Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Media Alert: On the Air with NECN

This morning I’ll be a guest on NECN’s Morning News, where I’ll be discussing the latest developments regarding the resignation of the Department of Children and Families Commissioner Olga Roche, and what the department needs to do moving forward to regain public trust.

Please tune in at 11:00am for today’s appearance.


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Media Alert: On the Air with Fox25

Tonight I will once again be a guest on the Fox 25 Evening News to discuss the resignation of Department of Children and Families Commissioner Olga Roche, and the necessary steps the department needs to take to regain public trust.

Please tune in at 5:00pm to watch tonight’s discussion.


Statement on the Resignation of Commissioner Roche

Today I released the following statement regarding the resignation of Department of Children and Families Commissioner Olga Roche:

“The resignation of Commissioner Roche is an important and necessary step in reforming the Department of Children and Families, but it’s not the only step that needs to be taken.

DCF has systemic failures, and they demand sweeping reform to protect some of our state's most vulnerable children and families. Responsible caseloads, accountability at every level, a focus on the best interest of the child, and timely actions need to be part of the fabric of this agency.

For the legislature and the Governor to leave these reforms undone in the wake of Roche's departure would be a serious mistake and a disservice to our state.”



Monday, April 28, 2014

Supporting Gloucester’s Pride Stride

For the past 27 years the citizens of Gloucester and Cape Ann have come together to support local organizations in a fundraising effort known as the “Pride Stride”.  This year’s event was another major success, and I am honored to have been able to participate yet again.

Located on Stacy Boulevard, my team and I provided hundreds of walkers who partook in the five mile walk with water and other refreshments. I want to thank Anthony and Joanne Marks, and my brother Brian Tarr for assisting me at the water stop again this year.

I also want to thank everyone who contributed and made this year’s Pride Stride the success it was, and I look forward to next year!

Below are a few pictures taken by Anthony Marks of activities at our water stop, and pictures that I captured at Stagefort Park. You can learn more about the Pride Stride by clicking here.


Friday, April 25, 2014

Statement on MA Affordable Care Act Waiver Extension

Today I released the following statement after it was announced that the federal government has given Massachusetts a one-year waiver extension on an Affordable Care Act mandate that will change the way insurers calculate premiums for businesses:

"This waiver extension is indeed good news for small businesses in our state and the people who depend on them. Healthcare costs are a major challenge to increasing employment in the wake of a long and difficult recession.
That's why we need to use the time gained from the waiver to redouble our efforts to secure permanent relief from a risk rating system that will disrupt what has worked for our state to accurately price risk and to help prevent the rate spikes that the federal mandate could well cause.
If people in Washington truly believe that  Massachusetts has been a pioneer in health care reform, then they should give our system the respect it deserves and prevent it from being disrupted by a mandate that doesn't make sense for our state."


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Support for the PAWS Act

Today the PAWS Act received its public hearing before the Joint Committee on the Judiciary.  There were several legislators, animal activists, and advocacy groups testifying in support of the comprehensive animal abuse protection bill that I authored, which has 75 additional co-sponsors.

Today’s hearing was an important next step in the legislative process.  With formal sessions ending on July 31st, it is imperative that people call, email, or write to the members of the Judiciary Committee to release the bill favorably.  Click here for the contact information for the members of the Judiciary Committee.

The legislation raises fines and penalties, and creates an animal abuse registry. Highlights of the bill include:

• Establishing an anonymous animal abuse tip hotline;

• Expanding the use of the Homeless Animal Prevention and Care Fund to include the rehabilitation and care of abused animals, and increasing the size of the board that administers the fund to include a special state police officer from an animal humane organization, and a member of local law enforcement;

• Imposing a fine of up to $1,000 on any veterinarian who knowingly and willfully fails to report a suspected act of cruelty to an animal;

• Increasing the penalties associated with cruelty to animals, or maliciously killing, maiming, disfiguring, or exposing them to poison from a monetary fine of $2,500 or imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 5 years or imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than 2 ½ years to between $2,500 and $10,000 and/or imprisonment;

• Providing judicial discretion to expand the penalties for up to 5 additional years imprisonment and an additional $10,000 fine based on a finding of the existence of aggravating factors, including but not limited to the number of animals involved, the degree of premeditation or planning,   whether the abuse occurred in the presence of a child; whether the abuse occurred as a result of acts undertaken for financial benefit (i.e., dogfighting), and whether the abuse was systematic or isolated;

• Increasing the penalties for a second or subsequent offense from 5-10 years state imprisonment and a fine between $5,000 to $20,000;

• Increasing the penalty for a hit and run conviction on a cat or dog from a $50 fine to up to $2,000 fine and/or up to 60 days in a house of corrections;

• Creating a statewide registry of convicted individuals of animal abuse crimes, and requires all animal shelters, pet stores or animal breeders to check the registry prior to offering, selling, delivering, or giving an animal to any individual; and

• Creating a 9-member commission to review the state’s animal cruelty laws, many of which date back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries.


