Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Christmas Message from Senator Tarr

“Christmas is not a time or a season but a state of mind. To cherish peace and good will, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas. If we think on these things, there will be born in us a Savior and over us will shine a star sending its gleam of hope to the world.” ~Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933), American president. Presidential message (December 25, 1927).

With the crack of dawn that just starts to illuminate the Christmas morning sky, I hope all are given the opportunity to feel like a child once again on this very day. Christmas is the messenger of peace, love, and happiness. It is a day where strangers can be brothers, and where family should be cherished. It is my hope that among all the blessings of this day, that we each take a few moments to honor our servicemen and servicewomen who are currently overseas protecting this great nation.

Remember to be thoughtful and caring of others, and if possible to give a little more to those who are less fortunate.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Senator Tarr's Statement on Needed Changes to the Sex Offender Registry Board (SORB)

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) released the following statement today regarding the recent indictment of Wakefield resident John Burbine on multiple counts of child sexual abuse:

“The Burbine case has exposed deep flaws in the state’s system for classifying and tracking sex offenders, while underscoring the need for better communication among the state’s public safety agencies to ensure that sexual predators are more closely monitored.  In early January, I will file with the Senate Republican Caucus, and any other interested legislator, comprehensive legislation requiring the timely sharing of information between law enforcement, prosecutors and the Sex Offender Registry Board (SORB) of open investigations of Level 1, 2 and 3 offenders so that individuals like Burbine don’t fall through the cracks where they can continue victimizing our most vulnerable residents.  This bill will include, at a minimum:

·       a requirement and authorization for law enforcement agencies and prosecutors to communicate with the SORB in a timely fashion about the commitment of subsequent offenses by a registered sex offender;

·       the legal authority of the SORB to re-classify sex offenders based on new information, which was taken away by the Massachusetts Court of Appeals on July 16, 2012 in its ruling in the case of John Doe 16748 v. Sex Offender Registry Board (Docket Number 11-P-308);

·         the ability of the SORB to expedite the re-classification process of a sexual offender upon the recommendation of law enforcement and prosecutors; and

·         a requirement for the timely re-classification of sex offenders who have committed subsequent offenses

Burbine’s original classification suggested his risk of re-offense was low, and the public would not benefit from the disclosure of his information; however, subsequent facts have proven this assessment was inadequate and needed to be adjusted accordingly.  Since 1989, Burbine has been the subject of multiple investigations that, with due diligence, would have warranted further scrutiny of his classification level and risk to re-offend.

We want to produce as comprehensive a bill as possible.  I am looking forward to engaging in a dialogue with other stakeholders – including law enforcement, district attorneys and other legislators – to craft legislation that will provide better safeguards so predators like Burbine are classified properly and not allowed to continue to prey on innocent victims.”

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Senator Tarr’s Statement on the Resignation of Jane Lubchenco as NOAA Administrator

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) released the following statement regarding the announcement of Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Jane Lubchenco’s decision to resign in February 2013:
“While Dr. Lubchenco’s departure will provide a welcome opportunity for NOAA to have a different perspective in February, critical decisions will be made between now and then that could do significant damage to our fishing families. Hopefully she will use the time remaining in her tenure to change the current course of devastating regulations, questionable science and persistent distrust to create the chance for her successor to initiate a new era in fisheries management.”

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Senator Tarr's Statement on Consensus Revenue Hearing Forecast for Fiscal Year 2014

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) released the following statement regarding today’s annual consensus revenue hearing to discuss the state’s fiscal outlook for FY 2014:

“Clearly the economic information presented at today’s hearing mandates that we move forward with unprecedented fiscal discipline, clear funding priorities and aggressive action to strengthen and expand our state's employment base.

We need to take further steps to get more people back to work, and to help others keep the jobs they have.  Failing to do so will risk even more uncertainty with the budget, and fiscal instability.

There is no time to waste in acting to boost the climate for creating jobs, and build toward stability for the future.”

Monday, December 10, 2012

Happy Hanukkah!

May the lights of Hanukkah usher in a better world for all humankind.” ~Author Unknown

This afternoon, Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr will be joining with many state officials and Rabbi Lieberman in the lighting of the State House Menorah in recognition of Hanukkah, which commenced on Saturday, December 8th. Today’s lighting of the Menorah is open to the public and will take place in Nurse’s Hall on the 2nd floor of the State House, and begins approximately at 4:00 p.m.

Happy Hanukkah!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Media Alert: Senator Tarr on Fox 25 Tonight

Earlier today, Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr was interviewed by Fox 25 reporter Sharman Sacchetti about Governor Patrick’s proposal to implement spending cuts and borrow money from the Rainy Day account to close an estimated $540 million shortfall in the state budget.  Senator Tarr also discussed the Governor’s plan to ask the Legislature for expanded 9C powers to cut local aid, and why he thinks the state must instead aggressively pursue a variety of options to spur economic growth and hold communities harmless.  Be sure to tune in to Fox 25’s 6 p.m., 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts to see the interview.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr's Statement on Governor's Proposed 9C Budget Cuts

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) released the following statement today, following Governor Patrick’s announcement of $225 million in proposed 9C cuts to help close an estimated $540 million budget deficit for Fiscal Year 2013:

“Governor Patrick is confronting the harsh reality of a faltering economic recovery and budgetary paralysis in Washington to meet the requirements of a balanced budget.  Yet it’s also a harsh reality that this situation could and should have been addressed by more aggressive action to create a better climate for economic growth.

Too many action items have been left on the table, and we are now beginning to see the costs of that inaction on matters that really count.

Today, Governor Patrick talked about the importance of seizing opportunities.  But we might not have even been in such a precarious position if the Governor had approved, rather than vetoed, legislative initiatives that would have allowed Massachusetts businesses to thrive and grow.  Allowing business tax payments to be made on a quarterly basis, extending brownfields tax credits for rehabilitating presently unusable sites, and providing a three-year tax credit for start-up corporations would have removed some of the barriers that businesses have told us are real impediments to growth.  These were all sent to the Governor’s desk with bipartisan support and rejected.  With the unemployment rate rising to 6.6 percent, no government priority should be higher than getting Massachusetts residents back to work.

We are facing a clear choice now.  We can continue down the same path and find ourselves having to make additional cuts, or we can take decisive actions, such as appointing a fiscal control board for the MBTA and halting planned expansions of lines and services when we can’t afford the ones we already have.  It’s time for the Legislature to revisit and take action on initiatives to control the cost of health care, including moving Medicaid patients to managed care and addressing costly health care mandates.  It’s time to provide relief to businesses from the crushing burden of unemployment insurance rates that are among the highest in the nation.  And it’s also time for the Gaming Commission to accelerate efforts to bring in new revenues, and that revenue should be spent to avoid cuts and to support existing commitments, rather than funding new spending programs.

The proposal of these cuts is a call for action to spur economic growth and avoid future cuts before important programs like local aid are further imperiled.”