Thursday, November 28, 2019
The Capitol View wishes everyone a very safe and happy Thanksgiving! As you gather with family and friends today to celebrate and give thanks, please remember to keep the men and women serving in our armed forces in your thoughts and prayers, particularly those who are unable to be home with their own families for the holidays.
Monday, November 11, 2019
The Massachusetts House Republican Caucus salutes the members of our armed forces, both past and present, for their service to our Commonwealth and our nation. In honor of Veterans Day, The Capitol View presents the following poem, which helps explain the important role veterans have played throughout our country’s history.
It is the Veteran
It is the Veteran, not the preacher, who has given us freedom of religion.
It is the Veteran, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the Veteran, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the Veteran, not the campus organizer, who has given us freedom to assemble.
It is the Veteran, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the Veteran, not the politician, who has given us the right to vote.
It is the Veteran, who salutes the Flag,
It is the Veteran, who serves under the Flag,
To be buried by the flag,
So the protester can burn the flag.
Monday, October 28, 2019
State Representative Kimberly Ferguson (R-Holden) has been appointed to the conference committee to resolve differences between Senate Bill 2365 and House Bill 4145, An Act relative to educational opportunity for students.
The Student Opportunity Act was released by the Education Committee on Sept. 19. This legislation looks to implement the recommendations of the Foundation Budget Review Commission, and would add $1.5 billion in new funding to the public school system over a seven-year time frame.
The Senate engrossed its version of the bill on Oct. 3 and the House engrossed its on Oct. 23.
“I am honored to be appointed to the conference committee on this historic piece of legislation and thank the House Minority Leader for this opportunity. To me, this bill represents a road map and a true commitment to our future. Not a week went by that this critical legislation didn’t work its way into conversations with my constituents, various representatives from our schools, and various stakeholders. I continue to be proud that here in the commonwealth we have a strong, bipartisan commitment to education, and the bottom line is that we won’t stop pushing for high academic standards, achievement, and success for all of our children, and the funding to support just that” said Ferguson.
“As a member of the Foundation Budget Review Commission whose 2015 report provided the impetus to revisit the state’s education funding formula, Representative Ferguson understands the key issues that need to be addressed to help eliminate disparities between school districts,” said House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones Jr., R-North Reading. “I have no doubt that she will take an active role on the conference committee by advocating for meaningful reforms and accountability measures to ensure that all Massachusetts students have access to a quality education.”
Ferguson joins her House colleagues Rep. Alice Peisch, chairwoman of the Education Committee, and Rep. Paul Tucker of Salem.
Senators Jason Lewis, Michael Rodrigues, and Patrick O’Connor are the Senate conferees. The six-member conference committee could begin meeting as early as this week.
Friday, October 11, 2019
State Rep. Mathew Muratore, R-Plymouth, has been named to a legislative task force that will explore ways to help stabilize the state’s nursing home industry.
In addition to making recommendations to ensure the financial stability of nursing homes in Massachusetts, the Skilled Nursing Facilities Task Force will also consider how these facilities fit within the continuum of elder care services and determine the best approach for addressing workforce shortages within the industry.
Muratore was appointed to the task force by House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones Jr., R-North Reading, who cited the Plymouth legislator’s nearly three decades of work on elder care issues. Prior to his 2014 election to the House of Representatives, Muratore began his career as a nursing home administrator in 1991, and spent 12 years as an administrator at Plymouth Rehabilitation and Health Care Center.
“Matt’s extensive hands-on experience gives him a unique understanding of the many challenges facing our state’s nursing homes,” said Jones. “I expect he will play a key role in helping the task force identify ways to put nursing homes back on a solid financial footing so that seniors and their families will continue to have access to a wide range of long-term care options.”
“Nursing homes play a vital role to residents of the commonwealth by providing options for both short-term rehab and long-term care,” said Muratore. “I am honored to be asked to lend my knowledge and experience as a licensed nursing home administrator for nearly 30 years to the legislative task force and am hopeful that we can continue to find solutions to assist struggling facilities.”
According to the Massachusetts Senior Care Association, nearly 150,000 elderly Massachusetts residents currently live in nursing homes, which employ about 77,000 workers in the commonwealth. Between 2016 and 2019, 24 nursing homes in the state closed their doors, and the MSCA has warned that dozens more are at risk of closure due to the lack of funding and workforce shortages.
