Winter 2015 Update

Dear Friend,

As we begin a new year and new legislative session, I wanted to take this opportunity to keep you updated on what the Legislature is planning to take up in 2015, some of the accomplishments of the past year and other useful information.

 
 
 
 
Winter 2015 Beacon Hill Update
News and information for the 3rd Plymouth District

Dear Friend,

 

As we begin a new year and new legislative session, I wanted to take this opportunity to keep you updated on what the Legislature is planning to take up in 2015, some of the accomplishments of the past year and other useful information.

My primary responsibility as your State Representative is to make sure your voice is heard on every matter that affects you, your family and your community.  

It is sobering to see that, despite the hard work and dedication of so many of our friends and neighbors, the need for housing, mental health, substance abuse services and economic development continues to be overwhelming.

I pride myself on constituent services and want to be as accessible as possible to the people I represent. With this in mind, I invite you to visit either my State House or district office where you may discuss any issue of interest or concern, whether it involves a piece of legislation or a problem you may be experiencing with a state agency.

I may also be reached by calling either the State House at 617-722-2520 or the district office at 781-749-3331. You can schedule an appointment or walk into one of our "office hours". You may also send me a message via email at Garrett.Bradley@MAHouse.gov or through my Facebook and Twitter accounts.

I am honored to represent you and in return I thank you for your trust in me. You have my commitment that I will work every day to improve your quality of life.

 

Winter storm issues and the MBTA  


This winter has truly been one for the record books. Much of eastern Massachusetts has received over 7 feet of snow so far this year making it the area's snowiest 30 day period on record.

This historic snowfall has literally brought our commutes, transportation infrastructure and commerce to a virtual halt. When Governor Baker came to tour Scituate and other affected areas after our first blizzard in late January, I advocated for short term assistance from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and National Guard so that snow removal and public safety issues could be addressed while the Commonwealth went through the process of applying for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) disaster assistance.

FEMA and MEMA are currently in the Damage Assessment Process that will ultimately determine the state's eligibility for federal disaster assistance. Once these cost and damage estimates are complete, the Commonwealth will petition Washington for federal disaster assistance and snow removal monies. I stand ready to assist these efforts in every way that I can.

I also share your frustration with the state of our mass transit system and the hours and days of work and family time that have been lost as a result of the MBTA's breakdown. An absolutely thorough review by outside experts is necessary so that an event like this does not recur in future winters. It was therefore welcome news on Friday, February 20th when Governor Baker announced the selection of an MBTA Special Panel. Composed of national leaders in transportation and planning, the panel's charge is to perform an in-depth diagnostic review of the MBTA and its core functions. By comparing its operations with those of other transit systems and how they handle the extremes of winter, we can see what the best practices are and what changes we can make to emulate them. The special panel is expected to complete its review by the end of March. I look forward to reading their recommendations.

 

 

Addressing the state budget gap 

 

On February 12th, the House and Senate sent a bill to the Governor's desk aimed at helping close a roughly $768 million midyear gap in the Fiscal Year 2015 budget. After the House passed the bill on Wednesday, February 11th on a 153 to 1 vote; the Senate passed it on a voice vote.

 

The bill enacted by the Legislature is similar to the one Governor Baker had previously filed. The legislation trims spending across state government and redirects capital gains tax revenue into the general fund instead of the rainy day fund. It also establishes a corporate tax amnesty program estimated to bring in $18 million in uncollected taxes.

 

Thanks to the close collaboration between the House, Senate and the Governor's Office, we were able to address the FY 2015 budget deficit in a decisive and bipartisan manner. Local aid funding for our communities was protected and there are no additional burdens to taxpayers.

 

 

2013-14 Legislative Wrap Up

During the 2013-2014 session, I was intimately involved in negotiations on two signature pieces of legislation: the new gun law and domestic violence law. These new laws are now being implemented and your feedback would be appreciated.

 

Domestic Violence Bill: The unfortunate reality is that some families living in my district will be affected by domestic violence at some point during their lives. I am hopeful that the passage of new legislation will protect victims of abuse and prevent incidents from escalating to more violent crimes.

 

The Legislature took a multi-pronged approach, with an emphasis on protection services, closing loopholes in current laws and education, which is crucial as part of the struggle against violence in the home.

 

This legislation delays bail for offenders to provide the victim with time for safety planning and authorizes the revocation of bail in certain cases. It also establishes a first offense domestic assault and battery charge, which we did not have because of a loophole.

 

The bill creates a specific felony charge of strangulation and suffocation, actions that statistically indicate an abuser is more likely to commit domestic violence related homicide in the future, and establishes penalties of up to 5 years in state prison, up to 2 1/2 years in a house of correction, by a fine of up to $5,000 or by both a fine and imprisonment.

   

In addition, the antiquated practice of allowing accord and satisfaction, a practice in which parties agree to a private settlement, is also abolished. Victims often feel pressure from their abuser to reconcile and are not emotionally able to resist their demands making this provision inappropriate for domestic violence related offenses. To increase confidentiality and track and identify high-risk cases, the legislation requires that police log entries related to domestic violence are kept in a separate log.

