Friday, May 31, 2013
Please tune in to “Broadside” tonight on New England Cable News (NECN), where I’ll be discussing with host Jim Braude and former state senator and political analyst Warren Tolman the release of a state auditor’s report on our welfare system, a commercial fisheries lawsuit filed by Attorney General Coakley, and the latest on the Boston Marathon bombings investigation. “Broadside” airs at 6:00pm and re-airs again at 3:30am.
Yesterday on the Boston Fish Pier, I joined with Attorney General Martha Coakley in announcing that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has filed a complaint against the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), federal officials, and regulators for recently implementing a 77% reduction of allowable catches of groundfish species such as cod.
Thursday, May 30, 2013
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
“Spending millions of taxpayer dollars on false claims and benefits for ineligible people when others need and deserve assistance is outrageous beyond words. Clearly Commissioner Monahan understands that, and is making progress on this front. Yet today’s report by the Auditor tells the story of a system that demands the strongest possible legislative reforms, many of which Senate Republicans have been putting forth for the past several years, and which shouldn’t be postponed any longer.
We have to act now to rebuild the integrity of our system of public assistance and to make sure that public funds are spent wisely, and for those who truly deserve them.”
Please click here to read the Auditor's report.
Monday, May 27, 2013
It is my hope that we all take time to remember those we've lost while in the service of this great country. The freedoms we enjoy today are the direct results of the men and women who were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice fighting for America and the values that we share.
Especially important to remember is the 60th Anniversary of the Korean War Armistice Agreement. During this three year war the United States lost over 50,000 brave soldiers, who perished while fighting for South Korea's freedom.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
The Senate Republican Caucus has been championing transparency within the Legislature for years, and this is the direct result of an amendment to the Senate Rules that I offered with the Republican Caucus and others that mandates the Clerk of the Senate to post the results of all roll call votes on the General Court’s website. With the posting of roll call votes online, every citizen will have the opportunity to review how each and every member of the Senate voted on a particular measure, allowing for more transparency and accountability.
Please click here to review all of the amendments that were filed by the members to the FY’14 budget proposal. To view the results of a particular roll call vote, click the RC link under the Action column.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
ENV 167 Grants for Fishing Port Recovery Plans
Mr. Tarr moved that the bill be amended, in Section 2, in item 2300-0100, by inserting at the end thereof the following:-
; provided, that not less than $300,000 shall be expended for grants to fishing ports to develop recovery and revitalization plans in response to federal groundfish regulations that took effect on May 1, 2013; provided further, that the division shall issue requests for proposals from affected ports not later than 60 days following the passage of this act and shall award such grants in a timely fashion; provided further, that all affected ports may submit individual plans or multiple ports may submit a regional plan; provided further, that all plans so developed shall be submitted to the director of the division, the secretary of the executive office of energy and environmental affairs, the secretary of the executive office of housing and economic development, and the clerks of the house of representatives and the senate not later than 180 days following the passage of this act
ENV 168 FISHERIES RESEARCH
Mr. Tarr moved that the bill be amended, in Section 2, in item 2330-0100, by inserting at the end thereof the following:-
"provided further, that no less than $350,000 be expended for a program of collaborative research by the Division of Marine Fisheries through the Marine Fisheries Institute, in collaboration with the School for Marine Science and Technology at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, that applies innovative sonar and other technology to assess the biomass of groundfish in the northwest Atlantic Ocean, including cod and yellowtail flounder in the region managed by the New England Fishery Management Council; provided further, that to the maximum feasible extent, such program shall involve commercial fish harvesters in the commonwealth; provided, that the university shall report on the status of the research project to the house and senate committees on ways and means on or before December 31, 2013"
ENV 169 GLOUCESTER MARINE GENOME INITIATIVE
Mr. Tarr moved that the bill be amended, in Section 2, in item 2330-0100, by inserting at the end thereof the following:-
"provided further, that no less than $200,000 shall be expended for the development and implementation of a cod species identification sequencing study to be conducted by the Gloucester Marine Genome Initiative; and provided further, that the Gloucester Marine Genome Initiative shall report on the status of the project to the house and senate committees on ways and means on or before June 30, 2014"
