Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Senator Tarr’s Statement on the One Year Anniversary of the Boston Marathon Bombings

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) released the following statement today regarding the one year anniversary of the April 15, 2013 Boston Marathon Bombings:

“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.”

Sen. Ross Appointed to Domestic Violence Panel

Senator Richard Ross (R-Wrentham) was recently appointed to a panel focused on initiatives to combat domestic violence. Ross and colleagues from the House and Senate will craft compromise legislation as part of a conference committee.
“Curbing domestic violence is a challenge that we must take on. We need to help victims and increase penalties for future perpetrators,” said Senator Ross. “I look forward to working with my colleagues to address this problem.”
The legislation provides employment leave to victims of domestic violence to address matters related to the abuse. It also establishes the crime of strangulation, and increases penalties for other domestic violence crimes.
The Senate and the House of Representatives passed differing versions of this legislation. This conference committee has been assembled to create a compromise bill that will be presented to Governor Patrick for his approval.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Senator Tarr’s Statement on the Passage of a Natural Gas Leaks Bill

Yesterday Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) 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.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Senator Hedlund's Statement on Governor's 'Road Recovery' Program Announcement

Senate Assistant Minority Leader Robert L. Hedlund, the ranking member of the state’s Transportation Committee, issued the following statement on the Patrick Administration’s announcement of a $40 million “Road Recovery” program:

“The number should be $100 million.  That’s the amount the Governor shortchanged cities and towns when he released just $200 million of the $300 million authorized by the Legislature.  There are misplaced priorities in the Governor’s Transportation spending plan.  The additional $100 million for cities and town should be at the top of his list, not pie-in-the-sky capital projects.”

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Senator Tarr Discusses Judiciary Committee Backlog on Fox 25 News

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr 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 is posted just below the video link.
Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

Judiciary Bills by Troy Wall

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Senator Tarr’s Statement Regarding a DCF Audit by Auditor Bump

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) released the following statement today regarding the release of a two-year audit of the Department of Children and Families by Auditor Suzanne Bump:

“Today’s audit report issued by Auditor Bump reconfirms the risks posed to vulnerable children because of deficiencies and systematic problems at the Department of Children and Families.  Now, more than ever, it is clear that reforming this agency needs to be a priority for the Legislature and the Administration, and the job needs to be done in a timely and effective way.”

Monday, March 24, 2014

MEDIA ALERT: Senator Ross on Fox 25 at 5

Senator Richard Ross, the Ranking Republican on the Senate Ways and Means Committee, will be appearing on Fox 25 news this afternoon to discuss SenateBill 787, An Act Relative to Divorce.  The segment will air at 5 p.m.  To learn more about the bill, please click here.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Republican Legislators Seek to Freeze UI Rate Increase

Today House Minority Leader Brad Jones and Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr distributed the following press release:

House and Senate Republican Lawmakers Decry Inaction on Unemployment Insurance Rate Freeze

Impending April Increase to Cost Small Businesses Hundreds of Millions of Dollars

BOSTON - With a drastic increase to the Massachusetts unemployment insurance rate taking effect during the first quarter, House and Senate Republican lawmakers have filed legislation to freeze the unemployment insurance rate at its current level. The move comes after continued inaction from the Democratic-led Legislature to act on preventing an increase to the unemployment insurance rate paid by thousands of small businesses across the Commonwealth.

Led by House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) and Senate Minority Leader Bruce E. Tarr (R-Gloucester), Republican lawmakers are attempting to prevent a $500 million exposure to businesses, should Democratic legislators fail to act on legislation protecting hardworking entrepreneurs across Massachusetts.

“By leveraging the freeze of our state’s unemployment rate as a means to obtain their desired minimum wage level, Democratic lawmakers have signaled their willingness to use the Commonwealth’s small businesses as a pawn in their political game,” said State Representative Brad Jones. “At this time, it is an extreme disservice to businesses throughout the Commonwealth to not consider this proposal separately based on its merit.  A freeze of the unemployment insurance rate is imperative for both our state’s workforce and entrepreneurs. If not approved immediately, this increase will have a negative impact on our economy.”

The effort to prevent an increase to the state’s unemployment insurance rate comes six months after Republican legislators were successful in advocating for the repeal of the crippling technology tax which was approved by Democratic lawmakers. As was the case with the largest and broadest tax on computer and software services in the nation, an increase of 33% to the rate incurred by small businesses in regards to unemployment insurance will have a long-lasting and negative effect on the businesses that are the backbone of the Massachusetts economy.

“Freezing unemployment insurance rates is critical to the viability and sustainability of employers and jobs in our state, and if we don’t act now we will be risking serious damage to our economy,” said Senator Bruce Tarr.  “The House and Senate may well continue to be divided over issues like the minimum wage, but there can be no doubt that we should act immediately on behalf of the commonsense a freeze represents.”

Having been filed in both the House and Senate, House Docket 4163, An Act Relative to the Unemployment Insurance Rate, awaits assignment to a legislative committee.