Son claims solar company took advantage of mom with dementia

By Ryan Kath; September 10, 2018; NBC10 Boston

On a steamy summer day, Paul LaFrance sifted through a sea of memories inside the New Bedford home where his mother lived for more than 40 years.

“It’s kind of tough when you’re packing your parent’s stuff away,” LaFrance expressed. “It’s a lot to deal with.” His mother, Barbara Plante, died at the age of 84 in April. As executor of the estate, LaFrance is in charge of gathering her possessions and deciding the future of the property.

In her later years, LaFrance said he and other family members watched Plante battle early stages of dementia.

“Very sweet lady,” LaFrance recalled. “But you would talk to her and within minutes, you’d be having the same conversation over again.” So when LaFrance started going through his mother’s financial documents, he was stunned to learn at the age of 82—two years before her death—she had signed a 20-year contract for solar panels with Sunrun.

The agreement locked his mother into $95 monthly payments to the solar company. She also continued paying utility bills for electricity usage beyond what the panels on her roof produced. For instance, her bill from Eversource last January was $96.04.

LaFrance discovered his mom signed the contract after visits from a door-to-door salesman.

“I believe she was preyed on,” LaFrance said. “It’s tough because you can’t be there to protect them 24-7.”

Solar company responds to allegations

When the NBC10 Boston Investigators contacted California-based Sunrun, the company defended its agreement with Plante, saying it trains employees to avoid overly-aggressive sales tactics.

“We have stringent verification procedures to ensure our customers fully understand the service agreement,” spokeswoman Georgia Dempsey wrote via email. “Sunrun does not discriminate in our service offering to customers, including on the basis of age.”

In Mrs. Plante’s situation, she submitted a high-quality application which provided extensive information on her personal circumstances and engaged with our customer care team a number of times seeking guidance on how to establish an automatic payment.”

Sunrun also said out of “good faith,” it waived late payment fees when Plante missed her first couple of monthly bills, saying she was uncertain about the online payment process.

“They told me that when they spoke to her, she sounded confused,” LaFrance recalled. “There was a reason she was confused: She had dementia!”

Lawmaker calls for more consumer protection with solar agreements

Rep. Shawn Dooley, a Republican state lawmaker, believes the solar industry needs more oversight. During the previous legislative session, he proposed creating a commission to study the industry and produce a set of guidelines to protect consumers.

Dooley is far from anti-solar. He recently installed panels on the roof of his Norfolk home.

Before moving forward with the project, Dooley said he got bids from ten different companies, hearing a wide spectrum of promises and energy projections. It made him realize how confusing the process can be, especially to more vulnerable consumers.

“It becomes overwhelming and they can get taken advantage of,” Dooley said. “It seems some people are preying on consumers who are on a fixed income and don’t necessarily understand the technology.”

Elderly consumers complain to Attorney General

The NBC10 Boston Investigators reviewed complaints about area solar companies submitted to the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office in 2017.

Out of the 230 consumer complaints, 40 percent of the people checked a box indicating they were over 60 years old.

Many of those complaints accused the companies of deceptive sales tactics:

  • “I will be 85. Why would I sign a 20-year agreement?” a Millbury man wrote.
  • “I believe I was deceived or conned into something,” a Leicester woman expressed.
  • “He is elderly and hard of hearing and they completely took advantage of him,” a Worcester woman wrote about her dad’s experience.
  • “I wonder how many others fall for this sales pitch, which I consider fraud and elder abuse,” an Oxford woman said about her contract.
  • “This is a shady business practice that I believe preys on the elderly,” a Holden man wrote about his elderly mother’s solar agreement

Dooley worries that examples like that will prevent Massachusetts from reaching its renewable energy goals.

“If we allow this to happen, people are going to start shying away,” he said. “When there’s abuse, we need to set forth some standards and make sure these situations don’t keep happening over and over again.”