ENV 190 LARGE PELAGICS RESEARCH
Mr. Tarr moved that the bill be amended, in Section 2, in item 2310-0200, by inserting after the words “fisheries and wildlife research” the following words:-
“including research performed at the Large Pelagics Research Center at Hodgkins Cove on giant Atlantic Bluefin Tuna and other species”
EHS 519 Dockside Testing Trust Fund
Mr. Tarr moved that the bill be amended by inserting, after section __, the following new section:-
Section 2 of chapter 29 of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding the following new section:
- Section _____. There shall be established upon the books of the commonwealth a separate fund to be known as the Dockside Testing Trust Fund to be expended, without prior appropriation, by the department of public health. The fund shall consist of fees collected from harvesters of molluscan shellfish on Georges Bank, in waters that are not monitored for the presence of paralytic shellfish toxin, in the amount of thirty-five thousand dollars per vessel that harvests in said waters. The commissioner shall make necessary expenditures from this account for the administrative costs of the operations and programs of the department related to regulating and monitoring the shellfish harvesters, including the testing of the shellfish as necessary to ensure that they are safe for human consumption. The department may incur expenses, and the comptroller may certify for payment, amounts in anticipation of expected receipts, but no expenditure shall be made from the fund that would cause the fund to be in deficit at the close of a fiscal year. Moneys deposited in the fund that are unexpended at the end of the fiscal year shall not revert to the General Fund. The department shall use amounts in said fund for the aforesaid purposes and for no other.
EHS 621 Fishing Family Insurance
Mr. Tarr moved that the bill be amended, in Section 2, in item 4000-1405, by inserting, after the word “basis” in line 10 thereof, the following:-
“provided further that individuals deriving more than 50% of their income from commercial groundfishing and affected by the regulatory changes taking effect on May 1, 2013 may be eligible to receive benefits from this item"
On the eve of the Massachusetts State Senate’s debate of a Senate Committee on Ways and Means budget proposal to Fiscal Year 2014 that had garnered over 700 amendments, the Senate Republican Caucus have filed several amendments that would put controls and cuts on taxes, raise revenue without raising taxes, and promote responsible spending measures and fiscal discipline.
Despite the laudable efforts of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means to level fund or reduce the funding for more than 300 line items, the overall cost of the budget now before us represents a 4.4% increase for Fiscal Year 2014 over the current year. Given the uncertainty of the continuing economic recovery and the proposed $350 million withdrawal from the stabilization fund, we need to exhaust every option to save money, capture efficiencies, boost economic growth and generate revenue that doesn’t come from tax increases.
The amendments filed by the Senate Republican Caucus are part of an initiative to make government more efficient.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Yesterday I released the following statement, after the Senate Committee on Ways and Means unveiled its $33.9 billion budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2014:
The Senate Ways and Means budget makes a notable effort to reduce spending in many accounts. Yet, in responding to yet another sizable budget gap, today’s proposal relies on a combination of over $627 million from one-time revenue sources and $450 million in tax increases, and that’s on top of the millions of dollars in additional tax increases that have been approved in recent years, including a $900 million increase in the sales tax implemented in 2009.
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
It also highlights recent successes I’ve had in amending the law toward that goal, and legislation that I and the Senate Republican Caucus filed earlier this legislative session to include jail time for those who do not adhere to a lifetime licensure ban.
To watch yesterday’s segment please play the posted video below.
Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston
Monday, May 13, 2013
“People who drive time and time again without a license and/or under the influence of alcohol, as evidenced in this case, not only disrespect the law but also put public safety at risk. Clearly, these types of repeated acts can’t be tolerated. While we made significant progress last year in increasing the fines for unlicensed driving, it’s clear that for some cases the sanction of jail time is necessary.
We need to act clearly and decisively to send a message that repeated instances of driving without a license and while intoxicated won’t be tolerated in Massachusetts.”
Today marks the start of National Police Week, where events at our nation’s capital are dedicated to those who currently serve as officers, have served, and those who have fallen in the line of duty. National Police Week was conceived in 1962 when President John Kennedy signed a proclamation dedicating May 15th as Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week as National Police Week.
