Thursday, August 28, 2014

Honoring Local Heroes

On Thursday, August 21st, I had the honor to attend and participate in the Legion d’Honneur Medal (Legion of Honor Medal) ceremony for U.S. Army veterans Michael Linquata and Frank Mondello, both from Gloucester, Massachusetts. The medals were presented to both men for their courageous actions in fighting to liberate the French people from Germany during World War II.

Presenting Mike and Frank with the medal, which is France’s highest decoration for military or civilian service, was Consul General de France at Boston, Fabien Fieschi. During the ceremony, I was able to present official Massachusetts State Senate Citations recognizing them for their service in the U.S. Army and their bravery overseas fighting against tyranny.

Also in attendance were several officials, including Congressman John Tierney, Kate Machet from U.S. Senator Ed Markey’s office, Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante, Mayor Carolyn Kirk, Veterans’ Agent Adam Curcuru, City Council President Paul McGeary, Vice-President Sefatia Romeo-Theken, and others, and several prominent military figures including U.S. Army Veteran George Belezos, who is also a recipient of the Legion d’Honneur Medal, Joanne Patton, the daughter-in-law of General George S. Patton, members of the AMVETS organization, and members of the Disabled American Veterans organization.

The medal ceremony was held at the Gloucester World War II Memorial located at Kent Circle in Gloucester. Posted below are several photos I was able to capture during the event.



Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Zip Trip to Rowley

Last Friday, the Fox 25 Morning News crew arrived at the Rowley Town Common to feature the historic town and the people for the show’s weekly Zip Trip.  I was thrilled to have been able to greet the station and to join in on the festivities.  It was a beautiful day with a vivacious atmosphere that featured local officials, businesses, and residents.  Hundreds of people came out and participated in the Zip Trip event.

Posted below are several photos that both I and Rowley Town Selectman Robert Snow captured.


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Media Alert: On the Air with Fox 25

Tonight at 5:00pm I will once again be a guest on the Fox 25 Evening News to discuss the latest developments with the Federal REAL ID Act, Massachusetts failure to comply, and what that means for the state’s citizens.  Please tune in to watch tonight’s lively conversation.


Thursday, August 21, 2014

The PAWS Act Signed into Law

Today I released the following statement regarding the passage of the PAWS Act:

Senator Tarr’s Statement on the PAWS Act Being Signed into Law

Boston- Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) released the following statement today regarding Governor Patrick signing S.2345, An Act protecting animal welfare and safety, AKA the PAWS Act, into law.  The bill was filed by Senator Tarr following several cases of animal abuse including the tragic death of Puppy Doe:

“The signing of the PAWS Act represents a victory for everyone who cares about animals in our state, and those who have worked tirelessly to champion this legislation. Now we have stronger penalties and a clear message that if you abuse an animal there will be serious consequences.

Puppy Doe and others have suffered from unthinkable brutality that never should have happened. Yet now, motivated by those cases, we have taken strong and continuing steps to prevent it from happening again.”



Thursday, August 14, 2014

Securing Final Passage of the PAWS Act

Today, I issued the following press release regarding the passage of the PAWS Act:

The House and Senate today enacted Senate Bill 2345, An Act Protecting Animal Welfare and Safety, which includes many of the provisions of the original PAWS Act filed by Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) in October of 2013. The legislation was initially drafted last year in honor of Puppy Doe, a female pit bull who was euthanized on August 31, 2013 because of the extensive injuries she suffered from long term, irreversible damage to her body, which included a stab wound to her eye; the splitting of her tongue to look like a serpent; a dislocated shoulder, elbow, wrist, and ankle; burns; and signs of starvation.

“Animal abuse in our Commonwealth is simply unacceptable, and legislation to confront it has been a major priority in this session,” said Senator Tarr. “Now we have acted to increase penalties to send a clear and immediate message, and to create a task force that will build a foundation for further action.”