Despite doctor’s letter, family responsible for payments

To bolster his argument, LaFrance obtained a letter from his mom’s doctor, a piece of evidence that he hopes will prove her fragile mental state when she signed the solar contract on February 27, 2016.

“It is my medical opinion that during the period of time from January 2016 until her death, Barbara suffered from severe cognitive impairment and was not competent to make complex financial decisions and could have been easily exploited,” Dr. Robert Sawyer wrote.

A Sunrun spokeswoman said the company is disappointed to hear about these issues now, adding that any verified proof at the time of installation in 2016 would have impacted the sales process.

The company told the NBC10 Boston Investigators it will go “above and beyond” to assist with transferring the agreement to a new homeowner, if the property is sold.

“Barbara got the value, savings and service expected from Sunrun,” the company said.

For now, Plante’s family remains on the hook for the payments. Under the circumstances, LaFrance believes the agreement should be voided.

“The right thing to do would be to just pull the solar panels off,” he said. “Take them off and go away.”

Read the original article here

 

  • Standard Post
  • Written by William Rigdon

Food truck festival in Wrentham to benefit area charities

By Heather McCarron; September 4, 2018, Country Gazette

State Rep. Shawn Dooley, R-Norfolk, enjoys grabbing a bite to eat at food trucks. He also likes to work at raising funds for local charities. Next week, he will put these two things together at State Rep. Shawn Dooley’s Fall Food Truck Festival. The event will take place at Lake Pearl, 299 Creek St., Wrentham on Thursday, Sept. 13, 5:30-9 p.m. It will benefit two local charities: The Random Smile Project and The Santa Foundation. “I was trying to find something different and fun, because it is hard to compete for people’s charitable contributions, so you really need to distinguish yourself,” said Dooley of the inspiration behind organizing a food truck festival. “And I personally love food trucks, so I thought that they would draw a big crowd.” It looks like he hit the nail on the head. Tickets are limited to 350, and 200 tickets were quickly sold in one week. With 150 tickets left as of Tuesday, anyone interested in partaking is encouraged to order tickets online as soon as possible. For $20, adult visitors to the festival can sample from all five food trucks that will be on site, while kids aged 13 and under can sample from three of the trucks for $10. Featured trucks will include GottaQ Smokehouse BBQ, Atomic Blonde Ice Cream, Juliana’s Catering, Paco’s Tacos and Ming’s Asian Street Food. The event will also include live music by The Pushbuttons. All proceeds will benefit the two selected charities. The Santa Foundation, based in Franklin, provides Christmas gifts and food for families in need. The Random Smile Project, also based in Franklin, provides what it describes as “a bridge of support to people going through difficult times. Families in need are provided with clothing, groceries, books, and toys through a network of local support.” Also, according to the organization’s website, “accessibility options for those in need are supplied through Random Smile Project’s construction and renovation projects like wheelchair ramps, handicap bathroom conversions and home repair.” The event is sponsored by Subaru of New England, CVS Health, The Preserve at Mill Pond, Plainridge Park Casino, Glen Meadow Apartment Homes, Custom Art Framing, DiPlacido Development Corp., and Plumb House. To purchase tickets to the food truck festival, visit www.randomsmile.org.

Read the original article here

  • Standard Post
  • Written by William Rigdon

Legislature belatedly authorizes racing to resume in Plainville, elsewhere in Mass.

By Jim Hand; August 2, 2018; The Sun Chronicle

PLAINVILLE — After failing to meet a July 31 deadline, the Legislature on Thursday gave late approval to a bill to reauthorize horse racing in the state.

An impasse between the Senate and House over the routine, non-controversial bill had shut down racing and simulcasting at Plainridge Park Casino in Plainville.

It also threatened weekend racing at Suffolk Downs in Boston.

Gov. Charlie Baker immediately signed the bill, which the Legislature passed on a voice vote during an informal session with few lawmakers present.

