Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Rep. Poirier Honored as United Regional Chamber of Commerce's 2018 Person of the Year

Congratulations to State Representative Elizabeth A. Poirier (R-North Attleborough), who was honored last night by the United Regional Chamber of Commerce as its 2018 Person of the Year. Poirier, who currently serves as the Second Assistant Minority Leader in the House, was recognized for her support for business and for her work in the community. Be sure to check out the Sun Chronicle's coverage of the Chamber's awards ceremony.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Representative David Muradian Appointed by Minority Leader to House Committee on Ethics

The Office of Rep. David K. Muradian, Jr. recently announced his appointment to the House Committee on Ethics by House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading).

The Grafton Republican will join fellow legislators on the committee, led by Chairman Christopher Markey and Vice Chairman Daniel Cullinane. It is the duty of the committee on Ethics to consider all violations of rules and all questions of conduct of Representatives, report any recommendations relative to it, and recommend any changes in the rules which tend to facilitate the business of the House.

Legislative Committees allow members to focus on specific issues coming before the Legislature and preside over hearings regarding legislation. Members of the Minority Party in the House of Representatives receive their committee assignments for House and Joint committees from the House Minority Leader. Members of the Majority Party receive their assignments from the Speaker of the House.

“Rep. Muradian has done a tremendous job representing the residents of the 9th Worcester District while serving on a number of important legislative committees,” said House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading). “Now more than ever, it is imperative that we have individuals with strong character on key committees. I am confident David will bring the same sense of hard work and dedication to his new role as a member of the House Ethics Committee.”

Muradian said, “I am honored to have been appointed to the House Committee on Ethics by Representative Jones. I look forward to working with my colleagues and ensuring the House of Representatives operates with an effective code of conduct.”

Muradian also serves on the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security, the Joint Committee on Elder Affairs, and the Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Representative Jones’ Statement on Governor Baker’s Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Proposal

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) released the following statement today regarding Governor Charlie Baker’s proposed $40.9 billion state budget for Fiscal Year 2019:

“Since taking office, the Baker-Polito Administration has closed the $1.2 billion structural deficit it inherited and dramatically reduced the state’s reliance on one-time revenue sources, all without raising taxes.  Governor Baker’s latest budget proposal continues to take a fiscally responsible approach to state spending, providing funding increases for critical programs while also promoting accountability to the state’s taxpayers.

Local aid remains a priority of the Baker-Polito Administration, as evidenced by the budget’s inclusion of nearly $4.9 billion in Chapter 70 education funding and $1.1 billion in unrestricted local aid.  Cities and towns will also see a $10 million increase in special education circuit breaker funding, while communities impacted by the recent influx of hurricane victims will receive additional funding to help manage these unanticipated costs. The Administration has long emphasized the importance of maintaining strong state-municipal partnerships, and this budget builds on that commitment.

The Governor’s budget also prioritizes higher education and workforce training.  I strongly support the Governor’s proposal to expand scholarship funding to help make our community colleges more affordable, and I appreciate his commitment to promoting workforce development and skills training in critical areas such as advanced manufacturing, information technology, and healthcare.  I also applaud his continuing efforts to address the scourge of opioid abuse by providing additional funding for substance abuse programs and expanding the number of treatment beds across the state.

The Governor’s FY19 budget is a very strong starting point for the legislature to begin its deliberations.  As the budget process unfolds, I look forward to working with my colleagues and with the Administration to develop a spending plan that will address many of the critical needs of the Commonwealth and its citizens.”         

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

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

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

“Governor Baker’s remarks tonight show that the State of the Commonwealth is strong and getting stronger, with the economy continuing to move in the right direction. That is due in large part to the competence and integrity the Baker-Polito Administration has demonstrated since taking office, which has been essential in protecting taxpayer dollars. The Administration has a proven track record of making state government more responsive to the residents of the Commonwealth, from implementing much-needed reforms at the Department of Children and Families to improving the management and operations of the MBTA, in addition to making advancements across a broad spectrum of areas important to the citizens of the Commonwealth. Governor Baker has outlined an impressive agenda for 2018 that calls for enhancing the state’s efforts to address the opioid crisis, creating more affordable housing, and implementing critical cost-saving measures at MassHealth.  I look forward to working with the Administration and the members of the House Republican Caucus to help advance the Governor’s legislative priorities this session.”

