Saturday, January 29, 2011

Bay State Economy Slows as National Economy Picks Up

In case you missed it, a discouraging new report says the economy here in the Commonwealth is slowing down while the national economy appears to be picking up.
Today’s Boston Herald reports, “A new University of Massachusetts report shows that the state’s economy – which expanded at a relatively fast clip through the first nine months of last year – grew by only 1.8 percent during the last three months of 2010.

Meanwhile, the national economy grew by 3.2 percent last quarter, though the U.S. economy has yet to make a serious dent in the historically high unemployment rate of 9.4 percent.”

This news seems to contradict everything Governor Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Murray would have the general public believe. In fact, this report throws a lot of cold water on the assertion that Massachusetts is on the mend and on the move! One thing that is indeed on the move today is the spin coming from the Patrick-Murray Administration. One of Patrick’s many spin-masters told the Herald, “Massachusetts ranks sixth in the nation in private-sector jobs gained and third in percent of jobs created since December 2009. This is just one of a series of positive indicators and long-term trends that show our economy is heading in the right direction. We will keep pushing forward – and fighting for every single job.”

It’s time the Patrick-Murray Administration accepts the economic reality our state faces. Until then, we can’t have a serious dialogue about how to really grow our state’s economy and get people back to work.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

House Minority Leader’s Statement on Governor’s FY12 Budget Proposal

BOSTON—House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. issued the following statement today after receiving a copy of the Governor’s FY12 budget proposal.

I welcome the Governor’s FY12 budget proposal and look forward to combing through it with due diligence and intense scrutiny. Governor Patrick often paints a rosier picture than perhaps what reality suggests. While I applaud the Governor for his proposed reform efforts, it will be days, maybe weeks before we know whether or not his numbers add up.

Some Beacon Hill Dems Disconnected from Reality!

In case you missed it, according to State House News Service, some Beacon Hill Democrats are ready to raise your taxes…again! What’s particularly puzzling is the fact that one member, Representative Kay Khan (D-Newton), would like to ignore the will of the voters and restore the sales tax on alcohol purchases. Yes, you just voted to repeal this very tax! Representative Khan told SHNS, “I think there’s a disconnect between wanting all of the services, wanting to get money back to our cities and towns for local aid and education -- and we have to pay for it.”

Khan and some of her colleagues certainly seem to be disconnected, from reality that is! The Newton Democrat says she “intends to file legislation to increase the excise tax on alcohol, as well as a proposal to remove the sales tax exemption on candy and fruit drinks.” Khan isn’t alone in this quest though. Other notable tax increase legislation was filed by Representative Jonathan Hect (D-Watertown) would like to raise the state’s cigarette tax by $1.25/pack.

Assistant Minority Leader George N. Peterson responded to these proposals told SHNS, “What are they insane? It’s crazy.” Peterson went on to say, “This is not about helping people quit. This is about money.”

What do you think of the proposals to raise more taxes?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Bill Filing Deadline Comes and Goes

Things have been quite hectic up here on Beacon Hill the last several weeks as members, new and old, worked to meet the deadline for filing legislation. The deadline was last Friday, and now that the dust has settled, we now know that nearly 5,400 bills were filed. That’s according to State House News Service. SHNS says the Senate filed 1,866 while the House filed 3, 522. Of the 3, 522 filed in the House, more than 500 were filed by Republican lawmakers.

Now that the bills have been filed, members will read and analyze the various pieces of legislation and determine which ones they’d like to co-sponsor. In the meantime, the Republican Caucus is working on packaging its legislative agenda and plans to roll that out to the press and the public very soon. Be sure to keep an eye out for it!

Friday, January 21, 2011

You Heard it Here First!

State House News Service just moments ago sent out its Weekly Roundup and wrapping up this week’s edition was a piece of news Governor Patrick probably wished could have been buried in snow like the cars in Southie this morning!

SHNS reported that A&F Secretary Jay Gonzalez is telling lawmakers “not to expect a $160 million federal payment.” Gonzalez said, ““We are less confident now that we will receive this amount from the federal government.” Gee, you think? We’ve been saying that all along. Why the Patrick-Murray Administration ever factored that into the FY11 budget is beyond us. Governor Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Murray like to brag that the FY11 budget was balanced, responsible and on time – guess, that must have been a late April Fool’s Day joke!

It seems a lot of the successes Governor Patrick touted during his re-election campaign are actually turning out to be failures. Coincidence? We think not! When is this Administration going to learn to craft its budget based on reality, not on hope?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

House Republican Caucus Proposes Ambitious Rules Package

The House Republican Caucus, led by Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr., offered an ambitious rules package during today’s rules debate.

House Republicans were pleased to get a handful of amendments adopted. For example, a proposal was accepted to allow for greater scrutiny and transparency of legislative accounts and an amendment improving attire and general decorum was approved as well.

Unfortunately, some of the amendments offered by the Republican Caucus that would have improved the legislative process were rejected.