The state Gaming Commission, which oversees racing, has given Plainridge permission to conduct harness racing Friday, which was not originally on the Plainridge schedule.

The Friday meet was to make up for missing racing on Thursday. Simulcasting restarted immediately after the bill became law.

State Rep. Shawn Dooley, R-Norfolk, said the failure to pass the annual re-authorization of racing in a timely fashion was completely unnecessary. He said the bill was held up in the Senate apparently over a political power play.

Legislative leaders should not be playing political games with people’s livelihood, he said.

“This is why people hate politicians,” he said.

Dooley said the House gave initial approval to the bill eight days before the legislative session was scheduled to expire on July 31.

The Senate, however, waited until the last hour to give its initial approval, called engrossment.

The House then put an emergency preamble on the bill so it would take effect immediately, but the Senate let the legislative session expire before concurring, Dooley said.

The inaction had the effect of making horse racing illegal in Massachusetts for more than a day and forced Plainridge to close its simulcasting operation and cancel racing for Thursday.

In informal session, the Senate finally approved the emergency preamble, then both chambers gave final approval, called enactment.

Although Dooley, whose district includes Plainridge, was angry about the gamesmanship, the owners of Plainridge were more conciliatory.

“We’re thankful to the Legislature, Massachusetts Gaming Commission, and especially the urgent and able attention of our legislative delegation for resolving this issue and allowing for live racing to continue at Plainridge Park on Friday,” Eric Schippers of Penn National Gaming said in a prepared statement.

Dooley said the back-and-forth over the re-authorization happens every year and could be avoided.

He suggested that either the bill be passed in March, when there is no threat of a deadline, or the Legislature pass a three-year authorization.

Read the original article here.

 

  • Standard Post
  • Written by William Rigdon

Opioid bill passes House unanimously

By Amelia Tarallo; July 26, 2018; Hometown Weekly

It is no longer unusual to know someone who has become a victim of the opioid epidemic.

Almost every town has seen residents struggle with addiction within the last five years. In 2016 alone, Medfield, Needham, Sherborn, Wellesley, and Westwood each had at least one person who died because of an opioid.

Unfortunately, the epidemic doesn’t seem to be slowing down at all.

The number of deaths due to opioids has been on the rise over the last 17 years. From 2000 until 2016, Norfolk County saw 1,284 opioid-related deaths. By 2017, the number had risen to 1,438. Middlesex County recorded 2,593 opioid-related deaths from 2000 until 2016. In 2017, the number had increased to 2,905. There seems to be no sign of these deaths slowing down without any intervention. Instead, it appears that they are increasing at a rapid pace.

These numbers also do not account for the those who are profoundly affected by drug addiction in other ways. There are children who have been born addicted to drugs, and consequently suffer long-term side effects because of it. There are children who have been abandoned by one or both their parents because of drug addiction. There are medical professionals who have been seeking ways to handle this influx of addiction and overdoses within their communities.

A new bill, however, may give new hope to those suffering from addictions and their loved ones. Bill H.4742, an act for prevention and access to appropriate care and treatment of addiction, recently passed the State House unanimously with 147 votes.

Bill H.4742 is split into three sections. The first, “Prevention,” outlines steps created to prevent more cases of addiction. It includes allowing patients to only partially fill opioid prescriptions at a time, without paying additional co-pays. It also forbids any discounts and rebates for prescribed opiates, making it more difficult for addicts to afford these medications. Additionally, it instructs providers to check the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) before issuing any prescription for a benzodiazepine. The PMP provides providers with information on substances that may lead to addiction.

The second section of the bill, “Strengthen and Expand the Behavioral Health System,” establishes steps to help improve addiction-related healthcare. This section notes establishing “statewide remote consultation programs for substance use disorder,” as well as increased access to appropriate treatment involving primary care. It also includes the new requirement for electronic prescribing for all controlled substances (with few exceptions) starting in 2020.