Monday, January 22, 2018

Representative Keiko Orrall Named to Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Committee

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) has appointed Representative Keiko M. Orrall (R-Lakeville) to a joint special legislative committee that will consider proposals for a permanent Massachusetts memorial to the late Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Created by an order adopted by the House and Senate last year, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Committee will develop recommendations for establishing a state memorial to honor the late civil rights activist.  In addition to identifying at least three potential locations for the memorial, the committee will also develop cost estimates for its design and construction, as well as its perpetual care and upkeep.

“Representative Orrall has been a steadfast champion of promoting diversity in the Legislature and equality in the workplace,” said Representative Jones.  “I am confident she will provide valuable insight to the committee as it looks to establish a permanent state memorial to honor Dr. King’s legacy.”

The 11-member committee includes four state Senators and seven members of the Massachusetts House of Representatives.  The committee is due to report back to the Legislature with its recommendations by May 31.

Representative Orrall represents the 12th Bristol District, which is comprised of the towns of Berkley and Lakeville and portions of Taunton and Middleborough.  She currently serves as the Republican National Committeewoman for Massachusetts.

In addition to being the Ranking Minority Member of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, Representative Orrall is a member of the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development, and the Joint Committee on Export Development.  She also currently serves on a special commission that is scheduled to file its findings and recommendations for addressing wage disparities in Massachusetts by January 1, 2019.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Representative Hannah Kane Receives Additional Committee Assignments for 2018

State Representative Hannah Kane (R-Shrewsbury) is taking on two new committee assignments, following her appointment by House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) to a standing legislative committee and a special commission charged with addressing healthcare inequality issues in the Commonwealth.

Representative Kane has been named a member of the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery, filling a vacancy on the committee responsible for reviewing all legislation pertaining to behavioral health, drug detoxification and mental health issues.  In addition, the Shrewsbury legislator has been appointed to a special commission that will investigate ways to increase access and interoperability of healthcare data collected by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) through the state trauma registry.

“Representative Kane has long been active at the local and state level on a wide range of substance abuse and public health issues, and I believe she will be a natural fit and an invaluable resource to both the joint committee and the special commission,” said Representative Jones in announcing the appointments.

In her first official act as a member of the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery, Representative Kane took part in a January 16th public hearing on Governor Baker’s proposed CARE Act, which seeks to address the state’s opioid and heroin epidemic by increasing access to treatment and recovery services, while strengthening education and prevention efforts.  The bill builds on the state’s 2016 opioid law, which Representative Kane supported.

As a member of the special healthcare commission, Representative Kane will work alongside Dr. Monica Bharel, the Commissioner of Public Health, to study the patterns and impact of healthcare inequality across the state and to develop the support programs and resources necessary to address these unmet needs.  The 9-member commission, which is comprised of legislators and healthcare professionals, is due to report its findings and recommendations to the House and Senate by December 31, 2018.

“I am honored to be appointed by the Minority Leader to these two new committees and look forward to working with my colleagues and fellow commission members to address some of the critical public health challenges facing the Commonwealth,” stated Representative Kane.

Representative Kane currently serves as the Ranking Minority Member on both the Joint Committee on Marijuana Policy and the Joint Committee on Public Health.  She is also a member of the Joint Committee on Transportation. Representative Kane is also a member of the Special Commission on Local and Regional Public Health and the Massachusetts Food Policy Council.

In addition, Representative Kane serves on Worcester County District Attorney Joe Early’s Opioid Task Force, and as a State Director of the national Women in Government Foundation, where she recently served as a member of the Mental Health and Substance Use Task Force.  She also serves locally on the Shrewsbury Coalition for Addiction Prevention and Education (SCAPE).

