Monday, July 27, 2015

House Minority Leader Brad Jones’ Statement on the End of Boston’s 2024 Olympics Bid

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) issued the following statement today in response to the announcement that Boston would be ending its bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics:

“For supporters of Boston 2024, this is a significant letdown, but for those who opposed or had serious concerns about bringing the Olympics to Boston, today is a great day.  I agree with this decision, and I commend Mayor Walsh for putting the needs of the city and its residents first.  Although Boston will not be pursuing host city designation with the USOC, I think this process has been a good exercise in generating discussion about the city’s – and the Commonwealth’s -- future and starting a dialogue on many important issues, such as transportation and development, that need to be addressed.”

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

House Minority Leader Brad Jones’ Statement on Enactment of Fiscal Year 2016 State Budget

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) issued the following statement today in response to the enactment of the Fiscal Year 2016 state budget conference committee report by the House of Representatives:

“The Fiscal Year 2016 budget passed by the House today reflects many of the priorities of the House Republican Caucus by increasing local aid to our cities and towns, holding the line on taxes and beginning the process of implementing meaningful reforms to the state’s public transportation system.

 The budget reaffirms the state’s commitment to our local communities by increasing Chapter 70 education aid by $111 million and unrestricted general government aid by $34 million. It also provides significant increases for regional school transportation, special education and charter school reimbursements to help alleviate the financial pressures impacting municipal budgets.

I am particularly pleased the conference committee rejected several new tax proposals that would have unfairly burdened the state’s hard-working taxpayers, including a plan to freeze the income tax rate at 5.15 percent.  The residents of Massachusetts were promised a reduction in the rate to 5 percent, and this budget upholds that promise by keeping us on track to achieving that goal in the near future.

The budget also contains significant reforms targeting the MBTA, including a realignment of the MassDOT Board of Directors, the creation of a Fiscal Management Control Board and a three-year suspension of the Pacheco Law to provide the MBTA with more flexibility in its procurement practices.  These changes are critical to ensuring that the MBTA can achieve long-term fiscal stability while also providing more reliable service to the public.”

Saturday, July 4, 2015

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AMERICA!


I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure it will cost us to maintain this declaration, and support and defend these states. Yet through all the gloom I see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is worth all the means. This is our day of deliverance.– John Adams

We here at the Capitol View Live would like to wish everyone a very safe and happy Fourth of July.  As we celebrate America’s 239th birthday, please remember the many sacrifices that have been made, and continue to be made, by our servicemen and women so that we can remain free.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Rep. Jones' Statement on the Passing of State Senator Thomas P. Kennedy of Brockton

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) issued the following statement today regarding the passing of state Senator Thomas Kennedy:

Senator Kennedy was a tireless advocate for his constituents and a committed public servant who championed the needs of the elderly and the disabled.  I had the privilege of serving with him for many years in the House of Representatives.  He embodied the true spirit of public service by dedicating his life to helping others, and has left behind a lasting legacy.  My thoughts and prayers go out to his family at this difficult time.”

Monday, June 22, 2015

Rep. Muratore Named to Managed Care Organization Advisory Group

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) has appointed Representative Mathew J. Muratore (R-Plymouth) to serve on a special House advisory group on Managed Care Organizations (MCOs).

The advisory group was created by House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo to review the delivery of Medicaid health benefits by MCOs and to develop potential savings to address the many financial challenges these organizations face.  The advisory group will take into consideration all cost-drivers impacting the industry, including the costs associated with rare disease treatment medications, and will also examine potential alternative payment methods.

“Representative Muratore is an experienced health care administrator whose knowledge of the industry will serve him well as the advisory group works to craft ways to reduce health care costs for managed care organizations without compromising the quality of care that is available to Massachusetts residents,” said Representative Jones.

Representative Muratore is one of seven legislators who will serve on the 13-member advisory group.  The six non-legislative members will include two representatives appointed by the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans (MAHP), at least one of whom will be from a plan serving a disproportionate share population; a representative from the Massachusetts Hospital Association (MHA); a representative from a hospital system that operates at least four disproportionate share hospitals; a representative from the Massachusetts Council of Community Hospitals; and a representative from the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council.

The advisory group will begin meeting this month and will hold at least one public hearing prior to issuing a final report, along with any legislative recommendations, by its October 1, 2015 deadline.

Representative Muratore represents the First Plymouth District, which consists of Precincts 2 through 8, 10, 12, 14 and 15 in the town of Plymouth.  He was elected to the Legislature in November of 2014 after previously serving on the Plymouth Board of Selectmen.

A member of the Massachusetts Senior Care Association, Representative Muratore began his career as a nursing home administrator in 1991.  Prior to joining the House of Representatives, he served as the Administrator at Plymouth Rehabilitation and Health Care Center from 2003 until January of 2015.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

NECN Highlights Caucus Efforts to Collect $1.2 Million in Unpaid Sex Offender Registration Fees

New England Cable News is shining a light on the huge problem surrounding unpaid sex offender registration fees in Massachusetts, two months after the House Republican Caucus secured a budget amendment designed to put some teeth into the law.