The final section, “Treatment and Recovery,” includes new programs to help treat those with addictions. This section includes increasing access to Narcan, an opioid-blocking drug that is often used to treat overdoses, without an individual prescription. It also establishes a “two-year pilot programs to offer medication-assisted treatment at 6 prisons.” It also provides a new Center for Police Training in Crisis Intervention to aid law enforcement in their attempts to stop their epidemic. Additionally, it provides a “commission to study and make recommendations on the certification of Recovery Coaches.” Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it includes the establishment of a commission to study addiction treatment, such as “long-term relapse rates, overdose risk, legal implications, and capacity of the voluntary treatment system.”

At the moment, it is unknown whether or not Bill H.4742 will lower the number of opioid deaths in Massachusetts each year. However, Representatives Garlick and Dooley are hopeful that it will work.

In a press release about the bill, Representative Shawn Dooley expressed the significance and the importance of addressing the epidemic. “The opioid crisis is by far and away the number one public health crisis in the Commonwealth,” said Dooley. “As a firefighter and EMT I see this issue plaguing our communities here in the 9th Norfolk District. This isn’t just a city issue, it isn’t just a rural issue, it isn’t just a regional issue, it is a statewide plague that we must work to stop. I am proud to have not only supported but also contributed to this important bill. It is by no means the last step, however. We must continue to work to fight this societal evil.”

“The legislation looks to the future and says that a focus on prevention in the community and strengthening and expanding the behavioral health system will stem the tide,” read a statement from Representative Denise Garlick, chairperson of the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery. “It looks to the present and says, ‘we are in this battle together to save lives through care and treatment,’ addressing the urgency that this is truly a life or death issue throughout the Commonwealth. Many of the resources in this bill will be available immediately — removing barriers to desperately needed care and giving individuals, families and communities the tools they need, when they need them, where they need them.”

Read original article here

  • Standard Post
  • Written by William Rigdon

House approves Old Town Hall funds

HometownWeekly.net

Representative Kafka (D-Stoughton), Representative Rogers (D-Norwood), Representative McMurtry (D-Dedham), and Representative Dooley (R-Norfolk) joined with their colleagues in the House on Tuesday to pass a $666 million economic development bond bill (H.4714) that includes $1,000,000 for the redevelopment of the Old Town Hall in Walpole. The iconic building, located at 972 Main St., is over 130 years old and on the National Register of Historic Places.

“The Old Town hall is a signature building in Walpole,” said Representative Louis L. Kafka. “The money that was allocated in this bill will go a long way to bringing it back to its former glory.”

“Old Town Hall is a historic and storied building which has played many different roles in its 130 year history,” said Representative Paul McMurtry. “It is our responsibility to protect Walpole’s historic town treasure for future generations and this Bond Bill authorization is the first step in doing just that.”

“It was an absolute pleasure to work with the entire Walpole delegation to get this funding included in the house economic development bill,” said Representative Shawn Dooley. “The taxpayers of Walpole deserve a state government that is responsive to their needs and dedicated to their priorities. I can think of no better way to return their hard earned money than by helping to redevelop and repurpose this Walpole landmark for the benefit of all in our community.”

Representative Rogers remarked: “There are many people in Walpole working hard to envision the next phase of Old Town Hall’s long life of service. I am very glad my colleagues in the House of Representatives and I were able to make our contribution to this endeavor, which will go a long way in the redevelopment and protection of this beautiful old building which is the centerpiece of downtown and will hopefully be a magnet for economic development and growth for generations to come.”

This bill now moves to the Senate for consideration. If enacted, this bill will provide authorization for the administration to borrow up to $1,000,000 for renovation; the final decision to borrow the money rests with Governor Baker.

