Monday, June 27, 2022

Representative David Muradian Named To Sports Betting Conference Committee

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) has appointed State Representative David K. Muradian, Jr. (R-Grafton) to serve on a six-member conference committee that will work to develop a consensus framework for legalized sports betting in Massachusetts.

More than 30 states have authorized sports betting since a 2018 US Supreme Court ruling cleared the way for states to regulate the process, including Connecticut, Maine, New York, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. Massachusetts has taken steps to join that list, with the House of Representatives approving sports wagering legislation on July 23, 2021 and the Senate passing its own version on April 28, 2022.

“Massachusetts continues to lose valuable revenues to our neighboring states that have already moved forward with implementing some form of state-sanctioned sports wagering,” said Representative Jones. “Although the House and Senate have taken significantly different approaches to this issue, I am confident that David will find a way to work with his fellow conferees to reach a compromise that will best position the Commonwealth for a successful rollout.”

Under the House proposal, sports wagering would be allowed for both professional and college sporting events, but the Senate version would preclude college betting. The Senate has also proposed a significantly higher tax rate than the House to be assessed on sports betting receipts and would ban sports betting ads during live sports broadcasts.

Joining Representative Muradian on the conference committee are Representative Jerald Parisella (D-Beverly) and Senator Eric Lesser (D-Longmeadow), who currently serve as the co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies. Also serving on the conference committee are the chairmen of the House and Senate Ways and Means Committees, Representative Aaron Michlewitz (D-Boston) and Senator Michael Rodrigues (D-Westport), along with Senator Patrick O’Connor (R-Weymouth).

First elected to the House of Representatives in 2014, Representative Muradian represents the Ninth Worcester District communities of Grafton, Northbridge and Upton. He currently serves as the Ranking Minority Member of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies and the House Committee on Operations, Facilities and Security, and is a member of the House Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change and the Joint Committee on Housing.

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Representative Jones’ Statement on House Override of Governor Baker’s Work and Family Mobility Act Veto

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) released the following statement today regarding the House of Representatives’ override of Governor Charlie Baker’s veto of the Work and Family Mobility Act:

“Governor Baker and the members of the House Republican Caucus have raised legitimate concerns about the Work and Family Mobility Act, which will give individuals access to a state driver’s license without having to provide proof of lawful presence. The Registry of Motor Vehicles is not adequately equipped to determine the validity of the alternative documentation allowed under this legislation to verify the true identity of individuals applying for a license, which is problematic given that a driver’s license can open the door to many things. The bill lacks basic safeguards and provides no real guarantees that it will actually enhance public safety as its proponents have claimed. Furthermore, it is grossly unfair for the state to be issuing driver’s licenses to undocumented individuals that are identical and indistinguishable from the licenses provided to those who have followed the law to secure lawful presence or citizenship. This is bad public policy, and I am disappointed that the House chose to ignore these concerns and override the Governor’s veto.”

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Representative Smola Appointed to FY23 Budget Conference Committee

Representative Todd M. Smola (R-Warren, Ranking Member, Committee on Ways & Means) has been selected as one of three House legislators appointed to the conference committee that will negotiate differences between the House and Senate versions of the state budget. Both the House and Senate recently passed budgets totaling roughly $49.8 billion for fiscal year 2023. The conference committee will reconcile differences between the two proposals. Rep. Smola will be joined on the committee by Reps. Aaron Michlewitz (D-Boston) and Ann-Margaret Ferrante (D-Gloucester) from the House of Representatives. On the Senate side, Sens. Michael Rodrigues (D-Westport), Cindy Friedman (D-Arlington) and Patrick O’Connor (R-Weymouth) have been appointed to the committee.

"I am honored to have been selected to the budget conference committee once again,” said Representative Smola. "The budget is the number one priority for the legislature and every aspect of it is closely examined and deliberated. I look forward to working with my fellow conference committee members to produce a responsible budget for the commonwealth."

“As the Ranking Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, Todd has long been committed to prioritizing the needs of our cities and towns while also advocating for fiscally responsible state spending on behalf of the Commonwealth’s taxpayers,” said House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading). “His many years of experience in helping to craft the annual state budget will be an asset to the conference committee as it works to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate spending plans and develop a consensus budget for Fiscal Year 2023.” 

Fiscal year 2023 begins on July 1st, which gives the conference committee less than a month to negotiate a compromise between the two versions of the budget. A final document will go to the House and Senate for a vote before moving to Governor Baker’s office for final approval. For additional information please contact Representative Smola at Todd.Smola@mahouse.gov or (617) 722-2100.

