Press Releases

Senator Ross Appointed to Special Committee on Addiction Prevention

May 5, 2017

Boston – State Senator Richard Ross (R-Wrentham) was appointed to the special committee on addiction prevention, treatment, and recovery options this week by minority leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester). The special committee intends to review existing state laws and funding, as well as implement and enforce recently enacted substance abuse legislation.

In addition to conducting a thorough review, the committee will aim to make recommendations to further strengthen opioid abuse prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery options as well as access to such programs for all residents of Massachusetts.

Ross, who currently serves on the Joint Committee on Mental Health and Substance Abuse and previously served on two special committees pertaining to the cause, expressed the necessity of prevention and recovery:

“With the proper addiction prevention services and recovery options, nearly 1,500 lives could have been saved from unintentional opioid overdoses in 2016. Our efforts on this committee directly affect the people of the Commonwealth, and with the right resources this issue can be remedied.”

Substance abuse, with special attention to opioids, is a topic that Senator Ross has consistently prioritized. Ross has co-sponsored several pieces of legislation including bills that would create a special commission to study heroin trafficking prevention and increase substance abuse prevention and education in public schools.

“This is an epidemic that does not discriminate by race, gender, education or income. This is affecting everyone in our society, especially our youth,” said Ross.

Please contact the office of Senator Ross with any questions or concerns at (617) 722-1555 or


Ross Backs Baker Proposals for Common Sense Criminal Justice Reform

April 12, 2017

Boston – State Senator Richard Ross (R-Wrentham) announced his initial support on Wednesday for a bill Governor Charlie Baker is filing that would assist inmates in working off their debt. The legislation aims to help defendants who can’t afford to pay court fees or fines by allowing them to perform community service to cover their debts instead of serving jail time.

The current practice known as “fine time,” jails defendants who fail to pay fines and fees related to the justice system until debts are settled. Governor Baker hopes that his legislation will reduce the number of people incarcerated for simply being unable to pay a fine, while ensuring that penalties are still being repaid.

“In a report released last fall, the Senate Committee on Post Audit and Oversight found that a significant amount of imprisoned individuals owed less than $500 in unsettled fees,” said Senator Ross. “Governor Baker’s bill would directly address the issues with ‘fine time’ as well as pioneer the priorities of criminal justice reform.”

Many Beacon Hill leaders, including Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, have indicated their desire to see more criminal justice reforms instituted.

Ross, who serves as a member of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary, expressed confidence that this legislation will be brought before the committee and addressed by next fall.

Defendants in Massachusetts who are unable to pay fees work off their debt at a current rate of $30 a day. The Governor’s bill would triple to rate to $90 to reduce the time needed to satisfy a debt.

Please contact the office of Senator Ross with any questions or concerns at (617) 722-1555 or


Ross Backs Measures to Protect Veterans’ Hiring Practices

April 7, 2017

Boston – State Senator Richard Ross (R-Wrentham) is co-sponsoring legislation along with Representative John Velis (D-Westfield) and Senator Michael Rush (D-West Roxbury), that would restore a hiring preference for veterans in all public safety jobs in the Commonwealth and ensure that veterans continue to be prioritized during such hiring processes.

“The Civil Service law recognizes the need to provide preferential treatment to veterans in the hiring process. However, if a town decides to opt out of this system, it is crucial that there is a method in place to protect these experienced and qualified veterans among the hiring practices of local police and fire departments,” said Senator Ross.

A potential unintended consequence of municipalities opting out of the Civil Service system has been veterans no longer receiving the hiring preference provided to them under the law. Without the Civil Service law giving preference to qualified veterans, towns may possibly hire fewer veterans for town public safety positions. If enacted, this legislation could elevate any such concerns.

Please contact the office of Senator Ross with any questions or concerns at (617) 722-1555 or