Read the original article here

  • Standard Post
  • Written by William Rigdon

Local lawmakers back bill aimed at opioid crisis

By Jim Hand; July 10, 2018; The Sun Chronicle
Local lawmakers say they support a House bill aimed at addressing the state’s opioid crisis, although it lacks a few provisions they were hoping for.
A vote on the legislation is expected as soon as Wednesday.
The representatives said addiction to opioids and the overdoses that come with it are one of the biggest problems they face. Police, doctors and families of addicts are constantly asking them for action, they said Tuesday.
“We’re in a crisis. We’re in an epidemic,” state Rep. Shawn Dooley, R-Norfolk, said.
The state says 2,016 people died of overdoses last year in Massachusetts, a 6 percent decrease from the year before.
Dooley said he backs the bill because it has a lot of good ideas, although it lacks some he wanted.
One provision, which he previously proposed as a separate bill, would allow patients to take only a portion of their prescription for painkillers from a pharmacy “to see how it goes,” he said.
If the patient needs the rest of the prescription, they could go back and get it without making another co-payment.
The idea is encourage patients to bring home fewer drugs to avoid having excess pills lying around the house that could be misused, he said.
Dooley said he is disappointed the bill does not include a proposal he, Gov. Charlie Baker and others made to give doctors the authority to order a patient who has overdosed to be held for three days without court approval.
It was in the original version of the bill but House Speaker Robert DeLeo reportedly disapproved of it.
Dooley said it is a commonsense idea that he believes would help doctors.
“It’s another tool in their tool box,” he said.
He said he would offer an amendment to put it back in the bill.
Robin Hamlin of Plainville, who heads a local support group for the families of addicts called Unconditional Love, said she is glad the state is addressing the problem because previous attempts have not gone far enough.
“A lot more is needed,” she said.
Hamlin, whose son died of an overdose, said one of the most glaring problems is a shortage of beds in treatment centers.
“There are not enough places to go around,” she said.
She said an addict in crisis cannot be expected to wait for openings.
Dooley, however, said it appears funding for additional beds is not in the bill.
State Rep. Jim Hawkins, D-Attleboro, said more treatment beds is probably the most common suggestion he hears from police, doctors and families.
The bill will also call for keeping prescriptions records electronically so addicts cannot go “doctor shopping” and keep getting more bills, he said.
Hawkins said addressing opioid problems is one of the largest issues facing the state and a top priority for him.
He has been meeting with police and other officials on the issue and attended a forum sponsored by state Sen. Paul Feeney, D-Foxboro, on the matter.
Elected in a special election in April, Hawkins said he will give his “maiden speech” in the House Wednesday and it will be on the opioid crisis.

Read original article here.

 

  • Standard Post
  • Written by William Rigdon

Automatic voter registration passes House, splits local delegation

By Jim Hand; June 28, 2018; The Sun Chronicle

Citizens who renew their driver’s licenses or enroll in state health care would automatically become registered voters under a bill passed by the Massachusetts House.

The bill, which the House passed Wednesday, still needs the approval of the Senate and governor, but supporters said it would help increase voter turnout in elections. If adopted into law, eligible people who do business with the Registry of Motor Vehicles or MassHealth would automatically become registered voters.

Local city and town clerks would send them a postcard to designate themselves as a Democrat, Republican or independent. The card would also give the person the opportunity to opt out of being a registered voter.

The local House delegation was divided over the bill. State Reps. Jim Hawkins, D-Attleboro, and Shawn Dooley, R-Norfolk, voted for it while Reps. Betty Poirier, R-North Attleboro, Steven Howitt, R-Seekonk, and Jay Barrows, RMansfield, opposed it.

Hawkins said he supported it because there are 700,000 eligible voters in Massachusetts who are not registered and the bill would help fix that.

“We should make it easier to vote,” he said.

Hawkins noted that most people no longer visit city halls because they pay their bills and do other transactions online, so they don’t see the voter registration office.

Supporters said the legislation could increase voting by 5 percent.

Dooley said he has his doubts about how effective the bill will be, but as a former town clerk he is in favor of almost any measure to get more participation in elections.

