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Troopers honored at State House

Two State Troopers from the 10th Norfolk District were honored at the State House which hosted the Massachusetts State Police Spring Awards Ceremony. Troopers William P. Newton of Franklin and Sean C. Barry of Medway were honored for acts of bravery and years of service.

Trooper Newton was awarded the Medal of Lifesaving for the immediate response and application of his training, successfully saving a life. On March 6, 2014, he was working a detail on Route 95 North when he responded to a call of a party that had stopped breathing. Trooper Newton found a non-responsive and not breathing female, as a result of a seizure. He began CPR and continued performing CPR through the individuals EMT assessment and until she regained consciousness after a defibrillator enabled her to start breathing. It was later discovered that the victim suffered from an Aortic Dissection, which is fatal nearly 100% of the time unless emergency medical care is started immediately. Trooper Newton’s immediate response and application of his training clearly saved a life that day.

Trooper Barry was awarded the Medal of Merit for his dedication to his Troop and the initiative to purchase and institute modern EMT equipment and training ensuring the health and safety of his department. In light of the Boston Marathon Bombing, Trooper Barry, upon his own initiative researched and submitted proposals to purchase new and modern emergency equipment, which was approved, for his troop. The department recognized the importance this life saving equipment could serve to an injured officer or civilian and purchased the same equipment for all members of the department and has started training with the new equipment. Trooper Barry’s initiative in this case is just one example of the dedication and commitment he has shown for his Troop.

Click here to see more photos from the ceremony.

Tri-County gets Grant

Tri-County RVT High School received a $68,037.50 grant to expand vocational programs to prepare students for modern workforce demands.  The announcement was made at the Career, Vocational, Technical and Agricultural Education Summit in Worcester.

The grant application followed the successful Manufacturing Roundtable, hosted by Rep. Roy and Rep. Fernandes, that was held at Tri-County in January. Since that time, the school has been looking to expand offerings in the advanced manufacturing fields, and this grant was key in obtaining the equipment necessary to launch the program.

Rep. Roy joined Rep. Fernandes in supporting the grant application writing that the grant would enable Tri-County to re-introduce manufacturing to its curriculum and enhance the school's ability to educate its students. The full text of the letter can be viewed by clicking here

End Distracted Driving

Rep. Roy's resolution recognizing April as End Distracted Driving month passed in the House & Senate with 41 co-sponsors. He was proud to have been a part of the team that brought this very important issue to the forefront and keep the spotlight on this public safety issue.

The Resolution recognizes that distracted driving kills more than 5,000 people and injures nearly 450,000 more each year, but that it received little public attention until the EndDD initiative actively targeted audiences with its student awareness initiative, geared to educate and inform drivers about the safety crisis related to distracted driving. And it commends the members of the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys for joining the Massachusetts General Court in pledging to give safety presentations on distracted driving to local high schools, community groups, and civic organizations to prevent injuries and fatalities caused by distracted driving.

The EndDD program was hosted at Franklin High School in March. The Milford Daily News report on that event can be viewed by clicking here.

YMCA Youth of the Year

Rep. Roy congratulates Erin McGinley on her YMCA Youth of the Year Award. Erin is a Franklin High School senior who interned in our office as part of her Senior Project at Franklin High School.

Her years of dedicated service to the community were acknowledged at a Hockomock YMCA event at Gillette Stadium. Erin was also award the 2014 Carol Pizzi Memorial Scholarship by the Franklin Democratic Town Committee.

Audette is housing member of the year

Lisa Audette, the Executive Director of the Franklin Housing Authority, was named the 2014 MassNAHRO Member of the Year in ceremonies at the Annual Conference in Hyannis on May 19. The Member of the Year Award is presented “For Exceptional Leadership, Commitment and Service to Massachusetts NAHRO.”

Ms. Audette has contributed mightily to the achievements of the Association by serving on the Board of Directors, as Treasurer of the Association, as a member of the Professional Development/Member Services Committee, the Budget Committee, the Rent Reform Committee, the Modernization Working Group, the MassNAHRO Reform Task Force and lastly as an active member of the Small Housing Authority Task Force (SHATF). Additionally, Lisa has served in the past as both Treasurer and later as the Clerk of the MassNAHRO Insurance Group. In her spare time Ms. Audette is President of the Southeastern Massachusetts Executive Director Association (SMEDA).

Congratulations to Lisa for all the good work she does for the Association and for the residents of the Franklin Housing Authority. Her leadership, commitment and service truly are exceptional. 

Rally on VA Hospitals

Rep. Roy  was proud to stand with his colleagues in addressing serious concerns with the United States Department of Veteran Affairs and calling on the Federal Government to take investigative action into the reported deaths of over 40 veterans awaiting care in VA facilities. This topic was an important part of Rep. Roy's Memorial Day address in Franklin.

While at the rally, Rep. Roy was pleased to meet Kevin Fitzpatrick from Franklin, who drove into Boston to participate because of his concerns about what is happening to his brothers.

The Massachusetts Legislature has always taken pride in the fact that the Commonwealth is the national leader in veteran benefits and services and we will not tolerate this failing of our veterans at the national level.

You can view the Boston Globe report on the rally by clicking here.

Medway Unsung Heroine

Medway's Sue Rorke received the Unsung Heroine Award at the Annual Commission on the Status of Women ceremony at the State House.

Rep. Roy and Rep. Fernandes had the privilege to acknowledge Sue with a House Citation for her dedicated work in our community and the integral role she plays advocating for the Commonwealths disabled population through her job at the MetroWest Center for Independent Living.

