Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Representative Hill Appointed to Crime Bill Conference Committee

In case you missed it, House Minority Leader Brad Jones has appointed Representative Bradford Hill (R-Ipswich) to serve on the Crime Bill Conference Committee.

Representative Hill will join House colleagues and Committee appointees Eugene O'Flaherty (D-Chelsea) and David Linsky (D-Natick) as well as Senators Cynthia Creem (D-Newton), Steven Baddour (D-Methuen) and Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate versions of the crime bill and more specifically "Melissa's Bill."

“I am honored to have been appointed to this Committee by House Minority Leader Brad Jones,” stated Representative Hill. “This is a very important piece of legislation that will affect every citizen in the Commonwealth. I look forward to working with my House and Senate colleagues to reconcile any differences between the two branches and put forth a comprehensive bill that will make Massachusetts safer.”

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

From all of us here at The Capitol View, we hope you and your loved ones have a safe and happy Thanksgiving! We also ask that you please remember to keep the men and women of our Armed Forces in your thoughts and prayers this Thanksgiving, as many of them will not have the opportunity to celebrate this holiday with their families and friends.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

House Republican Caucus Votes in Favor of Passing “Melissa’s Bill”

In case you missed it, led by bill sponsor Bradford Hill (R-Ipswich), the entire House Republican Caucus voted yesterday in support of legislation aimed at protecting the public from dangerous, repeat offenders.

House Bill 3811, An Act Relative to Habitual Repeat Offenders, Sentencing and Improving Law Enforcement Tools, often referred to as “Melissa’s Bill”, was filed in 2000 in memory of Melissa Gosule, a then 27-year-old teacher who was brutally murdered by a repeat offender who had served fewer than two years in jail for a combined 27 criminal convictions. More recent violent attacks by repeat offenders further illustrate the need for legislation aimed at keeping these offenders incarcerated.

“I am pleased that the Legislature has confirmed its commitment to ensuring the safety of all the citizens of the Commonwealth from dangerous, habitual offenders. Additionally, I am thrilled by the overwhelming support that I have received from my colleagues on both sides of the aisle,” stated Representative Hill. “We in the Republican Caucus were happy to have taken the lead, joined by our Democratic colleagues, in passing this legislation.”

Amendments offered by House Republicans during the debate include: mandatory written notification of parole hearings to the Attorney General, District Attorney, local Chief of Police, and the victim for an offender convicted of a violent crime who has served more than 5 years in prison; and a requirement that parole for life sentences may only be granted by a 2/3 vote of the parole board.

“I am pleased that this legislation, 10 years in the making, has passed the House overwhelmingly, and with bi-partisan support,” said House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. “‘Melissa’s Bill’ will further ensure the safety of all of the citizens of the Commonwealth from dangerous, habitual offenders.”

Components of “Melissa’s Bill” passed by the House of Representatives includes:

The length of time a habitual offender must serve before becoming eligible for parole is increased from ½ to 2/3 of their sentence.

• Anyone convicted of a predetermined offense, who has been convicted twice previously of one or more the listed offenses, will be considered a habitual offender and be punished by imprisonment for the maximum term provided by law for the third offense.

• No person shall be considered a habitual offender based upon any offense for which such person was adjudicated a delinquent child.

• Anyone convicted of a felony who has been previously twice convicted and sentenced to prison for at least 3 years by the state of Massachusetts, another state, or the United States, will be considered a habitual offender and be punished by imprisonment for the maximum term provided by law for the subsequent felony for which that offender is to be sentenced.

The legislation will now be sent to Conference Committee.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Representative George Peterson Appears on the FOX-25 Morning News

In case you missed it, Assistant Minority Leader George Peterson (R-Grafton) made an appearance on the FOX-25 Morning News today. Representative Peterson joined Doug “VB” Goudie to discuss expanded gaming passing the House yesterday by a vote of 118-33 and what’s next for the legislation.

To view the entire segment play the video posted below.

