State Rep. Shawn Dooley Announces $500,000 Bridge Grant for Norfolk

BOSTON – State Representative Shawn Dooley (R-Norfolk) is pleased to announce that the Town of Norfolk is the recipient of a $500,000 grant from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT). The grant is intended to provide funding for the rebuilding of the Lawrence Street Bridge.

The grant was awarded as a part of the Baker-Polito Administration’s Municipal Small Bridge Program. The program is designed to be the lifeline for many older, smaller bridges— between ten and twenty feet in length— that are at risk of closure and serve as a vital artery to schools, businesses, and jobs. Every community is eligible for up to $500,000 in aid each year; however, the town was also the recipient of a $1.8 million MassWorks infrastructure grant last fall that will also be put towards Lawrence Street improvements.

“As a resident of the Norfolk community, I am thrilled to see money coming back into the town” said Dooley of the grant. “The Lawrence Street Bridge is on its last legs and was going to have to be repaired whether this grant money was received or not. With this critical funding, the Town of Norfolk will be able to save money to put towards other needed projects. We all pay enough in taxes, so it’s nice to have some of that money put to good use in the community.”

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I-Team: Consumer complaints prompt call for oversight of solar industry

By Ryan Kath; January 25, 2018;
Solar systems, like the one on the roof of John Collins’ Amesbury home, really can add up to big savings every month. “In the summertime, it would be close to $100,” he said.
But just a few years into his 20-year lease with Vivint Solar, his panels are not generating anything at all. “The technician told me squirrels had chewed through the wires underneath the solar panels. His words were, ‘you are lucky the house didn’t catch on fire,’” Collins recalled.
For safety, the system was shut down until it could be fixed. That was back in August. “Their famous response is, ‘we’ll get back to you’, and they never do,” Collins said.
The panels on Nicholas Bennett’s house in Framingham are producing electricity, actually more than he can use. When he agreed to his lease, he was given the impression that he would be able to cash in on that extra energy. He was wrong. “I am not able to sell it to the electric company,” Bennett explained. “I get a net meter credit, which ends up sitting there and can’t be used.” Over the course of a few years, Bennett has accumulated nearly $700 in worthless credit.
Representative Shawn Dooley of Norfolk is a supporter of green energy and has the panels on his own roof to prove it. But he’s hearing from a growing number of constituents who are regretting their decision to go solar. That’s why he has sponsored a bill to consider greater oversight of the solar industry. “Let’s make sure there’s rules and regulations and if there is a company out there overpromising and under-delivering. Let’s make sure there are repercussions for them,” he said.
This is an issue the I-Team has been tracking, from customers who paid thousands of dollars to a New England company and got nothing in return, to solar leases that held up home sales.
Peter DiGiano of Boston solar believes many of the complaints arise when customers do not fully understand the financial differences between owning and leasing solar. He is not opposed to oversight, if it’s done fairly. “Any policy we enact need to make sure that it doesn’t unduly burden companies that are operating efficiently and ethically,” he said.
A little efficiency is all John Collins is asking for. “It’s a great system. I just wish they were working,” he said.
When the I-Team contacted Vivint Solar, the company told us they fired the employee involved in John’s case and promised to get a crew out to fix his panels.\

Read the original article here.

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State Rep. Shawn Dooley Announces Fire Safety Grants for District

BOSTON – State Representative Shawn Dooley is pleased to announce that the Norfolk, Plainville, and Walpole fire departments have a received a total of over $19,000 in grant money from the Baker-Polito Administration to put towards their Student Awareness of Fire Education (SAFE) and Senior SAFE programs.

The SAFE program was created over two decades ago to help reduce annual child fire deaths by ensuring all young students are adequately educated in the area of fire safety. According to the Administration, this program has helped reduce such deaths by 72% since its inception. Similarly, the Senior SAFE program was created to educate senior citizens on fire prevention and how to be better prepared in the event of a fire.

“As an on-call firefighter and EMT in the Town of Plainville, I am all too aware of the devastation that a fire can cause and the need to ensure that our most vulnerable populations are educated in all aspects of fire safety” said Dooley about the grants. “I am beyond ecstatic at not only the amount of grant money received, but also by the effort and dedication that all of these fire departments put in year after year to better our community.”



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State Rep. Shawn Dooley to Host State of the District Event

WRENTHAM- State Representative Shawn Dooley is proud to cordially invite all area residents to his 1st ever State of the District event:

State Representative Shawn C. Dooley

State of the District

Thursday January 25th, 2018

Wrentham Senior Center

400 Taunton Street; Wrentham

7-9 PM

The event, to be held two days after Governor Baker’s annual State of the Commonwealth address, will give constituents the opportunity to receive updates on important items including state tax and budget policy, 40B housing, MassHealth, and many other key issues affecting the area directly from Representative Dooley.