Among the amendments rejected include:

1. Eliminating the position of Speaker Pro Tempore

2. Requiring a roll call with 2/3rds majority in order to raise any tax or fee

3. Requiring the House to consider a resolution no later than March 15th of each year, defining the minimum financial contribution the Commonwealth will make to cities and towns in the form of Chapter 70 and unrestricted government aid

4. Requiring recorded votes at an executive session of a committee be recorded on the legislative website

“The general public has lost its faith in its elected officials and we offered an ambitious rules package with the goal of improving the Legislative process,” said Representative Jones. “Although I would have liked to see even more of our proposals adopted, I am pleased with the successes we had as a caucus, and as a Legislative body today.”

At the beginning of each legislative session, the Legislature adopts a set of rules to govern itself. This year, House Republicans offered more than 25 amendments.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Credit When Credit is Due

In case you missed it, yesterday the Governor announced an ambitious pension reform agenda, albeit many of his proposals we have filed in the past. Among his proposals are raising the retirement age, closing the double dipping loophole and instituting a more fair and accurate way of calculating pension payments.

We in the Republican Caucus look forward to debating his proposals when they come up in the House and are anxious to offer even more ideas that could lead to millions of dollars in cost savings for the state.

Click here to read more about the Governor’s proposals.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Reflecting on the Work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Now, I say to you today my friends, even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: - we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

~Dr. Martin Luther King,Jr.
August 28, 1963

Friday, January 14, 2011

Representative Brad Hill Appears on Fox 25's Morning News

In case you missed it, House Minority Whip Brad Hill made an appearance on Fox 25's Morning News today. As you may have heard, Governor Patrick plans to file legislation today relative to habitual offenders. However, Representative Hill feels his legislation, "Melissa's Bill," named after Melissa Gosule is the version the Governor should get behind. It appears as if the Governor's legislation would still allow the state's most violent criminals an opportunity to be paroled whereas "Melissa's Bill," would not allow the opportunity for parole on the third violent felony conviction.

Click here to see what Representative Hill had to say.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

House Minority Leader’s Statement on Governor Patrick’s Actions Relative to the Parole Board

BOSTON—House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. issued the following statement today after hearing the actions Governor Patrick plans to take relative to the Parole Board.

I am pleased at the action the Governor announced relative to the Parole Board. He has finally come to the same conclusion many of us reached weeks ago. I am however disappointed it took this long and that the life of a police officer had to be taken in order for him to act.

Furthermore, it appears that the Governor’s planned legislation relative to habitual offenders falls short of “Melissa’s Bill.” Without having seen his legislation, it would appear that the most violent criminals would still have the possibility of being paroled. The fact is we can do better and we should do better.

Representative Howitt Talks Tax Credits for the Film Industry

Representative Steven Howitt was recently asked to share his thoughts on providing tax credits for the film industry. The Freshman member defeated a Democrat incumbent in the past election cycle.

Click here to see what Representative Howitt had to say.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

House Minority Leader’s Statement on Evergreen Solar Closing its Doors in Devens

BOSTON—House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. issued the following statement today after Evergreen Solar will be closing its Devens facility and letting go of its 800 employees.

This should serve as a lesson to Governor Patrick that throwing money at companies in industries he approves of won’t necessarily translate into success. Instead of focusing on stimulating one particular industry, Governor Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Murray should turn their attention to creating an economic climate where all businesses can succeed and thrive.

Minority Leader Checks in with Jon Keller

In case you missed it, House Minority Leader Brad Jones checked in with Jon Keller this past weekend on Keller @ Large. Representative Jones, who was just re-elected Minority Leader, discussed swearing-in day, the Governor's inauguration and the continued controversy swirling around the Parole Board.

Click here to check it out.

Assistant Minority Leader Appears on Greater Boston

Assistant Minority Leader George Peterson recently appeared on Greater Boston with Emily Rooney. The Grafton Republican discussed a number of issues, but much of the conversation was focused on the call recently made by Republican Lawmakers to pass "Melissa's Bill."

Click here to see what Representative Peterson had to say.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Representative Donald Wong Makes History

As you know, the 187th General Court was sworn in last week. What you may not have known is that two of them were making history as they took the oath of office. Representatives Donald Wong and Tackey Chan are the first two Asian-Americans ever to serve in the Massachusetts Legislature.

Representative Wong is one of the new members of the Republican Caucus. He's a Saugus Selectman and business owner, who says he's focused on the economy, jobs and taxes.

NewsCenter 5's Janet Wu put together a special piece on Wong and Chan's historical swearing-in. Click here to watch the story in its entirety.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Representative Ryan Fattman Appears on Fox 25's Morning News

Freshman Representative Ryan Fattman of Sutton appeared on the Fox 25 Morning News earlier today. Fattman talked with "VB" about his first week observations as well as his legislative priorities.

Click here to watch the segment in its entirety.

Boston Globe Gets it Right!

In case you missed it, the Boston Globe ran an editorial today calling for the repeal of the Pacheco Law, an anti-privatization law on the books and costing the state a lot of money.