Since 1962, thousands of officers and supporters from around the country attend events every year in Washington, DC and throughout the nation to join in camaraderie, and to pay respect for those who have fallen while on duty. Tonight at approximately 8:00pm the Annual National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service, which is sponsored by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF), will commence with its 25th Annual Candlelight Vigil.
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
BOSTON – Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) testified before the Legislature’s Joint Committee on the Judiciary this afternoon, calling for the passage of legislation that will enhance information-sharing among the state’s public safety agencies and ensure that sex offenders are properly classified and monitored.
Several of these bills are supported by Protect Mass Children. To learn more about them you can visit their website by clicking here.
BOSTON – The Legislature’s Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture took favorable action today on legislation filed by Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) to promote safety at the state’s public beaches through a uniform, color-coded warning and safety flag program.
Senate Bill 409, An Act Creating Uniform Beach Warnings, was released from committee with a favorable report this morning following a public hearing that included testimony from Senator Tarr, Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante (D-Gloucester) and the family of 2-year-old Caleigh Harrison, who went missing on April 19, 2012 while playing with her mother and sister at Rockport’s Long Beach.
“Today the committee has taken a decisive step toward making our beaches safer and public safety stronger,” said Senator Tarr. “The compelling story told by Caleigh’s family moved legislators to action, and is making the difference in getting the bill passed.”
“I am extremely proud of the Harrison family,” added Representative Ferrante. “They are an inspiration for turning their tragedy into positive advocacy for public safety and preventing future tragedies. As the former vice chair and current member of the Environment Committee, I am pleased that we as a committee were able to vote this out of committee favorably.”
The effort to pass Senate Bill 409 was initiated by Caleigh’s uncle, David Harrison, who was on a business trip to Panama earlier this year when he learned about the country’s color-coded flag system which is used to warn the public about the dangers of tides and riptides. Alabama, Florida, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Texas and several other states utilize a similar program, and the Harrison family is seeking to implement the same safety measures in Massachusetts.
“We’re extremely thankful and delighted that the bill moved as fast as it did,” said David Harrison. “We didn’t expect that, and we’re very grateful. We’re also thankful for the efforts of Senator Tarr and Representative Ferrante. This is one big step toward something positive that we’re trying to accomplish, and we want to thank the committee for pushing the bill through. We’re definitely not the only family to lose a loved one like this, and we won’t be the last, but we hope to reduce those numbers by passing this bill. It’s a great way to honor Caleigh.”
“I want to thank Senator Tarr and Caleigh’s family for bringing this important issue to our attention,” said Senator Marc R. Pacheco (D-Taunton), Senate Chairman to the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. “Massachusetts should certainly employ this strategy; if it prevents another future tragedy, it will be well worth it.”
“I am pleased to work with Senator Pacheco and the Committee members to advance this common sense piece of legislation,” added Representative Anne Gobi (D-Spencer), House Chairman to the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. “I know not every tragedy can be prevented but it is important to put measures in place that can raise awareness and increase public safety and this bill will do that.”
The bill now heads to the Senate for further action.
Thursday, May 2, 2013
"Now that the House and Senate have given initial approval to an increase in Chapter 90 funding, it is imperative that the Legislature move expeditiously to finalize this proposal and approve a terms bill so this money can be made readily available for our cities and towns to capture the widest possible window of the construction season. We are long past the April 1st deadline for communities to be notified of their preliminary funding allocation, and it is important that we honor this financial commitment as soon as possible.
While we continue to move forward, I’m concerned that Governor Patrick has repeatedly asserted that we can’t afford to increase Chapter 90 levels to $300 million unless we approve his $1.9 billion plan to raise taxes. He has gone so far as to warn communities that without his massive tax increases, ‘investment in the Chapter 90 program will not be implemented’.
Clearly, the House and Senate believe that the $300 million can be implemented without resorting to a tax increase of the order or magnitude the Governor has requested. The reality is, the House and Senate are already in the process of finalizing an alternative transportation proposal in conference committee, and the Governor’s $1.9 billion tax increase is no longer under consideration. Therefore, it is my hope the Governor will not hold this critical bill hostage to a larger tax proposal that is no longer viable.”
Posted below are a few photos captured of us in the Massachusetts Senate Chamber.
Wednesday, May 1, 2013