 

Gun Control Bill: Also last session I was proud of my role and that of my colleagues in crafting a bi-partisan, first in the nation gun control bill to create more accountability for all participants in the firearms licensing process. The bill was supported by Stop Handgun Violence and GOAL, the local branch of the NRA. The intent is to improve public safety while preserving the rights of law-abiding gun owners. Some of the provisions include:

  • Allowing local licensing authorities to petition the district court to determine whether an applicant is suitable to have an Firearms Identification card (FID).
  • Firearms dealers will also be required to conduct Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) checks on employees.
  • Makes Massachusetts compliant with the federal National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) so that local officials will know if out of state criminals attempt to purchase guns in Massachusetts.
  • Creates new firearms crimes such as assault and battery by discharge of a firearm.
  • Requires the state's Department of Criminal Justice Information Services (DCJIS) to create a "real-time web portal" to revamp the private firearms sale process. This should make it easier for applicants to determine the status of their license application.
  • Requires the Chief of Police and school Superintendent to assign a school resource officer to each school district; and
  • Requires schools to address the mental health needs of students and staff.

In 2014, I was able to insert spending requests for the towns of Cohasset, Hingham and Hull into the Environmental Bond bill approved by the Legislature.  The money would fund storm water and rivershed management, seawall, and solar energy projects. Release of any funds through the bonding process is contingent upon the current fiscal situation. The following local projects are designed to protect local property owners and improve water quality for residents.

 

Under this plan, Cohasset would receive a total of $6,400,000 to improve and raise the seawalls located along Cohasset Harbor, to mitigate the impacts of sea level rise and severe storms, remove invasive aquatic species from local ponds, and replace the Bound Brook culverts that run under Beechwood Street.

 

Hingham would receive a total of $4,096,456 to repair and improve seawalls located near the Whitney, Kimball, Barnes, and Steamboat Wharves, develop a solar energy farm on the town landfill, storm water management efforts, and a stream gauge in the Weir River at Leavitt Street and to measure water flow.

 

Hull would receive a total of $9,385,285 to resurface and reconstruct 2.2 miles of Nantasket Avenue, which is in poor condition, including the replacement of sidewalks, curbing and other associated infrastructure, close the town landfill and construct a transfer station on the site, and repair the Nantasket Avenue Seawall between Stoney Beach and Point Allerton. 

 

2015-2016 Legislative Session   

For the 2015-2016 Legislative Session, I filed a total of 54 pieces of legislation dealing with a variety of subjects from campaign finance reform to public safety and insurance, to name a few. The following is a sample of several such pieces of legislation:

Substance Abuse Treatment Legislation:

Having recognized the deadly opioid epidemic which is tragically impacting our communities, the Legislature requested that the Fiscal Year 2015 budget include almost $18 million in new spending to help combat substance addiction. This includes $10 million for the Substance Abuse Services Trust Fund to provide substance abuse services to an additional 10,000 individuals in need of treatment.

 

Legislators have recently filed close to 100 pieces of legislation which seek to address substance abuse issues. I have filed a comprehensive bill, An Act to Promote Accessible Substance Abuse Treatment For All (HD2155). Some of the components of this comprehensive legislation include provisions to:

  • Create patient choice through equal access to proven medications to assist in treatments. The bill would require private insurers, Medicaid, and the Group Insurance Commission (GIC) to provide coverage for three clinically proven and FDA approved treatments: methadone, buprenorphine ("Suboxene"), and naltrexone ("Vivitrol"),
  • Establish two primary care integration pilot programs for Medicaid (MA Health) patients seeking addiction treatment at opioid treatment centers, to facilitate the establishment of co-located medical facilities by locating primary care practitioners within the same facility as opioid treatment centers,
  • Create a public, online consumer quality dashboard for substance abuse treatment providers. The dashboard will provide those seeking substance abuse services information on the quality of substance abuse providers and how to access those providers, and
  • Expand community walk-in centers for substance abuse services providing streamlined access to services in a timely manner for consumers and providers. This will be achieved through a central navigation model accounting for beds and services in real time.

 

Enhance Disclosure of Campaign Contributors:   I was chosen by the House Speaker to serve on the Campaign Finance Disclosure and Transparency Task Force to review potential changes to campaign donor disclosures. As a result of extensive analysis by task force members, including Pam Wilmot of Common Cause, I have filed a bill to create enhanced transparency for campaign donations by requiring the top five (5) donors, be it individuals and/or entities, to be listed on political campaign literature that is mailed to voters within the Commonwealth.

 

Parole hearing bill: increases from 5 to 10 years the time between parole hearings for individuals who have been convicted of second-degree murder.  This will provide relief to victims' families so that they do not have to relive the nightmare of facing their loved one's murderer as often, both for emotional and logistical reasons. Second degree murderers can become parole eligible in 15 to 20 years, depending on what the sentencing judge allows. The statute on time between hearings was last changed in 1996, increasing to five years from three years.

 

Operating Under the Influence of Inhalants: I filed this bill in response to reports of teens and adults being pulled over after "huffing" aerosol cans. This bill updates the statute governing the operation of motor vehicles while under the influence by including the broader category of inhalants in the list of substances that may impair a driver's ability to operate a motor vehicle safely. Currently only "vapors of glue" are referenced in Section 24 of MGL Chapter 90.

 
 

How to Contact Representative Bradley     

 

Mailing address:

 

State Representative Garrett Bradley

 

Room 478, State House

 

Boston, MA 02133
Telephone:

State House Office  617-722-2520

District Office  781-749-3331
   
The district office is located at 88 Chief Justice Cushing Highway (Route 3A) at Kilby Street in Hingham.  It is usually staffed weekdays 9 am - 5 pm.  Please call ahead. E-mail:  Garrett.Bradley@MAHouse.Gov

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The 3rd Plymouth District consists of the towns of Cohasset, Hingham (except Precinct 2), Hull, and Precinct 3 in Scituate.  Please visit my web site at www.garrettbradley.com.
  
 
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