Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Senator Tarr's Statement on Auditor's Report Linking Sex Offenders and Child Care Providers

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) issued the following statement today regarding the release of a report by State Auditor Susanne Bump concerning the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC), which reveals 119 cases where Level 2 and Level 3 sex offender addresses matched addresses of EEC child care providers:

“Today’s report by Auditor Bump emphasizes the need to strengthen our sex offender registry system, and to compel the availability and sharing of critical information.  Providers, parents, and all of us need information to keep kids out of harm’s way, and the legislation filed by Senate Republicans and others will make systemic changes to ensure that it’s available, and that sex offender classifications accurately portray the risk posed by known offenders.

There is no excuse and no justification for allowing sex offender information to be inaccurate, outdated, or inaccessible, and it’s time for comprehensive reform and legislative action.”

Click here to read the Auditor's report in its entirety.


Monday, March 25, 2013

A Passover Message from Senator Tarr

With Passover beginning tonight, I would like to wish all my Jewish friends, constituents and the community a happy and joyous holiday that is shared with loved ones, and that your time together is filled with peace and happiness. Chag Sameach!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Senator Tarr's Statement on the Resignation of Early Education and Care Commissioner Killins

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) released the following statement regarding the resignation of Early Education and Care Commissioner Sherri Killins:

“While the Governor continues to tout his costly transportation and education initiatives to the citizens of the Commonwealth, Commissioner Dr. Sherri Killins was receiving a six-figure salary for a job that apparently didn’t require her full attention while the taxpayers continued to pay her full salary. Unfortunately, the administration believes it prudent to continue to pay Commissioner Killins for several more months as an outside consultant to “ease” the transition of leadership.

The economy is still in a fragile state of uncertainty, and it is inappropriate to ask the taxpayers to pick up the tab of this Commissioner’s salary when the Commonwealth is set to lose $6.3 million dedicated for Head Start from the Federal Government due to the blanket cuts caused by sequestration earlier this month.

Government needs to strive to eliminate the loss of public dollars, and we can’t afford to pay more than full-time salaries for part-time employees. It is unacceptable to ask taxpayers to pay almost $2 billion more in raised revenue when the Commonwealth’s fiscal house is far from being in order.

I hope the Governor will at the very least take a strong look at his hiring practices. The citizens of the Commonwealth deserve so much more than a part-time education chief making more than three times the median household income, a DTA Commissioner who failed to properly manage our welfare system, and a road menace State Highway Safety Director.

So while the resignation of Commissioner Dr. Killins comes as welcome news, the recent string of employment failures of high ranking government officials is most disturbing. I hope the Governor recognizes these failures, and takes action to prevent them in the future.”

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Caucus: New Legislative Rules Move Forward, but Fall Short of Needed Change

While the rules adopted today by the House and Senate to govern the legislative session contain some important changes, the legislature has missed some major opportunities to increase transparency and accountability according to Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester).

A debate that began in the House of Representatives on January 23 and continued in the Senate on January 31, culminated today with acceptance of Joint Rules by each legislative branch. Among many possible changes to open the legislative process to greater exposure and scrutiny, only two were ultimately adopted. They include:

• Limiting all committee hearings to hear no more than 50 bills sponsored by Senator Timilty and supported by the members of the Senate Republican Caucus; and,

• Providing all local petitions before the General Court to be valid for a two-year period sponsored by the members of the Senate Republican Caucus.

Yet other significant changes have been lost in the legislative process. Key republican initiatives adopted in the Senate’s debate on the Joint Rules were:

• Requiring the House and Senate Clerks to post online all roll call votes within 48 hours after being made; and,

• Posting of all roll call votes taken in joint committees.

“Putting committee and legislative votes on the internet for people to view them should be a routine exercise, and yet today we failed to approve giving people the information they deserve about our legislative process and decisions,” said Tarr. He added that “the strong gains made by Senate Republicans and the Senate as a body have been eroded by the process that followed. While an opportunity has been lost today, the Senate Republican Caucus will continue to seek transparency in state government.”

Monday, March 11, 2013

Senator Tarr on 'Broadside' Tonight

Please tune in to “Broadside” tonight at 6:00pm on New England Cable News (NECN), where Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr will be discussing with host Jim Braude and Plum Island homeowner Tom Nee the island’s continuing beach erosion issue. “Broadside” re-airs again at 3:30am. Also, earlier today Senator Tarr spoke with NECN Morning co-hosts Steve Aveson and Bridget Blythe to provide an update on Plum Island. Posted below is a video of this morning’s conversation.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Senator Tarr on the Air with Fox25

Tonight at approximately 6:15pm Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr will be speaking with Fox25 Weekend News Anchor Heather Hegedus to provide an update regarding the continuing beach erosion issue currently facing Plum Island. Please tune in to watch tonight’s interview.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Senator Tarr’s Statement on Commonwealth’s Slow-Moving Progress to Comply with the Federal REAL ID Act

This morning Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr released the following statement regarding a letter to Governor Deval Patrick from the Senate Republican Caucus seeking clarification as to why the Massachusetts Department of Transportation has not made significant effort to comply with the Federal REAL ID Act of 2005.  The Act, which codifies the standards of state licenses and IDs, was passed following a recommendation by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (“9/11 Commission”):

“Instead of being ahead of the curve, Governor Patrick and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation has made little progress thus far in the federally mandated REAL ID Act.  With little movement, the Senate Republican Caucus has exceedingly high concerns as to the adverse effects of having an outdated, unrecognized state ID in the eyes of the Federal Government.  The Real ID Act is extremely clear that federal agencies cannot accept state IDs that don’t meet a certain minimum of standards, and if Massachusetts does not move expeditiously to be compliant with federal law, we fear that there will be major implications, such as citizens not being able to board commercial airplanes, until the Governor and his administration rectifies the situation.

We are now calling on the Governor to make clear the progress, if any, that has been made in achieving federal compliance while there is still time to avoid what could be a disastrous scenario for the citizens of the Commonwealth.  If the state is failing to stride towards compliance, we ask Governor Patrick to provide the reasons for that failure.  A state issued license is among the most utilized forms of identification, and the value of the Massachusetts license would be diminished greatly if this administration does not act accordingly.”

Posted below is the letter sent to Governor Patrick from the Senate Republican Caucus and a fact sheet regarding REAL ID.

REAL ID Letter From Senate Republican Caucus to Governor by Troy Wall

Real Id Fact Sheet by Troy Wall