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Lawmakers Push for Welfare Reform Before Summer Recess

BOSTON, Mass. (WGGB)– One year after an audit report uncovered fraud in the Massachusetts welfare system, some Republican lawmakers say they are still waiting for change.

Outside the State House Wednesday, they signed a letter to the Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo asking for action now.

A welfare reform bill has been in conference committee since late last year.

“We want to bring attention back to the issue, so that we can get this bill out of conference committee and get it passed and into law, so we can start saving taxpayer dollars and have a welfare system that really helps people get into education and jobs and self sufficiency,” said Republican State Rep. Shaunna O’Connell of Taunton

Republican State Senator Bob Hedlund of Weymouth is on the committee tasked with coming up with a final version of the bill and says little progress has been made.

“I hope this isn’t being done to lull the public to sleep so their focus elsewhere,” Hedlund added

Hedlund says the House and Senate aren’t far apart, with one of the sticking points revolving around a residency check for public benefits

“There’s not a huge gulf between the 2 branches. If we were to focus on things, I’m sure we could get a bill out in a matter of hours.” said Hedlund.

Springfield Representative Benjamin Swan says he’s opposed to the reform and that some of the changes involving which items recipients can buy with their benefits actually go too far.

“I’m against those kinds of measure that lessen a person’s humanity in a direct kind of way,” Swan explains.

Speaker DeLeo says the state has already taken actions to combat fraud in the system, outside of the bill.

“Those who are truly in need of these funds will get those needs met and those who are guilty of fraud, those issues will be addressed as well,” DeLeo added.

The Speaker says he’s hopeful that progress will be made on the reform bill before summer recess.

WGGB encourages readers to share their thoughts and engage in healthy dialogue about the issues. Comments containing personal attacks, profanity, offensive language or advertising will be removed. Please use the report comment function for any posts you feel should be reviewed. Thank you.

  • Rags

    Bottom line – the Republicans in this state are powerless. They don’t even have enough votes to break the super majority veto proof legislature. DeLeo and the Dems will do whatever they want, when they want to and they don’t care what the Republicans think. They don’t have to listen to them.

  • Kim Cole


    Please help EPA. As if the lead Im trying to get out of my kids public schools isnt enough of a headache; today my daughters charm on her mortarboard tested positive with a 3M test kit. They need to be recalled ! Ive lead tested the schools, the DTA office, the State house, a jail, and a church. All positive for lead. How about lawmakers re mediate and reform that! Heres an email i recently sent to MA State House and local officials Thank you ! : Posted to Marshfield Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce ~ I advocate for a lead free community. That is being a good business Advocate . Dear Members of The senate, For your review. Mike.Barrett@masenate.govStephen.Brewer@masenate.govWilliam.Brownsberger@masenate.govGale.Candaras@masenate.govHarriette.Chandler@masenate.govSonia.Chang-Diaz@masenate.govCynthia.Creem@masenate.govSal.DiDomenico@masenate.govKenneth.Donnelly@masenate.govKenneth.Donnelly@masenate.govEileen.Donoghue@masenate.govBenjamin.Downing@masenate.govJames.Eldridge@masenate.govBarry.Finegold@masenate.govJennifer.Flanagan@masenate.govLinda.DorcenaForry@masenate.govRobert.Hedlund@masenate.govDonald.Humason@masenate.govPatricia.Jehlen@masenate.govBrian.Joyce@masenate.govJohn.Keenan@masenate.govThomas.Kennedy@masenate.govJason.Lewis@masenate.govJoan.Lovely@masenate.govThomas.McGee@masenate.govMark.Montigny@masenate.govMichael.Moore@masenate.govRichard.Moore@masenate.govTherese.Murray@masenate.govKathleen.OConnorIves@masenate.govMarc.Pacheco@masenate.govAnthony.Petruccelli@masenate.govMichael.Rodrigues@masenate.govMike.Rush@masenate.govJames.Timilty@masenate.govJames.Wel ch@masenate.govDaniel.Wolf@masenate.govcgt@timsonlaw.com

    Dear Members of The senate, For your review. I have been very busy the last several years attempting to address the lead paint issue in the Marshfield Public Schools. I am a lead poisoning awareness advocate and have made numerous queries to Jim Cantwell, a representative for the Town of Marshfield. This email serves as my formal complaint that he is lacking in ethics and is in my opinion, a poor representative of the people. He may not care about the deadly neurotoxin in his kids school, but I sure do. I am surprised that as a lawyer he doesn’t know better. Or , perhaps he does.. In addition to reaching out to him (only to be shoved out of the way by him ; see police report filed with the Marshfield PD.), my lawyer and I have sought answers via the schools Superintendent Scott Borstel, The public school Principles, The towns Board of Selectman, The BOH, The Atty. General, The EPA, The CLPPP, the DPH and countless other agencies . , Childrens Hospital and Social Security have made gross, egregious errors with my case as well. It has become very time consuming and the spin of it all is reprehensible. Sir, I believe it is a matter of ethics me and mine are faced with. For a constituent to receive incomplete or no responses, and to have a representative lash out at them is very dismaying indeed. Attached you will find the lengthy email to the CDC. Lead is a neurotoxin and does not belong in our children s schools. My family and I were exposed to 15,500 + micrograms of lead dust in 2003 (see The Patriot Ledger 3/4/03) when the CLPPP passed failing swipes in a rented unit. My doctor has stated I should be in a “lead free environment” (see 2012 letter from my PCP). Wouldn’t it be nice if going to our childrens school didn’t pose a possible health risk for my children, me, the teachers and most importantly the students?! I look forward to discussing this matter further as I am interested in posing a bill to eliminate lead from my town. its taken me years to get this far but my children and their future are well worth it. Wishing you and yours a lead free day (though that may be difficult in light of the fact that your State house tested positive for lead paint also). I am happy to share any and all documents supporting the aforementioned statements in an effort to get the lead out. Concerned about lead in your environment? Go to http://www.epa.gov/lead .Thank you kindly for your consideration. Sincerely, Kim Cole and family ~ Marshfield, MA.