He said he got two amendments attached to the bill. One will have Massachusetts contribute to a national database of voters and the other would require the state to train local election commissioners.

The opponents said they feared the cost of running the program would fall to cities and towns with no state aid. “It puts a tremendous burden on the towns,” Poirier said, noting that North Attleboro only has two people working in its elections office.

Barrows said another consideration he had is that inaccurate information could get into the voting rolls. He also said he believes automatic registration goes too far.

Howitt said he believes it is already easy to register to vote if people are willing to make the effort.

“If a person wants to vote, they will make the effort to vote,” he said.

Read the original article here.

 

  • Standard Post
  • Written by William Rigdon

Rep. Shawn Dooley holds state house Stop The Bleed training course

June 11, 2018; Wicked Local Norfolk

Following the filing of his bill HD.4327, The Massachusetts Trauma Response Preparedness Act, state Rep. Shawn Dooley, R-Norfolk, hosted doctors and nurses from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center at the State House to train state legislators, legislative staff, and interns on the basics of bleeding control.

Through a mixture of lecture-style and hands-on activities, the American College of Surgeons’ nationally recognized, revolutionary, and life-saving course focuses on teaching bystanders how to identify serious hemorrhaging, stem it, and manage a potentially life-threatening situation until the arrival of first responders. The event was hosted to raise awareness for the simplicity and effectiveness of basic bleeding control kits in saving lives in hopes to pass Dooley’s bill, which would require every public building in Massachusetts — including public and private schools, libraries, transportation facilities, recreational facilities, entertainment and sporting venues, and buildings of government — to house one of these kits and a person trained to use it.

At the event Dooley expressed a national need for basic bleeding control kits not only as a result of the massive increase in Mass Casualty Incidents (MCIs) among civilians, such as the Sandy Hook shooting and the Boston Marathon bombing, but also for their utility in saving lives in even more common incidents such as car accidents and workplace injuries. In this regard the Stop the Bleeding Coalition (SBC), a national grassroots coalition of medical professionals, law enforcement officers, former military personnel, first responders, educators, and concerned citizens, estimates that each year more than 1,000 savable lives are lost due to inefficiencies in our emergency response systems and 80 percent of all civilian trauma fatalies are in fact due to hemmorhage from an extremity.

Dooley, along with the American College of American Surgeons, the Stop the Bleeding Coalition, and a group of bipartisan co-sponsors in the Massachusetts House and Senate are intent on addressing these issues and saving more lives by allowing bystanders to play the role of immediate first responders. As participants saw, a bleeding control kit contains easy-to-use tools such as a tourniquet, gauze, and gloves that would allow the average bystander to step in and act in an emergency. Participants practiced such a situation in a simulation, using a tourniquet to stop the bleeding and gauze to pack the wound.

The main provisions to Dooley’s bill speak to this simple idea. A firefighter and EMT himself in Plainville, Dooley frequently communicated his own experiences with trauma and the usefulness of tourniquets in discussion to the group present. “While they may seem to be flimsy, these little tourniquets literally are capable of savings thousands of lives per year. I know because I’ve witnessed it. In fact, it’s the reason so many people survived the marathon bombings a few years ago,” said Dooley.

This fact was confirmed by all the doctors and nurses present, many of whom were on duty that day.

In his concluding remarks, Dooley said, “I’m very grateful to the doctors and nurses from Beth Israel for coming to the State House to certify my colleagues and their staff on trauma response and bleeding control. This is vital training that will not only save lives but will also ensure that everyone is duly prepared to address such injuries. It is my sincere hope that the importance of my initiative is seen, and I hope you will join me in making Massachusetts the first in the nation to make this a reality.”

Read the original article here

 

  • Standard Post
  • Written by William Rigdon

Paying homage to veterans

By Mike Gleason; May 28, 2018; Wicked Local Walpole

Local residents gathered around the town common Monday (May 28) to pay homage to those killed in battle.
The town’s Memorial Day observances took place at noon – with speeches, music and ceremonies meant to honor the sacrifices made by those in the armed services.
Walpole Veterans Agent Jon Cogan said the flag at the center of town was held at half staff throughout the morning as a way to remember those sacrifices. The flag is raised at noon, he said, to show the country’s resolve in ensuring those actions were not made in vain.
State Rep. Shawn Dooley, R-Norfolk, said it was a special thing that men and women knowingly volunteer to protect their country.
“We owe them a huge debt – not just today, but every day,” he said. “They gave their lives so we could be here.”
Dooley said it was the country’s obligation to honor that sacrifice by remembering those who gave it. He told the story of a Marine – killed at Guadalcanal in World War II – whose remains were recently identified and returned to the United States as a way of illustrating how the country works to fulfill that obligation.
John Power, a Walpole resident and veteran, was the featured speaker. He said, while there are several definitions of “veteran,” his was rather simple: a veteran was anyone who had, at some point, written a blank check to the country – for an amount up to and including their own life.
“We’re here today to honor those who have had their check cashed,” he said.
Power spoke of the history of the holiday, noting it has risen from a grassroots effort to honor those who died in the Civil War. It had evolved from that original purpose – and its original name, Decoration Day – to a federally recognized holiday celebrating all American soldiers who had perished in service to their country.
The town common, said Power, was an appropriate place to hold the ceremony, as it encompassed the breadth of the town’s history. In it, he said, were monuments commemorating soldiers from the first Colonial companies of the French and Indian War all the way up to the War on Terror.
Power asked that those present keep the true meaning of the holiday alive and remember and honor the sacrifices made to keep the nation free.

Read the original article here.

  • Standard Post
  • Written by William Rigdon

Our view: Washington could learn lots from local lawmakers

Editorial; May 28, 2018; The Sun Chronicle

If Washington needs an example on how to act, they should look to this area.
All five Attleboro area state representatives last week supported the so-called “Red Flag” bill.
The legislation, which passed the House 139-14, allows for a court order to take away the guns of those found to pose “extreme risk” to themselves or others.
What’s noteworthy is that four of the area’s five state representatives are conservative Republicans who were initially reluctant to back it.
However, those four — Jay Barrows of Mansfield, Shawn Dooley of Norfolk, Steven Howitt of Seekonk and Betty Poirier of North Attleboro — were among those supporting amendments approved by the House that eased their concerns enough to end opposition and make their constituents safer.
One key change was that a provision allowing guns to be taken away for a year was reduced to up to a year, leaving the possibility of the owner getting the guns back sooner.
Other amendments would set penalties for someone who falsely accuses a gun owner of being a danger and speed up the process of returning guns if the owner’s job depended on it.
The gist of the bill remains intact: If someone appears to be a danger to themselves or others, they should not have access to guns.
Democratic supporters called the bill necessary following multiple school shootings in which the killer had previously shown signs of being a danger.
But state Rep. Jim Hawkins of Attleboro, the lone Democrat in the local delegation, cites a more frequent threat: suicide.
“Suicide by gun is all too common and this bill gives the immediate family the ability to act quickly if a person is spiraling out of control,” he said.
We salute our Republican representatives for dropping kneejerk rejection of any gun restrictions, for working for amendments that eased concerns and for ultimately supporting a bill that, if approved by the Senate and Gov. Charlie Baker, will continue to make Massachusetts one of the safest states to live. They proved Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, can find common ground.
“I’m sure we agree people who have exhibited a threat to themselves and to others probably shouldn’t be licensed to carry a gun,” Barrows told The Sun Chronicle.
If only that little bit of common sense could be exhibited in Washington.
Are Massachusetts schools any safer since Newtown?

Read the original article here

  • Standard Post
  • Written by William Rigdon