Saturday, Aug 30th

Last update03:14:35 PM GMT

Boston Globe: MPA Responds

By Rick Pedrini
President, Arlington Police Ranking Officers Association
Executive Board, Massachusetts Police Association

Dear Globe Editorial Staff,

Once again, our soon to be ex-governor has felt the need to weigh in on his favorite target, the cops. As usual, Governor Patrick never misses an opportunity to go after the police when it fits his political narrative. In this case, the tragic events that have taken place in Ferguson, Missouri have raised his ire.

As a former DOJ attorney in the Civil Rights Division, Governor Patrick should know that whatever the circumstances, the officer involved in the Mike Brown case is entitled to due process and a presumption of innocence. As a US citizen (citizenship is a job requirement...for now), the officer is entitled to all applicable rights under the Constitution.

I don't claim to know what happened in Ferguson. What I do know is that my colleagues and I are not going to work each shift looking to shoot anyone. Period. I consider myself fortunate to have relationships with cops from Holyoke and Springfield to Southeastern Mass and the Cape. From Lowell and Lawrence to the Greater Boston area. I know for an absolute fact that none of these officers are going to work each day to shoot "unarmed black men". What they are looking to do is go to work each day, make their communities better places to live and work, and return home safely to their families.

Since the tragic events in Ferguson, pundits from both the left and right are calling for the "de-militarization" of the police. As a line police supervisor, I can assure you that municipal police departments are not "militarized". Do we have specialized units and specialized equipment that can be used in unique situations? Of course, but the average line patrol officer is not a soldier; nor does he or she have that mindset.

Read more...
July Revenues Up 1%

Governor Signs Gun Violence Bill

Earlier today, Governor Patrick signed into law the anti gun violence law but not without some controversy. It seems that no one from the Gun Owners Action League was invited to the signing. These signing usually showcase groups with opposing view coming together in unity. This caused some acrimony as some felt slighted after having compromised and supporting the bill. The Governor would later offer an apology saying that someone had dropped the ball. Amongst some of the provisions are increased fines for failure to report a lost or stolen firearm, strengthened background checks as well as enhancing school safety and mental illness awareness. The most controversial section allows chiefs to petition the courts to deny rifle and shotgun permits.

On another note July revenues were up 1% year over year and $11 million above benchmark. Total revenues came in at $1.59 billion for July. These numbers were no big deal in that July is usually a slow revenue month when compared to other months during the year when such things as quarterly  as well as corporate taxes may be due. All in all, the economy seems to be chugging along which hopefully bodes well for the Fiscal 16 budget.

Procrastination

In what almost seemed like college the night before final exams. the legislature crammed to complete major agenda items, Although 576 days of the formal session were behind them, little had been done to address legislative priorities of leaders in both branches such as gun violence, domestic violence and economic development. As the midnight deadline approached, House leaders urged their members to waive the rules and allow the session to continue after midnight in order to complete their work. This was tricky as any objections could stop everything and create an embarrassing situation. With elections, in the fall, any lack of actions would reflect badly. So just before midnight, the vote was taken to allow the session to continue. Many asked why is it that the final day frenzy is a State House staple. Lawmakers had spent the bulk of the early session (2013) on revenues and how to best raise them This year the probation scandal seemed to grab some of the focus. Guilty findings for the Commissioner and two associates just days before formal sessions end certainly were a factor. None the less, work must be done. So in the final few hours, the legislature produced legislation covering substance abuse, economic development, domestic violence, gun violence, campaign finance and housing authority oversight.  The bills now go to the Governor who has ten days to review. The important point to remember is that if he end of the formal session also means the inability in most cases to override. He has not used the veto pen as of this writing but gun and domestic violence bills have yet to be signed.

Over the last several days, gun violence legislation was center stage with the provision that would give chiefs the right to deny some licenses becoming very controversial. In an historic moment, gun violence advocates and the Gun Owners Action League agreed with the compromise bill which placed the burden on chiefs to petition the courts rather than the individual. The bill still awaits Governor Patrick's signature.

With the end of formal sessions , we now turn our attention to bills that are non controversial and can be acted upon during the informal sessions schedule until years end. Keep in mind that one objection can kill a bill during informal sessions. Of particular interest is S1247 which would increase disability retirees earnings from the current $5000 to $15,000. We have been working closely with the Retirees Association to get this done. It has been years since the figure was adjusted. We are hopeful this can become a reality. We thank Senator Tom McGee for all his hard work on this legislation

Another bill that caught our eye on the final day of the session included H4132 which would decriminalize disorderly behavior in schools. The bill would exempt elementary and secondary students from being charged with disturbing a school assembly if the event takes place at school or a school related event. The initiative was filed by Senator Brownsberger was passed by the House and awaits action in the Senate.

Other bills signed into law during the final week of the session include:

  • Chapter 145 Extending the Statute of Limitations in Child Abuse Cases
  • Chapter 182 Allowing Early Service of Alcoholic Beverages On Sunday (10AM)
  • Chapter189 Allowing Parole for Juveniles Convicted of Murder
  • Chapter 193 Allowing Special Police In Barnstable

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