Tag Archives: Eugene O’Flaherty

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Rep. Thomas Petrolati Trying to Block Investigation of the Probation Patronage Scandal

Thomas Petrolati

The Globe on Sunday has a very important article about Rep. Thomas Petrolati’s attempts to thwart the investigation into the patronage scandal at the probation department.

Petrolati is at the center of some of the most egregious patronage abuses. His wife Kathleen is a top manager at Probation. A former aide, Andre Pereira, and the husband of his current aide, Colleen Ryan all have Probation jobs that pay more than $74,000.  Scores of financial supporters have also received jobs at the Probation Department. And Petrolati is a close friend of Probation Commissioner John “Jack” O’Brien, who was suspended in May after the Globe revealed a pattern of political favoritism in hiring.

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Alimony Reform Bill (H1785) Delayed Until the Next Legislative Session

Rep. John Fernandes

Alimony Task Force chairs promise to work on a bill through the Summer and Fall to have a bill ready early in the next session. (Details on next year’s bill)

With the legislative session running out of time, and the House under Speaker’ DeLeo’s legislative lockdown – no bills are moving. In a letter to his legislative colleagues, Representative John Fernandes reveals that the task force, set up over 10 months ago to make a recommendation on meaningful alimony reform, has failed come up with a recommendation in time to act this year:

Dear Colleagues,

Over the past several weeks, some of you have approached me regarding the work of the Alimony Task Force, of which I serve as House Chair.  I am aware that many of you have also been contacted in the last few days about the articles that appeared in the Boston Globe this past Sunday and Monday about the alimony issue and how the legislature is handling the same.

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Senate Reacts to Probation Department Scandal

Cindy Creem

Reforms likely to pass the Senate but not Robert DeLeo’s House of Representatives.

Following Sunday’s Globe exposé of patronage hires at the Probation Department, and yesterday’s move by the Supreme Judicial Court to suspend Probation Commissioner O’Brien, the Senate today proposed a budget amendment to reform some the Probation Department’s most egregious  structural problems, with a proposal that reduces some of the Legislature’s influence in Probation Department hiring.

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Alimony Reform CORI Reform Cynthia Creem Eugene O'Flaherty Shared Parenting

Alimony Reform, Shared Parenting, and CORI Reform Bills Expire May 7th

Alimony Reform almost certain to get a second extension. Shared Parenting and CORI Reform on life-support.

This year’s deadline for legislative committees to act on bills was March 17th. Any bill that was not referred out of committee or extended on that day is dead for this legislative session. But a committee may give certain bills and extension order – this year until May 7th.

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Casinos and Slots

Casino Bill Roll Call and Flip Floppers

The biggest problem with the Massachusetts House of Representatives is that representatives are more afraid of crossing the Speaker than crossing the voters. They will take votes which they know are unpopular with voters in their district and which they don’t agree with themselves in order to make sure that they are in the good graces of the current Speaker.

Today the Speaker is Robert DeLeo. DeLeo’s father Al spent 50 years working the floor of the Turf Club at Suffolk Downs. Protecting and expanding gambling in Massachusetts is a personal mission for DeLeo. And, as Speaker, DeLeo controls who in the House gets to be part of his ‘leadership team,’ who gets the committee chairmanships, and who gets invited to the closed door meetings where the real policy of the legislature gets decided.

Legislators are more afraid of the consequences of crossing DeLeo on this issue than they are of crossing the voters.

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O'Flaherty and Creem get Another Award from the Lawyer's Lobby

Reps. Murphy, DeLeo and O'Flaherty rewarded for their service to the lawyer's lobby

The Equal Justice Coalition has recognized a number of legislators for their service to the legal community. They are:

  • House Speaker Rep. Robert DeLeo
  • Rep. Charles Murphy
  • Rep. Eugene O’Flaherty
  • Sen. Steven Panagiotakos
  • Sen. Cynthia Stone Creem
  • Sen. Patricia Jehlen

The Equal Justice Coalition is a lawyer’s lobby group which advocates for state funding for legal aid for civil actions by poor clients, to pay for representation in domestic violence actions, divorce actions, child custody etc.

EJC successfully lobbied for $10 million dollars of state funding for the legal community. According to their own press release, when it looked like legal aid would suffer the same budget cuts as our schools:

In published letters, 38 managing partners of law firms, and 107 general counsel attorneys went to bat for legal services. Lawmakers have listened, apparently rescuing MLAC from disaster. Lobbying for legal-aid is no easy task…

And today those lawmakers were rewarded.

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Alimony Reform CORI Reform Eugene O'Flaherty Shared Parenting

CORI Reform Blocked by Rep. Eugene O'Flaherty Again

Rep. Eugene O'Flaherty

Representative Eugene O’Flaherty is House Chair of the Judiciary Committee. In that position he has the power to block any legal reform he doesn’t like. No matter how popular the reform, or how much public or legislative support it has, if he doesn’t like it, it doesn’t go through.

And there is a long list of popular reforms that he’s been able to block for years. Many eventually get through – but not before a lot of damage is done.

This year O’Flaherty is blocking:

  • CORI Reform (H3523),
  • Shared Parenting (H1400)
  • Alimony Reform (H1785)

Each of these bills have been introduced for the past several years. All of them have wide popular and legislative support. Many legislators have legitimate differences over over these bills – but they have never gotten an opportunity to debate them – because O’Flaherty has already decided – they aren’t coming out of committee. Whether you are for them or against them, I think all people of good will believe that these are the types of issues which should be debated before the entire legislature, and where legislators, as representatives of the people can vote their conscience.

But Rep. O’Flaherty doesn’t think so. And even though he represents only the city of Chelsea, he is happy to decide these issues for everyone. His answer is “no”.

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Today Was the Last Day for Most Bills to Get Out of Committee

The Massachusetts State House

Today was the legislative deadline to refer bills out of committee. After today, unless your bill was ‘late filed’ or got a special extension – then it’s dead. At least until next year.

I called the legislature about two bills I care about H1400 (Shared Parenting) and H1785 (Alimony Reform) and fortunately both have gotten extensions.  They are both still alive until at least May 7th.

I doubt H1400 will make it out of committee this year. I think it will be successfully blocked by just a few legislators. Even though Shared Parenting is very popular with voters – like many issues – it will be blocked by two committee chairmen – Cindy Creem and Gene O’Flaherty. read more »