Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Gloucester Sea Cadets Visit the Senate

I enjoyed having the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps - Gloucester Sea Cadets - David G. Ouellet Division visit the Senate as my guests so that they could receive special recognition for their service to others and their dedication and training to learn nautically oriented skills.

The Sea Cadet Corps is dedicated to helping young people, ages 11 through 17, to develop into fine women and men. I thank them and their adult leaders for visiting with me and touring the State House as part of that engagement.

Fair Winds.


Salisbury Beach Betterment Association

I had the pleasure of talking with the members of the Salisbury Beach Betterment Association last night at their 30th annual meeting held at the Surfside Salisbury Beach. They, and their President Ray Champagne, have been working collaboratively with residents and local officials to keep making lasting improvements to the area.

Neil Harrington, Salisbury Town Manager was the evening’s featured speaker and Representative Jim Kelcourse of Amesbury and Senator Kathleen O’Connor Ives of Newburyport were also invited to speak. The SBBA has been very active in working with me and others on our efforts to preserve and protect our coastal assets from erosion, pollution and misuse. The Merrimack River Beach Alliance, which I co-chair, has had excellent input and support from the SBBA and its members.

The Salisbury Beach Betterment Association is an outstanding example of a non-governmental organization that achieves results, improves lives, attracts interest and action from the community and makes our world better for it.


Strong to Severe Thunderstorms and Localized Flash Flooding This Afternoon & Evening:

Please take precautions.
• Widespread showers and thunderstorms with rainfall amounts around 1-2 inches in a short period of time.
• Some locations could see 2-4 inches which could lead to localized flash flooding. A Flash Flood Watch has been issued for MA.
• Some of the thunderstorms could produce strong to damaging winds. The greatest risk is across northern and northwest MA.

This is the latest radar image - 1:22 PM


Monday, July 16, 2018


My office shared this press release today- Local Food Production Gets Backing In Environment Bond Bill

Boston - The Massachusetts Senate has taken a major step to support fishing and farming by adopting an amendment offered by Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R – Gloucester) and co-sponsored by a bipartisan condition of Senators. The amendment was added to Senate Bill 2591, “An Act Promoting Climate Change Adaptation, Environmental And Natural Resource Protection, And Investment In Recreational Assets And Opportunity” which was passed unanimously by the Senate on Thursday, July 12th.

Drawing on funding from two separate accounts in the bonding bill, the fishing and farming amendment creates a Fishing Innovation Fund and a Farming Innovation fund, with each fund guided by a board of 13 members comprised of stakeholder and officials from the state agencies relevant to each sector, including the Division of Marine Fisheries and the Department of Agricultural Resources.

“These traditional industries are as important to our state’s future as they have been to its past,” said Tarr. He added that “they continue to provide good jobs and economic opportunities while responding to renewed interest in locally harvested and produced food.”

“I want to thank Senator Tarr and my colleagues in the Senate for their hard work on this important issue,” said Senator Vinny deMacedo (R-Plymouth). “I represent many coastal communities who rely not only on our fishing industry as an economic engine but are also the home of many cranberry growers who have provided food and stability for our Commonwealth over many generations. I look forward to continuing to work with them to support and encourage the growth and prosperity of their industry.”

“Hardworking fishermen and farmers have played a pivotal role in our economy for generations,” said Rules Chairman Mark Montigny (D-New Bedford). “I am pleased to join Senator Tarr on this bipartisan effort to better support our local fishing and agricultural industries so that they may continue to strengthen our economy in the face of increasing pressure and burdensome regulations.”

“For centuries, our economy has relied upon productive use of agriculture and the harvesting of food from the ocean,” said Senator Michael Rodrigues (D-Westport). “The men and women who engage in these occupations work hard and what they do makes a difference to all of us who want the freshest and best food available. Now we can support their efforts by helping keep their equipment and processes safe, efficient and productive.”

Categories of eligible funding from the Fishing Innovation Fund include:
• The design, construction and modification of commercial fishing vessels,
• Research, development and construction of innovative fishing vessels with attributes including - increased fuel efficiency, reduced carbon emissions, improved stability,
• The capability of supporting sustainable fishing practices through harvesting and on-board storage and processing methods, research, development, acquisition and deployment of advanced and/or innovative technologies including but not limited to sonar, radar, radio communications, satellite and global position and other locating and tracking devices,
• The research and development, acquisition and deployment of safety equipment,
• Landing or processing fish, and/or maintaining permits or licenses to do so without preference to any particular geographic location or region of the state.

The Farming Innovation Fund would support such things as:
• An outreach program to identify and foster new, innovative ideas and approaches to adding value to the commonwealth’s agricultural and cranberry economy,
• Soliciting requests from the agricultural and cranberry industry for funding and technical assistance in reclamation and revitalization of cranberry bogs,
• Training, marketing, distribution, applied research, agri-tourism, aquaculture, forestry, processing, fiber and agricultural resource management research, development, poultry and red meat processing and construction of energy efficient agricultural buildings and structures,
• Researching, developing and constructing of energy efficient agricultural equipment.

“Both of these sectors are surviving because of the hard work, sacrifice, and risk by the people in our state that believes in them,” said Tarr, “and now we need to send a clear signal through legislative action that we believe in those who farm the land and fish the ocean, contributing to our economy and our environmental stewardship.”

The bond bill will now likely go to a House and Senate conference committee to resolve differences in the two versions adopted.


Friday, July 13, 2018

Too Hot For Spot

Have you found yourself in a hot car, uncomfortable, and stuck in traffic? Of course you have and it’s miserable. Imagine that you had no ability to use air-conditioning, roll down the window or even to leave the vehicle – that’s what happens to hundreds of pets each year and that sometimes ends in tragedy.

The Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) came to the State House today to join with Governor Charlie Baker to kickoff of the “Too Hot for Spot” campaign with a demonstration showing the dangers of leaving animals unattended inside locked vehicles. After only 10 minutes the temperature inside the car was greater than 120 degrees – even with the windows rolled down three inches!

I co-sponsored a law to help save the lives of pets in these circumstances, it is now illegal to confine an animal in a vehicle where temperatures reach dangerous extremes. If you see an animal in danger, have legal immunity to break a window and rescue pets in a locked vehicle.

As the thermostat continues to climb this summer, be sure your pets stay cool. Just because it may feel like only a couple minutes in the car, it can quickly become “Too Hot for Spot!”


Thursday, July 12, 2018

Breaking New Ground with Analog Devices in Wilmington

Analog Devices, an international semiconductor company headquartered in Massachusetts, officially broke ground for its new global headquarters in Wilmington yesterday. I was happy to join with Analog Devices’ Chairman and co-founder Ray Stata and other company executives, Jay Ash, Secretary of Housing and Economic Development, members of Wilmington Board of Selectmen and Finance Committee, Town Manager Jeff Hull and others to help the company break ground.

This state-of-the-art facility is a major investment of resources which will create research and development laboratories, manufacturing space, offices, an auditorium as well as dining and fitness facilities. With regional headquarters located in China, Germany, Ireland and Japan the company has 10,000 employees helping them with customers in communications, computer, industrial, military and aerospace, automotive, and consumer electronics industries.

The town’s residents and the Board of Selectmen have voted to approve a Tax Increment Financing Agreement with Analog with terms that are defined by five to eight year terms. The new campus in Wilmington will stimulate the local economy – they are the largest employer in the town, attract high paying jobs, and make advances in new ideas and products.



Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Saving Utility Payers From Costly "Peak" Energy Charges

A major consideration that will be debated in the Senate’s environment bill tomorrow will be my amendment to ease the burden on electricity rate-payers – you. One of the concerns many of us have had is that during peak times of electric demand, typically during cold snaps and storms the power generated comes from the highest pollution emitting power plants.

When demand runs at its highest we resort to power sources that can quickly meet the demand – these are typically the plants that emit lots of carbon dioxide. Not only that, the top ten percent of hours of peak demand account for a whopping 40 percent of Massachusetts ratepayers total spending on electricity. That’s too costly in every respect.

With my amendment, we have an opportunity to do something that is innovative – it requires the state’s Department Of Energy Resources to produce a standard for all retail electricity suppliers to use a greater percentage of renewable sources to generate peak-energy – a “clean peak standard.”

The clean peak standard will be designed to lower the overall costs to the state’s ratepayers over the period that the standard is in effect and it will facilitate and stimulate producer’s long-term investments in our clean energy infrastructure.


Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Senate Readies an Environmental And Natural Resource Protection Bill

The State Senate is expected to act on a bill this week, An Act Promoting Climate Change Adaptation, Environmental And Natural Resource Protection, And Investment In Recreational Assets And Opportunity, which will authorize more than $2 Billion to provide for a program of climate change adaptation and the preservation and improvement of the environmental and energy assets of the Commonwealth.

In addition to the 61 page bill there are a total of 289 amendments – you can read the bill and the text of the amendments by clicking this link: Senate Bill 2591.

Bond bills can include authorizations to fund particular programs as well as changes to the General Laws and public policy. These authorizations empower, but do not compel, the Governor to borrow funds for their completion or execution.

This law would impact many state executive offices and departments including: the Executive Office Of Energy And Environmental Affairs, the Executive Office Of Public Safety And Security, the Department of Agricultural Resources, the Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Department of Environmental Protection and many others.

The bill purports to strengthen our air quality protection measures, our clean water and drinking water programs, and help in the rehabilitation, repair or removal of coastal infrastructure such as, seawalls, jetties, and help with beach nourishment, and support for municipal programs across the state.

Here is a thorough summary of the bill:
o $2 million for replacing and modernizing underground petroleum storage tank equipment;
o $10.5 million for improvements and replacements to assets and infrastructure for the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs;
o $165 million for a community investment grant program;
o $60 million for coastal infrastructure and resiliency measures;
o $75 million for publicly owned dams and seawall projects;
o $32 million for the capitalization of the Transfer of Development Rights Revolving fund;
o $95 million for investment in water and air quality protection;
o $7.5 million for management of solid waste facilities;
o $40 million for hazardous materials cleanup and response;
o $30 million for the acquisition of land by the Department of Fish and Game;
o $50 million for improvements and replacements to assets and infrastructure for the Department of Fish and Game;
o $55 million for river and wetland restoration programs;
o $50 million for programs to address agricultural economic and environmental sustainability;
o $20 million for a program to acquire agricultural preservation restrictions;
o $75.5 million for natural resource restoration and protection for costs associated with hazardous materials response actions;
o $40 million for the acquisition of land by the Department of Conservation and Recreation;
o $20 million for natural resource protection;
o $21 million for improvements to coastal and inland waterways by the Department of Conservation and Recreation;
o $105 million for improvement to state-owned dams and flood-control projects;
o $10 million for aquatic invasive species protection;
o $420 million for Department of Conservation and Recreation maintenance and recreational facilities;
o $160 million for Department of Conservation and Recreation roads, trails and bridges;
o $100 million for the implementation of the integrated state hazard mitigation and climate change adaptation plan;
o $75 million for the municipal vulnerability preparedness program;
o $5 million to fund the Global Warming Solutions Trust Fund;
o $10 million for climate change science and data program;
o $9 million for the Massachusetts Electric Vehicle Incentive Program;
o $6 million for climate-oriented emergency response programs;
o $60 million for the Clean Water Trust Fund;
o $10 million for tree planting programs on public land;
o $30 million for a program to allow the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs to protect Article 97 lands;
o $60 million for an urban and suburban parks program;
o $25 million for investment in trails;
o $25 million for a forestry and tree planting program;
o $55 million for the Complete Streets municipal program;
o $178.5 million for the state’s share of federal aid eligible transportation projects.

• Creates the Global Warming Solutions Trust Fund to be used to fund costs associated with implementation of the Global Warming Solutions Act, the Commonwealth’s Clean Energy and Climate Plan, and state and local strategies for climate change adaptation.

• Creates the Agricultural Innovation Fund to finance grants for the Commonwealth’s agricultural and cranberry producers for innovative ideas and approaches that add value to the economy.

• Updates many fine and penalty schedules for marine fisheries violations.

• Requires the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security to: (i) coordinate to strengthen resilience and prepare for the impacts of climate change; (ii) publish, every five years, an integrated state climate adaptation and hazard mitigation plan; (iii) establish frameworks for state agency and municipal vulnerability assessments that will be incorporated into the state plan; and (iv) implement the state plan and incorporate information learned from implementing the state plan in plan updates.

• Authorizes an alternative valuation of qualifying agricultural, forest or recreational land left in a person’s estate, at the election of the estate, provided that the land remains in such use for at least 10 years.

• Authorizes entities with jurisdiction over a roadway to permit recreational vehicle travel, with local police chief approval, on certain public ways for increased connectivity to authorized trails and essential services.

• Requires animal inspectors, within 90 days of appointment and every two years thereafter, to complete all state-funded training.

• Prohibits a municipality from charging a Massachusetts veteran a shellfish permit fee higher than the fee charged to a resident of that municipality.

• Authorizes the Department of Conservation and Recreation to discount or waive charges or fees for DCR parking passes for veterans.

• Directs state agencies expending authorized bond funds to minimize the use of funds to pay for services rendered by agency employees or by consultants. • Requires any state entities expending or receiving bond funds to acquire a fee interest in land to obtain the approval of the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs before prohibiting fishing, hunting or trapping on the land.

• Authorizes state agencies acquiring land or an interest in land pursuant to this act to expend no more than 5 per cent of the amount appropriated to reimburse nonprofit land conservation organizations or land trusts for expenses directly associated with such acquisition.

• Requires an annual report by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs detailing the progress of projects funded through this act.

• Requires the Director of the Division of Marine Fisheries to conduct a study of the current lobster fishery and provide a recommendation as to the advisability of enacting statutory or regulatory changes to allow the processing of lobster parts in Massachusetts.


Monday, July 9, 2018

Retirement Ceremony for Captain Donald Merry from the Rowley Fire Department

Captain Merry served the town of Rowley as a member of the Rowley Fire Department for 47 years having joined in 1971. As anyone with a connection to a fire department knows, that means the Captain's services were not limited to protecting residents of Rowley only. He has responded to emergencies throughout our region and we are all much appreciative for his efforts in the face of danger. Congratulations to him, his family and all those who served or supported the members of the department during his tenure.


Friday, July 6, 2018

Rockport Candle Company​ Celebrating Glowing Growth

Everyone loves the glow and scent of a well-made candle. My friends at the Rockport Candle Company​ craft high quality handmade candles that are much in demand. They recently had a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate their new, open-to-the-public creative studio in downtown Rockport.

Rockport is known for outstanding craftsmanship and Christina (Chadwick) Willcox, Bryan McKay and their families make the Rockport Candle Company a perfect fit. I came by today to offer them my congratulations, a wish for continued success and a Senate Citation recognizing their accomplishments. Visit them online or at the shop on Bearskin Neck in beautiful Rockport.


Thursday, July 5, 2018

Healthare Access, Quality And Costs

Health care represents an increasing area of spending across all levels of government. This holds true in Massachusetts as well. Today, as part of my efforts as a member of the House-Senate Healthcare Conference Committee I met with Dr. Roberta Herman the Executive Director of the Group Insurance Commission.

The Commission is very important to these proceedings as they provide health coverage to more than 430,000 people with a budget of $2 billion. Our discussions also included Michael Berry, GIC’s Director of Legislative Affair as we explored options to secure increases in quality and decreases pressures in the growing costs of healthcare.

Massachusetts has been a pioneer throughout our history in advancing public health across the spectrum - from innovations in healthcare methods such as technology and pharmaceutical development and medical research to nation-leading public policies that promote good health and prevent disease and illness. Health care cost, access, and quality issues have such dramatic impacts on budgets both private and public that we need to explore every feasible option to address them.


Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Happy Birthday America!

Had a great time at the Fishtown Horribles Parade in Gloucester. So thankful for the greetings, friends, companions, and joy.


Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Healthcare Conference Committee Begins

The growing cost of care can destabilize household budgets and state budgets alike. Our healthcare reform conference committee is underway. Majority Leader Ronald Mariano, Representative Jeffery Roy & Representative Randy Hunt for the House & Senator James Welch & Senator Jason Lewis join me from the Senate.


Hot Dogs? Yes, Just Not In Cars

A reminder, don't leave pets locked in hot cars. The new law, which I co-sponsored, makes it illegal to leave them in cars when they are subject to extreme weather conditions. There's a penalty of up to $150 for first offenses & first responders have immunity to break windows.


Monday, July 2, 2018

Gloucester Horribles Parade - Team Tarr

Tomorrow night is Gloucester's 'Fishtown Horribles Parade" and you can come and enjoy it. Team Tarr loves to have fun and celebrate and we'll have a better time if we see you. The parade kicks off from Gloucester High School at 6:00 PM. To give you an idea of what the horribles parade is all about here's a video from a few years ago.