Wednesday, July 23, 2014

MEDIA ADVISORY - House Minority Leader to Convene Summit Regarding Influx of Immigration Detainees

In response to continued reports surrounding the Commonwealth’s involvement with immigration detainees being housed at facilities within Massachusetts, House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) will convene a summit at the State House with members of law enforcement, local, state, and federal officials as well as state lawmakers to discuss this ongoing practice.

WHAT: Summit Regarding Influx of Immigration Detainees in Massachusetts (closed press)

WHERE: Office of House Minority Leader Brad Jones – State House Room 124

WHEN: July 24, 2014 at 10:00am - media availability directly following

WHO: Confirmed attendees include:

The Honorable Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading), House Minority Leader
The Honorable Bradford Hill (R-Ipswich)
The Honorable Elizabeth Poirier (R-North Attleboro)
The Honorable Vinny deMacedo (R-Plymouth)
The Honorable Randy Hunt (R-Sandwich)
The Honorable David Vieira (R-Falmouth)
The Honorable Donald Wong (R-Saugus)
The Honorable Judith Flanagan Kennedy, Mayor, City of Lynn
The Honorable Thomas M. Hodgson, Bristol County Sheriff
The Honorable Joseph McDonald, Plymouth County Sheriff
John Polanowicz, Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services
James E. Brown, Acting Deputy Field Office Director DHS/ICE/ERO Boston Field Office
Todd Thurlow, Assistant Field Office Director DHS/ICE/ERO Boston Field Office
Peter Meier, Chairman, Bourne Board of Selectmen

Friday, July 18, 2014

House Minority Leader to Convene Summit Regarding Influx of Immigration Detainees

In response to continued reports surrounding the Commonwealth’s involvement with immigration detainees being housed at facilities within Massachusetts, House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) will convene a summit at the State House with members of law enforcement, local officials, and state lawmakers to discuss this ongoing practice.

“Unfortunately, we are seeing the effects of this national immigration crisis unfold here in the Commonwealth,” said State Representative Brad Jones. “Now more than ever, it is imperative that we as public officials determine the full ramifications that the lack of responsible federal action will mean for taxpayers, public safety, public health, and any other state resources.”

The debate surrounding the housing of immigration detainees in Massachusetts was sparked yet again this week as the Obama Administration made a formal request of Governor Patrick that the Commonwealth look into the feasibility of housing unaccompanied minors, who have entered the United States illegally, at facilities within the Bay State. The request, which comes on the heels of numerous reports of the federal government’s transportation of illegal immigrants to two aviation facilities within Massachusetts, further exacerbates the need for the gathering of officials.

The meeting, to be held at the State House, will bring together local and public safety officials who are directly impacted by this ongoing surge of immigration detainees, with federal officials overseeing the movement of those individuals who have entered the United States without proper permission or paperwork. With numerous red flags having been raised over the past few weeks, lawmakers and local officials alike find it imperative that basic questions regarding these ongoing practices be answered.

“I’m glad that Representative Jones is calling an Immigration Detainee Summit to make clear the need to deal with the surge in immigration issues that require our attention,” said Bristol County Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson.

The meeting, to be held on Thursday, July 24, 2014, will include Bristol County Sherriff Thomas Hodgson and Lynn Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy. Lawmakers have contacted United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement about sending a representative to the roundtable discussion.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Letter to Governor Patrick Regarding Flights with Immigration Detainees Arriving at Massachusetts Airports


His Excellency Deval L. Patrick, Governor
Commonwealth of Massachusetts
State House, Room 105
Boston, MA 02133

Dear Governor Patrick:

On behalf of the Republican Caucus, I write you today as the result of numerous media reports surrounding the Commonwealth’s involvement with the federal government in the transportation of illegal immigrants to two aviation facilities within Massachusetts – Hanscom Air Force Base and Logan International Airport.

As reported over the past few weeks, and confirmed by United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, flights with immigration detainees are arriving at airports within Massachusetts and the individuals aboard are then being transferred to Department of Homeland Security facilities. This raises numerous red flags, and it is imperative that basic questions regarding this ongoing practice be answered. When we are able to provide the residents and taxpayers of the Commonwealth with responses to the following questions, we as lawmakers will be better suited to determine how best to proceed.