Created as part of the Fiscal Year 2020 state budget, the 15-member task force will be chaired by Health and Human Services secretary Marylou Sudders. Other members serving on the task force include the House and Senate chairs of the Joint Committee on Elder Affairs; the secretary of elder affairs; the secretary of labor and workforce development; the commissioner and public health; the assistant secretary for MassHealth; and representatives from the MSCA, LeadingAge Massachusetts Inc., 1199SEIU, the Massachusetts ASsociation of Residential Care Homes Inc., and the Massachusetts Senior Action Council Inc.
The task force will file a report on its findings and recommendations by Feb. 1.
Tuesday, September 24, 2019
House Minority Leader Brad Jones Supports Baker-Polito Administration's Temporary Ban on Vaping Product Sales in Response to Declared Public Health Emergency in Massachusetts
House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) posted the following message today after Governor Charlie Baker announced a public health emergency stemming from the use of vaping products:
Governor Charlie Baker declared a public health emergency today in response to a growing number of reported lung illnesses – both in Massachusetts and across the country – that appear to be linked to the use of vaping products.
To address this serious public health issue, the Governor has announced an immediate ban on the sale of all flavored and non-flavored vaping products and devices, including tobacco and marijuana. The statewide ban applies to all retail store sales as well as online transactions, and will be in effect until January 25, 2020.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are now 530 “probable” cases of lung illnesses linked to vaping in 38 states, seven of which have proven fatal. The Governor’s office revealed today that there have been three confirmed cases and two probable cases in Massachusetts reported to the CDC. Although no single product has been identified as the primary cause of these illnesses, many of those affected have reported using either Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-containing products, or both THC and nicotine products.
I strong support the actions taken by the Baker-Polito Administration today. As the growing number of reported cases show, this is an emerging health crisis that demands immediate action by the state. While the temporary ban is in effect, Governor Baker says his administration will be consulting with medical experts and the Legislature to determine what additional steps should be taken to protect the public, including passing legislation and making other regulatory changes. I look forward to taking part in these discussions and to working with the Administration to come up with additional solutions to ensure the public’s safety.
A copy of the Governor’s declaration is available at https://www.mass.gov/guides/declaration-of-public-health-emergency.
If you or someone you know is trying to stop smoking or vaping, you can call the state’s Helpline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visit makesmokinghistory.org.
Thursday, September 19, 2019
House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) issued the following statement today on the Student Opportunity Act school funding reform bill released by the Joint Committee on Education:
“I want to thank the Education Committee chairs, committee members and staff for all of their hard word in putting together this much-anticipated school funding reform bill, which my colleagues and I have identified as a priority for this session. It is critical that we act upon the recommendations of the Foundation Budget Review Commission and take the necessary steps to address some of the historic inequities in our school funding formula so that all students in the Commonwealth can access the same educational opportunities to prepare them for college and the workforce. I look forward to reviewing the details of the Student Opportunity Act and whatever changes the Senate makes to the bill, with the hope that the House and Senate can reach agreement on a final bill this session.”
Wednesday, September 11, 2019
“Time is passing. Yet, for the United States of America, there will be no forgetting September the 11th. We will remember every rescuer who died in honor. We will remember every family that lives in grief. We will remember the fire and ash, the last phone calls, the funerals of the children.” – President George W. Bush, in a speech delivered to the United Nations General Assembly in New York on November 10, 2001
The House Republican Caucus joins with Americans everywhere today to honor the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, including the many first responders who perished that day while helping to save others. Eighteen years later, we still remember the countless acts of heroism that took place on September 11, 2001, and we will never forget.
Monday, September 9, 2019
House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) has appointed State Representative Alyson Sullivan (R-Abington) to a special legislative commission that will review the state’s policies and practices relative to civil asset forfeiture.
The 21-member commission, which was created as part of the Fiscal Year 2020 state budget, will examine the current standard of proof required in Massachusetts for law enforcement to establish that property seized is related to a crime and how that differs from the standard used in other states. The commission will also look at other aspects of the law, including the current documentation and reporting requirements for law enforcement, how the state allocates and spends civil asset forfeiture proceeds, and the process available for property owners to challenge a seizure.
“Alyson has done a tremendous job representing her constituents during her first year in office, and I am confident she will be an asset to the special commission as it works to evaluate the state’s civil asset forfeiture laws and determine if any changes are needed,” said Representative Jones.
