Monday, November 23, 2020

BAKER-POLITO ADMINISTRATION AWARDS OVER $3.2 MILLION IN ROAD SAFETY GRANT FUNDING

Governor Baker, Lieutenant Governor Polito and Executive Office of Public Safety & Security Secretary Thomas Turco announced the awarding of more than $3.2 million in federal grant funding from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 

These critical funds will be distributed to 161 local police departments across the Commonwealth to reduce vehicle crashes, injuries, losses of life, and the resulting economic costs. Awards to 161 Municipal Police Departments Municipal Road Safety Program includes traffic enforcement campaigns such as Drive Sober, Click it or Ticket, Distracted Driving, Speed; equipment; non-enforcement traffic safety activities. 

These district communities were awarded grants: 

Georgetown $11,995 

Gloucester $24,930 

Groveland $11,946 

Hamilton $5,619 

Ipswich $20,000 

Manchester By The Sea $12,000 

Wenham $10,359 

Wilmington $25,000


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North Reading Senior Thanksgiving Drive-Thru Event

Each year State Representative Brad Jones and I host the North Reading Council On Aging Thanksgiving Dinner. This year, we did it again but we made some necessary adjustments to create an amazing drive-through at Teresa’s / Hillview Country Club. 

Mary Anne Nay, Selectman, Town of Boxford my Deputy Director of Special Projects & Intergovernmental Relations and Dick Curran​ my Deputy Director of Constituent Services & Community Outreach helped us greet so many wonderful people. Special thanks to Mary Prenney the Director of the North Reading Senior Center, her staff, and volunteers for making this event so special.
















 


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SENATOR TARR AMENDS SENATE BUDGET TO COMBAT COVID-19 PANDEMIC

Secures Bipartisan Senate Budget Amendments To Support Impacted Sectors 

Responding to the concerns of local and school officials and the ongoing threats posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, State Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R - Gloucester) has added provisions to the Fiscal Year 2021 state budget approved by the Senate this week to advance efforts in protecting public health during the state of emergency. Specifically, those amendments will:

* Give local school districts needed risk assessment tools to inform decisions about protecting the health of students, educators, and staff

* Ensure that those on the front lines of health care have adequate personal protective equipment

* Provide communities with funds to meet the extra costs of addressing the pandemic.

In addition to an amendment that provides a minimum of $250,000 for the communities in the district that Tarr represents in the Senate for 2019 novel coronavirus public safety response, the Senator also won the approval of a plan to direct the state’s Office of Preparedness and Emergency Management to develop and implement a comprehensive plan for inventory tracking, materials management, and using robust procurement systems for the purposes of obtaining the amounts of personal protective equipment needed.

“One of the most important elements of combating COVID-19 is to develop a system for PPE management such as tracking availability, identifying problems, and ensuring that we have a systematized approach for procurement so we don’t have a shortage again,” said Senator Tarr. “The adequacy of personal protective equipment availability, particular for those who provide us with our health care on the front line, is critically important and I appreciate the support of my colleagues in the Senate.”

This PPE supply management plan will identify disruptions in supply chains, incidents of price gouging and projected need while putting in place cost-saving mechanisms for bulk or coordinated purchases of the gear. Another important feature of the system will include a mechanism for a health care provider to alert the office to any impending shortages.

Students, school staff, and families connected to school districts both public and private across the state will benefit from a Tarr proposal to create a School Virus Risk Assessment initiative. The Tarr plan grew out of conversations with local school administrators and was further enhanced by Rockport Superintendent of Schools Rob Liebow.

"Senator Tarr is always keeping the best interests of our young people as one of his top priorities regardless of all the other competing forces he has to deal with on Beacon Hill. He listens carefully to those in the educational field and always responds to the needs of those who can't necessarily advocate directly for themselves,” said Superintendent Liebow. “Our young people are so lucky to have Senator Tarr keeping an eye out for what is best for the children who are certainly our most precious resource and our greatest hope for a brighter future."

