Wednesday, April 30, 2014

In Case You Missed It...

Assistant Senate Minority Leader Robert Hedlund (R-Weymouth) was a guest on last night's broadcast of "Greater Boston".  Hedlund and fellow guest Maria Mossaides of the Children's League of Massachusetts joined host Emily Rooney for an in-studio discussion of the Department of Children and Families and yesterday's resignation of DCF Commissioner Olga Roche.  You can watch their discussion by playing the video link below.

Media Alert: Senator Tarr on NECN at 11 a.m.

This morning Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr will be a guest on NECN’s Morning News, where he’ll be discussing the latest developments regarding the resignation of the Department of Children and Families Commissioner Olga Roche, and what the department needs to do moving forward to regain public trust.

Please tune in at 11:00 a.m. for today’s appearance.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Media Alert: Senator Tarr On the Air with Fox25, Senator Hedlund on ‘Greater Boston’ Tonight

Tonight, Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) will be a guest on the Fox 25 Evening News to discuss the resignation of Department of Children and Families (DCF) Commissioner Olga Roche, and the necessary steps the department needs to take to regain the public’s trust.  The segment will air during the 5 p.m. broadcast.

Also tonight, Assistant Senate Minority Leader Robert Hedlund (R-Weymouth) will join host Emily Rooney as an in-studio guest on “Greater Boston” to discuss the changes at DCF.  The show airs at 7 p.m. on WGBH Channel 2 and re-airs at 12:30 a.m.

Senator Tarr's Statement on the Resignation of DCF Commissioner Olga Roche

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) released the following statement today regarding the resignation of Department of Children and Families Commissioner Olga Roche:

“The resignation of Commissioner Roche is an important and necessary step in reforming the Department of Children and Families, but it’s not the only step that needs to be taken.

DCF has systemic failures, and they demand sweeping reform to protect some of our state's most vulnerable children and families. Responsible caseloads, accountability at every level, a focus on the best interest of the child, and timely actions need to be part of the fabric of this agency.

For the legislature and the Governor to leave these reforms undone in the wake of Roche's departure would be a serious mistake and a disservice to our state.”

Monday, April 28, 2014

Senator Tarr's Statement on Latest DCF Failures

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) released the following statement today, following reports of the deaths of two more children under the care of the Department of Children and Families:

“The most recent tragic deaths of Aliana Lavigne and Bailey Irish are an emphatic reinforcement of the fact that DCF is experiencing systemic failures that demand sweeping reforms that extend from new leadership to reasonable caseloads to the kind of comprehensive protocols and accountability that will prevent further harm to some of the state’s most vulnerable children and families.”

Friday, April 25, 2014

Senator Tarr's Statement on MA Affordable Care Act Waiver Extension

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) released the following statement today after it was announced that the federal government has given Massachusetts a one-year waiver extension on an Affordable Care Act mandate that will change the way insurers calculate premiums for businesses:

"This waiver extension is indeed good news for small businesses in our state and the people who depend on them. Healthcare costs are a major challenge to increasing employment in the wake of a long and difficult recession.
That's why we need to use the time gained from the waiver to redouble our efforts to secure permanent relief from a risk rating system that will disrupt what has worked for our state to accurately price risk and to help prevent the rate spikes that the federal mandate could well cause.
If people in Washington truly believe that  Massachusetts has been a pioneer in health care reform, then they should give our system the respect it deserves and prevent it from being disrupted by a mandate that doesn't make sense for our state."

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Support for the PAWS Act

Today the PAWS Act received its public hearing before the Joint Committee on the Judiciary.  There were several legislators, animal activists, and advocacy groups testifying in support of the comprehensive animal abuse protection bill that Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr authored, which has 75 additional co-sponsors.

Today’s hearing was an important next step in the legislative process.  With formal sessions ending on July 31st, it is imperative that people call, email, or write to the members of the Judiciary Committee to release the bill favorably.  Click here for the contact information for the members of the Judiciary Committee.

The legislation raises fines and penalties, and creates an animal abuse registry. Highlights of the bill include:

• Establishing an anonymous animal abuse tip hotline;

• Expanding the use of the Homeless Animal Prevention and Care Fund to include the rehabilitation and care of abused animals, and increasing the size of the board that administers the fund to include a special state police officer from an animal humane organization, and a member of local law enforcement;

• Imposing a fine of up to $1,000 on any veterinarian who knowingly and willfully fails to report a suspected act of cruelty to an animal;

• Increasing the penalties associated with cruelty to animals, or maliciously killing, maiming, disfiguring, or exposing them to poison from a monetary fine of $2,500 or imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 5 years or imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than 2 ½ years to between $2,500 and $10,000 and/or imprisonment;

• Providing judicial discretion to expand the penalties for up to 5 additional years imprisonment and an additional $10,000 fine based on a finding of the existence of aggravating factors, including but not limited to the number of animals involved, the degree of premeditation or planning,   whether the abuse occurred in the presence of a child; whether the abuse occurred as a result of acts undertaken for financial benefit (i.e., dogfighting), and whether the abuse was systematic or isolated;

• Increasing the penalties for a second or subsequent offense from 5-10 years state imprisonment and a fine between $5,000 to $20,000;

• Increasing the penalty for a hit and run conviction on a cat or dog from a $50 fine to up to $2,000 fine and/or up to 60 days in a house of corrections;

• Creating a statewide registry of convicted individuals of animal abuse crimes, and requires all animal shelters, pet stores or animal breeders to check the registry prior to offering, selling, delivering, or giving an animal to any individual; and

• Creating a 9-member commission to review the state’s animal cruelty laws, many of which date back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Senator Humason to Hold Office Hours at Southwick Town Hall Friday, 10:30-Noon

Senator Don Humason of the 2nd Hampden & Hampshire District, and his staff will hold public office hours at Southwick Town Hall between the hours of 10:30 a.m. and Noon on Friday, April 25th.
Southwick Town Hall is located at 454 College Highway in Southwick and the Senator will be in Conference Room 2. There is ample parking behind the building and plenty of room for any who wish to meet with the Senator.

All are welcome to come, visit, and share their thoughts or concerns on state matters with Senator Humason.

Senator Humason and staff are also available to meet with constituents at their district office located at 64 Noble Street in Westfield.  No appointment is necessary, but calling ahead to (413) 561-1366 is recommended in case they are at the State House.  Senator Humason's Boston office can be reached at 617-722-1415 for legislative matters.

Senator Humason's email is and his website is

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Senator Tarr’s Statement on the Scheduling of a Public Hearing for the "PAWS Act"

Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) released the following statement today regarding Senate Bill 1914, An Act Protecting Animal Welfare and Safety (the PAWS Act), which has been scheduled for a public hearing on April 24th at 1:30 p.m. in hearing room A-2 of the State House by the Joint Committee on the Judiciary.  The bill offered by Senator Tarr has a total of 76 sponsors, with members of both parties and both branches supporting the bill:

“News that a long awaited public hearing for the PAWS Act has been scheduled is indeed good.  Sadly the heinous crimes against Puppy Doe, a dog who was left beaten, battered, and alone in a Quincy Park, is far from the first animal to be cruelly tortured.  Multiple examples exist across the Commonwealth, and now is the time for the legislature to act swiftly to take action against those who commit such heinous crimes.

The scheduling of Thursday’s hearing is a call to action for legislators, public officials, organizations, and all who care about animal welfare in our Commonwealth.  With limited time remaining in this legislative session we must deliver a united, clear, and compelling message that the legislature needs to act in a bold and decisive way to confront senseless acts of cruelty with strong penalties for abusers and a comprehensive system to prevent abuse and assist animals in distress.”

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