Monday, July 30, 2012

Senate Approves GOP Caucus Amendment Requiring EBT Compliance Report

The Department of Transitional Assistance will be required to report to the Legislature semi-annually on its efforts to investigate and enforce compliance with the recent EBT reforms included in the Fiscal Year 2013 budget, under an amendment offered by the Senate Republican Caucus and adopted by the Senate today.

Responding to reports of EBT cards being used for questionable purposes, the Legislature recently endorsed several restrictions on the types of items and services that can be purchased using an EBT card. These restrictions included a ban on the purchase of alcohol, tobacco, Lottery tickets, adult entertainment products, tattoos and vacation services.

After trying unsuccessfully to remove some of these restrictions, Governor Patrick indicated over the weekend that he would sign the changes, but said that enforcement would not be “feasible,” and also indicated that he would not enforce them.

“The laws we pass have to mean something and they have to have the integrity that comes with enforcement and compliance,” said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester). “If the governor believes there are challenges or obstacles to enforcing EBT reform, then this amendment will provide him with a vehicle to report them to the Legislature so that we can take necessary actions.”

The reporting requirement – sponsored by Tarr, Assistant Minority Leader Robert Hedlund (R-Weymouth), Minority Whip Richard Ross (R-Wenham) and Ranking Senate Ways and Means Republican Michael Knapik (R-Westfield) – was adopted as part of a supplemental budget bill. The provisions are still subject to the approval of the House of Representatives.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Senator Tarr's Statement on Melissa's Bill Amendment

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) released the following statement today, following Governor Patrick’s decision to send the crime bill, also known as Melissa’s Bill, back to the legislature with an amendment (Senator Tarr was a principal architect of the Senate version of the bill, and served on the conference committee that reconciled the differences between the House and Senate versions):

“Governor Patrick has had a busy week defending the interests of those who break the law. He rejected a measure to require proof of legal residence to register a car, has said he will refuse to enforce restrictions on purchases with EBT cards, and now he is trying to provide violent repeat criminals with a ‘safety valve’.

His actions to jeopardize the passage of the crime bill are both ill-timed and ill-advised by trying to amend a good and balanced bill with an extraordinary measure to protect repeat violent criminals, with precious little time remaining in the legislative session.

The governor's proposal was never seriously considered by the House or the Senate, and was expressly rejected by the conference committee, and yet he has chosen to risk the passage of the entire bill, which he has publicly characterized as ‘good’, for such a measure, in a repeat of his performance when the legislature first placed a gaming bill on his desk.

Fortunately, the legislature has made a firm commitment to public safety by passing this comprehensive bill with overwhelming and consistent support. My hope is that the House and Senate will once again take a strong stand to protect public safety, and that the governor will act quickly in response to our actions to prevent the clock or the calendar from becoming the deciding factor in protecting the citizens of the Commonwealth from those who repeatedly make them victims.”

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Senator Tarr's Statement on Melissa's Bill

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) released the following statement today regarding Melissa’s Bill, which is currently under review by Governor Patrick:

“Melissa’s Bill contains many important provisions that respond to the threat to public safety posed by violent repeat offenders, and the signing of these provisions into law should not be jeopardized by those provisions that did not make it into the final bill. It is more important to act upon the things we agree on than to impede progress based on things that have not yet come to fruition. Governor Patrick should act on these important provisions by signing Melissa’s Bill and allowing the Legislature to begin the next session focused on issues that it has not yet addressed, rather than revisiting those issues that have already been acted upon this session.

Melissa’s Bill provides a solid foundation on which we can build. The Commonwealth’s district attorneys and other law enforcement officials can be assured that I will not yield in the fight for public safety, and to that end, I will be filing one or more bills in the next legislative session to:

• expand wiretapping authority for law enforcement;

• require DNA collection at arraignment for felony arrests;

• create in statute the crime of strangulation; and

• codify the crime of solicitation to commit murder.”

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Senator Tarr on Tonight’s ‘Nightside’ with Dan Rea

Tonight Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) and Senator Richard Moore (D-Uxbridge) will be guests on WBZ 1030AM’s ‘Nightside’ with Dan Rea. They will be discussing with host Dan Rea Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card and illegal immigration reforms contained within the FY’2013 State Budget.

To learn more about the issue, please click here to view a previous Scaling Beacon Hill post. Please tune in or click here at 8:00pm tonight to listen to their discussion.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Sen. Tarr's Statement on Passage of 'Melissa's Bill' by Sentencing Conference Committee

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) released the following statement today regarding the 5-1 passage of a habitual offender bill, also known as Melissa’s Bill that was just released from a sentencing conference committee, which Tarr served on:

“This evening the conference committee took decisive action to respond effectively to the threat to public safety posed by repeat violent offenders. The bill we have approved provides a careful balance between eliminating parole eligibility for violent criminals and ensuring that minimum mandatory sentences for drug offenders are appropriate.

Finally, the families of victims like Melissa Gosule and Officer Jack McGuire can be secure in the knowledge that their courage, passion and commitment have made a real impact on strengthening public safety in our state. Their tenacity in reliving tragedy each time they told the story of their loved ones has been inspirational and impactful."

Posted below is a section by section summary of the bill.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Tarr on Fox 25 and the Michele McPhee Show

Yesterday Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr had the opportunity to be a guest political analyst on Fox 25’s morning news segment “Tolman and Gray”. Senator Tarr and former State Senator Warren Tolman discussed EBT reforms contained in the legislature’s FY’13 State Budget, and Melissa’s Bill, a crime bill that is currently before a conference committee that Senator Tarr is a member of. Please press play on the posted video below to watch yesterday’s segment.

Additionally, later in the day Senator Tarr was a guest on WRKO’s Michele McPhee Show. Michele and Senator Tarr also discussed the status of Melissa’s Bill. To listen to their discussion please click here.

Boston News, Weather, Sports
FOX 25

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Senator Tarr and Representative Jones Call for EBT, Immigration Reform Veto Overrides

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) and House Minority Leader Bradley Jones (R-North Reading) sent the following letter to Senate President Therese Murray and House Speaker Robert DeLeo Tuesday afternoon, requesting that the budget vetoes made by Governor Patrick regarding EBT and immigration reforms reach the floors of the House and Senate for override votes:

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Independence Day!

“The United States is the only country with a known birthday. All the rest began, they know not when, and grew into power, they know not how. If there had been no Independence Day, England and America combined would not be so great as each actually is. There is no "Republican," no "Democrat," on the Fourth of July — all are Americans. All feel that their country is greater than party”. ~James G. Blaine

Today, Americans everywhere are celebrating the birth of our great nation. It is our hope at Scaling Beacon Hill that everyone will take a moment to reflect on the sacrifices that have been made to make this country a free and proud nation, and to appreciate the work our servicemen and women continue to carry out to ensure those freedoms. We hope everyone has a fun and safe day.

Happy 4th of July!