Monday, July 30, 2012

Representative Bradford Hill’s Statement on Rejection of Governor Patrick’s Amendment to Melissa’s Bill

Representative Bradford R. Hill (R-Ipswich) issued the following statement in response to the House of Representatives’ rejection of Governor Patrick’s amendment to Melissa’s Bill:

"Although I am pleased that the House of Representatives resoundingly rejected the amendment offered by Governor Patrick to Melissa’s Bill, I also understand that this is the first step in a complicated process that will play out over the next 24 hours as we await the Governor’s response.

By offering this amendment, which is entirely unacceptable to the House, the Governor further solidifies his position on the wrong side of public safety as it relates to repeat offenders of the most heinous crimes.

What remains abundantly clear is that the House of Representatives, the Senate and the residents of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts want this bill to be signed into law as is – without any further amendments.”

Representative Bradford Hill’s Statement on Governor Patrick’s Amendment to Melissa’s Bill

Representative Bradford R. Hill (R-Ipswich) issued the following statement in response to Governor Patrick returning Melissa’s Bill to the House and Senate with an amendment:

"I am very frustrated and disappointed at the Governor's proposal.

As amended, Governor Patrick takes the teeth out of the bill's intent. The House and Senate conferees worked very hard to listen to both proponents and opponents of this bill and we put forward a balanced bill that reflected all parties. This proposal by the Governor is not supported by the majority of Massachusetts' residents, and should not be adopted. This bill is meant to take the most heinous and violent criminals off the street by serving the mandatory sentence for their third offense.

The Governor's proposal guts the intent of the original legislation, which begs the question, why pass this bill if we are giving our most violent criminals any chance of parole after serving in our state prisons twice before?"

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Representative Bradford Hill’s Statement on Release of Habitual Offenders Legislation from Conference Committee

Representative Bradford R. Hill (R-Ipswich) issued the following statement today in response to the release of anti-crime and sentencing reform legislation from the House and Senate Conference Committee:

“I am extremely pleased that after years of hard work and dedication, this piece of legislation has finally emerged from the House and Senate Conference Committee.

It has been my goal for over ten years, through the original filing of Melissa’s Bill and zealous advocacy, to pass legislation that ensures the most heinous and violent criminals remain behind bars in order to protect the citizens of the Commonwealth.

Additionally, this legislation is balanced in a way that takes the initial step towards lessening non-violent drug sentencing and opens the door for further rehabilitation opportunities, which are currently not available.

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

Monday, July 16, 2012

House Minority Leader’s Statement on Ongoing Investigation into Probation Department Hiring Scandal

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) issued the following statement today in response to the ongoing investigation by the United States Attorney’s office into the hiring practices of the Probation Department:

"I hope that the US Attorney's office can and will bring this investigation to a speedy conclusion, and that those who have violated the public trust will face the consequences associated with those violations.

Because of these allegations, dark clouds continue to swirl around the State House. While we await resolution on this matter, one thing remains clear: this is a byproduct of one-party government."

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Representative Jones and Senator Tarr Call for EBT, Immigration Reform Veto Overrides

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) and Senate Minority Leader Bruce E. Tarr (R-Gloucester) recently sent a letter to House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Therese Murray requesting that the budget vetoes made by Governor Patrick regarding EBT and immigration reforms reach the floors of the House and Senate for override votes.

The letter, in its entirety, can be found below.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

House Minority Leader’s Statement on Massachusetts Ranking 28th in CNBC Survey of “Top States for Business”

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) issued the following statement today in response to Massachusetts falling 22 spots to place 28th in CNBC’s survey of “Top States for Business”:

“In light of Massachusetts’ rank as 28th in a CNBC survey of “Top States for Business”, the Governor’s mantra of “faster, stronger” obviously isn’t helping us any. Those are just words. Words won’t get the residents of Massachusetts back to work.