The Unsung Heroines are women who don’t always make the news, but truly make the difference. They are the women who use their time, talent and enthusiasm to enrich the lives of others and make a difference in their neighborhoods, cities and towns. They are mentors, volunteers and innovators who do what needs to be done without expectations of recognition or gratitude. These women are the glue that keeps a community together and every community has them.

Caring Force Rally

Several weeks ago Rep. Roy spent the day shadowing a Department of Children and Families caseworker. Rep. Roy summed up the day by noting that "the day in the life of a human services worker provided a means to further develop a moral imagination, that capacity to empathize with others. It offered a chance not just to feel for myself, but to feel with and for others. And it offered a chance to become better at the job of legislating."

The Caring Force, a grassroots human services advocacy movement, caught wind of the shadowing effort and asked Rep. Roy to join them at their advocacy day here at the State House to share his experiences with the entire Caring Force delegation and all of the visitors. 

In addition, he penned a column for the Providers Council monthly newspaper on the day with a social worker. You can read the column by clicking here.

House passes FY15 budget

The House passed its version of the annual budget in early May. The $36.32 billion proposal emphasizes the importance of enhanced fiscal predictability and sustainable investments without assuming the availability of federal funding, a practice that has raised Massachusetts bond rating to AA+, the highest in the state’s history. Building on its responsible yet proactive approach to combatting the recession, the budget contains multiple measures to generate revenue, achieve sustainable economic growth and create jobs.

The budget, which did not include the taxes Gov. Deval Patrick proposed in his budget, cleared the House with broad, bipartisan support with a 148-2 vote.

Franklin and Medway are also slated to receive funding under the House proposal. Franklin would receive $60,000 for the installation and operation of solar powered school zone safety lights. For Medway, $22,000 was allocated for a hydraulic analysis of the dam in Choate Park.

This budget enhances the Commonwealth’s partnerships with municipalities by not only boosting local aid, but also increasing predictability of funding levels. In March, the House and Senate adopted a Joint Local Aid Resolution, which includes a $25.5 million increase to Unrestricted General Government Aid (UGGA) and a $100 million increase to Chapter 70 education funding. The early announcement allowed cities and towns to prepare appropriately as they crafted their municipal FY’15 budgets.

Additional economic development measures include:
  • Provides $2 million for the Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership that will benefit programs designed to assist small and mid-sized manufacturers;
  • Travel and tourism is one of the state’s largest industries, generating almost $17 billion in travel related expenditures and supporting 124,700 in-state jobs. The budget allocates $15 million for the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism and $6 million in regional tourism funding to promote statewide initiatives and increased international travel.
  • Establishes a two month tax amnesty program that would allow for waived penalties under the Massachusetts Department of Revenue. Up to $5 million collected from the program would go into an Opioid Overdose Prevention Fund, with the rest going into the General Fund. Taxpayers who participate in the program would be precluded from any future tax amnesty programs for ten years. 
Building on the continued leadership in reforming and strengthening the Department of Children and Families (DCF), the FY’15 budget includes several initiatives to ensure safety and well-being of children by reducing social worker caseloads, hiring more employees, improving communications, IT and record keeping practices, and ensuring initial medical screenings of all children entering DCF care within 72 hours. Background checks will now be required for all current and future foster parents. Individuals will be precluded from becoming foster parents if convicted of serious crimes, including those involving violence or sexual in nature. Additionally, the House requires the Office of the Child Advocate, with input from the Attorney General and the Inspector General, to conduct an emergency management audit of the Department to improve its administration.

This budget reflects Speaker DeLeo’s pledge to combat the alarming rise in behavioral health problems, including substance addiction. To improve quality of care for people suffering from mental illness, the House provides substantial funding for the Department of Mental Health to clear its wait list, and the budget significantly increases its investment in the Massachusetts Behavioral Health Partnership. The House budget expands the Nasal Narcan™ Bystander and First Responder program and provides additional funding for sober homes and clinical stabilization beds. The budget also fully funds the Prescription Monitoring program to create an extensive IT network, analyzing the Commonwealth’s prescribing and dispensing trends to prevent over-prescription of medications like opioids. 

This year’s spending bill underscores the House’s ongoing commitment to strengthening its educational systems in order to bolster communities and provide residents with a competitive edge. It continues to support investments in state universities and community colleges while prioritizing the implementation of the STEM Starter Academy, an initiative created in the FY’14 budget to expand and enhance STEM programming in community colleges. The House increases funding to state universities, community colleges and invests in the UMass system, enabling it to continue to work towards the goal of freezing tuition and fees. This spending package also funds a competitive grant program for Adult College Transition Services to help low-income workers succeed in college programs. 

This budget enhances support for social programs including Family Support Services, Employment Services and Shannon Grants. The budget provided increased funding for homelessness programs, increased funding for Emergency Food Assistance and creates a pilot program to provide nutritious meals for homeless families.

Amendments from Rep. William Straus and Minority Leader Brad Jones would loosen the state’s regulation of wine sales at vineyards and online. The Jones amendment would create a new license for direct wine sales, which is something former New England Patriots quarterback and current vintner Drew Bledsoe has lobbied for. The license would be available to wineries with federal permits, costing $300 initially and $150 for renewal. The wineries would need to pay taxes on the shipments and would be penalized for shipping to anyone underage.

The Straus amendment would allow wineries to offer wine samples, as long as no sample exceeds one ounce and no more than five samples are served to any one individual. Currently, wineries are allowed to sell wine by the glass if they are licensed to do so.
Copyright © 2014 State Rep Jeff Roy, All rights reserved.
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