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Statement on the Scheduling of a Public Hearing for the PAWS Act

Today I released the following statement regarding Senate Bill 1914, An Act Protecting Animal Welfare and Safety (the PAWS Act), which has been scheduled for a public hearing on April 24th at 1:30pm in hearing room A-2 of the State House by the Joint Committee on the Judiciary:

“News that a long awaited public hearing for the PAWS Act has been scheduled is indeed good.  Sadly the heinous crimes against Puppy Doe, a dog who was left beaten, battered, and alone in a Quincy Park, is far from the first animal to be cruelly tortured.  Multiple examples exist across the Commonwealth, and now is the time for the legislature to act swiftly to take action against those who commit such heinous crimes.

The scheduling of Thursday’s hearing is a call to action for legislators, public officials, organizations, and all who care about animal welfare in our Commonwealth.  With limited time remaining in this legislative session we must deliver a united, clear, and compelling message that the legislature needs to act in a bold and decisive way to confront senseless acts of cruelty with strong penalties for abusers and a comprehensive system to prevent abuse and assist animals in distress.”


* The PAWS Act (Protecting Animal Welfare and Safety) seeks to expand the penalties for animal abuse and cruelty and to create a statewide animal abuse registry.  It was filed on October 7, 2013, and has 76 total sponsors of the bill.  A copy of the bill text and summary is attached.


Media Alert: Tonight’s Broadside

Tonight I will be a guest on NECN’s Broadside, where I’ll be discussing with Senator Michael Barrett and host Jim Braude the tragic case of Jeremiah Oliver, and the possible ramifications that could result from the Department of Children and Families’ failure to monitor and protect this family and this child.

Please tune in to NECN at 6:00pm to watch this evening’s discussion.


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Media Alert: On the Air with Fox 25

Please tune in tonight at 6:45pm on Fox 25, where I will be discussing the latest developments regarding the tragic case of Jeremiah Oliver, and what this could mean for the Department of Children and Families.


Happy Easter

I would like to wish all of my constituents a wonderful and happy Easter that is celebrated with friends and family, and let us not forget those who proudly serve this great nation abroad, and away from their family to continue protecting our way of life.

Happy Easter!


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Media Alert: On the Air with Fox 25

Tonight I will once again be a guest on the Fox 25 Evening News to discuss a measure contained within a transportation bond bill that will result in Massachusetts turnpike toll-takers acquiring an additional five years of added service toward their pensions as they are being phased out.

Please tune in tonight at 5:15pm to watch what will surely be a lively conversation.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Staying Boston Strong

Today marks the one year anniversary of the tragic Boston Marathon bombings that left us all wounded and scarred due to the horrific actions of terrorists.  The attack on Boston shook the very core of our society, triggering great concern for our safety and the safety of our loved ones. 

Sadly the bombs took the lives of Krystal Marie Campbell, Lu Lingzi, and Martin William Richard, and during the manhunt to catch the suspects, we lost MIT Police Officer Sean Collier.  In total another 264 people were injured near the marathon’s finish line, many of whom lost limbs.

An act of terror is meant to intimidate, as much as it is meant to kill and maim; however, what the terrorists failed to contemplate was the strength of Bostonians and the people of Massachusetts.  With the assistance of public safety officials, first responders, hospital personnel, government agents, volunteers, and people from around the country and the world, we grew stronger as we united together. 

No matter how hard terrorists try to break down our society and our values as Americans, they will never breach our trust and faith in one another, and although a year has passed since the events of that infamous day occurred, we remain Boston Strong, and I couldn’t be more proud.


Monday, April 14, 2014

Happy Passover

With Passover commencing tonight, it is my hope that all of my Jewish friends and constituents have a wonderful holiday surrounded by friends and family, and that your time together is filled with peace and happiness.


Providing Valuable Information to Our Seniors

On Friday, April 11th, I joined with Representative Mirra at the Groveland Council-on-Aging for a forum, which Representative Lyons also co-sponsored, to provide seniors with valuable information regarding the differences between observation and inpatient care at medical facilities.  The confusion between the two statuses has been particularly problematic for those who receive Medicare benefits, which can lead to a sizable financial impact, especially for those on fixed incomes.