As if the news couldn’t get any worse for Massachusetts residents, CNBC ranks the Commonwealth 49th in cost of business, ahead of only Hawaii. These latest numbers are egregious. The residents of Massachusetts deserve better.

If past is precedent, the Governor will try to discredit the validity of this survey. However, in his Fiscal Year 2013 budget brief highlighting the Commonwealth’s need to stimulate job creation, Governor Patrick touted Massachusetts’ 6th place ranking in the very same survey published one year ago.

Massachusetts needs leaders ready to fix the skyrocketing cost of doing business which is stifling job creation and deterring entrepreneurs and businesses alike. House and Senate Republicans filed a comprehensive jobs bill months ago to make Massachusetts competitive. We can no longer afford to accept excuses from Governor Patrick when it comes to jobs and job creation. Massachusetts needs jobs now.”


Sunday, July 8, 2012

House Minority Leader’s Statement on Governor Patrick’s Signing of the Fiscal Year 2013 Budget

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) issued the following statement today in response to Governor Patrick’s signing of the Fiscal Year 2013 budget:

“I look forward to reviewing Governor Patrick’s vetoes and recommendations regarding the Fiscal Year 2013 budget beyond the limited details outlined in his press release.

Further assessment of his amendments to EBT reform and other areas is necessary in order to determine whether or not Governor Patrick is making constructive recommendations or attempting to avoid substantive changes and reforms on key issues.

Additionally, my office will be carefully reviewing his accompanying supplemental budget which seeks to add tens of millions of dollars in new spending to the FY13 budget just 8 days into the new fiscal year.”

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Birthday, America!

On this day, July 4, 2012, we hope you and your family have a safe and happy holiday.

It was on July 4, 1776, during the American Revolution, when the Thirteen Colonies legally separated from Great Britain, thus granting the United States its freedom.

We at the Capitol View Live encourage you to please keep our servicemen and women in your thoughts and prayers while celebrating our nation’s independence. Thousands of Americans continue to fight for the very freedoms that our forefathers once envisioned for our country.

Monday, July 2, 2012

House and Senate Pass Fiscal Year 2013 Budget

Led by House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading), the House Republican Caucus joined their colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives and State Senate in passing a balanced Fiscal Year 2013 (FY13) budget, free of any new taxation proposals.

The $32.5 billion FY13 budget, which passed with bi-partisan support, includes multiple House and Senate Republican-led provisions aimed at increased oversight for government-led assistance programs, job creating initiatives through education, and enhanced Local Aid for our cities and towns.

“On balance, the FY13 budget represents progress on a host of issues Republicans consider important,” said Representative Brad Jones. “Additionally, this budget reflects a very strong commitment to our cities and towns.”

“By holding the line on taxes and fees, we have sent a strong message to the taxpayers,” said Viriato deMacedo, Ranking Minority Member on Ways and Means. “The Fiscal Year 2013 budget demonstrates to the residents of the Commonwealth that we as a Legislature, like them, will continue to live within our means in these difficult fiscal economic times.”

The continued narrative from Democratic leaders is the need for substantive job creating legislation. By coupling this goal with the integral role that education plays in job creation, House Republicans secured provisions in the FY13 budget derived directly from their GOP Jobs Package to empower our state’s vocational schools. The adoption of these provisions demonstrates a strong willingness from House Democrats to embrace common sense Republican-led jobs proposals. The inclusion of this language will help to produce a highly-trained and well-rounded workforce that meets the needs of Massachusetts’ employers.

The FY13 budget, which has been sent to Governor Patrick for his approval, also includes provisions aimed at helping our municipalities. By creating a new funding mechanism for the Community Preservation Act (CPA) Trust Fund, we are enhancing the Commonwealth’s ability to provide a greater match for community preservation monies raised by cities and towns.