Currently, sex offenders are assessed an annual $75 registration fee, beginning at the time of their initial registration, but the state does little more than send a reminder and follow-up letter to those individuals who fail to pay the fee. Due to the lack of proper enforcement, since 2012 the state has collected less than half of the $2.3 million in fees assessed during this time period.

The budget amendment – filed by House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) – would provide for meaningful sanctions by requiring the Sex Offender Registry Board to notify the Department of Revenue (DOR), the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) and the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) whenever any registration fee is 60 days past due. DOR would then be allowed to deduct the amount owed by the sex offender from any state tax refunds that might be due to them, while the RMV would be prohibited from issuing or renewing a sex offender’s driver’s license or motor vehicle registration until the fee has been collected.

The amendment was co-sponsored by the House Republican leadership team, including Representatives Brad Hill (R-Ipswich), Elizabeth Poirier (R-North Attleboro), Susan Gifford (R-Wareham), Paul Frost (R-Auburn) and Todd Smola (R-Warren). Additional co-sponsors include Representatives Nicholas Boldyga (R-Southwick), Marc Lombardo (R-Billerica), Sheila Harrington (R-Groton), Shawn Dooley (R-Norfolk), Kimberly Ferguson (R-Holden), Leah Cole (R-Peabody) and Steven Howitt (R-Seekonk).

Be sure to check out Representative Jones’ interview with NECN’s Ally Donnelly on the video link posted below.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Rep. Whelan Honored by Molly Bish Foundation

State Representative Tim Whelan (R-Brewster) was recently honored with a legislative award by his colleagues and the Molly Bish Foundation for his work to protect children in Massachusetts.

“I am honored to have been recognized with this award,” said Whelan, who is a retired State Police sergeant. “During my career in law enforcement I have worked on several cases involving missing children and additionally I’ve helped the State Police design a land navigation training program used by search teams in rural areas of the commonwealth. I thank the Bish Foundation and the organizers for their kind recognition.”

The Molly Bish Foundation was founded in 2000 after the abduction and murder of Molly Bish, a teenage lifeguard in Warren. The foundation organizes Missing Children’s Day at the State House each year. This year’s event was held on May 26.

Pictured above are Representative Todd Smola (R-Warren), the Ranking Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee; Representative Whelan; and Assistant House Minority Leader Brad Hill (R-Ipswich).

Friday, June 12, 2015

House Minority Leader Brad Jones Discusses Caucus' Call for Inspector General Investigation of Patrick's Use of Off-Budget Accounts

There are still many unanswered questions surrounding former Governor Deval Patrick’s diversion of millions of taxpayer dollars into off-budget trust accounts to pay for flights, hotels, transportation and other travel-related activities during his second term.  Tiffany Chan of WWLP Channel 22 News interviewed House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. yesterday about the House Republican Caucus’ call for an investigation into these hidden accounts by the Inspector General.  The story and interview are posted below.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

House GOP Caucus Calls for Post Audit, IG Investigation of Patrick’s Use of Trust Funds

The House Republican leadership today filed an Order with the House Clerk and submitted a letter to the Inspector General on behalf of the Caucus calling for an investigation into former Governor Deval Patrick’s use of off-budget trust accounts to subsidize travel junkets and other questionable activities with public dollars from the state’s quasi-independent agencies between 2009 and 2014.

The Order, which was referred to the House Rules Committee this morning, calls upon the House Committee on Post Audit and Oversight to investigate the use of these hidden trust accounts, which was first reported on by the Boston Herald yesterday.  The Herald investigation found that tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer money was diverted to these accounts, without legislative oversight, to help fund many of the former governor’s overseas trade missions, including the costs of air flights, hotels and transportation.

The Order calls for a detailed accounting of all deposits and expenditures from these accounts, and directs the committee to “make recommendations for implementing appropriate corrective measures to ensure proper oversight and legislative approval of similar trust accounts that utilize public dollars in the future, including regular audits of said accounts”.  The Order requires the committee to file a report on its findings, along with any legislative recommendations, with the Clerk of the House and the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee by September 9, 2015.

Also today, the House Republican leadership contacted Inspector General Glenn A. Cunha on behalf of the Caucus to request that his office conduct its own investigation into the matter.  In a letter to Cunha, the House Republican leadership wrote that the Herald’s findings “warrant a thorough investigation by your office to ensure that the Patrick Administration did not circumvent what should always be an open and transparent process when it comes to the expenditure of taxpayer dollars.”  The letter was signed by House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) and Representatives Brad Hill (R-Ipswich), Elizabeth Poirier (R-North Attleboro), Susan Gifford (R-Wareham), Paul Frost (R-Auburn) and Todd Smola (R-Warren).

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Rep. Poirier Named Legislator of the Year

Congratulations to State Rep. Betty Poirier (R-North Attleboro), who was honored today as the Legislator of the Year by The Arc of Bristol County.  The Arc’s Legislator of the Year Award is presented annually to an elected official who has provided leadership in advocacy, community outreach, or in providing expanded opportunities for individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities.  Rep. Poirier received her award at The Arc’s 56th Anniversary Celebration, which took place at the Holiday Inn Taunton.