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 Brad Jones’ Statement on the Release of the Student Opportunity Act

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

September 11, 2001: Eighteen Years Later, We Still Remember

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

Representative Alyson Sullivan Named to Civil Asset Forfeiture Commission

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.