Friday, May 29, 2015

Rep. Dooley Appointed to Elections Task Force

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) is pleased to announce his appointment of Representative Shawn Dooley (R-Norfolk) to the Elections Task Force.

The task force was created as part of an election reform bill that passed the Legislature last spring, which expands access to early voting beginning in 2016 and allows for 16- and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote.  In addition to studying the costs and administrative requirements associated with implementing early voting in Massachusetts, the task force will also look at ways to reduce wait times at polling locations on election day, violations of laws prohibiting fraudulent voting and voter impersonation, same-day voter registration, and the feasibility of utilizing expanded technology, including election day mobile alerts, computer automated auditing, electronic transferring of absentee ballots and online voting.

“Representative Dooley has a clear understanding of the relevant issues the task force will be looking at, having served on the conference committee that reconciled the differences between the House and Senate versions of the election reform bill last session,” said Representative Jones.  “Combined with his background and experience as a certified municipal clerk, he is well-qualified to help craft recommendations that will expand access to voting while also ensuring that appropriate safeguards are in place to prevent voter fraud.”

“I am honored to have been appointed to the Elections Task Force.  It is great to be able to continue with the work I started while serving on last session’s election law conference committee.  Voting is one of the most important tools of our democracy and being able to make sure that right is safeguarded is a role that I am excited to take on,” said Representative Dooley.   “I am fortunate to have served as a Town Clerk and have proposed several bills this session which will help ensure our citizens’ voices are heard while aligning with the mission of this task force.”

The task force is scheduled to submit its report and recommendations to the Legislature on or before August 1, 2017.

Representative Dooley represents the Ninth Norfolk District, which is comprised of the towns of Norfolk, Plainville, Wrentham, Medfield, Millis and Walpole.  He previously served as the Norfolk Town Clerk and as the Chairman of the Norfolk School Committee before winning a special election in January of 2014.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Representative Kelcourse Appointed to MA Workforce Investment Board

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) is pleased to announce his appointment of Representative Jim Kelcourse (R-Amesbury) as his designee to the Massachusetts Workforce Investment Board.

The Workforce Investment Board is responsible for advising the Governor on building a strong workforce development system aligned with state education policies and economic development goals.  In addition to legislators and members of the Governor’s Cabinet, the Board also includes representatives of organized labor, higher education, organizations that represent or provide services to trainees, and multiple business and industry representatives.

“As a member of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, Representative Kelcourse has a clear understanding of the many challenges facing employers and the type of job skills they are looking for in their workers,” said Representative Jones.  “I am confident he will bring a wealth of real-world experience and expertise to the Workforce Investment Board as it continues to find ways to better position Massachusetts to compete in a global economy.”

Representative Kelcourse represents the First Essex District, which consists of Amesbury, Newburyport and Salisbury.  A former Amesbury city councilor, he is currently serving his first term in the Massachusetts Legislature.

Monday, May 25, 2015


Today, the United States stands as a beacon of liberty and democratic strength before the community of nations. We are resolved to stand firm against those who would destroy the freedoms we cherish. We are determined to achieve an enduring peace – a peace with liberty and with honor. This determination, this resolve, is the highest tribute we can pay to the many who have fallen in the service of our Nation.” – President Ronald Reagan, May 25, 1981

The price of freedom is not free, but a precious commodity paid for a thousand times over by the many brave men and women who have answered the call to serve throughout our nation’s history.  Let us never forget those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to preserve the many freedoms we enjoy today, and let us resolve to honor our fallen soldiers not only on Memorial Day, but every day.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

House Minority Leader Brad Jones’ Statement on Speaker’s Endorsement of MBTA Control Board

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) issued the following statement today regarding House Speaker Robert DeLeo’s announcement that he is backing Governor Baker’s call for the creation of a control board to oversee the MBTA:

I welcome Speaker DeLeo’s endorsement of Governor Baker’s proposal for a control board to oversee the MBTA.  As the Governor has made clear, if nothing changes at the MBTA, then nothing will change.  A control board is essential for focusing on and implementing the reforms needed to provide long-term fiscal stability at the MBTA and to ensure the delivery of safe and reliable services to its riders moving forward.  The Speaker recognizes this, and it is my hope that we are now one important step closer to approving a control board to achieve these worthy goals on behalf of the MBTA's users and the state’s taxpayers.”