Furthermore, allowing cities and towns to fund their local CPA account with other municipal revenues, including private donations, will provide an alternative for communities that do not wish to implement the traditional 3% property tax surcharge. These measures not only sustain the Commonwealth’s commitment to existing CPA communities, they encourage additional cities and towns to adopt the Community Preservation Act.

In an effort to combat ongoing deficiencies with the taxpayer-funded Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) program, the final FY13 budget includes provisions to limit on the type of businesses where EBT cards can be used, and to require an independent commission to develop recommendations on improving the cashless benefit system.
Additionally, to combat the cost of the nearly 20,000 EBT cards lost each month, the House and Senate agreed upon language requiring the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) to charge recipients for replacing lost EBT cards.

Noticeably absent from the Conference Committee language was a provision, offered by House Republicans and adopted in the House version of the budget, which would have prohibited out-of-state EBT card use, with the exception of states contiguous to Massachusetts.

With the narrative surrounding public safety and immigration becoming even more heated in Massachusetts, Republicans on Beacon Hill were instrumental in securing language to require any person registering a motor vehicle or trailer to provide both a valid social security number and license. Additional public safety measures include:

• New fines for individuals who knowingly permit a motor vehicle to be operated by a person who is unlicensed or whose license has been suspended;

• Increased monetary penalties for knowingly employing an unlicensed operator and for knowingly permitting an unlicensed operator to operate a vehicle;

• Fines for people who falsely make, steal, alter, forge, or counterfeit a driver’s license or leaner’s permit;

• Punishment and fine structure for people in possession of fake identification and/or permit.

Furthermore, the Governor will have the opportunity to sign into law a requirement which calls for MassHealth to utilize the federal Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) system to verify the immigration status of all applicants who apply for public health benefits. This new state system must be setup and fully functional by July 31, 2013.

In an ongoing attempt to make healthcare more affordable in Massachusetts, Republicans ensured the inclusion of a provision to allow individuals to use coupons for their prescription drug purchases if they have either failed on the generic drugs or if there is no generic drug available. This will help our residents purchase certain drugs they may not have been able to afford otherwise.

As promised to the taxpayers, the budget sent to the Governor also includes two Republican-offered amendments addressing increased transparency and accountability in the public sector. Open Checkbook, established under the increased transparency guidelines in the Fiscal Year 2011 budget, will be updated to include information relative to quasi-public entities, municipalities, and non-profits that receive funding from state agencies. Additionally, non-profit organizations with over $5 million in revenues will be required to establish an independent audit committee, similar to the requirements under the federal Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.

Unfortunately, not all common-sense approaches were embraced by the Democratic majority. In what has become a yearly effort by the Republican Caucus, an attempt to gradually roll back the state sales tax to 5% over the course of 3 years from the current 6.25%, with zero impact on the upcoming fiscal year, was defeated at the hands of the Democrats. While the Democratic-run House felt no need to study a proposed increase to the state sales tax just 3 years ago, the majority party was strangely insistent on studying the effects of a rollback this year. By defeating this proposal despite the efforts of Republicans, the majority party has forgone yet another opportunity to put money back into the taxpayers’ pockets.

Also absent from the final version of the state budget was a Republican-crafted 11 member Special Commission charged with analyzing and reporting on the activities, practices, and potential changes to the Department of Unemployment Assistance and the unemployment insurance program. The Commission's purview was far-reaching and specific. The intent was to create transparency and affect meaningful change in the current unemployment insurance system, which has not been thoroughly reviewed since the early 1990s and has come under intense scrutiny in recent months for allegedly questionable practices.

Finally, the state’s continued reliance on reserves - $400 million for Fiscal Year 2013 - to balance the budget underlines the Commonwealth’s structural deficit. While we have made meaningful gains to assure the balance in the Rainy Day Fund’s grows, constantly drawing on savings year-after-year to meet spending needs is a practice we cannot and should not continue to rely upon.

Having been approved by both the House and the Senate, the final version of the FY13 budget is now before the Governor for his approval.