Public safety is ever-evolving and we must remain proactive in our approach to new issues that arise over time. I believe in working with first responders to support those who put themselves in harm’s way to protect their communities, modernize law enforcement, and ensure equal protection under the law for everyone.
State Senator Patrick O'Connor: Keeping our Communities Safe
Senator O'Connor attended and personally congratulated the graduates of the 63rd Recruit Officer Class of the Plymouth Police Academy. This recruit class had 42 new officers with 6 of them going on to serve in Duxbury, Marshfield, Scituate and Weymouth.
Since Senator Patrick O’Connor first became involved in public service, he has focused on providing the greatest resources possible for municipal operations – especially local Police Departments. Below are some key legislative and budgetary measures that Senator O’Connor has either sponsored or supported:
House Bill 4516, An Act relative to the municipal police training fund
Current Status: Signed into law, Chapter 153 of the Acts of 2018
This legislation will establish a reliable and dedicated funding source of up to $10 Million for municipal police training across the Commonwealth, similar to that of municipal firefighters, by establishing a $2 surcharge on all rented vehicles and depositing it into a dedicated fund. The legislature has generally funded Municipal Police Training (MPT) through appropriations in the state budget.
O’Connor’s Actions: Submitted a formal request to the Senate Committee on Ways and Means to approve of and release the bill for a further vote. Spoke in favor of passing the bill on the Senate floor during debate. Voted in favor of passing the bill to be engrossed. Attended the ceremonial bill signing on July 25, 2018.
Senate Bill 2633, An Act relative to critical incident intervention by emergency service providers
Current Status: Pending before the Senate Committee on Bills in Third Reading
This bill would allow for afflicted emergency service providers to be given critical incident stress management and crisis intervention services. These services would be protected as confidential, and anyone on a critical incident team who is conducting these services would be shielded from having to testify or divulge any information obtained through that work.
O’Connor’s Actions: Submitted a Formal Request to the Committee on Bills in the Third Reading to approve of and release the bill for a further vote. Maintaining contact with Committee to track any bill progress.
Forthcoming: A home rule petition from the Town of Weymouth to grant Weymouth Sergeant Michael C. Chesna’s family pension that reflects his elevation in rank from Officer to Sergeant.
Bill & Budget Amendments:
Sponsored by O’Connor:
Criminal Justice Reform Bill Amendment #87, Modernizing the Massachusetts Wiretap Law
Expands the use of electronic surveillance by state investigators. Under current law, electronic surveillance can only be used when a crime is committed in connection with organized crime. This amendment would remove this restriction to allow enhanced investigation of a wider array of criminal activity. The amendment retains the process and standards needed to warrant a wiretap.
Criminal Justice Reform Bill Amendment #116, Establishing Carfentanil Sentences
Creates a sentencing scheme for carfentanil. Creates a minimum sentence of five years for the trafficking, manufacturing, distributing, or dispensing more than 1 milligram of carfentanil. 1 milligram is the proven amount of carfentanil that can kill an average size adult male. "Carfentanil" includes any derivative of the drug and any mixture containing more than 1 milligram of the drug or a derivative of it.
FY19 Budget Amendment #1144, Crime Lab Testing Equipment
$1,000,000 to the state police crime laboratory to support increasing costs for training, certification, and testing of fentanyl, carfentanil, and other synthetic opioids in pure form.
FY19 Budget Amendment #74, Regional Animal Control Vehicle
Provides $75,000 for Cohasset to purchase a pickup truck to be used by the animal control officer in Cohasset, Norwell, and Hull.
FY18 Budget Amendment #190, Cohasset and Hull School Resource Officers
Provides $100,000 to the Cohasset Public Schools for a school resource officer and $153,132 to the Hull Public Schools for a school resource officer
Co-Sponsored by O’Connor:
FY19 Budget Amendments:
This budget amendment seeks to restore the JLMC to the House and Senate budget amounts that were originally set for Fiscal Year 2018 ($250,000). The JLMC budget supports the part-time Chairman, four (4) part-time Senior Staff Representatives and the direct expenses of the Committee, and is charged with the resolution of disputes over the terms of collective bargaining agreements between municipalities and their professional firefighters and police employees. Funding for the JLMC in Fiscal Year 2017 was at $250,000 and the caseload of the JLMC continues to increase.
Institutes a 10 year mandatory minimum sentence for anyone who discharges a weapon at a police officer.
Requires the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security to report on a course of action for updating the state police radio system by December 1, 2018.
GIC had legislation passed (805 CMR 9.00) related to their services to public employees. Under 9.01, it details that the new employee must "wait 60 days for their first date of employment to receive health insurance". Municipalities within the Commonwealth that are not affiliated with GIC do not have the same restrictions; they insure their police officers beginning their first day of employment. This poses the first inconsistency in how health insurance is offered to municipal employees in the state. This amendment would allow all public employees/police officers the benefit of health insurance beginning on the first day of employment, and eliminate the current 60 day wait period.
Creates a new dedicated funding source to support Municipal Police Training by assessing a $2 surcharge on all car rental transactions and directs receipts from the fees imposed and collected pursuant to Section 20 of Chapter 90 as amended by section 79 of Chapter 38 of the Acts of 2013 into the same account.