Massachusetts Casinos: Minority Leader George Peterson: MyFoxBOSTON.com

Representative Brad Jones Appears on the Jeff Katz Show

In case you missed it, House Minority Leader Brad Jones made an appearance on the Jeff Katz Show yesterday. As you may have heard, the House and Senate are entering the final two days of formal sessions in 2011. Representative Jones had a chance to update listeners as to the status of bills that the Legislature is expected to take up in the final 48 hours of session.

Click here to listen to the interview in its entirety.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

House Minority Leader’s Statement on the Final Adoption of Expanded Gaming in the Commonwealth

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. issued the following statement today in response to the adoption of legislation to bring expanding gaming to the Commonwealth:

“I am pleased that the House and Senate have given their ultimate approval to this legislation, which will bring jobs and economic growth to the Commonwealth.

Having been a long-time proponent of expanding gaming in Massachusetts, I believe resort-style casinos and free-standing slot parlors stand to bring both economic growth and development to the state. Not only will the Commonwealth benefit as a whole from the influx of revenue, but residents of the Bay State will benefit from the jobs resulting from the gaming industry establishing itself here. However, we must remain cognizant that by no means is this the “cure-all” to the struggling job climate in Massachusetts. We must remain steadfast in our ongoing efforts to bring long-term employment opportunities to the residents of the Bay State.

I am grateful that many of the strong initiatives passed in the House version of the bill were included in the final compromise. Additionally, I am pleased that Republican-led amendments were largely maintained by the Committee, specifically those aimed at preserving and increasing current local aid levels and fairly and transparently distributing additional infrastructure monies.

I thank Representative Paul Frost and Senator Richard Ross, the House and Senate Republican designees, and the other members of the bi-partisan Conference Committee for their consideration of all proposals and amendments to this piece of legislation.

I look forward to Governor Patrick’s review and ultimately his approval of this effort.”


Monday, November 14, 2011

GOP Jobs Tour Provides Foundation for New Legislation

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading), along with the entire House Republican Caucus, today announced the second phase of the 2011 GOP Jobs Tour as the Statehouse winds down for a 7-week winter recess during which no controversial bills will be debated.

The Massachusetts House Republican Caucus will be using the winter recess to compile the information gathered at each of the 8 GOP Jobs Tour events and to begin drafting an Omnibus Jobs Package designed to stimulate the economy and create jobs. The Jobs Package, to be filed in January, will include ideas shared by citizens who attended the Jobs Tour events.

“The 2011 G.O.P. Jobs Tour was a tremendous success and we have received a lot of information that needs to be organized and translated into action,” said House Minority Leader Brad Jones. “I would hope that our resulting Omnibus Jobs Package can be heard quickly by a legislative committee and be the first priority of the Legislature upon returning in January.”

The legislative package will address a number of key issues discussed at various Jobs Tour events, including: the state’s complex regulatory system; burdensome tax policy; and generally poor business climate.

“I heard loud and clear that people in my area are frustrated with the lack of action on Beacon Hill to improve the business climate in Massachusetts,” said State Representative Angelo D’Emilia (R-Bridgewater), host of the Jobs Tour event in Bridgewater in September. “This plan will encompass ideas from broad spectrum of people with one priority: jobs.”

In addition to using the winter recess to draft a legislative proposal focusing on jobs, the Republican Caucus also calls on the Legislature to enact any non-controversial, yet important, pro-job growth legislation that has already been heard by legislative committees.

“Although the rules of the House do not allow the House to meet in formal sessions after Wednesday, November 16th, I would be shocked if any objections are made by the members of the Republican Caucus to considering any bills with the potential to generate job growth or improve our business climate,” said State Representative Richard Bastien (R-Gardner). “I strongly believe we should be providing as much relief to working families this holiday season as humanly possible.”

