enhance the protection of animals from abuse, PAWS II, is headed to Governor Charlie Baker to be signed into law.

Boston- Legislation intended to enhance humane treatment of animals, and punish those who engage in animal cruelty, has received final legislative support following approval by the House and Senate today on Senate Bill 2646, Protecting Animal Welfare and Safety.

The legislation furthers anti-abuse measures first secured in the 2014 Protecting Animal Welfare and Safety bill. Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R- Gloucester) led lawmakers to adopt the bill, also known as the PAWS Act, following the discovery of extreme abuse and cruelty in the case of a dog that was stabbed, burned, cut and had bones broken. The “Puppy Doe” case led to the arrest and conviction of Radoslaw Czerkawski who was recently convicted of 12 counts of animal cruelty and sentenced to 8 to 10 years in prison.

“PAWS II builds on the foundations of our original law and ensures that abuse is reported and enforced, and that our animal control laws reflect the seriousness of animal abuse,” said Senator Tarr. “Puppy Doe inspired me and many others to take strong legislative action to increase protections for animals and prevent animal cruelty and neglect. Animals deserve humane treatment and protections from those who would abuse them.”

Key provisions of the animal welfare bill, Senate Bill 2646, an act to Protect Animal Welfare and Safety in Cities and Towns, include those which:
• Expand potential for abuse reports - Permits animal abuse be reported by Department of Children and Families, the Department of Elder Affairs, and Disabled Persons Protection Commission. Adds animal control officers as mandatory reporters of child abuse, elder abuse, and abuse against disabled persons
• Ensure efficient enforcement of animal control laws - Increases fines for violations of dog control laws up to $500 for a fourth offence
• Double the hit and run penalty for an accident involving dogs & cats - From $50 to $100 for a first offence - $500 for subsequent offences and the cost of medical expenses, and or imprisonment in a house of correction for not more than 6 months
• Prohibit the drowning of animals - Declares that drowning of animals is a violation of law for non-licensed trappers or those registered with Fish and Wildlife
• Prohibit engaging in sexual contact with an animal
• Remove automatic killing of animals involved in animal fighting - Removes a requirement to automatically kill animals involved in animal fighting. This bill creates other options for these animal victims
• Add animal crimes to the list of offenses that serve as the basis for a request for a dangerousness hearing
• Examine options to prohibit discrimination against specific dog breeds – Requires insurance companies to collect and report data of dog related incidents
• Require abandoned animal checks in vacant properties - Property owners and landlords must check property for abandoned animals within three days following a foreclosure or termination of tenancy

Senators gave initial approval of the bill unanimously in March. The House and Senate have enacted the bill which now moves to Governor Baker for his signature.

MSPCA-Angell was absolutely instrumental in their support, advocacy and passion for the enhancements of humane treatment for animals in this bill and their work every day.


Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Combating the Spread of Addiction

The rapid and penetrating seriousness of the spread of heroin, fentanyl, & the over use of prescription drugs is alarming and action provoking. the bill that the Senate sent to Governor Charlie Baker tonight represents an important contribution to expanding the available paths to treatment and the prevention of addiction.

The bill, An Act For Prevention And Access To Appropriate Care And Treatment Of Addiction, is the result of extensive collaboration and work with healthcare researchers, clinicians, hospitals, behavioral health providers, law enforcement officials, patient advocates and people who have lived with the impacts of the opioid epidemic.


Tuesday, July 31, 2018

An Act to Promote a Clean Energy Future

I just spoke in the Senate chamber in support of a clean energy bill which the Senate then unanimously voted to approve.

The bill promotes the state’s use of clean energy sources, an expansion of energy storage technologies and a reduction in the emission of greenhouse gases. It comes two years after the passage of a clean energy law that propelled the state to forge ahead of the nation as the most energy efficient state.

Energy supply and transmission takes time to plan, develop and construct. If we want a blueprint for our energy needs for tomorrow it is imperative that we begin preparing today.

Massachusetts must continue to make progress on increasing usage of renewable energy and decreasing carbon emissions, and this bill does so on several fronts: energy storage, conservation and efficiency, a modest increase in the amount of clean energy utilities must provide a clean peak energy standard to avoid the use of coal and oil, and a pathway to more offshore wind power procurement.

Clearly, we have much more to do in the future, but it would be a shame to forfeit progress on this year’s session and the consensus developed over the last several days. The progress made in this bill must be the basis for further action in the future.

The bill authorizes an additional procurement of offshore wind power, increases the renewable portfolio standard that governs the amount of clean energy utilities must purchase, establishes an energy storage target, and requires gas companies to collect and report data on gas leaks.

Components of the bill include provisions which authorize the Department of Energy Resources to: • Double the amount of authorization for wind energy, bringing it up to 3,200 megawatts of offshore wind,
• Double the renewable portfolio standard, the amount of clean energy that utilities must purchase and integrate into the state's energy system, from one percent to two percent until the end of 2019, then by two percent each year until the end of 2029,
• Establish an energy storage target of 1,000-megawatt hours to be achieved by Dec. 31, 2025,
• Require electric distribution companies to start submitting reports next year to alert the state to energy storage installations in their service territory.

The bill now goes to Governor Charlie Baker for his signature.