Friday, February 18, 2011

Debate Over 'Hack Holidays' Heats Up Again

Last year, when Governor Patrick signed the Fiscal Year 2011 state budget, it included an outside section mandating that all government offices in Suffolk County be open on Evacuation Day (March 17) and Bunker Hill Day (June 17) to better serve the public. Now things seem to be heating up once again as individuals working in Suffolk County on those two days will now be paid holiday-pay due to union contracts. Check out what the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald have to say about the holidays that are still costing taxpayers.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Senator Tarr Interviewed as Part of State House News Service Video Series

Mike Deehan of the State House News Service sat down with Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr on Tuesday to discuss a wide range of issues, including the Governor's proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2012 and the role of the Senate Republican Caucus. Use the video link below to check out the interview in its entirety.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Senator Tarr, Rep. Wong Discuss 'Three Strikes' Bill with WRKO's Michele McPhee

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr was a guest on yesterday's Michele McPhee program on WRKO radio. Tarr and first-term State Representative Donald Wong discussed their "Three Strikes" bill, which cracks down on repeat sex offenders who prey on young victims by imposing tougher sentences and eliminating their chances of securing a reduced sentence or parole. In case you missed it, be sure to check out the audio clip by clicking on the photo.

Senator Hedlund Debates the Dream Act

Assistant Senate Minority Leader Robert Hedlund was an in-studio guest on Fox 25's 10 O'Clock News recently, where he took part in a lively discussion on the federal Dream Act, which would require states to provide in-state tuition rates to undocumented students attending public colleges and universities. Hedlund offered his thoughts on why the Dream Act is bad public policy. To see the interview in its entirety, just click on the posted photo.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Senator Tarr Issues Statement on Unemployment Insurance Rate Freeze Vote

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr has released the following statement regarding today’s Senate vote on Senate Bill No. 8, a proposal to freeze the unemployment insurance rate for Massachusetts’ employers:

“By taking action today and freezing the rate schedule, we are effectively reducing the average premium increase for employers from a devastating 40 percent to a more manageable 10 percent, while saving them an average of $193 per employee. The Senate’s decision to take up this matter now reflects the sense of urgency that we all feel in trying to provide immediate financial relief to the state’s small businesses. The money that will thus remain in the private sector will pay lasting dividends by spurring economic growth and recovery from the recession.

I want to be clear, however, that the Senate Republican Caucus’ support of this rate freeze is by no means an indication that we are satisfied with continuing with the status quo. On the contrary, we see today’s vote as nothing more than a stop-gap, band-aid approach to a much bigger problem that will require substantial reforms if we hope to achieve true and lasting long-term relief for the businesses we rely on to create jobs and drive the state’s economy. We look forward to a vigorous debate on these reform proposals as the new legislative session unfolds, and we will do everything in our power to ensure that this debate takes place as soon as possible.”

Senator Hedlund Discusses 'Melanie's Law' Reforms with Fox 25's Gene Lavanchy

Senate Assistant Minority Leader Robert Hedlund made an in-studio appearance on the Fox 25 Morning News on Tuesday to discuss the state's efforts to strengthen its drunk driving laws with co-host Gene Lavanchy. Senator Hedlund has re-filed legislation to close some of the loopholes in Melanie's Law, which was passed in 2005 and targets repeat offenders. Check out the video link below to watch the interview in its entirety and learn more about Senator Hedlund's proposal, which calls for the expanded use of ignition interlock devices.

New DUI laws: What's in the new bill?:

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Sen. Knapik Weighs in on Probation Reforms

Senator Michael R. Knapik (R-Westfield) joined with his colleagues from the Probation Reform Working Group this week in releasing their recommendations to reform the embattled Massachusetts Probation Department. Check out the Springfield Republican article below to read what Senator Knapik had to say about the report. A copy of the report and recommendations can be found below the article.

Study Group Calls for MA Probation Overhaul

Probation Reform Working Group Report.1.31.11

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Senate Republican Committee Assignments

Yesterday I released the following press release regarding the Senate Minority Party’s committee assignments. To view all committee assignments please click “here”.

Senator Tarr Announces 2011-2012 GOP Committee Assignments

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) has announced the following Republican committee assignments for the 2011-2012 legislative session:

Senate Assistant Minority Leader Robert L. Hedlund (R-Weymouth) has been named to the Senate Committee on Post Audit & Oversight and the Senate Committee on Global Warming & Climate Change. Hedlund will also serve as a member of the Joint Committees on Children, Families & Persons with Disabilities; Community Development & Small Business; Elder Affairs; Environment, Natural Resources & Agriculture; Housing; Labor & Workforce Development; Public Health; and Transportation.

Senator Michael R. Knapik (R-Westfield), the ranking Republican member of the Senate Ways & Means Committee, will retain that position and will also serve as a member of the Senate Committee on Ethics & Rules and the Senate Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures & State Assets. In addition, Knapik has been named as a member of the Joint Committees on Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure; Election Laws; Financial Services; Public Service; Revenue; Telecommunications, Utilities & Energy; and Veterans & Federal Affairs.

Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Ross (R-Wrentham) has been named to the Senate Committee on Ethics & Rules and the Senate Committee on Ways & Means. Ross will also serve as a member of the Joint Committees on Economic Development & Emerging Technology; Education; Higher Education; Judiciary; Mental Health & Substance Abuse; Municipalities & Regional Government; and Public Safety & Homeland Security.

Tarr, who is currently serving his first term as Minority Leader, will serve on the Senate Committee on Bills in Third Reading and the Senate Committee on Steering & Policy. His Joint Committee assignments include Health Care Financing; Redistricting; State Administration & Regulatory Oversight; and Tourism, Arts & Cultural Development.

“The challenges facing Massachusetts are considerable but not insurmountable,” said Senator Tarr. “We may not hold the majority of seats in the Senate, but the role of the Senate Republican Caucus is more important than ever as we look to lead the Commonwealth through the difficult times that lie ahead. Every Republican Senator will be energized and engaged in that role, and I look forward to working with Senators Hedlund, Knapik and Ross in the upcoming legislative session as we try to make Massachusetts more affordable and state government more responsive to the needs of its citizens.”