Thursday, July 14, 2016

Reform the Independent Contractor Law

Numerous economic and social studies have determined that Massachusetts has a well-defined need to generate new jobs. One important policy approach that should be included in a new statute is a reform to the independent contractor law.

This law, one of the severest in the country, causes detrimental burdens on many companies that rely on independent labor and as a result, a detraction on our economy at a time when we need to revive opportunities for labor growth.

Today I will be debating an amendment that I have offered to the Senate’s economic development bill, the Act relative to job creation, workforce development and infrastructure investment, Senate Bill 2423. My proposal will reform the independent contractor law with specific new thresholds to determine a person’s status as an contractor:
  • compensation equal to or greater than $30 per hour, or $1,200 per week, or $5,160 per month;
  • services requiring a professional certification or licensure, or conducting business in a franchise relationship subject to FTC rules and regulations;
  • work requiring the exercise of discretion and independent judgment; advanced knowledge in a field of science or learning; or creativity, originality or talent in a recognized field of artistic or creative endeavor; or
  • the individual is granted either ownership or copyright to the work product.

Our existing independent contractor law impacts more than 1 million workers, including contractors researchers, and artists. Misclassification weakens the competitiveness of law-abiding Massachusetts businesses and constrains our potential for job growth and an opportunity to revitalize our economy.


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

District Nets $200,000 in Marine Water Quality Awards

Five coastal communities in Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr’s district will be receiving Clean Vessel Act funds for the purchase, operation and maintenance of pumpout equipment including pumpout boats, shoreside pump stations and floating restrooms. The Baker-Polito administration announced the award of the funds which will curtail sewage discharge from recreational vessels and preserve marine water quality and habitats.

“Our marine environment is precious, and we must explore every available avenue to address its viability and sustainability,” said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester). “Funding through this grant program makes possible the kind of practical investments in pumpout facilities that make a real difference every day in keeping our waters clean so that we can all benefit from this.”

The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries manages the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Clean Vessel Act program which is funded by the Sportfish Restoration Program.

“These pumpout projects all along our coast will make it easy and convenient for people who enjoy fishing and boating in Massachusetts’ coastal waters to help us keep those waters clean,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Through this collaborative effort with the federal government and our coastal communities, we are working to protect our important marine resources for generations to come.”

“These funds will greatly strengthen municipal and private efforts to keep the Commonwealth’s coastal waters pristine,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Installing pumpout facilities provides a needed service to boaters while protecting public health and our marine ecosystems.”

Awarded district projects include:
  • Gloucester will receive $14,000 for a pumpout boat and a shoreside pumpout at the Cape Ann Marina and the City of Gloucester will use $76,000 for a pumpout boat and the installation of a new shoreside station and supporting float.
  • Ipswich will receive $64,750 to purchase a replacement pumpout boat.
  • The Manchester Marine will dedicate $3,000 for a pumpout cart and tight tank and the Town of Manchester will allocate $8,500 toward a pumpout boat.
  • Rockport will receive $8,500 for the purchase of a pumpout boat.
  • Rowley will receive $13,000 for a shoreside pumpout station, tight tank, and pumpout boat.

Since the program’s inception in 1994, Massachusetts’ harbors have put more pumpout boats in service than any other state. This extensive coverage, coupled with the many shoreside pumpout stations placed in service, provide the infrastructure needed to achieve and maintain the No Discharge Zone designation in all of the Commonwealth’s coastal waters.


Monday, July 11, 2016

Funding for Phyllis A Secured in Budget

For several years I have been working to build legislative support to bolster the efforts of the Phyllis A. Marine Association to restore on of Gloucester's most important surviving fishing vessel as it enters its next stage of restoration. Now that persistence is producing results.

When the Senate debated the state budget for the current fiscal year in May, I offered an amendment to provide not less than $60,000 for the restoration of the Phyllis A., and capitalized on the legislative support we have built by getting it passed. Next, the amendment was included in the final version of the budget by the House and Senate conference committee. Finally, Governor Baker approved and signed the budget which mandated the funding.

The historic nature of the iconic Phyllis A is significant and all who crewed her or were well served by her, will someday in the future, be honored by her stem to stern rejuvenation.

Now that state funding is assured under the new budget, I hope that others will be encouraged to give tangible support to the Association leaders and volunteers who have been working diligently to restore this culturally and historically important vessel.

Today, Sean Horgan of the Gloucester Daily Times reported on this effort, and you can read his story by clicking below.


Friday, July 8, 2016

Senate Moves Veterans' HOME Act to Governor Baker

Today the Senate clerk sent to the Governor's desk and important bill, An Act Relative to Housing, Operations, Military Service, and Enrichment, called the Massachusetts HOME Act, which expands on the commitment Massachusetts has to our veterans, servicemembers and their families.

This bill earned bi-partisan support because it provides important benefits to veterans and their families in terms of employment, housing, property tax relief, education, and other services.

Massachusetts leads the nation in our assistance programs offered to veterans, and rightly so because they deserve a support system which reflects their vital service to America and sacrifice on our behalf. The passage of the Valor Act I 2012 and Valor Act II in 2014 helped Massachusetts the number one state in the nation for providing for our veterans. Our country is stronger because of our servicemen and servicewomen and our veterans and we are honored by their commitment to all of us.

You can read the HOME Act at - HOME Act


Some Repeat Sex Offenders Don't Appear On The Public Offender Registry

I spoke recently with New England Cable New investigative reporter Ally Donnelley about the state of sex offender classification.  You can watch her report by clicking the link-


Some Repeat Sex Offenders Don't Appear On The Public Offender Registry

I spoke recently with New England Cable New investigative reporter Ally Donnlley about the state of sex offender classification.   You can watch her report by clicking the link- via


Thursday, July 7, 2016

Media Alert: Tarr on NECN

Expected tonight on New England Cable News, a report by Ally Donnelly NECN on the state of sex offender classification for convicted sex offenders.

I talked with Ally about the ramifications of a recent State Supreme Court decision that could put hundreds of offenders is classification limbo. Tune in tonight at 9 PM.