Thursday, November 25, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving From The Capitol View

The Capitol View wishes you and your loved ones a very safe and happy Thanksgiving! As we gather with family and friends today, let us not forget the many men and women serving in our armed forces who are unable to spend time with their own families to celebrate the holidays this year. We are truly thankful for their continued service to our nation.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Rep. Muratore Appointed to Non-Emergency Human Services Transportation Task Force

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) has announced his appointment of State Representative Mathew Muratore (R-Plymouth) to serve as his designee on the Non-Emergency Human Services Transportation Task Force.

Created as part of the Fiscal Year 2022 state budget, the 18-member task force is charged with finding ways to improve quality outcomes for consumers utilizing the state’s brokerage system for transportation to doctor’s appointments and other services, particularly for vulnerable populations living in rural and urban areas. The task force will develop recommendations for improving collaboration, service and productivity, while also achieving operational and cost efficiencies throughout the system.

Massachusetts currently uses two Regional Transit Authorities that serve as brokers for the entire state and subcontract with local qualified transportation providers to offer transportation services to clients of agencies that fall under the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS). The Montachusett Regional Transit Authority (MART) services clients in Western Mass., Central Mass., Metro Boston and Northeastern Mass., while the Greater Attleboro-Taunton Regional Transit Authority (GATRA) services Southeastern Mass., Cape Cod and the Islands.

“Matt has an extensive background in human services that has earned him recognition from advocacy organizations such as the Arc of Greater Plymouth and MassAccess,” said Representative Jones. “His knowledge and expertise will be an asset to the task force as it works to improve services for clients utilizing the Commonwealth’s transportation brokerage system.”

Representative Muratore is one of four legislators serving on the task force, which is being chaired by Undersecretary for Human Services Elizabeth Denniston and also includes a representative from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation; three regional transit authority administrators; and two gubernatorial appointees, including a human services transportation planning expert. Other members of the task force represent the Association of Developmental Disability Providers; the statewide Independent Living Council; the Boston Center for Independent Living, Inc.; Arc Massachusetts, Inc.; the Disability Law Center, Inc.; and the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council.

The task force held its first meeting on November 3, and is expected to submit a report with its findings and recommendations by December 1, 2022. It is also authorized to make a draft report available to the public for comment before filing its final version.

Representative Muratore is currently in his fourth term representing the First Plymouth District. A member of the House Ways and Means Committee, he also currently serves as the Assistant Ranking Minority Member of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing; the Ranking Minority Member of the Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government; and the Ranking Minority Member of the Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Representative McKenna Named to State Autism Commission

House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading) is pleased to announce his appointment of State Representative Joseph D. McKenna (R-Webster) to the state Autism Commission.

Established by the Massachusetts Legislature in 2014, the Autism Commission is charged with making recommendations on policies impacting individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), including Asperger’s syndrome and Smith-Magenis syndrome. The Commission is responsible for investigating the services and supports that are available to individuals with ASD and recommending improvements when necessary. This includes public and post-secondary education, job attainment and employment, housing and independent living, social and recreational opportunities, and behavioral and mental health services among others.

As part of its duties, the Autism Commission files an annual report with the Governor, the Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities, and the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing. This report details the services, supports and treatment available to the state’s autism population, along with recommendations for legislative and regulatory actions needed to improve these services and address any unmet needs.

“I am so excited to deepen the work I can do to help individuals with autism and their families in Massachusetts,” said Representative McKenna. “I have developed many relationships and friendships throughout the ASD community, so I have learned a great deal already about the challenges, big and small, of day-to-day life. I look forward to this opportunity to further the great work that has already been done in MA to break down those challenges and to increase access to all necessary care and services for everyone in this wonderful community.”

“Joe understands the difficulties that individuals with autism and their families often face when trying to access services, and he has been an advocate for breaking down those barriers,” said Representative Jones. “As a member of the Autism Commission, I am confident he will do everything he can to ensure that Massachusetts fulfills its commitment to providing the ASD community with access to comprehensive support services that allow individuals with autism to achieve their full potential.”

Representative McKenna is currently co-sponsoring House Bill 1203, which would expand health care options for individuals with autism by allowing them to remain covered under their parents’ health insurance beyond the age of 26. He also previously co-sponsored legislation requiring training for law enforcement and correction officers on how to engage in appropriate interactions with persons on the autism spectrum who are victims or witnesses to a crime or are suspected or convicted of a crime.

 A member of the House Committee on Ways and Means, McKenna also serves as the Ranking Minority Member of the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure, and is a member of the House Committee on Steering, Policy and Scheduling, the Joint Committee on Revenue, and the Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Businesses.

 McKenna was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2014. He represents the 18th Worcester District, which consists of Webster, Douglas, Sutton, precincts 1 and 4 in Oxford, and precinct 1 in Uxbridge. He also serves on the Board of Directors for The Last Green Valley, Inc. the non-profit stewardship organization serving the Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor in MA and CT.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Veterans Day: Honoring All Who Served

Speaking 32 years ago today at the 1989 Veterans Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, the late U.S. Army General Colin L. Powell highlighted the important role veterans have played since America first declared its independence when he said:

“The nation owes a great debt to its veterans, whose service to the nation spans every decade, every year, every day of our country’s existence. Through untold courage and sacrifice, America’s veterans have secured the liberty which the Founding Fathers sought to establish here in the new world. Whenever and wherever the nation has called – in times of darkness and danger as well as in times of peace and prosperity – America’s veterans have been there. Veterans have proudly carried the torch of liberty for all to see.”

The members of the House Republican Caucus join with Americans everywhere to salute our nation’s veterans. The debt we owe our veterans can never be fully repaid. Thank you to all who have served, and to the families that have shared in their sacrifices so that all Americans can remain free