The opening paragraph says it all, "The so-called Pacheco law doesn’t just keep government agencies from saving money by hiring outside contractors to perform certain services. It also sends a broad message: In Massachusetts, the demands of special-interest groups — in this case, public-employee unions — can outweigh the obligation to run government efficiently."

The editorial goes on to say, "As the chief executive of the state in a time of great fiscal distress, Governor Patrick must deliver better government in a frugal manner — and that should mean getting the Pacheco law repealed."

We couldn't agree with the writers of this piece more. Fortunately, year after year the Republican Caucus has filed measures to repeal or to raise the threshold of the Pacheco Law. With several media outlets supporting our efforts, we are hopeful this will be the year we repeal the Pacheco Law.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Congratulations and Welcome to all of the Members

As many of you know, today’ the 187th General Court was sworn in to office. Among the 159 Massachusetts House of Representatives, 31 Republicans were sworn in. It is an exciting day and one the Republican Caucus is very pleased to begin the new Legislative Session with a re-energized and reinvigorated group.

Though today is one of pomp and circumstance, we here at The Capitol View understand the magnitude of the challenges the Commonwealth of Massachusetts faces in 2011. The 31 members of the Republican Caucus will focus their efforts on creating jobs, stimulating the economy and getting the state’s finances back on the right track. We have no doubt this year will be tough but we look forward and are up to the challenge.

Congratulations and welcome to all of the new members.

Representative Bradley Jones Elected to 5th Term as Minority Leader

BOSTON—Saying he’s looking forward to having the opportunity to continue serving as the leader of the Republican Caucus in the House, Representative Brad Jones released the following statement today after being elected to his 5th term as Minority Leader.

I am humbled and honored by the overwhelming support I received today from my Republican colleagues in the House. I look forward to serving as Minority Leader and understand the magnitude of the challenges we as a legislative body face this session.

I am excited to lead the Republican Caucus and know that my members will work tirelessly on behalf of the people of the Commonwealth to make Massachusetts a better place to live, work and raise a family.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Republican Lawmakers Make Melissa’s Bill 2011 Legislative Priority

BOSTON—Republican lawmakers, led by Minority Whip Brad Hill (R-Ipswich) today called on their colleagues to join with them in making “Melissa’s Bill” a 2011 legislative priority.

“Melissa’s Bill” was filed in the memory of Melissa Gosule, a then-27-year-old teacher who was murdered in 1999 by a repeat offender who had served less than two years in jail for a combined 27 criminal convictions.

“Melissa’s Bill” was refiled for multiple session, most recently in January of 2009 and has been stuck in the Judiciary Committee since March of the same year.

If passed into law, repeat, violent offenders would be kept where they belong - behind bars.

In the wake of the tragic shooting death of a Woburn Police Officer John Maguire by a career criminal, the Republican Caucus is hoping there will be an appetite to pass this critical piece of legislation early in the new legislative session.

“A priority of the Legislature should be to ensure the safety of all the citizens of the Commonwealth from dangerous, habitual offenders and this legislation would do just that,” said Representative Hill, the sponsor of “Melissa’s Bill.”

“We in the Republican Caucus are happy to take the lead on this issue, however we hope our colleagues will join us in our effort to keep every citizen of the Commonwealth safe,” said House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr.

Among the components of “Melissa’s Bill” include:

 Expands the habitual offender statute to better target the most dangerous repeat offenders, stating that the maximum punishment available by law shall be imposed for either a defendant’s third Superior Court felony conviction or a third conviction of a felony punishable by more than 10 years in prison.

 Removes parole eligibility for those repeat offenders convicted under “Melissa’s Law.”

 Requires revocations and imposition of the suspended sentence when a preponderance of the evidence establishes that the probationer committed a felony while on probation. Currently, there is no such requirement.

 Removes loophole by specifically stating that state and federal convictions apply to the habitual offender statute. Currently, federal convictions are not included in the habitual offender statute.

 Authorizes judges to impose conditions of release to make clear that sentences on new crimes committed during the pendency of a case shall run consecutively, eliminating the ability of defendants to agree to “package deals” and receive concurrent sentences for crimes committed while they are out on bail.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Republican Lawmakers to hold Media Availability

BOSTON—Republican lawmakers, led by Minority Whip Brad Hill will hold a media availability tomorrow to discuss “Melissa’s Bill,” a piece of legislation that has been stuck in the Judiciary Committee for many months now. If passed into law, repeat, violent offenders would be kept where they belong - behind bars.

“Melissa’s Bill” was filed in the memory of Melissa Gosule, a then-27-year-old teacher who was murdered by a repeat offender who had served less than two years in jail for a combined 27 criminal convictions.

In the wake of the tragic shooting death of a Woburn Police Officer by a career criminal, the Republican Caucus will take this opportunity to call on their colleagues to support this critical piece of legislation.

A priority of the Legislature should be to ensure the safety of all the citizens of the Commonwealth from dangerous, habitual offenders and this legislation would do just that.

Representative Brad Hill will be joined by other Republican lawmakers, as well as Melissa Gosule’s father, Les Gosule.

The press conference will be held tomorrow (Tuesday) at 11:00 a.m. outside of Room 124 at State House.