“Animals are defenseless and we must do everything within our means to protect them from senseless assault and mistreatment by some of the cruelest members of our society,” said Senator Mark Montigny (D-New Bedford), a Senate lead co-sponsor. “We must be vigilant to ensure that those serious offenders are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Representative Louis Kafka (D-Stoughton) and Representative Bruce Ayers (D-Quincy) have also been championing legislation to strengthen the state’s animal abuse laws. A total of 76 legislators from both the House and Senate signed on to the original PAWS Act.

“We’re very pleased that this crucial legislation has passed, and we extend our thanks to Senator Tarr and all of the bill’s supporters who championed these reforms,”said Kara Holmquist, director of advocacy for the MSPCA-Angell. “Animal lovers around the state can today celebrate these efforts and hopefully can find some peace knowing that from such tragic incidents, like Puppy Doe and others, awareness has been generated that will now prevent harm to other helpless animals.”

The Senate had initially approved the PAWS Act by a vote of 40-0 on July 31, the last day of formal sessions. The House subsequently adopted some minor technical amendments before passing the bill on a voice vote. The modified bill, which will give public safety officials the tools to meaningfully punish those who commit heinous acts of cruelty against animals, calls for:

  • Increasing the possible fine for committing animal abuse from $2,500 to $5,000 for a first offense, and up to $10,000 for a second and any subsequent offenses;

  • Raising the maximum time in prison from 5 years to 7 years for a first offense and up to 10 years for a second and any subsequent offenses;

  • Requiring veterinarians to report suspected animal abuse (similar to the requirement for medical staff who suspect child abuse); and

  • Creating a special task force of experts in law enforcement, animal protection, veterinary practice, legal professionals, and industry professionals to review methods to prevent animal abuse and punish those who commit animal abuse.

The bill now heads to Governor Patrick’s desk for his signature.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Rockport Lobsterfest and Fireworks Show

On Saturday, August 9th, the Rockport Rotary Club hosted its 18th Annual Lobsterfest at the American Legion Hall Bandstand on Back Beach. Hundreds of residents and visitors turned out to enjoy a meal of hot boiled lobster, corn on the cob, clam chowder, hot dogs and burgers, while listening to live music throughout the afternoon provided by the Riverside Renaissance Swing Band.  All Lobsterfest proceeds will be used to fund the Rockport Rotary Club’s many worthwhile community service projects.

Later that evening, the Rockport Fireworks Committee held its second annual fireworks show at Granite Pier, which was dedicated to the late Tina Ketchopulos and Don Mosher, who were both actively involved in the Rockport community.  The show was paid for through private donations and fundraisers, including the proceeds of a raffle where the winner received a painting by local artist Ken Knowles valued at $10,000.  I had the honor of joining Ken to draw the winning ticket during the Lobsterfest celebration earlier in the day.

Congratulations to the Rockport Rotary Club and the Rockport Fireworks Committee for hosting a memorable day of food and fireworks!



Monday, August 11, 2014

Animal Abuse Bill on the Move

Senate Bill 2345, An Act ProtectingAnimal Welfare and Safety, moved one step closer to final passage today, as the Senate concurred with a technical amendment the House made to the bill on the last day of formal sessions July 31st.

The latest bill reflects many of the elements contained in the original PAWS Act (Senate Bill 1914), which I filed in October of 2013 with the support of 75 legislative co-sponsors. Passage of this animal protection bill has been one of my top priorities for the 2013-2014 legislative session.

Like the original PAWS Act, Senate Bill 2345 provides for increased fines and jail time for individuals who maim, injure or kill an animal, and carries additional penalties for repeat offenders.  It also requires veterinarians to report suspected cases of animal cruelty, while creating a special taskforce of experts in law enforcement, animal protection, veterinary, legal professionals, and industry professionals to review methods to prevent animal abuse and punish those who commit these crimes.

If the House and Senate enact the bill on Thursday, Senate Bill 2345 could be on the Governor’s desk before the end of the week.


Friday, August 8, 2014

Come Take a Tour of the State House

I would like to invite all of my constituents to come to the State House for a special free tour of one of the State’s most treasured buildings. Tours are given year round from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, and last approximately 40 minutes. To reserve a tour please call the tour desk at (617) 727-3676. The State House offers both portraits and historical artifacts of Massachusetts long and storied history.