Welcome to my State Senate website! Here you will find legislative and local updates, important state resources, and information on the ways that my office may be able to assist you. It is a true honor to represent the residents of the Norfolk, Bristol and Middlesex district in the Massachusetts Senate. I encourage you to keep me informed of the issues that are most important to you, and to sign up for my newsletter to receive periodic updates from my Senate office.
Richard J. Ross
August 15, 2014
Boston – On Thursday, the House and Senate enacted a bill aimed at protecting animal welfare and safety in the Commonwealth. Senator Ross was a cosponsor of the original bill, filed by Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester), which passed the Senate unanimously just before the end of the formal legislative session on July 31st.
“Combating animal abuse in our state has been a major priority of mine, and this legislation makes major strides to tighten our current laws and increase penalties for those convicted of these heinous crimes,” said Senator Ross. “As a dog owner, my hope is that this bill will offer some comfort to our communities and assist in deterring these acts in the future.”
The bill, which garnered both bipartisan and bicameral support, increases fines for those convicted of animal cruelty crimes from $2,500 to $5,000 for a first offense, and raises the maximum prison time from five to seven years for a first offense. The legislation also creates a task force of experts designed to review animal abuse prevention methods and offer recommendations for further action. Under the new law, veterinarians will be required to report suspected acts of animal abuse to law enforcement; better equipping public safety officials targeting these acts of cruelty.
The bill will now be sent to Governor Patrick for approval.
Senator Ross with his dog Colbie, a six year old Australian Shepherd.
August 12, 2014
Boston – Senator Richard Ross is pleased to announce that the 73rd Citizens’ Legislative Seminar (CLS) will be held this fall on Tuesday, October 14th and Wednesday, October 15th from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the State House.
“The Citizens’ Legislative Seminar is a great opportunity for those interested in learning more about state government and the legislative process to get hands-on experience,” said Senator Ross. “I encourage all those interested in participating to contact my office directly.”
CLS is a citizen seminar that aims to better educate the public on the Commonwealth’s legislative process. Established in 1976 through a collaborative effort of the Massachusetts Senate and the University of Massachusetts, this two-day seminar features presentations by Senators and staff on aspects of the day-to-day experience of legislators in the Commonwealth. Topics will include the history and process of the Legislature, the parliamentary role of the Clerk of the Senate and the future of the Legislature.
The CLS culminates with a simulated legislative hearing and Senate session where participants are invited to use what they have learned and participate as “Senators” in the Senate Chamber in order to have a first-hand experience of the legislative process.
All residents in the Norfolk, Bristol, and Middlesex District are invited to contact the office of Senator Richard Ross at email@example.com by Thursday, August 28th in order to be nominated.
August 6, 2014
Boston – On Wednesday, the Governor signed a bill into law that would increase oversight of public housing authorities. The legislation would strengthen requirements of local housing authorities, increase performance management, and encourage innovation in future housing development. The bill also requires education and training of all housing authority members, increased tenant involvement by ensuring that every board has a tenant member, and would direct each housing authority to publish their contact information online so that they may be easily reached.
“Increasing oversight and transparency in our housing authorities has been a priority of mine, and this bill goes a long way,” said Senator Richard Ross.
An amendment Senator Ross sponsored in the Senate was incorporated into the final version of the bill, which would require the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to approve all contracts exceeding $100,000. In 2011, Former Chelsea Housing Authority Chief Michael McLaughlin was found to be taking advantage of the inspection process and inflating his salary, which prompted legislators to take action. The bill works to improve accessibility and accountability of the public housing system and those in charge.
Two amendments filed by Senator Ross that passed the Senate, did not make it into the final conference committee report. One amendment required housing authorities to give preference to residents of the town and people who had lived in the town for over 25 years and the other would require housing authorities to cross reference applicants alongside the FBI terror watch list.
“While this bill demonstrates great collaboration in our legislature, I was disappointed that two key components of the Senate bill were not in the final conference committee report, especially after such support in the Senate,” said Senator Ross. “I hope that we can revisit these issues in the next session.”
Please contact the office of Senator Ross with any questions or concerns at (617) 722-1555 or Richard.Ross@masenate.gov.