Representative Kane has been a member of the House of Representatives since 2015.  She represents the 11th Worcester District, which consists of the town of Shrewsbury and Precincts 4 and 5 in Westborough.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

CBS I-Team Highlights Representative Howitt’s Proposed Animal Abuse Registry Bill

Last night, CBS Boston aired a segment by I-Team reporter Cheryl Fiandaca highlighting legislation filed by State Representative Steven Howitt (R-Seekonk) to create a statewide animal abuse registry. Be sure to check out the video posted here to learn more about Representative Howitt's efforts to protect animals from abuse.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Representative Randy Hunt: New Federal Tax Overhaul Will Benefit Our Country

The following column by Representative Randy Hunt (R-Sandwich) appeared in the January 7 print edition of the Boston Globe's South section in response to the question “Will the Republican tax overhaul benefit the country?:

“Country” can be interpreted to mean the people or the economy. Either way, the answer to the question is an emphatic “Yes!”

Will the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act benefit the people? The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center says 90 percent of middle-class taxpayers will get a tax cut in 2018.

Aren’t these tax cuts temporary? The individual tax cuts technically expire after eight years, but even those cuts considered “permanent” are not set in stone. Congress can change the tax code at any time, and does. Senator Chuck Schumer’s claim -- drawn from Tax Policy Center data -- that 83 percent of the benefits will go to the top 1 percent in 2027 is based on Congress leaving the tax code alone, which has never happened. In 2018, the center calculates 21 percent of the benefits from the tax overhaul will go to the top 1 percent, a group that currently pays 38 percent of all federal income taxes.

What about lower-income earners? Many of them pay no federal income taxes due in part to the earned income tax and child tax credits. Doubling the child tax credit and raising the refundable amount to $1,400 will especially benefit low-income earners.

Will the tax overhaul benefit the economy? There are enough economists speculating about the potential effects of the new law to fill the TD Garden. Economists, like stock market analysts and weather people, are much better explaining what happened after it’s over.

The cut in the corporate rate to 21 percent and the ability of corporations to repatriate earnings stowed in foreign bank accounts at reduced tax rates will undoubtedly encourage expanded investment in the United States.

Tax overhaul or not, however, the economy is fundamentally driven by demand. Some of that demand will increase by putting more cash in people’s pockets. Some of it will move to companies that start up or expand operations in the United States because the legislation is helping level the international playing field.

Naysayers emphasize how little the law’s positive impact might be. Like their moms must have told them: “If you can’t say something nice, then minimalize the good news.”

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Representative Elizabeth Poirier Appointed to Elder Malnutrition Prevention Commission

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) is pleased to announce that he has appointed Representative Elizabeth Poirier (R-North Attleborough) to serve as a member of the newly-created special commission on malnutrition prevention among older adults.

Representative Poirier, who currently serves as the Second Assistant Minority Floor Leader for the House Republican Caucus, is one of four legislators named to the new 17-member commission, which will study the effects of malnutrition on older adults and identify the most effective strategies for addressing this problem.  The commission, which falls under the purview of the Department of Elder Affairs, will file an annual report with the Legislature by December 31 detailing its activities, findings and recommendations.

“Representative Poirier has been an invaluable member of my leadership team, and I am confident she will bring those same leadership qualities to the commission as it works to identify ways to improve the health and well-being of the Commonwealth’s older residents who are most at risk for suffering from malnutrition,” said Representative Jones in announcing the appointment.

The new commission will be chaired by Elder Affairs Secretary Alice Bonner.  Commissioner of Public Health Dr. Monica Bharel, Department of Transitional Assistance Commissioner Jeff McCue, and Commissioner of Agricultural Resources John Lebeaux will also serve as members.

The remaining nine commissioners will be appointed by Governor Charlie Baker, and will include a physician; a university researcher; a community-based registered dietitian or nutritionist working with a program funded pursuant to the Older Americans Act; a representative of a hospital or integrated health system; two nurses working in home care; a registered dietitian or nutritionist working with a long-term care or assisted living facility; a registered dietitian or nutritionist representing the Massachusetts Dietetic Association; and a representative from the Massachusetts Association of Councils on Aging, Inc.

A member of the House of Representatives since 1999, Representative Poirier represents the Fourteenth Bristol District, which consists of North Attleborough; Ward 3, Precinct B in Attleboro; and Precincts 1 and 5 in Mansfield.  In addition to serving on the Executive Committee of the House Women’s Caucus, Representative Poirier is also the Ranking Minority Member on the House Committee on Ethics, which investigates all violations of rules and all questions of conduct concerning the members of the House of Representatives.