• To what extent, if any, did your administration have prior knowledge of the practice of immigration detainees being flown to Massachusetts and then transferred to Department of Homeland Security facilities?

• For how long has the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement been arranging the transfer of detainees to Massachusetts?

• What information, if any, does your administration have on the parameters of the program and the potential impacts it may have on the cost and delivery of services through the myriad of programs that comprise the Commonwealth’s safety net?

• Does the Commonwealth have any oversight of this ongoing practice?

• What, if any, state resources are being utilized to support this program, and if any, at what cost to the taxpayers of the Commonwealth?

• After being transferred to Department of Homeland Security facilities, are the immigration detainees remanded to the custody of the federal government, or are they released pending their deportation hearing?

I would be happy to meet with you to discuss this issue in greater detail, and I look forward to your timely attention to this extremely pressing issue.

Sincerely,

Bradley H. Jones, Jr.
House Minority Leader

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

House Minority Leader Brad Jones’ Statement on Ruling of Supreme Judicial Court Regarding Parole Supervision for Sex Offenders

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) issued the following statement today in response to the ruling by the Supreme Judicial Court pertaining to community parole supervision for life for sex offenders:

“With today’s ruling, the Supreme Judicial Court has found the current structure of community parole supervision for life for sex offenders to be unconstitutional. While holding the current method to be unconstitutional, the Court left the door open for a legislative solution. 

The decision presents a real public safety concern that needs to be addressed through swift and decisive action by the Legislature. It is my intention to file legislation to effectively carry-out the purpose of the original statute within the framework of the Constitution.”

Friday, June 6, 2014

70th Anniversary of D-Day

On this, the 70th anniversary of the Allied forces storming the beaches of Normandy, we wish to remember all of the brave soldiers who lost their lives fighting to ensure the freedoms of others.

June 6, 1944 is a day that will not soon be forgotten. The military engagement that occurred on this day has long been considered the turning point of World War II in the European theater. Soon after the landing in Normandy, troops left France and continued on through Europe and into Germany. The United States military liberated millions while toppling the Nazi regime. Currently, there are more veterans of the historic D-Day invasion than any other engagement in WWII.

Today, and every other day, we wish to remember the sacrifices and the commitment of the men and women who have served, and continue to serve in the United States Armed Forces.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

House Minority Leader Brad Jones’ Statement on Child Welfare League of America’s Recommendations

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) issued the following statement today in response to recommendations made by the Child Welfare League of America for the Department of Children and Families:

“I thank the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) for its work in making recommendations for repairing and improving the embattled Department of Children and Families (DCF). With the release of this report, I look forward to the opportunity to review the CWLA’s observations and  join with my colleagues in the House to determine how best to proceed with the implementation of the recommendations. 

Contained in today’s report are a number of targeted measures and solutions needed to ensure the safety and well-being of the Commonwealth’s youngest and most vulnerable individuals and families. While the suggestions of the CWLA are an excellent starting point, I strongly believe the conversation surrounding how best to reform DCF must continue to evolve. 

In the coming days and weeks, the House of Representatives will undoubtedly address the systemic issues plaguing DCF. The debate will be passionate, and at certain times, along party lines. However, it is imperative that the Legislature be united in our resolve to protect the children and families of Massachusetts.”

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day 2014


George Orwell once said, “we sleep safely in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.”

As Massachusetts and the nation observe Memorial Day, we pause to honor the many brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Throughout our nation's proud history, many have answered the call to serve, and many more continue to place themselves in harm's way in nations and regions all around the world.

Today, we honor all of our veterans for their service to our country, and for the sacrifices they have made to preserve the many freedoms we all too often take for granted.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

House Minority Leader Brad Jones’ Statement on Adoption of House Fiscal Year 2015 Budget

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) issued the following statement today in response to the adoption of the House Fiscal Year 2015 budget:

“While if left to the devices of House Republicans, the budget passed by the House of Representatives would certainly have some different priorities, the fiscal plan advanced by the Legislature, and free from tax increases, represents an increased level of commitment to Massachusetts taxpayers and communities. 

Both the Fiscal Year 2015 budget that passed the House and the debate surrounding it affirms the Republican Caucus’ unwavering dedication to the Commonwealth’s cities and towns. Through thoughtful, targeted, and aggressive amendments, the spending plan reflects the necessity of providing municipalities with the appropriate amount of funding and legislative support. 

