Friday, August 3, 2012

Randy Hunt, State Rep - First term accomplishments

A couple of days after the end of formal sessions for the Massachusetts 187th General Court is a good time to review the most significant accomplishments of my freshman term. I realize that this is a long list and don't expect everyone to wade through every item and the many links to additional information I've provided, but I hope it gives you some perspective on the many issues that I've dealt with during the past two years.

1) 100% voting record - I participated in every roll call vote of the House of Representatives from swearing in on January 5, 2011 through July 31, 2012. In my mind, showing up is not an accomplishment, but rather something one does out of discipline and commitment to a job. It does, however, take the wind out of the sails of someone who claims that he would be a full-time legislator. What might that be, I ask? A 150% voting record?

2) 100% attendance at committee hearings - Same category. I made all of the hearings of my joint committees, often being the one or two in attendance besides the chairmen. How disrespectful is it to the people that drive to Boston for a hearing, some who make the hours-long trip from Western Mass, to be met by three or four members of a 13-member committee?

3) Resolution of many constituent cases - The most satisfying aspect of this job is helping constituents navigate the sometimes perplexing labyrinth of state agencies, regulations, paperwork, etc. Some just require being pointed in the right direction; some need a good deal of hand holding to resolve a problem. For this, I thank my legislative aides, Ben Nugent in 2011 and Susann Koelsch in 2012.

4) Sidewalks for public safety - Languishing for years in the inactive file, the sidewalk project for Quaker Meeting House Road in Sandwich was something I worked on right after taking office. With a coordinated effort between my office and Senate President Murray's office, we got the appropriate level of attention on the funding and were able to close the deal on July 13, 2012. Expect work to begin this fall and continue next spring. See more at http://www.randyhuntcpa.blogspot.com/2012/07/massdot-funds-quaker-meeting-house-road.html.

5) U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the bridges - The horrific tie-ups at the Sagamore Bridge this spring were, to a great extent, avoidable. Although the Cape Cod delegation of state legislators and the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce warned the Army Corps that Mother's Day would become a debacle unless they cleared the bridge for the weekend, we were given the proverbial middle finger. I came out swinging on this issue (see http://www.randyhuntcpa.blogspot.com/2012/05/sagamore-bridge-army-corps-of-engineers.html) and appeared on a Boston television news channel to let everyone know that Cape Cod was open for business after the work had been completed. A meeting with the Army Corps is scheduled later this month to discuss how to manage repairs while minimizing disruption to motorists.

6) Other infrastructure projects - Several projects in the district have been progressing during my first term as state rep, including the Route 6 Exit 5 off ramp and roundabout construction, the Route 6 Exit 2 reconfiguration, a roundabout to improve the safety of Cotuit Road at South Sandwich Road in Sandwich, and the improvements at Sandwich Road and Route 6A in Bourne (at the new Market Basket).

7) Honoring a fallen soldier - I had the honor of witnessing the governor sign legislation into law naming the twin span bridges on Route 3 just west of the Sagamore Bridge "The Staff Sergeant Matthew A. Pucino Bridges." A family member and I discussed how to memorialize Matt Pucino, who was killed by an IED in Afghanistan on his third tour of duty as a Green Beret in 2009. I suggested naming the previously unnamed span that was built as part of the flyover project and cosponsored a bill with Senate President Therese Murray, Representative Vinny deMacedo, and Representative Susan Gifford. See more at http://www.randyhuntcpa.blogspot.com/2012/06/bridge-in-sagamore-beach-named-for.html.

8) Prescription drug abuse - The Joint Committee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse, chaired by Senator John Keenan of Quincy and Representative Liz Malia of Jamaica Plain, took up the issue of curbing prescription drug abuse, one of the main planks I campaigned on in 2010. An omnibus bill resulted, Senate 2125, and I became the "town crier" on behalf of this bill for Cape Cod. We organized an awareness night in March at Sandwich High School and I worked with many concerned people and organizations to push for passage of this bill. I'm proud to announce that it passed the House in July and promises to bring us additional tools in the battle against prescription drug addictions and abuse of "bath salts." See more at http://www.randyhuntcpa.blogspot.com/2012/02/new-legislation-to-curb-prescription.html.

9) Helping small businesses - As a CPA working with about 75 businesses, I have the opportunity to get "up close and personal" with the owners and see first hand how difficult it can be to survive in these tough economic times. One of the most onerous situations I've experienced is how the auditors from the state fine companies with more than ten employees when it is determined that an insufficient number of employees are signed up for the company's health plan. This can cost thousands of dollars in penalties even in cases where every employee is covered by a spouse's plan. I offered an amendment to the health care reform bill that doubles the threshold which defines a small business from ten to twenty employees and I cosponsored an amendment that forces the auditors to stop counting employees who have alternate health insurance coverage. These amendments passed with 100% "Yea" votes in the House and became part of the final bill. See more at http://www.randyhuntcpa.blogspot.com/2012/06/health-care-payment-reform-bill.html.

