Wednesday, April 10, 2019

House Minority Leader’s Statement on Release of House Ways and Means FY20 Budget Proposal

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) issued the following statement today in response to the release of the House Ways and Means Committee’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget:

“I appreciate the work Chairman Michlewitz has done to put together his first budget proposal as Ways and Means chair. The proposed House budget builds on the Baker-Polito Administration’s commitment to our cities and towns by increasing Chapter 70 education funding and providing additional local aid in the form of expanded circuit breaker funding, charter school reimbursement, and regional school transportation assistance. It also take steps to address rising drug costs by endorsing the Baker-Polito Administration’s proposal to authorize MassHealth to negotiate directly with drug manufacturers for supplemental rebates. The good news for the state’s taxpayers is that the budget does not impose any new broad-based taxes. I will be working closely with the members of the House Republican Caucus over the next few days to identify potential amendments we can offer to further protect the interests of the state’s taxpayers and ensure the passage of a fiscally responsible budget.”

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Representative Jones’ Statement on Governor Baker’s Proposed Fiscal Year 2020 Budget

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) released the following statement today regarding Governor Charlie Baker’s proposed $42.7 billion state budget for Fiscal Year 2020:

“Governor Baker’s budget proposal charts a fiscally responsible path for the Commonwealth by limiting spending increases to 1.5 percent over projected Fiscal Year 2019 levels and depositing another $297 million to shore up the state’s rainy day account.  Both steps are prudent given the downturn in revenue numbers we’ve seen so far for the month of December and the first half of January.

Since taking office in 2015, the Baker-Polito Administration has increased K-12 education funding by half a billion dollars.  This latest budget continues to prioritize local aid for our cities and towns by providing $200 million in additional Chapter 70 funding, bringing the total to $5.108 billion, and a $30 million increase in unrestricted aid to help pay for other essential municipal services.

One of the biggest missed opportunities of the 2017-2018 legislative session was the inability of the House and Senate to come to an agreement on revising the state’s education funding formula. With Governor Baker’s decision to put forth a package of funding increases, new policy initiatives, and stronger accountability standards in his budget and an accompanying bill, the stars may now be aligning to implement meaningful reforms to the way education is funded in Massachusetts.  I am hopeful the Administration and the Legislature can work together this session to break through the impasse and develop a viable plan to correct the inequities that exist in the funding formula and ensure that every student in Massachusetts has the opportunity to succeed.

The Governor’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget gives the Legislature a strong foundation on which to build its own spending plan.  I look forward to working with my colleagues and with the Administration over the next few months to develop a spending plan that will fund critical programs and services for our citizens while also remaining accountable to the state’s taxpayers.”

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Representative Tim Whelan Appointed to New Juvenile Justice Policy and Data Board

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) has appointed State Representative Timothy Whelan (R-Brewster) to serve as his designee on the newly-created Juvenile Justice Policy and Data Board.

Established as part of the 2018 Criminal Justice Reform Law, the 21-member board will be responsible for evaluating policies and procedures related to the juvenile justice system in Massachusetts, including community-based services and the quality and accessibility of diversion programs available to juveniles.  The board will work to ensure that these policies promote the best interests of children and young adults who fall under the supervision of the juvenile court system, while also taking steps to improve transparency and accountability in state-funded services.

“Making sure individuals caught up in the juvenile justice system have an opportunity to rehabilitate themselves is critical to ensuring that they become productive members of society and avoid a life of crime,” said Representative Jones.  “I am confident Tim will be an asset to the board as it seeks to carry out its mission to promote public safety and reduce recidivism among youthful offenders.”

As a member of the Juvenile Justice Policy and Data Board, Whelan will also serve on the Childhood Trauma Task Force.  Working closely with the Office of the Child Advocate, members of the task force will develop recommendations for providing services to help children recover from the psychological damage caused by exposure to violence, crime or maltreatment.

Both the board and the task force will file annual reports and recommendations with the Governor, the Legislature and the Chief Justice of the Trial Court.

Whelan is a former Marine and a retired State Police Sergeant with 26 years of law enforcement experience.  He was first elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 2014, and represents the First Barnstable District towns of Barnstable, Brewster, Dennis and Yarmouth.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Jones Re-Elected as House Minority Leader

Representative Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) has been unanimously re-elected by his Republican colleagues to serve a ninth term as Minority Leader of the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

With the 2019-2020 legislative session officially getting underway on January 2, Jones will oversee a 32-member caucus.  In addition to 29 returning members, the House caucus now includes three freshman legislators elected in November of 2018: Norman Orrall of Lakeville, AlysonSullivan of Abington, and Mike Soter of Bellingham.

“Having the support of both the returning and the incoming House Republican Caucus members means a lot to me,” said Representative Jones.  “I appreciate my colleagues’ vote of confidence and thank them for giving me the opportunity to continue to lead the caucus over the next two years.”

In his inaugural remarks, Jones noted that the Legislature’s priorities in the new session “must continue to be a stronger economy for all, fiscal responsibility, and continuing to transform the way we operate as a government and provide services to our citizens.”

“While our economy is certainly stronger than it was just a few short years ago, we cannot be satisfied,” Jones said. “We must continue our efforts to ensure economic opportunity and the chance for success reach all corners of our Commonwealth.”

Jones also called on the Legislature to renew its efforts to reform the education funding formula, tackle health care reform and cost containment, promote clean energy policies to combat climate change, and take additional steps to address the opioid crisis.

A lifelong resident of North Reading, Jones was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1994.  He has served as House Minority Leader since 2003.

“It is an honor and a privilege to represent the residents of the Twentieth Middlesex District,” said Representative Jones.  “I am forever grateful for the support of my constituents from North Reading, Lynnfield, Reading and Middleton, and I look forward to continuing to work on their behalf and making sure their voices are heard on Beacon Hill.”

Representative Jones continues to maintain his perfect voting record.  Since entering the Legislature, he has never missed a single vote and has now cast 7,075 consecutive roll call votes.