Paramount in this year’s budget debate was the taxpayer. By embracing a Republican-led amendment to offer tax amnesty to individuals and businesses that are delinquent in their payments to the Department of Revenue, not only will taxpayers have an opportunity to avoid burdensome penalties, but Massachusetts is now in a position to collect overdue tax liabilities which might otherwise have been forgone. 

Also given due attention in this year’s fiscal proposal was the ongoing and widespread drug epidemic facing the state. Initiatives offered by Republican legislators, and adopted by the House, aimed at substance abuse prevention and treatment, as well as funding for opioid overdose prevention and education demonstrate the Legislature’s eagerness to combat in smart and effective ways drug abuse and addiction within the Commonwealth. 

 I look forward to the Senate’s consideration of the Fiscal Year 2015 budget, and remain optimistic in their ability to build upon the recommendations of the House of Representatives.”

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Fiscal Year 2015 Budget – Health and Human Services

In case you missed it, today marks the second day of debate on the House Ways & Means Fiscal Year 2015 Budget.

As you may have heard, the House of Representatives recently unveiled their $36.2 billion state budget proposal. While the Democratic-majority set an unfortunate tone to this year’s budget debate by refusing to consider amendments relative to local aid, education spending, and welfare reform, the House Republican Caucus will not be deterred.

During this year’s budget debate, the House Republican’s firmly believe that the Legislature must make considerable strides in delivering a budget that is mindful of the economic times, while producing a spending plan that delivers an accountable and transparent state government which reflects the taxpayers’ priorities, and seeks to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse.

This evening’s debate will now transition to amendments relative to health and human services. Below, you will find the amendments offered by House Republicans, along with a brief description of the amendment.

Amendment 2 - Connector Cost Study (Jones, Bradley) ADDS a new outside section directing the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) to review the financial impact of the failed Connector website. The review is to include a cost analysis of state funds expended for temporary coverage, including those funds that would have been reimbursed by the federal government. This language also directs the EOHHS to investigate ways to recoup such funds under the state’s contract with CGI Group, Inc. The EOHHS is required to provide the Legislature with a report of its findings by July 31, 2014.

Amendment 18 - Study of ER Co-payments (Jones, Bradley) ADDS a new outside section establishing a special commission to investigate the use of co-payments for MassHealth members, including the potential savings that would result from charging a co-payment for the use of emergency care in nonemergency situations. Directs the commission to submit its report to the legislature within 90 days of passage.

Amendment 25 - Study of Expanding Medicaid Express Lane (Jones, Bradley) ADDS a new outside section directing the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) to conduct an investigation of all federal and state assistance programs to determine which have eligibility requirements within the requirements of MassHealth and which could feasibly share data with the MassHealth program for purposes of renewing eligible children and parents in MassHealth through the express-lane program, created under the Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009. Requires the EOHHS to submit a report to the Legislature of its findings by April 1, 2015.

Amendment 39 - Study to Enroll Inmates in MassHealth (Jones, Bradley) ADDS a new outside section directing the Director of MassHealth, in collaboration with the Department of Corrections, to study the feasibility of enrolling incarcerated persons, who are eligible for medical assistance, into MassHealth. The study will look at the potential cost savings to the state of enrolling eligible inmates into MassHealth, which allows medical services provided outside of the prison to be reimbursed by the federal government. Currently, the state is paying for all medical care provided to inmates.

Amendment 128 - An Amendment to Create Benefit Eligibility Verification Integrity (Fattman, Ryan) ADDS an outside section requiring applicants and recipients of MassHealth to have their assets, income, and identity verified by a computerized integrated eligibility system.

Amendment 458 - ACA Waiver Request (Jones, Bradley) ADDS a new outside section directing the Governor to formally request the Massachusetts' congressional delegation to file legislation to grant the state a waiver from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Also, requires the Governor to report monthly to the legislature on the status of the negotiations and any proposed legislation.

Amendment 565 - An Amendment Relative to Proof of Residency (Lyons, James) ADDS a new outside section prohibiting self-declaration of residency from being accepted as a valid form of residency verification for individuals applying for a public welfare program. Exempts Senior Centers from this requirement.