Legislation the House could address between now and January includes: freezing the current unemployment rate schedule, which is set to expire in January of 2012; standardizing the independent contractor law; or legislation lowering the cost of health insurance for small businesses.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Veterans’ Day 2011

Veterans’ Day is a time to honor America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice to defend our democracy and our freedom.

General Colin L. Powell of the U.S. Army once said, “The celebration of Veterans’ Day is a vivid reminder of the price which has been paid for the liberty we enjoy.”

We here at The Capitol View would like to offer our deepest gratitude to the men and women of the United States Armed Forces - individuals who truly understand the great cost of our freedoms.

Approximately 420,000 veterans currently reside in Massachusetts, and another 11,000 residents of the Commonwealth are deployed abroad. Today we honor the contributions of these servicemen and women and American veterans from all wars, both past and present. On this day of remembrance, we thank them for their infinite loyalty to this nation and their sacrifices in the name of freedom and peace. May their bravery and legacy never be forgotten.

Happy 236th Birthday Marine Corps!

Today is a very special day for our country, as November 10, 2011 marks the 236th birthday of the United States Marine Corps. We’d like to take a moment here on The Capitol View to say thank you to all of our Marines. Your service to our country and the great sacrifice you have made makes us all proud to be American.

Tomorrow we observe Veterans’ Day, but today let us honor the men and women of the Marine Corps. It was on this day in 1775, that the Marine Corps was established and ever since then, brave Marines have fought in many conflicts in order to protect our country and our freedoms. Thank you Marines and Happy Birthday.

Semper fidelis!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

House Minority Leader’s Statement on the Release of Congressional Redistricting Map

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. issued the following statement today in response to the unveiling of the Congressional redistricting map:

“The unveiling of the Massachusetts Congressional redistricting map represents the final and perhaps most important phase in the redistricting effort.

However, I am disappointed that the minority party was largely excluded from the Congressional map process and deliberation - in stark contrast to the open dialogue that was maintained by all parties during the House and Senate redistricting effort.

A majority of focus during the public hearings held around the Bay State was on the Congressional maps and how it could potentially impact residents. Given the tentative timeline provided to us by the Redistricting Committee, it seems as though the time allotted for public feedback will be at a premium and the House and Senate will be forced to move this map forward at a feverous pace.

While we continue to digest the numbers and totality of the maps presented to us for the first time today, we look forward to the public comment phase of this process - however brief it may be - and remain hopeful that an inclusive conversation amongst legislators will take place before the maps become finalized.”


Monday, November 7, 2011

2011 GOP Jobs Tour - Westborough

In case you forgot, tonight marks the eighth stop on the 2011 GOP Jobs Tour. All are invited to join hosts Matthew Beaton (R-Shrewsbury) and George Peterson (R-Grafton) for an evening of conversation with local business leaders and Chamber of Commerce members.

Announced during a press conference at the State House, the Massachusetts House Republican Caucus embarked on a six-week Jobs Tour. The Tour made initial stops in 7 communities across the Commonwealth. However, due to tremendous response, Republicans have been asked to host an additional forum in Westborough.

Joining Republican legislators at the Tour stop in Westborough will be invited members from the business community, local and regional Chambers of Commerce, and Representatives Kimberly Ferguson (R-Holden), Paul Frost (R-Auburn) and Kevin Kuros (R-Uxbridge).

Details for tonight's event in Westborough are as follows:

Monday, November 7, 2011
Training Associates Building
287 Turnpike Road, Suite 300
Westborough, MA 01581

Residents who are unable to attend the forum are still encouraged to email massgopjobs@gmail.com with ideas and insight. For more information on the 2011 G.O.P. Jobs Tour, please contact your local Republican lawmaker or follow us on twitter: @GOPJobsTour.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Representative Ross Appears on the Howie Carr Show

In case you missed it, Representative George T. Ross (R-Attleboro) made an appearance on the Howie Carr show yesterday. As you may have heard, Representative Ross has filed a bill that, if passed, would ban the sale of the designer drug referred to as “bath salts.”

