Thursday, September 21, 2023

Senator Tarr Interview with NBC10 Boston News | RE: Governor's Supplemental Budget


In case you missed it, catch my interview with Matt Prichard from NBC10 Boston RE: Governor's supplemental budget.


Wednesday, September 20, 2023

MA Cannabis Control Commission | Call for Transparency and Accountability


Events and circumstances at the MA Cannabis Control Commission deserve scrutiny and action. I am working with my colleagues toward that end. On September 8th, I signed a bi-partisan letter with my colleagues requesting the Joint Committee on Cannabis Policy bring transparency and accountability to the situation.

Links to recent reports on continuous problems at the MA Cannabis Control Commission are below:

Boston Globe article:

Boston Herald article:

Gloucester Daily Times opinion article:


Monday, September 18, 2023

How to Apply for the Municipal ADA Improvement Grants | MA Office on Disability

On July 21st, I sponsored a presentation in partnership with the Massachusetts Office on Disability at Essex Regional Tech.

We reviewed the steps to take to Apply for the Municipal ADA Improvement Grants that MOD is offering. The Massachusetts Office on Disability will continue to accept completed applications through the end of October 2023 for FY2024.

Thank you to Evan George, MOD ADA Grant Compliance Coordinator, and to all who attended, including several DPW Directors and ADA Coordinators from my district. Our presentation focused on the importance of accessibility for all to better serve our communities by improving accessibility.

Evan spoke on grant eligibility, grant types, administration, and the application process. These grants will support capital improvements dedicated to programmatic access and/or removing barriers disabled people encounter at municipal facilities. Again, the Massachusetts Office on Disability will continue to accept completed applications through the end of October 2023 for FY2024.

The following links are for your information and will be quite helpful in completing the application process for your community.

- Link to presentation from 7.21.23 describing in detail
how to apply:

- Link to Apply for ADA Improvement Grant:

I encourage all municipalities to use this information to apply for available ADA grants to better serve our communities in improving accessibility for all.


MEMA Denies Federal Funding Request for August Storm Flooding


My office received the following information from MEMA in regards to denying the Federal Funding Request for August Storm Flooding:

"Thank you for your collaboration and patience as we evaluated the damage caused by the rainstorms in August in northeastern Massachusetts. After collecting and reviewing all submitted damage assessment data, MEMA has determined that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts does not meet the minimum criteria to pursue a federal major disaster declaration for the August 8th rainstorms. As you know, these criteria (including damage thresholds) are set by the federal government, not MEMA or the Commonwealth. Unfortunately, the August 8th rainstorms did not meet the criteria for a federal major disaster declaration.

As discussed previously, to obtain a federal major disaster declaration, the situation must be of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the State and affected local government. In making this determination, FEMA will consider all the following factors:

1. The amount and type of damages;

2. Estimated cost of assistance (using the established
reimbursable cost thresholds);

3. Localized impacts;

4. The available resources of the state and local governments
and other disaster relief organizations;

5. Insurance coverage in force (consideration of amount of
insurance coverage that is in force or should have been in
force as required by law and regulation);

6. Imminent threats to public health and safety;

7. Recent multiple disasters in the State (disaster history within
the last 12-month period as well as declarations by the
Governor and the extent to which the State has spent its own

8. Hazard mitigation (extent to which State and local
government measures contributed to the reduction of
disaster damages, especially implementation of measures
required as a result of previous major disaster declarations);

9. Assistance available from other Federal program and other
sources; and

10. Other factors pertinent to a given incident.

Based on these criteria, MEMA evaluated the potential for a federal declaration based on the following factors:

Reimbursable damage thresholds are not met.

The threshold is not simply the total of the costs or value of everything damaged and all monies spent on response. Only certain FEMA-reimbursable cost categories can be included in the damage estimates to meet thresholds. For example, items such as, private property damage, unimproved roads for which a city or town cannot prove maintenance, federally-owned or funded roads, engineering costs, mitigation measures, and damages coverable by property insurance, among other things, cannot be included as costs for the purpose of meeting the threshold for a major disaster declaration under the Stafford Act. Based upon the information submitted to MEMA by the impacted cities and towns, the total reported damage estimates fell below the state threshold and below the county thresholds for Middlesex and Norfolk counties.

See table below:

Essex $6,280,481.37 $3,595,640.76 ($2,684,840.61)
Middlesex $571,178.27 $7,246,088.88 $6,674,910.61
Norfolk $1,551,500.00 $3,223,355.64 $1,671,855.64
Plymouth $387,867.97 $2,356,836.36 $1,968,968.39

Total Reported

State Reimbursable Damage Threshold $12,442,953

As you can see, total reimbursable costs estimates were well below the reimbursable damages threshold and that amount would only decrease further during FEMA’s preliminary damage assessment process.

The storms did not exceed the capability of both the state and local governments to respond, which is a prerequisite for a federal major disaster declaration. Specifically, we do not believe that we will meet the criteria for this storm because:

11. There was not a need to declare a state of emergency to
provide resources and assistance or coordinate a state-level

12. There was a single request for assistance (sandbags
requested by Billerica and provided by Groton);

13. There was not a need to activate the state emergency
operations center to coordinate response; and

14. The state’s reimbursable damages threshold was not met
for the storm.

SBA Disaster Programs outcomes:

MEMA worked with the Small Business Administration (SBA) to facilitate the SBA’s ground survey of damages for eligibility under an SBA Administrative (Agency) Declaration. This assessment was conducted by the SBA on September 6 and 7. Essex County met the SBA’s criteria for an Administrative declaration, which will make both physical damage loans and Economic Injury Disaster Loans available to individuals, households, and businesses within that county. The contiguous counties of Middlesex and Suffolk will also be eligible to participate in any SBA programs. Norfolk County did not have significant enough impacts to meet the SBA’s criteria.

To qualify or “meet criteria,” the SBA Survey must demonstrate 25 homes and/or businesses with uninsured losses of 40 percent or more of their estimated fair replacement value. Sites for evaluation during the ground survey were identified using Initial Damage Assessment forms submitted by each community.

The SBA began surveys on Wednesday (9/6) in North Andover (Essex County) where the bulk of the locations that met the criteria were identified. The SBA continued to Haverhill where they were able to survey enough viable locations to push Essex County over the required 25 locations that met the criteria for SBA’s program. SBA then moved on to Billerica to survey locations for Middlesex County. While Billerica submitted damage assessments for 128 locations, the SBA survey representative only identified 18 locations had potential to meet the criteria. One location was an apartment complex with 47 units but none of the units met the criteria. Middlesex did not have the damage to meet the criteria to be a primary county. On Thursday, September 7th, the SBA surveyed 43 locations in Needham, but only 16 met the criteria for SBA’s program.

MEMA and the Commonwealth took the necessary steps in this process including working to identify a location community for the SBA Disaster Loan Outreach Center. In addition, Governor Healey signed the request letter` and MEMA will forward that immediately to the SBA.

Crisis Cleanup:

MEMA activated the Crisis Cleanup program to connect homeowners with assistance for clean up after the flooding. Across the impact area, 74 homeowners requested assistance in Andover, Boxford, Haverhill, Lawrence, Mattapoisett, Needham, North Andover, North Reading, and Tewksbury.

We remain committed to partnering with our emergency management agencies, municipal and legislative officials, small businesses, and other relevant stakeholders for response and recovery."


Saturday, September 16, 2023

Senator Tarr Interview with WBZ-TV | RE: Dam Safety in Our District and Across the Commonwealth

In case you missed it, catch my interview with Christina Hager from WBZ-TV Channel 4 News RE: dam safety in our district and across the Commonwealth.


Friday, September 15, 2023


Happy New Year to my Jewish friends, constituents and the community - Shana Tova!


Wednesday, September 13, 2023

National Blood Shortage: How to Donate Blood TODAY


According to the American Red Cross, the national blood supply fell by nearly 25% in August as donor turnout dropped.  Blood donors of all blood types are urgently needed now to ensure patients at hospitals across the country continue to receive critical medical care.


Friday, September 15th from 10 AM – 3 PM @ Our Lady of Hope, 1 Pinewood Rd., Ipswich, MA

Monday, September 25th from 11 AM – 4 PM @ Our Lady of Good Voyage, 142 Prospect St., Gloucester, MA

Click here to sign up to donate TODAY:

Click here to learn more about hosting a blood drive:


Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Hurricane Lee Update: Emergency Coastal Community Resources

As we continue to monitor Hurricane #Lee, please see below list of resources to help prepare you for the impending storm:









Hurricane Lee Emergency Preparedness: American Red Cross Communication

Please see below communication released by the American Red Cross about Hurricane #Lee - a powerful storm in the Atlantic Ocean that may impact our region. We are closely monitoring the storm and partnering with communities that may be affected.

Prepare NOW if you’re located within the path of the storm by following these steps: See additional quick links below to prepare for Hurricane #Lee:

May be an image of text that says 'Getting Ready for a Hurricane Move furniture and valuables to higher floors of your home. Bring anything that can be picked up by wind inside. Protect windows with one-half inch marine plywood. American Red Cross'


Monday, September 11, 2023

Remembering 9/11 On This Solemn Day

09.11.01 – a date etched forever in our minds and on our hearts.

On this National Day of Service & Remembrance, let us honor the victims of the 9/11 tragedy and pay tribute to all who stood in service in response to the attacks.

It was an honor and privilege joining in person with the local communities of Essex, Ipswich, Newburyport, and Salisbury to reflect and remember those we lost who were first responders and victims.  Their touching tributes celebrated our cherished veterans, service members, first responders, and other heroes serving in public safety.

These four communities belong to a long list of so many impacted on this solemn day - 22 years ago.  I stand in solidarity today – and every day – with all still mourning the loss of their loved ones and those honoring the heroes that responded in this time of need across the Commonwealth and our great nation. 

#NeverForget911 #ShineALight #911Day