Monday, June 6, 2022

Remembering D-Day, 78 years later

Today marks the 78th anniversary of D-Day, the start of the Allied invasion of Western Europe, when more than 156,000 American, British and Canadian troops stormed the beaches of Normandy in France. The invasion was launched in the early morning hours of June 6, 1944, and marked a major turning point for America and its allies during World War II, but came at the cost of thousands of American lives.

Today’s anniversary, coming just one week after Memorial Day, serves as another reminder of the commitment and sacrifices made by America’s military personnel. The Massachusetts House Republican Caucus salutes our D-Day veterans, and the many men and women who continue to keep our country strong by serving in the United States Armed Forces.

Monday, May 30, 2022

HONORING OUR FALLEN HEROES

Last week, the Registry of Motor Vehicles unveiled a new Medal of Liberty license plate to honor the Commonwealth’s fallen heroes. This special plate is now available free of charge to recipients of the Massachusetts Medal of Liberty, which was established in 2009 and is presented to the next of kin of Massachusetts service members who were killed in action, died in service while in a designated combat area in the line of duty, died as a result of wounds received in action, or died as a result of a training accident in the line of duty.  

The Medal of Liberty is awarded in conformance with the standards and protocol of the Purple Heart. Recipients are selected by a three-member commission consisting of the state’s Adjutant General and two field grade officers. 

The idea for the Medal of Liberty Plate came from Reading resident Arthur Vars, a constituent of House Minority Leader Brad Jones. Mr. Vars received the Medal of Liberty in 2019 in honor of his uncle, US Army Sgt. Christopher Young Vars, a World War II and Korean War veteran who died as a Prisoner of War in North Korea in 1950. Working in collaboration with Mr. Vars, Representative Jones filed the language needed to create the new plate in two consecutive legislative sessions, and it was eventually adopted as an amendment to the FY22 state budget. 

Residents can learn more about the Massachusetts Medal of Liberty and see if their family may qualify by using this link. Applications for the new Medal of Liberty Plate are available on the RMV website.

The House Republican Caucus joins with Americans everywhere to honor our nation’s fallen soldiers on Memorial Day. As we pause to remember all who have served and have made the ultimate sacrifice, let us never forget the true cost of freedom.

Pictured above with an oversized replica of the new Medal of Liberty license plate are (left to right): House Minority Leader Brad Jones; 2019 Medal of Liberty recipient Arthur Vars and his wife Karen; Registrar of Motor Vehicles Colleen Ogilvie; and Colonel Jason D. Oberton, representing Major General Gary Keefe, the Massachusetts Adjutant General.

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Representative David DeCoste To Serve On Soldiers’ Homes Conference Committee

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) has appointed State Representative David F. DeCoste (R-Norwell) to a six-member conference committee charged with reconciling the differences between the House and Senate’s proposals to reform the oversight and governance structure of the Holyoke and Chelsea Soldiers’ Homes.

Legislators have given initial approval to sweeping administrative changes at the two state-run soldiers’ homes, following the deaths of 77 residents of the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home near the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. DeCoste previously served on the special joint oversight committee that was established in the wake of these deaths, which cited “systemic governance failures” and “long-standing staffing deficiencies” at the facility as contributing factors. Another 38 COVID-related deaths were reported at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home.

“As a legislator, David has been an outspoken advocate
for his fellow veterans and their families,” said Representative Jones. “He understands the importance of implementing meaningful reforms to ensure that our veterans receive the best possible care and services and to prevent a repeat of the terrible tragedy that claimed the lives of so many veterans during the pandemic.”

DeCoste is a 22-year veteran of the United States Army, where he achieved the rank of Major. He previously served as a member of the Massachusetts Post-Deployment Commission, which was created in 2016 to develop recommendations for programs to assist the state’s service members as they transition to civilian life after deployment.

Joining DeCoste on the conference committee are the chairs of the Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs, Representative Paul McMurtry (D-Dedham) and Senator John Velis (D-Westfield), along with Representative Joseph Wagner (D-Chicopee), Senator Mike Rush (D-Boston) and Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester).

In 2018, DeCoste was a member of the conference committee that finalized the BRAVE Act (An Act relative to veterans’ benefits, rights, appreciation, validation and enforcement), which expanded property tax exemptions and other state benefits for Massachusetts veterans. He later served on a special commission that developed recommendations to make higher education more affordable for those who have served in the military.

A member of the House of Representatives since 2015, DeCoste represents the Fifth Plymouth District, which is comprised of Hanover, Norwell and Rockland. He currently serves as the Ranking Minority Member of the Joint Committee on Housing, and as a member of the House Committee on Operations, Facilities and Security; the Joint Committee on Public Service; and the Joint Committee on Transportation.

