Friday, October 11, 2019

Representative Muratore to Serve on Skilled Nursing Facilities Task Force

State Rep. Mathew Muratore, R-Plymouth, has been named to a legislative task force that will explore ways to help stabilize the state’s nursing home industry.

In addition to making recommendations to ensure the financial stability of nursing homes in Massachusetts, the Skilled Nursing Facilities Task Force will also consider how these facilities fit within the continuum of elder care services and determine the best approach for addressing workforce shortages within the industry.

Muratore was appointed to the task force by House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones Jr., R-North Reading, who cited the Plymouth legislator’s nearly three decades of work on elder care issues. Prior to his 2014 election to the House of Representatives, Muratore began his career as a nursing home administrator in 1991, and spent 12 years as an administrator at Plymouth Rehabilitation and Health Care Center.

“Matt’s extensive hands-on experience gives him a unique understanding of the many challenges facing our state’s nursing homes,” said Jones. “I expect he will play a key role in helping the task force identify ways to put nursing homes back on a solid financial footing so that seniors and their families will continue to have access to a wide range of long-term care options.”

“Nursing homes play a vital role to residents of the commonwealth by providing options for both short-term rehab and long-term care,” said Muratore. “I am honored to be asked to lend my knowledge and experience as a licensed nursing home administrator for nearly 30 years to the legislative task force and am hopeful that we can continue to find solutions to assist struggling facilities.”

According to the Massachusetts Senior Care Association, nearly 150,000 elderly Massachusetts residents currently live in nursing homes, which employ about 77,000 workers in the commonwealth. Between 2016 and 2019, 24 nursing homes in the state closed their doors, and the MSCA has warned that dozens more are at risk of closure due to the lack of funding and workforce shortages.

Created as part of the Fiscal Year 2020 state budget, the 15-member task force will be chaired by Health and Human Services secretary Marylou Sudders. Other members serving on the task force include the House and Senate chairs of the Joint Committee on Elder Affairs; the secretary of elder affairs; the secretary of labor and workforce development; the commissioner and public health; the assistant secretary for MassHealth; and representatives from the MSCA, LeadingAge Massachusetts Inc., 1199SEIU, the Massachusetts ASsociation of Residential Care Homes Inc., and the Massachusetts Senior Action Council Inc.

The task force will file a report on its findings and recommendations by Feb. 1.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

House Minority Leader Brad Jones Supports Baker-Polito Administration's Temporary Ban on Vaping Product Sales in Response to Declared Public Health Emergency in Massachusetts


House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) posted the following message today after Governor Charlie Baker announced a public health emergency stemming from the use of vaping products:

Governor Charlie Baker declared a public health emergency today in response to a growing number of reported lung illnesses – both in Massachusetts and across the country – that appear to be linked to the use of vaping products.

To address this serious public health issue, the Governor has announced an immediate ban on the sale of all flavored and non-flavored vaping products and devices, including tobacco and marijuana.  The statewide ban applies to all retail store sales as well as online transactions, and will be in effect until January 25, 2020.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are now 530 “probable” cases of lung illnesses linked to vaping in 38 states, seven of which have proven fatal.   The Governor’s office revealed today that there have been three confirmed cases and two probable cases in Massachusetts reported to the CDC.  Although no single product has been identified as the primary cause of these illnesses, many of those affected have reported using either Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-containing products, or both THC and nicotine products.

I strong support the actions taken by the Baker-Polito Administration today.  As the growing number of reported cases show, this is an emerging health crisis that demands immediate action by the state.  While the temporary ban is in effect, Governor Baker says his administration will be consulting with medical experts and the Legislature to determine what additional steps should be taken to protect the public, including passing legislation and making other regulatory changes.  I look forward to taking part in these discussions and to working with the Administration to come up with additional solutions to ensure the public’s safety.

A copy of the Governor’s declaration is available at https://www.mass.gov/guides/declaration-of-public-health-emergency.

If you or someone you know is trying to stop smoking or vaping, you can call the state’s Helpline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visit makesmokinghistory.org.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

House Minority Leader Brad Jones’ Statement on the Release of the Student Opportunity Act


House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) issued the following statement today on the Student Opportunity Act school funding reform bill released by the Joint Committee on Education:

“I want to thank the Education Committee chairs, committee members and staff for all of their hard word in putting together this much-anticipated school funding reform bill, which my colleagues and I have identified as a priority for this session.  It is critical that we act upon the recommendations of the Foundation Budget Review Commission and take the necessary steps to address some of the historic inequities in our school funding formula so that all students in the Commonwealth can access the same educational opportunities to prepare them for college and the workforce.  I look forward to reviewing the details of the Student Opportunity Act and whatever changes the Senate makes to the bill, with the hope that the House and Senate can reach agreement on a final bill this session.”

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

September 11, 2001: Eighteen Years Later, We Still Remember


Time is passing. Yet, for the United States of America, there will be no forgetting September the 11th. We will remember every rescuer who died in honor. We will remember every family that lives in grief. We will remember the fire and ash, the last phone calls, the funerals of the children.” – President George W. Bush, in a speech delivered to the United Nations General Assembly in New York on November 10, 2001

The House Republican Caucus joins with Americans everywhere today to honor the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, including the many first responders who perished that day while helping to save others. Eighteen years later, we still remember the countless acts of heroism that took place on September 11, 2001, and we will never forget.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AMERICA!

Freedom is one of the deepest and noblest aspirations of the human spirit.Ronald Reagan


It was 243 years ago today – on July 4, 1776 – that the original 13 colonies declared their independence from British rule and established the United States of America, offering a beacon of hope for all the world to see.  As Americans everywhere celebrate Independence Day, the Massachusetts House Republican Caucus offers its enduring thanks and support to the many servicemen and women who continue to uphold the essential freedoms our forefathers envisioned for our nation more than two centuries ago.  Have a safe and happy Fourth of July!