“I am honored to be appointed by Leader Jones to serve on the Civil Asset Forfeiture Commission. I look forward to working with my colleagues and other members of the commission on the important work to review and if appropriate, to provide recommendations to improve the Commonwealth’s civil asset forfeiture laws,” said Representative Sullivan.
The commission is comprised of several legislators, law enforcement officials, attorneys, and advocacy groups, including representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union and the Boston Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The commission is expected to hold its first meeting in September, and to report its findings and recommendations to the Legislature by December 31, 2019.
Sullivan currently serves as a member of Joint Committee on the Judiciary and the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery. She is also a member of the House Committee on Personnel and Administration.
A lifelong Abington resident, Sullivan was elected to the House of Representatives in November of 2018. She represents the Seventh Plymouth District, which includes the towns of Abington, Whitman and Precincts 2, 3 and 4 in East Bridgewater.
Thursday, August 29, 2019
House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) has appointed Representative David T. Vieira (R-Falmouth) to serve on a special legislative Task Force on the Preservation and Storage of Evidence.
Created as part of a Fiscal Year 2019 supplemental budget signed in July, the task force will review the existing legal and regulatory framework governing the preservation and storage of evidence collected during crime investigations and introduced in criminal proceedings before the state’s courts. The task force will also study the feasibility and anticipated cost associated with constructing and maintaining a statewide evidence storage facility.
“David has a clear understanding of the laws that relate to public safety, having served as a member of the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security since 2011,” said Representative Jones. “I am confident his experience will be an asset to the task force as it seeks to identify ways to improve the handling of critical evidence collected as part of a criminal proceeding.”
Representative Vieira is one of six legislators serving on the 17-member task force, which is being co-chaired by Representative Claire Cronin (D-Easton) and Senator James Eldridge (D-Acton), who currently serve as the House and Senate chairs of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary.
Attorney General Maura Healey will also serve on the task force, along with the chief justices of the supreme judicial court, superior court and district court. Additional members will include two elected district attorneys appointed by the president of the Massachusetts District Attorneys Association and five members appointed by Governor Charlie Baker, including a police officer with experience in evidence collection and preservation; a criminal defense attorney; and a professor of evidence at a law school accredited by the American Bar Association.
The task force is expected to file a report, along with any recommended legislation, on or before March 31, 2020.
Representative Vieira represents the 3rd Barnstable District, which consists of Precincts 3, 4, 5 and 6 in Bourne; Precincts 3, 4, 7, 8 and 9 in Falmouth; and the town of Mashpee. In addition to holding the title of Ranking Minority Member on both the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security and the House Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets, Vieira is also a member of the House and Joint Committees on Rules and the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development.
Thursday, July 4, 2019
Freedom is one of the deepest and noblest aspirations of the human spirit. – Ronald Reagan
It was 243 years ago today – on July 4, 1776 – that the original 13 colonies declared their independence from British rule and established the United States of America, offering a beacon of hope for all the world to see. As Americans everywhere celebrate Independence Day, the Massachusetts House Republican Caucus offers its enduring thanks and support to the many servicemen and women who continue to uphold the essential freedoms our forefathers envisioned for our nation more than two centuries ago. Have a safe and happy Fourth of July!
Friday, June 14, 2019
Today is Flag Day, a day set aside to commemorate the Stars and Stripes and all that it symbolizes.
It was on this day in 1777 that the Second Continental Congress approved the design of a national flag for our newly-formed nation, declaring “that the flag of the United States shall be of thirteen stripes of alternate red and white, with a union of thirteen stars of white in a blue field, representing the new constellation.”
The idea for a Flag Day holiday reportedly originated with a Wisconsin schoolteacher who wanted his students to recognize the importance of June 14 and the flag. Although President Woodrow Wilson marked the anniversary in 1916, it wasn’t until August 3, 1949 that President Harry Truman officially declared June 14 as Flag Day.
The original American flag has undergone several redesigns over the years to reflect our nation’s expansion, with the current version adopted in 1960 after Hawaii was recognized as our 50th state. Despite these changes, the American flag remains a symbol of hope for the rest of the world, and a visible reminder of the principles of freedom and democracy on which this great nation was founded.
Happy Flag Day!
Monday, May 27, 2019
In Flanders Fields
By John McCrae
By John McCrae
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
The members of the House Republican Caucus join with Americans everywhere this Memorial Day in remembering and honoring our nation’s service members who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Wednesday, April 10, 2019
“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
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
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
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.