Amendment 589 - An Amendment Relative to Public Benefits Requirements (Lyons, James) ADDS a new outside section stating that all state and federal public benefits shall only be received by residents of the commonwealth with verifiable documents or identification.

Amendment 599 - An Amendment Relative to Proof of Residency (Lombardo, Marc) ADDS a new outside section prohibiting self-declaration of residency from being accepted as a valid form of residency verification for individuals applying for a public welfare program. Exempts Councils on Aging from this requirement.

Amendment 604 - An Amendment to Account for Budget Expenditures (Lyons, James) ADDS a new outside section directing the Executive Office of Administration and Finance to prepare a report of budget expenditures made on behalf of different citizenship statuses, including those whose residence cannot be established. The report must be filed by October 15, 2014.

Amendment 613 - An Amendment to Account for Health Safety Net Expenditures (Lyons, James) ADDS a new outside section requiring a ANF to prepare a report detailing expenditures from the Health Safety Net program, and for whom those expenditures are rendered.

Amendment 667 - An Amendment to Establish a Commission to Study State Spending (Lyons, James) ADDS a new outside section establishing a commission to investigate state spending on American citizens, Green Card holders, and those whose immigration status cannot be identified.

Amendment 816 - Relative to lawful permanent resident status (O'Connell, Shaunna) ADDS a new outside section requiring the verification of immigration status of all SNAP, TAEDC and EAEDC applicants for lawful permanent resident status. Benefits may not be granted to lawful permanent residents who have resided in Massachusetts for less than 5 years. Waivers may be granted, and the Department of Transitional Assistance shall verify the assets of the sponsor in cases other than self-petition under a federally protected status.

Amendment 989 - Mass Health Benefits for Inmates (Vieira, David) ADDS a new outside section directing that MassHealth members have their benefits suspended rather than terminated while incarcerated. MassHealth benefits would be immediately reactivated upon release from a penal institution or upon becoming inpatient in a medical facility or if they are living outside of the penal institution, are on parole, probation or home release.

Fiscal Year 2015 Budget – Judiciary/Public Safety

In case you missed it, today marks the first day of debate on the House Ways & Means Fiscal Year 2015 Budget.

As you may have heard, the House of Representatives recently unveiled their $36.2 billion state budget proposal. While the Democratic-majority set an unfortunate tone to this year’s budget debate by refusing to consider amendments relative to local aid, education spending, and welfare reform, the House Republican Caucus will not be deterred.

During this year’s budget debate, House Republican’s firmly believe that the Legislature must make considerable strides in delivering a budget that is mindful of the economic times, while producing a spending plan that delivers an accountable and transparent state government which reflects the taxpayers’ priorities, and seeks to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse.

Tonight’s debate will now focus on amendments relative to judiciary/public safety. Below, you will find the amendments offered by House Republicans, along with a brief description of the amendment.

Judiciary 

Amendment 11 - Controlled Substance Analogue (Jones, Bradley) ADDS new outside sections establishing a controlled substance analogue law. This would require that substances substantially similar in the chemical structure of a controlled substance be treated the same as the controlled substance counterpart.

Amendment 28 - Indigent Counsel Fee Collection (Harrington, Sheila) ADDS a new outside section requiring that indigent counsel fees be paid by bank check or money order. Also requires that the payments be time stamped, copied and initialed as collected.

Amendment 45 - Juvenile First Degree Murder (Jones, Bradley) ADDS new outside sections establishing parole procedures for juveniles convicted of first degree murder. No such juvenile will be eligible for parole until the expiration of 35 years. In order to be granted parole, the parole board must vote unanimously in favor of parole.

Amendment 54 - Prohibit Paid Counsel for Sex Offender Classification Hearings (Jones, Bradley) ADDS new outside sections prohibiting the use of state paid counsel for sex offender classification hearings.

Amendment 602 - An Amendment relative to the collection of outstanding delinquent legal fees (Lyons, James) ADDS a new outside section adding language to indigent counsel fee collection requiring that if a counsel fee has not been made in 90 days, the Registry of Motor Vehicles must suspend a person's drivers license.

Amendment 754 - Relative to the protection of persons with disabilities (Poirier, Elizabeth) ADDS a new outside section requires that an individual who has forced or unnatural sexual intercourse with a person with a disability be punished by imprisonment.