The amendment requires collaboration by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education with the Department of Public Health to procure or otherwise develop, statistically valid risk assessment tools for the 2019 novel coronavirus among student populations. The state agencies must make those tools available to all schools in the state, both public and non-public, within 3 months of the budget bill becoming law.

“This budget represents one of many ways in which we can identify areas of need for our residents during this world-wide pandemic,” said Tarr. “From food security, ensuring the wellbeing of vulnerable people, and giving support for those who keep our economy functioning we are in this together.”

The Senate budget takes several other important steps to preserves access to essential services for our most vulnerable residents in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The budget funds MassHealth at a total of $18.2 billion to maintain critical access to affordable health care coverage for over 1.9 million people, The budget bill also includes targeted investments to maintain and expand access to mental health care, while strengthening public health infrastructure at the local, state and regional level to combat the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A Conference Committee will now convene to reconcile the differences between the Senate budget and the version passed by the House of Representatives.


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Governor Baker's Coronavirus Briefing

Today, Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito will join Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders to announce a new statewide COVID-19 public awareness campaign that will run on TV and digital platforms. A live stream will be available here at approximately 11 AM.

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Friday, November 20, 2020

Mass Cultural Council to Administer Cultural Organization Economic Recovery Program in Partnership with Baker-Polito Administration's Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development

The Mass Cultural Council, in partnership with the Executive Office of Housing & Economic Development, has launched the Cultural Organization Economic Recovery Grant Program, which offers grant assistance to Massachusetts nonprofit cultural organizations negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This new $10 million initiative is part of the Baker-Polito Administration’s Economic Recovery Plan. Of the $10 million, $2 million will be dedicated to supporting small cultural nonprofits, in alignment with the FY20 COVID supplemental budget. 

“The Commonwealth’s cultural institutions are a vital component of our identify and this grant program arrives at a crucial time for those organizations that have suffered significantly as a result of the pandemic,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “I’m pleased we can target these resources toward these necessary institutions as we continue working to ensure they survive and thrive long into the future.”

Cultural organizations have suffered staggering economic loss in recent months because of the COVID-19 public health crisis with a reported $484 million in lost revenue and more than 30,000 cultural jobs impacted. The Cultural Organization Economic Recovery Grant Program will efficiently distribute funds to organizations that urgently need them. The deadline to apply for funding is Friday, December 11, 2020; grant awards will be distributed early in calendar year 2021.

“We are so pleased with this collaboration with the Baker-Polito Administration,” said David T. Slatery, Acting Executive Director, Mass Cultural Council. “Our cultural sector has been financially devastated by the pandemic. This vital new program will provide urgently needed relief to cultural organizations across the Commonwealth. We know that the cultural sector must be completely restored for the Commonwealth’s economy to fully recover.”

“The cultural sector has a strong history of enriching the lives of Massachusetts residents through an approach that promotes education, inclusion, and diversity,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “Recognizing the importance of this sector’s mission, this grant program will allow us to focus our support for these organizations and institutions so they can continue to play a significant role in our daily lives.”

Since March, 898 cultural organizations have responded to Mass Cultural Council’s four COVID economic impact surveys. These organizations collectively identify more than $116.8 million in COVID-related capital improvements and non-capital recovery strategies necessary to reopen and safely reengage with the public. Sixty-two percent of these organizations have made the difficult decision to layoff or furlough employees or reduce their wages and/or hours – choices that have impacted 30,616 cultural employees statewide.

“I’m grateful to the Mass Cultural Council for their collaborative efforts to support this vital sector,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy. “Not only are these institutions vital to our culture and history, they also generate commerce in key areas across the Commonwealth, they attract visitors from out of state, and the industry employs a large workforce with skillsets that are unique and specialized.”

The Cultural Organization Economic Recovery Grant Program will grant cultural organizations up to $100,000, or three months of supported operating expenses. On an extremely limited basis, Mass Cultural Council and EOHED reserve the right to award a small number grants worth up to $500,000 for organizations experiencing extraordinary losses. An organization must demonstrate extraordinary need and show that they face remarkable challenges that threaten its viability for this higher award amount to be considered.