To assist us in our effort, Susan Cripps, the S.H.I.N.E. (Serving the Health Information Needs of Elders Program) Director at the Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley, Inc., spoke at Friday’s event.  Susan was a vital asset to the forum because of her vast amount of experience and knowledge on the issue.  Seniors from Groveland, West Newbury, Newbury, Georgetown, and Boxford attended this very informative event.

Following Friday’s forum, members of my staff assisted interested seniors in applying for a “Reduced Fare Charlie Card”.  The reduced fare cards allow access to the Greater Boston Metropolitan Area on the MBTA transportation system at a fraction of the usual cost.

If you’d like to learn more about the differences between observation and inpatient status, call the Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley, Inc. at 1-800-892-0890 to speak with a S.H.I.N.E. counselor.  If you are interested in receiving a “Reduced Fare Charlie Card”, please click here to view the MBTA’s webpage regarding the program.  Posted below are several photos I was able to capture during Friday’s forum.


Friday, April 11, 2014

Statement on the Passage of a Natural Gas Leaks Bill

Yesterday I released the following statement regarding the passage of S.2073, An Act relative to natural gas leaks:

“Today’s passage by the Senate of S.2073, An Act relative to natural gas leaks, is an important step for public safety and our environment.  When Wayne Sargent’s house exploded in January, 2009 in Gloucester we all saw firsthand the devastating consequences of gas leaks.  Through this legislation we can put in place a classification and management system that will not only compel timely and effective responses to leaks that pose immediate threats, but also cause the systemic and effective replacement of an aging transmission system that often causes those leaks in the first place.

            Wayne has been a critical force in getting this bill passed.  His inspiration, motivation, and thoughtful suggestions have been valuable assets in the legislative process.

            Hopefully we can now advance the bill engrossed by the Senate today swiftly through final passage and onto the Governor’s desk to become law.”


* Photo Caption:

Gloucester Police Officer Wayne Sargent, whose house exploded in January 2009 due to a natural gas leak, stands with Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) in the Senate Chamber after the passage of S.2073.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Celebrating Greece’s Independence

In 1821 the people of Greece declared their independence from a brutal and oppressive Ottoman Empire, and for eleven years they fought courageously, ultimately gaining their right for freedom.  To commemorate the occasion, people of Greek descent and many others came to the State House on Friday, April 4th where a public ceremony was held in the House of Representatives’ Chamber. This year's annual celebration included several state legislators, Greek dignitaries and officials, and hundreds of guests from all across the Commonwealth.

I have been honored to host these ceremonies, which are sponsored by members of the House and Senate, for the past several years. They are always memorable and significant occasions.

This year special guests included Metropolitan Methodios of the Greek Orthodox Church, Consul General of Greece in Boston Mrs. Ifigenia Kanara, and several state legislators.

Some photographs of the Greek Independence celebration are posted below.


Thursday, April 3, 2014

On the Air with Fox 25

I made two appearances on the Fox 25 news program last night to discuss the backlog of bills that have been awaiting action by the Judiciary Committee. A total of 791 bills are still pending in committee, including several bills to protect children from sex offenders, and more than 200 are still waiting for a hearing, including a bill addressing parole for juvenile murderers and the Protecting Animal Welfare and Safety Act (the PAWS Act) filed in the wake of the horrific Puppy Doe case.

To watch both segments, please click on the video link below. A complete list of all 791 bills still pending before the Judiciary Committee can be found in yesterday’s Tarr Talk post.

Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Bills Pending Before the Judiciary Committee

Posted below are the bills currently in the Joint Committee on the Judiciary that are still pending:


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Meeting with the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce

On Thursday, March 27th, I had the opportunity to participate in the 53rd annual meeting and luncheon of the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce.  The event provided an opportunity for me to speak to and with local employers regarding issues that matter most to them.

Also, during the luncheon several speakers provided thought provoking speeches, including Wilmington Chamber of Commerce President Carmon Cunningham, and Jeff Picard of Textron Defense Systems.  I want to thank Executive Director Nancy Vallee for her tireless service to the chamber, and assisting in the coordination of the event.

Turnout was great, and I look forward to working with the chamber in the year ahead.  To learn more about the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce please click here to visit the organization’s website.  Posted below are a few photos I was able to capture during Thursday’s event.