Friday, June 14, 2019

FLAG DAY 2019


Today is Flag Day, a day set aside to commemorate the Stars and Stripes and all that it symbolizes.

It was on this day in 1777 that the Second Continental Congress approved the design of a national flag for our newly-formed nation, declaring “that the flag of the United States shall be of thirteen stripes of alternate red and white, with a union of thirteen stars of white in a blue field, representing the new constellation.”

The idea for a Flag Day holiday reportedly originated with a Wisconsin schoolteacher who wanted his students to recognize the importance of June 14 and the flag.  Although President Woodrow Wilson marked the anniversary in 1916, it wasn’t until August 3, 1949 that President Harry Truman officially declared June 14 as Flag Day.

The original American flag has undergone several redesigns over the years to reflect our nation’s expansion, with the current version adopted in 1960 after Hawaii was recognized as our 50th state.  Despite these changes, the American flag remains a symbol of hope for the rest of the world, and a visible reminder of the principles of freedom and democracy on which this great nation was founded.

Happy Flag Day!

Monday, May 27, 2019

MEMORIAL DAY 2019

In Flanders Fields
By John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

The members of the House Republican Caucus join with Americans everywhere this Memorial Day in remembering and honoring our nation’s service members who made the ultimate sacrifice.

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Wednesday, April 10, 2019

House Minority Leader’s Statement on Release of House Ways and Means FY20 Budget Proposal

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) issued the following statement today in response to the release of the House Ways and Means Committee’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget:

“I appreciate the work Chairman Michlewitz has done to put together his first budget proposal as Ways and Means chair. The proposed House budget builds on the Baker-Polito Administration’s commitment to our cities and towns by increasing Chapter 70 education funding and providing additional local aid in the form of expanded circuit breaker funding, charter school reimbursement, and regional school transportation assistance. It also take steps to address rising drug costs by endorsing the Baker-Polito Administration’s proposal to authorize MassHealth to negotiate directly with drug manufacturers for supplemental rebates. The good news for the state’s taxpayers is that the budget does not impose any new broad-based taxes. I will be working closely with the members of the House Republican Caucus over the next few days to identify potential amendments we can offer to further protect the interests of the state’s taxpayers and ensure the passage of a fiscally responsible budget.”

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Representative Jones’ Statement on Governor Baker’s Proposed Fiscal Year 2020 Budget

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) released the following statement today regarding Governor Charlie Baker’s proposed $42.7 billion state budget for Fiscal Year 2020:

“Governor Baker’s budget proposal charts a fiscally responsible path for the Commonwealth by limiting spending increases to 1.5 percent over projected Fiscal Year 2019 levels and depositing another $297 million to shore up the state’s rainy day account.  Both steps are prudent given the downturn in revenue numbers we’ve seen so far for the month of December and the first half of January.

Since taking office in 2015, the Baker-Polito Administration has increased K-12 education funding by half a billion dollars.  This latest budget continues to prioritize local aid for our cities and towns by providing $200 million in additional Chapter 70 funding, bringing the total to $5.108 billion, and a $30 million increase in unrestricted aid to help pay for other essential municipal services.

One of the biggest missed opportunities of the 2017-2018 legislative session was the inability of the House and Senate to come to an agreement on revising the state’s education funding formula. With Governor Baker’s decision to put forth a package of funding increases, new policy initiatives, and stronger accountability standards in his budget and an accompanying bill, the stars may now be aligning to implement meaningful reforms to the way education is funded in Massachusetts.  I am hopeful the Administration and the Legislature can work together this session to break through the impasse and develop a viable plan to correct the inequities that exist in the funding formula and ensure that every student in Massachusetts has the opportunity to succeed.

The Governor’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget gives the Legislature a strong foundation on which to build its own spending plan.  I look forward to working with my colleagues and with the Administration over the next few months to develop a spending plan that will fund critical programs and services for our citizens while also remaining accountable to the state’s taxpayers.”

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Representative Tim Whelan Appointed to New Juvenile Justice Policy and Data Board

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) has appointed State Representative Timothy Whelan (R-Brewster) to serve as his designee on the newly-created Juvenile Justice Policy and Data Board.

Established as part of the 2018 Criminal Justice Reform Law, the 21-member board will be responsible for evaluating policies and procedures related to the juvenile justice system in Massachusetts, including community-based services and the quality and accessibility of diversion programs available to juveniles.  The board will work to ensure that these policies promote the best interests of children and young adults who fall under the supervision of the juvenile court system, while also taking steps to improve transparency and accountability in state-funded services.

“Making sure individuals caught up in the juvenile justice system have an opportunity to rehabilitate themselves is critical to ensuring that they become productive members of society and avoid a life of crime,” said Representative Jones.  “I am confident Tim will be an asset to the board as it seeks to carry out its mission to promote public safety and reduce recidivism among youthful offenders.”

As a member of the Juvenile Justice Policy and Data Board, Whelan will also serve on the Childhood Trauma Task Force.  Working closely with the Office of the Child Advocate, members of the task force will develop recommendations for providing services to help children recover from the psychological damage caused by exposure to violence, crime or maltreatment.

Both the board and the task force will file annual reports and recommendations with the Governor, the Legislature and the Chief Justice of the Trial Court.

Whelan is a former Marine and a retired State Police Sergeant with 26 years of law enforcement experience.  He was first elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 2014, and represents the First Barnstable District towns of Barnstable, Brewster, Dennis and Yarmouth.