House Bill 3739, An Act to Include Substituted Cathinones, Also Known as ‘Bath Salts,’ in Class C Substances, seeks to categorize the drug, known by its street name, “bath salts,” as a Class C substance under the Commonwealth’s Controlled Substances Act.

Click here to listen to what Representative Ross had to say.

Representative Fattman Appointed to Pension Reform Conference Committee

In case you missed it, House Minority Leader Brad Jones has appointed Representative Ryan Fattman (R-Sutton) to serve on the Pension Reform Conference Committee.

Representative Fattman will join House colleagues and Committee appointees John Sciback (D-South Hadley) and Brian Dempsey (D-Haverhill) as well as Senators Michael Knapik (R-Westfield), Stephen Brewer (D-Barre) and Katherine Clark (D-Melrose) to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate versions of the pension reform bill.

“I am honored to have been appointed to this Committee by House Minority Leader Brad Jones,” said Representative Fattman. “I look forward to working with my House and Senate colleagues in what I hope will be a transparent and inclusive process aimed at obtaining the best and most fair results for Massachusetts’ taxpayers and employees.”

Thursday, November 3, 2011

State House Goes to the Dogs!

In case you missed it, yesterday the State House went to the dogs! Assistance dogs that is.

The non-profit National Education Assistance Dog Services (NEADS), based in Princeton, MA, teamed up with ten legislators to give them a feel for what it was like to be accompanied by a dog trained to assist the disabled and deaf.

Representative Kimberly Ferguson (R-Holden) had the opportunity to host “Lancer”, a yellow Labrador retriever, for the entire day. Representative Ferguson and Lancer attended Caucus, went to various meetings at the State House, and Lancer even got to go into the House Chamber.

The assistance dogs are initially trained by prisoners, at no cost to the state, for over a year. “Puppies on Parole” as they are affectionately referred to, also spend time with foster families becoming acclimated to social surroundings.

Since the program’s inception 35 years ago, NEADS has placed more than 1,300 dogs with disable and deaf individuals.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

House Republicans Secure Increased Funding for Welcome Home Bonus

Led by House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R- North Reading) and the Republican Leadership team, the House GOP Caucus was successful in offering, and having adopted, an amendment calling for a $700,000 increase to the Welcome Home Bonus account to provide up to $1,000 bonus payments for residents returning from active deployment. Offered on the heels of President Barack Obama’s announcement of the return of combat troops from Iraq and in advance of Veterans’ Day, the proposed increase in funding will help to ensure benefits for the 11,000 Massachusetts service-members currently deployed around the world.

“We must have the funding and resources in place for the Commonwealth’s service men and women, particularly in light of the President’s announcement of troop withdrawals,” said House Minority Leader Brad Jones. “These brave soldiers are returning to a struggling economy and a bleak job market. By transitioning $700,000 from the states anticipated increase in revenue, we will ensure the better allocation of funding at this point in time and a smooth transition home for the Bay State’s bravest.”

The amendment, filed during debate on the Supplemental Budget, will redirect $700,000from the $395 million increase in anticipated revenue to the Welcome Home Bonus account within the Office of the Treasurer and Receiver-General.

“I am pleased to join the Republican Caucus in offering this allocation of funding,” said Representative George T. Ross. “Our men and women in uniform have done a magnificent job in their service to the United States of America. It would be wrong for us as a governing body to not recognize their service and sacrifice.”

“Our veterans face many obstacles as they return home in this already difficult economy and job market,” said Representative Richard Bastien. “While I am happy to see the wars overseas coming to a conclusion and more of our serve men and women returning home for the holidays, the reality is that many will face an uphill struggle transitioning back into civilian life. It pleases me to see our amendment adopted and the recognition of the House of the importance of assisting our veterans after they have given so much of themselves for our country.”

The Republican Leadership team was joined in offering the amendment, which now stands before the Senate for their approval, by Representatives George T. Ross (R-Attleboro) and Richard Bastien (R-Gardner), Republican members on the Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs.