Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Bills regarding the Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana

This week the Senate and the House of Representatives will be debating legislation regarding the recreational use, regulation and taxation of marijuana. The House will consider its version of this legislation on Wednesday, June 21 and the Senate will be meeting Thursday, June 22. Given the probability of substantial differences between each chamber’s version of the bill, a conference committee will most likely be needed to reconcile these differences into a final piece of legislation. Such a committee is comprised of three members of the House and three members of the Senate.  


Here are some helpful links:


Adopted Ballot Question (Chapter 334 Acts of 2016): https://malegislature.gov/Laws/SessionLaws/Acts/2016/Chapter334


Friday, June 9, 2017

Groveland Welcomes New Chief of Police

Congratulations to Jeffrey Gillen the new Chief of the Groveland Police Department. I enjoyed attending his swearing in ceremony at the Groveland Fairways early this week. Jeff has been engaged in in law enforcement for more than 30 years with most of that time serving Groveland.


Thursday, June 8, 2017

Environmental Initiatives Advance

My office shared this press release today.

Senator Tarr Advances Environmental Initiatives

Tarr Budget Amendments Fund Important Programs

Boston– Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) succeeded in securing several budget provisions that help restore, protect, or advance natural resources in the recent Senate version of the state’s 2018 budget.

Among the amendments Tarr was able to secure in the spending plan are those which provide:

• $75,000 for Coastal and Marsh Revitalization- for coastal and marsh restoration and revitalization- including the treatment of phragmites and other invasive species,

• $12,000 to Protect Local Ponds - for treatment of invasive species at Rock Pond in Georgetown,

• $38,000 for Non-Native Weed Removal- at Johnson's Pond in Groveland,

• $50,000 in State Park Staffing and Operations – at Halibut Point State Park in Rockport,

• $50,000 for staffing and operations - at Berry Pond in the Harold Parker State Forest,

• $50,000 for Green Crab Trapping - for a green crab trapping program to mitigate impacts of this invasive non-native species,

• Revitalization of Natural Resources - requires state environmental agencies to include in their climate change adaptation strategies an effort to improve resiliency by strengthening and revitalizing natural resources such as marshes and wetlands,

• Ensuring Beneficial Reuse of Dredged Sand - requires the office of Coastal Zone Management to identify and seek opportunities to re-use sand from federal and state dredging projects for beach and dune nourishment,

• $20,000 for Groveland’s Veasey Park - for renovations, infrastructure improvements and enhancements to waterway access and recreational areas,

• $50,000 for Pollinator Hive Loss Prevention and Stewardship - to support local commercial farmers and beekeepers through the University of Massachusetts Extension program research on preventing hive loss, and promoting pollinator stewardship efforts.

“These modest targeted investments can make a big difference in strengthening and protecting our natural resources, and making them more friendly to interactions with people,” said Senator Tarr. “Environmental stewardship is a continuing process, and these amendments represent important steps in the process. These steps, in turn, reflect tremendous collaboration between stakeholders ranging from “friends” groups to property owners to municipalities.”

The Senate debated more than 1,000 amendments to the proposed $40.8 billion state funding plan. In April, the House of Representative adopted its version of the budget. Before reaching Governor Baker’s desk, the budget bills will move to a conference committee of House and Senate members who will meet to iron out differences between the two branches. Senator Tarr has appointed one of the three Senate conferees.


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

MBTA Weekend Rail Service Suspension

In March, the MBTA announced plans to temporarily suspend weekend rail service on several of its lines in order to complete transportation safety projects, known as Positive Train Control (PTC) in compliance with federal requirements. This PTC work will impact commuters on the Newburyport/Rockport Commuter Rail Lines; it will take place on weekends from July 8 through September 30.

Clearly, this summer weekend service interruption will have short-term negative impacts for workers, tourists, and others who seek to travel to and from the North Shore. Initial plans did not include bus replacements or alternate modes; not having any service at all is unacceptable. I have expressed my concerns, and those of many others, to T officials. Last month I co-hosted a public input session in Gloucester to give citizens and civic leaders an opportunity to come together and better understand these impacts and discuss some potential remedies.

Last night, the T’s Chief Operating Officer, Jeffrey Gonneville, and several of his colleagues, presented alternate transportation service plans for customers using the line. They have now committed to a bus schedule to accommodate commuters. The MBTA will provide shuttle bus service between North Station and select stations on the Newburyport/Rockport commuter rail lines in order to keep weekend customers moving.

Also, the Beverly Drawbridge replacement project will shut down all train service north of Salem Station from July 17 through August 13. Parking will be free at all stations north of Beverly Depot Station.

I will share future updates on the project, there is also a phone hotline that you can use for the latest information on schedules or trip planning - - 617-222-3200.


Monday, June 5, 2017

Annual Crowning Ceremony

Honored to attend Pentecost Sunday - the Annual Crowning Ceremony, Mass and luncheon at Our Lady of Good Voyage Church in Gloucester.