Monday, February 14, 2022

Representative Steven Howitt Named To Hate Crimes Task Force

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) has appointed State Representative Steven Howitt (R-Seekonk) to serve on the state’s newly-reorganized Hate Crimes Task Force.

Members of the task force serve in an advisory capacity to help guide state policy on hate crimes and to provide support to victims. As part of its mission, the task force will work to improve the prevention, investigation and prosecution of hate crimes by encouraging cooperation and coordination between law enforcement agencies and communities affected by hate crimes. It will also provide technical assistance to help school districts incorporate hate crime education into their curricula.

“As a Commonwealth, we must all stand united against hate-filled messages and acts of violence that single out a particular group based on their race, religion, or other protected class,” said Representative Jones. “Steve has been a leader on these issues through his words and actions, having co-sponsored legislation to reform the state’s hate crimes statute as well as the genocide education bill that was signed into law last December. He will be a valuable addition to the task force as it works to prevent and respond to hate crimes and to provide outreach and support to victims.”

Established in statute by the Massachusetts Legislature as part of the Fiscal Year 2022 state budget, the Hate Crimes Task Force traces its origins to 1991, when it was initiated by former Governor Bill Weld. What was then known as the Governor’s Task Force on Hate Crimes was formalized through Executive Order 401, issued by former Governor Paul Cellucci on December 5, 1997. Governor Charlie Baker reaffirmed and reconstituted the task force on November 6, 2017 through Executive Order 578.

As currently constituted, the Hate Crimes Task Force is co-chaired by Secretary of Public Safety and Security Terrence Reidy and includes appointees from the Attorney General’s office and the House and Senate Minority Leaders, as well as the House and Senate chairs of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary and the Joint Committee on Racial Equity, Civil Rights and Inclusion. Governor Baker has 19 appointees to the task force who represent a broad cross-section of stakeholders, including victim assistance agencies; advocates for communities affected by hate crimes; district attorneys’ offices; and state, local and university police departments.

The Hate Crimes Task Force is required to submit an annual report to the Governor and the Legislature by December 31. In addition to outlining targeted objectives and metrics for measuring the effect of the task force’s recommendations on hate crimes, the annual report will also include any recommended legislation, regulations, policies or procedures to better combat hate crimes.

Howitt currently serves as the Ranking Minority Member on both the Joint Committee on Export Development and the Joint Committee on Transportation. He is also a member of the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure.

A member of the House of Representatives since 2011, Howitt represents the Fourth Bristol District communities of Norton (Precincts 1 and 2); Rehoboth; Seekonk; and Swansea (Precincts 4 and 5 

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

House Minority Leader’s Statement on Governor Baker’s Fiscal Year 2023 Budget Proposal

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) issued the following statement in response to Governor Charlie Baker’s release of his Fiscal Year 2023 budget proposal: 

“As he has done every year since taking office in 2015, Governor Baker has delivered a fiscally sound and responsible budget proposal to the Legislature. The governor’s budget commits to providing over $5.9 billion in Chapter 70 education aid to local and regional schools districts, along with $1.2 billion in unrestricted aid to communities to support essential municipal services. I am also pleased to see the administration’s filing of accompanying legislation to deliver tax relief to the residents of the Commonwealth, which along with the budget includes a doubling of the tax break available for children and dependents, an increase in the Circuit Breaker tax credit to assist our seniors, and an updating of the estate law to eliminate the ‘cliff effect’ for homeowners. Governor Baker’s budget offers a strong starting point on which the House and Senate can now build their own spending proposals for the upcoming fiscal year.”  

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

House Minority Leader’s Statement on Governor Baker’s 2022 State of the Commonwealth Address

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) issued the following statement in response to Governor Charlie Baker’s 2022 State of the Commonwealth address: 

“Governor Baker may not be running for re-election in 2022, but it’s clear that he has no intention of resting on his laurels during his final year in office. The governor used tonight’s State of the Commonwealth address to outline an ambitious agenda that focuses on making Massachusetts more affordable by tackling critical issues such as reducing housing costs and offering a series of tax policy changes that will benefit all residents of the Commonwealth. The Baker-Polito Administration can point to many positive accomplishments over the last seven years, but there is still much more work to be done. Governor Baker has made it clear that he intends to follow through on his vision for moving the Commonwealth forward, and I hope his message and the policy proposals he unveiled tonight will find a receptive audience in the House and Senate.” 

Monday, January 17, 2022

Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction.”– the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

The House Republican Caucus honors the life and legacy of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose message of non-violence provided a path for achieving meaningful progress on the issues of justice and equality.