Program guidelines, eligibility requirements, and the grant application for the Cultural Organization Economic Recovery Grant Program are available online.


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Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Senate Budget Debate Day 2

Day 2 of the Senate budget debate begins this morning. You can watch the debate as a live-stream right on my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/SenatorBruceTarr. We expect to be in the Senate Chamber in the 10 o'clock hour. If you would like to read the proposed Senate Ways and Means Committee or the amendments that remain you can find that info at: https://malegislature.gov/Budget/FY2021/SenateDebate/Amendments

 


 


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Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Governor Baker Nominates Judge Serge Georges Jr. to the Supreme Judicial Court

Governor Charlie Baker today nominated Associate Justice for the Boston Municipal Court, Serge Georges, to serve as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Judicial Court. The nominee and his family joined Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito for a formal announcement today at the State House.

“Judge Georges has served on the Boston Municipal Court with great distinction and treats all those that come before him with dignity and respect,” said Governor Baker. “His unique voice and real world experiences will improve the quality of discussion and debate on the Commonwealth’s highest court and I am pleased to nominate him.”

“Judge Georges’ rich background in and out of the courtroom, from his time in private practice to his experience on the drug court, will well serve the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and all those that come before it,” said Lt. Governor Polito. “I have the utmost confidence that, if confirmed, Judge Georges will be an excellent addition to the SJC and I look forward to the advice and consent of my colleagues on the Governor’s Council.”

The Supreme Judicial Court is the Commonwealth's highest appellate court, consisting of the Chief Justice and six Associate Justices. The seven Justices hear appeals on a broad range of criminal and civil cases from September through May and issue written opinions that are posted online.

About Judge Serge Georges, Jr.:

Judge Serge Georges serves as an Associate Justice of the Boston Municipal Court. He had a successful and diverse career as an experienced litigator prior to his appointment to the bench in 2013 by Governor Deval Patrick. Directly prior to his appointment, he managed his own successful solo practice concentrating in commercial and business litigation, criminal defense, and matters involving professional licensure and liability. He represented businesses and individuals in a wide range of civil disputes including breach of contract, fiduciary duty suits, employment matters, housing litigation and personal injury cases. In private practice, he also defended criminal cases, including motor vehicle offenses and violent and drug related charges. Prior to establishing his solo practice, Georges was a partner at Barron & Stadfeld, P.C., the Managing Director for Major, Lindsey & Africa, LLC, and an associate at both Todd & Weld and Rackemann, Sawyer & Brewster. He served on multiple boards during his legal career, including the Board of Governors of the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Lawyers, and he was the President of the Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association in 2013.

In his role as Associate Justice of the Boston Municipal Court, over the last seven years, he has had jurisdiction over both criminal and civil matters, including housing matters, mental health hearings, restraining orders and small claims and civil litigation cases. Judge Georges sits in the Dorchester Division of the Boston Municipal Court, one of the most active and busiest urban courts in the Commonwealth. From 2014 to 2018, Judge Georges presided over the Dorchester Drug Court. The Dorchester Drug Court is a multidivisional team working with community providers, representatives from Suffolk Lawyers for Justice and the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office to offer treatment options to those whose addictions have led them into the criminal justice system.

Judge Georges graduated from Boston College in 1992, and from Suffolk University Law School in 1996, where he has served as an adjunct professor for the past twenty years. At Suffolk Law he teaches courses in Professional Responsibility, Evidence and Trial Advocacy. He also teaches Trial Advocacy at UMass Law School. He attended Boston College High School and currently serves as vice-chair of the Board of Trustees for BC High, and remains involved with the school. In January of this year, BC High awarded Judge Georges The James E Cotter ’55 Courage Award. This award is presented to a member of the BC High Community in recognition of courage in the face of adversity, tenacious spirit and force of will. He grew up in Kane Square, in Dorchester, and currently resides in Randolph with his wife Michelle and his two daughters, Olivia and Samantha.

For more information about the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, visit: http://www.mass.gov/courts/court-info/sjc/.


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