Friday, June 2, 2017

North Shore MBTA Public Meeting Schedule


Gloucester JROTC Team Visits State House

Boston- On Thursday, June 01 the Gloucester High School Junior Marine Corp JRTOC team visited the Massachusetts State House as the very special guests of State Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) and State Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante (D-Gloucester). The legislators invited the team to the capitol to recognize its outstanding achievements and the exemplary way in which these students have represented Massachusetts in national competition.

Among those achievements are winning the National Championship in the Unarmed Exhibition Drill and placing third in the Unarmed Regulation Drill at the National MCJROTC Drill Team Championship in Irving, Texas.


Tarr and Ferrante welcomed the team to an informal session of the Massachusetts Senate, where Tarr introduced them to the members, staff and other guests of the Senate. Following the session the group was photographed with the legislators in the well of the Senate chamber and Tarr and Ferrante provided personal tours of both the Senate and House chambers and Memorial Hall, with particular attention paid to the many points of recognition of those who have served in the armed forces throughout history at the State House.




Thursday, June 1, 2017

Senator Tarr’s Statement regarding withdrawal from Paris Climate Agreement

Boston- Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) released the following statement today regarding the decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement:

            “Like many, I am deeply concerned about the consequences of the Presidential decision announced today to initiate withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement relative to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and addressing climate change. Our nation must not fail to provide leadership on these critical issues.

 In Massachusetts we have worked in a collaborative and bi-partisan fashion to adopt aggressive benchmarks for lowering carbon emissions, and pursued a robust set of initiatives to meet those goals. They include significant programs and incentives for land-based wind and solar energy, and large procurement efforts for electricity from offshore wind and hydroelectric generation.

Regardless of today’s decision, our Commonwealth must continue to be conscientious and diligent in confronting climate change with resourcefulness, innovation and determined focus.”




Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day Celebration and Ceremony in Gloucester

Memorial Day Celebration and Ceremony in #Gloucester this morning at Gloucester High School's auditorium. Honored to share Governor Baker's Memorial Day Proclamation.


Hamilton Legion Memorial Day Breakfast

Hamilton Legion Memorial Day Breakfast yesterday morning began with a breakfast at Patton Hall followed by a Memorial Service at United Methodist Church. With Greg McKenna Commander, A.P. Gard, Representative Brad Hill. An honor to stand with these veterans.


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Senate Budget Debate

This morning the State Senate began debating the state budget. The budget proposal before us spends $40.8 billion dollars in state departments, functions, programs, and aid to cities and towns in the Commonwealth. There are more than 1,000 amendments filed by the 40 members. You can follow the process in a couple of ways. First, you can see the text and disposition of the amendments here - https://malegislature.gov/Budget/SenateDebate and you can watch our session in real time on your computer by clicking https://malegislature.gov/Events/Sessions/Detail/2830


Friday, May 19, 2017

Cheering Up Beacon Hill

The Gloucester High Cheerleaders visited the State House yesterday and I was delighted to introduce them during a session in the Senate Chamber. These young women had a tremendously successful season having taken first place at the Cheerleaders of America Ultimate Nationals in Orlando, Florida last month. I explained that their signature move, a three-quarter switch up, where multiple flyers do a three-quarter turn while being lifted into the stunt finishing with a kick, single dismount would exceeded the height of the chamber's chandelier!

Congratulations to our champions.


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

My Statement on the Proposed Senate Budget

"The Fiscal Year 2018 budget proposal released today by the Senate Committee on Ways and Means identifies and responds to some important spending priorities like partial funding of the recommendations of the Foundation Budget Review Commission for education and confronting the ongoing opiate epidemic.

This proposal comes in the context of serious issues with our state's revenue collections and an uncertain future for those collections in the current year and the one to follow. That’s why its ambitious spending needs to be carefully considered for sustainability.

In addition, the proposed budget relies on some significant tax changes that warrant careful thought and analysis before approval. We must be attentive to any potential negative impacts or unintended consequences of these changes, and we will carefully examine them.

This budget proposal puts us on a path to an important conversation about navigating through some serious fiscal challenges, and we all need to contribute to that discussion in the days ahead."

You can read the proposed $40.79 billion budget bill at this link -

Senate Ways and Means Fiscal 2018 state budget


Friday, May 12, 2017

The Empty Bowl Dinner

An annual event that I look forward to each year took place last night at Cruiseport Gloucester - The Open Door Empty Bowl Dinner: A North Shore Tradition. The Empty Bowl is all about raising awareness, and funds, to help local hunger relief efforts.

Guests can select a soup bowl, which are handcrafted for the event, to enjoy their meal and take home as a reminder of the ongoing needs of many. Similar events are held nationally but ours is near and dear to us. Last year there were more than 1,000 people who came. Proceeds from this event benefit the Summer Meals and Mobile Market programs.