The event is free of charge. All are welcome to attend.

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State Rep. Shawn Dooley Files Bill to Align State’s Divorce Process with New Federal Tax Law

BOSTON – In the wake of recent federal tax reform, State Representative Shawn Dooley (R-Norfolk) has filed HD4463 An Act to create a commission to align the Commonwealth’s alimony and child support statutes with the new federal tax policy to study the implications of the new law on the Commonwealth’s divorce process. The bill would establish a nine-member commission, appointed by the Governor; the Speaker of the House; the Senate President; the House and Senate minority leaders; the Treasurer, and the Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court, composed of experts in tax law; family law; and children and family advocacy to spearhead the study. The commission would be focused in specific on the Commonwealth’s alimony and child support statutes as well as procedures related to unallocated support.

According to Dooley, his inspiration for this bill is practical. One of the provisions in the recently passed federal tax reform law eliminates the so-called “alimony deduction” that allows payers of alimony to deduct those payments from their federal tax bill each year. In 2011 the State Legislature passed the Alimony Reform Act that set alimony to 30-35% of the difference between the parties’ incomes. As Dooley points out though, these percentages were calculated with the federal alimony deduction in mind. “Losing this deduction will put stress on all ends of our divorce process” said Dooley. “Many payers will either not be able to afford to continue alimony payments, which will hurt those receiving it, or they will go broke trying to pay. This is an unfortunate consequence of the recent federal tax reform that we must work expeditiously to fix.”

Dooley also adds that he does not believe this will be the first or last change the state will have to make in response to the new federal tax law. “Unfortunately, the problem with our large and complex government is state and federal laws often have an overly symbiotic relationship. A tiny change in federal law can have a massive effect on us here in the Commonwealth. Even though the ultimate result for residents may turn out well, we will have a lot of housekeeping to do over the next year to update our statutes.” That’s why he says he expanded his commission to look at child support and unallocated support not just alimony. “We have to make sure each investigation we do covers all bases and is as comprehensive and sweeping as possible.”



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Opiates, budget, Senate presidency to dominate Legislature in 2018, Attleboro area lawmakers say

By Jim Hand; January 4, 2018; The Sun Chronicle

Local lawmakers are expecting a busy year addressing volatile issues ranging from dealing with opiate addictions to providing services without much growth in revenue.

They said there may not be one dominant issue, but several large ones will occupy their time.

State Rep. Shawn Dooley, R-Norfolk, said his top priority will be to pass legislation following up on an anti-opiate law approved two years ago.

He said one of the provisions he is supporting would give a doctor the authority to hold a person in a hospital for 72 hours after they have recovered from an overdose.

It makes no sense to immediately release a person who obviously has a problem, he said.

“Giving the doctors this tool as an option will save lives because just releasing the addicted person with a paper telling them where they can get help is nonsense,” he said.

“This is an epidemic and we should be treating it as such. We can defeat this and save lives if we all are willing to work together and make the insurance companies and hospitals treat it as a health crisis.”

Dooley said another issue would be adjusting state tax laws to address a federal measure that limits deductions for property and state taxes on federal income taxes to $10,000.

State Rep. Betty Poirier, R-North Attleboro, said she expects budget issues to be prominent in the new year.

She said demand for services is increasing while revenue coming into state coffers is still not increasing at a pace that would be expected with a strong economy.

The Children’s Advocacy Center that serves Bristol County is just one of the many agencies she is concerned with, she said.

Meanwhile, rising health care costs are eating up more than 40 percent of the state budget, leaving less for everything else, she said.

“That’s really a big one,” she said.

One of the problems is that workers are leaving their company-provided health insurance to enroll in the less expensive Mass Health, shifting the burden to the state.

Gov. Charlie Baker had a proposal to tax businesses that do not insure enough of its employees, but the Legislature hasn’t adopted it.

While House representatives see a busy year ahead of them, nobody knows for sure what will happen in the Senate.

Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, D-Amherst, has stepped aside while his husband is investigated for sexual harassment and other charges.

Sen. Harriette Chandler, D-Worcester, is the acting president, and has mentioned health care, increased housing production and dealing with the loss of net neutrality on the Internet as priorities.

But, State Sen. Paul Feeney, D-Foxboro, said he does not know how the power shift in the Senate will impact the flow of legislation.

A number of other senators are looking at running to permanently replace Rosenberg. A major issue left over from last year that must be dealt with is the two different criminal justice bills passed by the House and Senate.

The Senate bill is considered more lenient on offenders and many House members are opposed to it.

A conference committee has to come up with a compromise between the two versions, but were unable to reach an agreement before the end of the year.

Read the original article here.


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