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

House Minority Leader Brad Jones Secures Budget Amendment Targeting Unpaid Sex Offender Registration Fees

Sex offenders who fail to pay a required registration fee to the state would face additional sanctions under an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2016 House budget filed by House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) and members of the House Republican Caucus.

The House of Representatives approved the amendment on a voice vote on April 29 as part of the proposed $38 billion state budget.

Under current law, sex offenders are assessed a $75 registration fee at the time of their initial registration as a sex offender, and again each and every subsequent year on the anniversary of their registration.  Sex offenders who fail to pay the fee are sent notices and follow-up letters, but the law lacks an enforcement mechanism to ensure that the fees are paid in full.

“The current law falls short of providing appropriate penalties for sex offenders who fail to pay the required registration fee,” said Representative Jones.  “This amendment would add some teeth to the law to help ensure that the Sex Offender Registry Board receives these fees on a timely basis.”

Representative Jones’ amendment would require the Sex Offender Registry Board to notify the Department of Revenue (DOR), the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) and the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) whenever any sex offender registration fee is 60 days past due.  Once these agencies are notified, DOR would be directed to deduct the amount owed by the sex offender from any state tax refunds that might be due to them.

The amendment would also prohibit the RMV from issuing or renewing a sex offender’s driver’s license or motor vehicle registration until the fee has been collected.

The amendment was co-sponsored by the House Republican leadership team, including Representatives Brad Hill of Ipswich, Elizabeth Poirier of North Attleborough, Susan Gifford of Wareham, Paul Frost of Auburn and Todd Smola of Warren.  Additional co-sponsors included Representatives Nicholas Boldyga (R-Southwick), Marc Lombardo (R-Billerica), Sheila Harrington (R-Groton), Shawn Dooley (R-Norfolk), Kimberly Ferguson (R-Holden), Leah Cole (R-Peabody) and Steven Howitt (R-Seekonk).

The state Senate is expected to release and debate its own version of the budget in May.  A six-member conference committee will then work to resolve the differences between the two branches’ spending proposals and produce a final budget that will be sent to Governor Baker for his signature.

Monday, May 4, 2015

House Approves GOP Initiative Requiring DCF Background Checks for Hires, Child Placements

The House of Representatives has approved a proposal, offered by House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) and members of the House Republican Caucus, that would require the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to conduct fingerprint-based checks of the state and national criminal history databases on prospective applicants seeking to adopt or become foster parents.

The proposal, which was filed as an amendment to the House version of the Fiscal Year 2016 state budget, would also require background checks on all individuals, age 15 or older, residing in the same household as adoptive or foster parents, as well as all applicants for employment, interns and volunteers who have the potential for unsupervised contact with children in any department-approved program, including individuals who provide transportation services for such programs.

“Children are our most precious resource, but they are also among our most vulnerable residents, and the state should be making every effort possible to guarantee they are never placed in harm’s way,” said Representative Jones.  Requiring background checks similar to those already conducted by the Department of Early Education and Care will help to ensure that DCF is taking appropriate precautions in its hiring and placement process.”

A 2014 audit of DCF revealed that, in a review of 29 case files, the Department was unable to provide documentation for 48 of 63 required background checks.  The audit also showed that 25 homes matched the address of registered sex offenders.

Representative Jones’ proposal directs DCF to obtain from the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board all available sex offender registry information associated with the address of any center, home or facility licensed through the Department.

“Whether they are in the actual home or in the same apartment building, sex offenders pose a significant risk to child safety,” said Representative Jones.  “Increased oversight and stricter background check regulation policies will help to reduce those risks considerably for children who have been entrusted to the state’s care.”

The amendment, which was approved on a unanimous roll call vote of 159-0, was co-sponsored by the House Republican leadership team, including Representatives Brad Hill of Ipswich, Elizabeth Poirier of North Attleborough, Susan Gifford of Wareham, Paul Frost of Auburn and Todd Smola of Warren.  Additional co-sponsors included Representatives Nicholas Boldyga (R-Southwick), Marc Lombardo (R-Billerica), Angelo D’Emilia (R-Bridgewater), Sheila Harrington (R-Groton), Kimberly Ferguson (R-Holden), Leah Cole (R-Peabody), David Muradian (R-Grafton), Tim Whelan (R-Brewster) and Steven Howitt (R-Seekonk).