10) Economic Development and Jobs Act - The Republican caucus of the House of Representatives announced in September 2011 that it would be organizing several stops on a "jobs tour" to reach out to constituents for ideas to help Massachusetts in its recovery from the recession and to encourage job growth. I was one of about eight representatives who requested to host a tour stop in October. Through this effort and similar efforts by the Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Business and Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, the Economic Development and Jobs Act of 2012 was written and passed. The bill has broad reaching components to it such as the creation of the MassWorks Infrastructure Program and Innovation Investment Fund, as well as targeted relief measures such as the elimination of minimum excise tax on startup corporations for three years. See more at http://www.randyhuntcpa.blogspot.com/2012/08/economic-development-and-jobs.html.

11) Storm Response Bill - After Tropical Storm Irene, much of Cape Cod was without power for up to a week. I didn't fault the crews that were dealing with the recovery--they did yeomen's work--but I did find the customer service end of our monopoly electric utility to be worse than bad. I testified at a DPU hearing about the poor storm response (the only state representative who attended the hearing at Barnstable High School) and wrote a letter containing a number of suggested improvements to the chairmen of the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy, on which I serve. See that letter here: http://randyhuntcpa.blogspot.com/2011/09/requests-for-committee-hearing-on.html. The result of my efforts and several other members of the joint committee was the storm response bill that was sent to the governor this week. See more at http://www.randyhuntcpa.blogspot.com/2012/08/storm-response-bill-sent-for-governors.html.

12) VALOR Act - I have to give a great deal of the credit to Tom Lynch, a Sandwich resident and stalwart supporter of veterans, for roaming the halls of the Statehouse preaching the importance of the VALOR Act. My simple role in this was to connect Tom with a talented researcher in the Republican Leader's Office, Stolle Singleton, and a couple of other legislators from the Veterans Affairs committee. I then had the pleasure of voting for this important legislation in May 2012. See more at http://www.randyhuntcpa.blogspot.com/2012/06/valor-act-and-post-911-gi-bill-are-keys.html.

13) State Government and Finance Reform Bill - This bill is one that is more interesting to policy wonks and financial nerds, which is why I was appointed to the conference committee to sort out and reconcile the differences between the Senate and House versions of this bill. I know many legislators in the majority party who have never served on a conference committee, so I was very pleased to be appointed to this committee during my freshman term. See more at http://www.randyhuntcpa.blogspot.com/2012/08/state-government-and-finance-reform.html.

14) Other legislation - There were several other pieces of legislation that I was proud to support. Unlike in the examples above where I played a direct role in developing the legislation, these bills sprang from the efforts of my colleagues and I was happy to press the "Yea" button when they came up for roll calls:
Melissa's Bill - This mandates the maximum sentence be served for criminals convicted of a third violent felony.
Municipal Health Insurance Reform - This bill allows towns and cities to manage their health insurance copays and deductibles outside of collective bargaining. It has saved nearly $175 million in its first year. See more at http://randyhuntcpa.blogspot.com/2011/04/why-i-voted-to-control-cost-of-health.html
Court and Probation Department Reorganization - This legislation was sparked by the Probation Department hiring scandal and the need for a professional administrator to handle the day-to-day operations of the court system. I met with Harry Spence, the new court administrator, a couple of days ago who is on track for making many improvements in both efficiency and cost reductions. See more at http://randyhuntcpa.blogspot.com/2011/05/massachusetts-house-passes-court.html.
Crackdown on Human Trafficking - The bill ensures that anyone involved in the organization of forced labor and sexual servitude faces tough criminal penalties. See more at http://randyhuntcpa.blogspot.com/2011/06/house-passes-legislation-to-combat_01.html
Alimony Reforms - Our archaic alimony system was unfair on many grounds. This legislation brings the calculation of alimony payments into the realm of reasonableness and creates several types of alimony to accommodate for varying circumstances of the parties involved. See more at http://randyhuntcpa.blogspot.com/2011/09/ma-alimony-bill-to-be-signed-by-guv-on.html.

4 comments:

  1. Randy, you have represented your District and constituents very well. You have my vote once again. Keep up the great work for the people you represent.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You mention nothing about your bill H.427 in your above accomplishments. Is there a reason for that?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is a list of my first term accomplishments. I filed H427 at the beginning of my second term.

      Delete
  3. Looking forward to the second term's accomplishments list.

    ReplyDelete

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