Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Funding Our Roads and Bridges

Today the Massachusetts State Senate is expected to hold a full formal session where a debate on Chapter 90 road and bridge funding is set to commence.  The bill, filed by Governor Baker, will provide $200,000,000 in funding for our cities and towns to make improvements on our roadways.

With the unprecedented snowfall totals of this past winter, many roads in particular are in desperate need of repair.  Previously, the House of Representatives unanimously passed the bill to be engrossed by a vote of 155-0 on Wednesday, March 25th.  To watch today’s session live that is scheduled for 2:00pm, please click here.   Posted below is the actual text of the bill.


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with a Cause

On Friday, I had the honor of participating in the Link House’s 13th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Fundraiser.  It was an event filled with traditional Irish fare, great music, wonderful conversations, and good-humored jokes.  The event, which started at 11:00AM and was held at the Masonic Temple in Newburyport, was extremely well attended, and I had a great time addressing the crowd.

The Link House provides residential programs in Salisbury, Newburyport, Amesbury, and Gloucester for men and women who struggle with drug and alcohol addictions, and was first founded in 1972.  It has truly made a difference in those communities and in the lives of the thousands of men and women it has served.  I was glad to assist in this great cause.

To learn more about the Link House, please click here.  Posted are a few photos that I was able to capture during the event.


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Media Alert: On the Air with Fox 25

Today I was interviewed by Fox 25 News Reporter Sharman Sacchetti regarding an amendment that the Senate Republican Caucus secured in the Senate’s version of a supplemental budget that will require the Sex Offender Registry Board to revise its regulations.  Unfortunately, due to the inappropriate application of factors used for classification criteria and other actions, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and Court of Appeals has reversed and remanded several decisions made by the Sex Offender Registry Board

Please tune in to Fox 25’s evening broadcast to see my interview regarding this very serious public safety issue.


On the Air with WGBH’s Greater Boston

Last night I had the opportunity to take part in a panel discussion on WGBH’s Greater Boston with host Jim Braude.  I was joined by former New Bedford Mayor Scott Lang and Boston Globe business columnist Shirley Leung, where we discussed the upcoming presidential campaign and the effects the new minimum wage law has had on Massachusetts.

To watch last night’s segment, please click here.


Monday, March 23, 2015

Media Alert: Greater Boston with Jim Braude

Tonight at 7:00pm, I will be a featured guest on WGBH’s Greater Boston with new host Jim Braude.  I will be discussing with Jim and former New Bedford Mayor Scott Lang the effects of raising the minimum wage has had on the Massachusetts economy, and the latest news regarding the presidential race.

Please tune in to watch tonight’s lively discussion.


Friday, March 20, 2015

Gov on the T Day

Yesterday, I joined with several of my colleagues in the legislature to take an hour long commute from West Gloucester Station to North Station in Boston on the commuter rail to experience firsthand the issues so many commuters face every day.  It provided me with an excellent opportunity to speak directly with riders from our region about the frustrations they felt during this past winter’s historic snowfall totals, which caused major delays and cancellations.

During my commute in, I also had the opportunity to also share the details of bill that the Senate Republican Caucus filed last month that would provide the MBTA and commuter rail service vital tools to assist the agency in achieving financial stability.  The bipartisan, bicameral bill creates a fiscal recovery trust fund, requires the Secretary of Administration and Finance to identify funds to assist the MBTA, and creates a new seven member MBTA finance control board that could ultimately be dissolved in favor of a receiver that would take over the board’s responsibilities as a last resort if sufficient progress hadn’t been made.

The responsibilities of the MBTA finance control board/receiver include:

•             Securing financial and performance stability of the MBTA;

•             Implementing fiscal controls;

•             Implementing uniform budget and planning guidelines and procedures for all departments;

•             Levying fines on vendors who fail to maintain on-time rates, vehicle cleanliness, fare collections, station maintenance, and staff training;

•             Executing capital budgets and borrowing authorizations to finance or refinance any debt;

•             Maintaining authority to appoint, remove, supervise, and control all MBTA employees and personnel matters;

•             Developing a long range plan for MBTA financial and structural sustainability; and

•             Requiring the filing of a quarterly report to the House and Senate Committees on Ways and Means detailing how any expended loan funds were used in the past quarter.
With me in the pictures posted is Senator Joan Lovely of Salem and Representative Ted Speliotis of Danvers.  To read a report in today’s Gloucester Daily Times regarding Gov on the T day, please click here.


Senate Republican Caucus Press Release Regarding SORB Regulations

Senate Republican Caucus Secures Critical Public Safety Measure in Senate’s Supp Budget
Amendment Requires Sex Offender Board to Update Inefficient Regs

Boston – With the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and Court of Appeals reversing and remanding decisions made by the Sex Offender Registry Board due to inappropriate application of factors used for classification criteria and other actions, the Senate Republican Caucus secured an amendment to a supplemental budget debated during yesterday’s Senate session that would require the agency to revise its regulations within 60 days of the bill’s passage.

            Recognizing the immediate threat to public safety of remanded and reversed classifications, Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester), Assistant Minority Leader Robert Hedlund (R-Weymouth), Assistant Minority Leader Richard Ross (R-Wrentham), Senate Minority Whip Donald Humason (R-Westfield), Assistant Minority Whip Ryan Fattman (R-Webster) and Vinny deMacedo (R-Plymouth) the Ranking Republican on the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, filed the measure to compel the agency to fix the impermissible regulations.  Absent the changes being sought in the amendment, the registry could continue to make classification decisions that are remanded or overturned, resulting in many sex offenders not being required to register until their cases were properly resolved.  The changes in regulations sought by the amendment should prevent or minimize that result.

            “Public safety depends on timely and accurate classification of sex offenders, and having cases repeatedly overturned undermines those goals,” said Senator Tarr.  “Having regulations that can withstand judicial scrutiny will go a long way toward preventing unnecessary delays and disruption of timely classifications and registrations.”

The bill now goes back to the House of Representatives for further consideration.