Public Safety 

Amendment 37 - Inmate Fee - Social Innovation (Jones, Bradley) ADDS a new outside section allowing for the collection of inmate fees. The language ensures that inmates would not be denied access to care for inability to pay any fees. Fifty percent of fees collected would be transferred to the Social Innovation Financing Trust Fund; CHANGES the language for the Social Innovation Financing Trust Fund (1599-3557) to require that 100% be paid through inmate fee collection.

Amendment 87 - Elevator Inspections (Jones, Bradley) ADDS a new outside section that reduces the requirement for elevator inspections for churches and religious organizations from every year to every three years.

Amendment 255 - Full Public Safety Grant for Hamilton (Hill, Bradford) EARMARKS $200K from the Executive Office of Public Safety account (8000- 0600) for a public safety grant to the municipality of Hamilton. Increases the overall appropriation by $200K.

Amendment 256 - Partial Public Safety Grant for Hamilton (Hill, Bradford) EARMARKS $100K from the Executive Office of Public Safety account (8000- 0600) for a public safety grant to the municipality of Hamilton. Increases the overall appropriation by $100K.

Amendment 295 - Barnstable County Sheriff's Office (Vieira, David) INCREASES the total appropriation for the Barnstable Sheriff account (8910- 8200) by $1.8M.

Amendment 475 - Prison Mitigation (Dooley, Shawn) ADDS a new outside section establishing the Prison Mitigation Fund. Directs at least $2.8M to be annually distributed to host cities and towns according to the following formula: the aggregate amount in the fund divided by the average daily prisoner population at all facilities, multiplied by the average daily prisoner population located within the respective host city or town.

Amendment 707 - Commission to study implementation of national criminal background checks (O'Connell, Shaunna) ADDS a new outside section establishing a commission to research and develop procedures to implement a system permitting criminal offender record information requestors to conduct fingerprint-based background checks with the national criminal history databases. A report is required by December 30, 2014.

Amendment 738 - An Amendment for Department of Fire Services (Kuros, Kevin) INCREASES the total appropriation to the Department of Fire Services (8324- 0000) by over $3M.

Amendment 740 - Bristol Sheriff's Office (Poirier, Elizabeth) INCREASES the total appropriation to the Bristol County Sheriff's office (8910- 8300) by nearly $2.8M.

Amendment 760 - Prison Mitigation Fund (D'Emilia, Angelo) ADDS a new outside section establishing a Prison Mitigation Fund. Directs that not less than $2M shall be distributed according to the following formula: the aggregate amount in the fund divided by the average daily prisoner population at all facilities, multiplied by the average daily prison population within the city or town.

Amendment 763 - Prison Mitigation Fund Allowing Host Communities $800,000 (D'Emilia, Angelo) ADDS a new outside section establishing a Prison Mitigation Fund. Directs that not less than $2.M be distributed each fiscal year according to the following formula: the aggregate amount in the fund divided by the average daily prisoner population at all facilities, multiplied by the average daily prison population within the city or town. No city or town may receive more than $800K in a fiscal year.

Amendment 1041 - Funding the Worcester County Sheriff's Department's 'After Incarceration Support Systems Program' (Durant, Peter) ADDS $150K by creating a new line item (xxxx-xxxx) in the Worcester County Sheriff's Office to operate the After Incarceration Support Systems Program in Worcester County.

Amendment 1052 - Peace Officer Standards and Training (Vieira, David) ADDS new outside sections establishing the Special Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST). Directs the commission to focus on proposing how to implement a POST system in Massachusetts, does not require the commission to develop specific standards or training, with a report due by July 1, 2015.

Amendment 1071 - MA Sheriffs' 'After Incarceration Support Systems Programs' (Durant, Peter) ADDS $1.5M by creating a new line item (xxxx-xxxx) for the Massachusetts Sheriffs' Offices to operate After Incarceration Support Systems Programs.

Amendment 1106 - The Yellow Dot Program (Durant, Peter) ADDS $1M by creating a new unspecified line item for the operation of an Emergency Responder Yellow Dot Program. The Yellow Dot Program is a voluntary program of the RMV to assist drivers and passengers who choose to participate and emergency medical personnel in reporting critical medical information in the event of an accident or medical emergency.