Posts Tagged ‘Andrea Aldana’

Session Featured Big Bills, Less Public View

Monday, August 20th, 2012

By Lester Black and Andrea Aldana

BOSTON – Not long after state lawmakers ended their formal work for 2011 with a near-midnight November session, they began congratulating themselves for an exemplary season of legislating.

Among those accomplishments: casinos with the promise of new jobs and tax revenue, a law allowing municipalities to negotiate health insurance for public workers, balancing a budget in tough economic times and stabilizing the state’s pension plan.

“I would say this was one of the most impressive sessions over the past 30 years in terms of legislation passed,” said Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Association.
(more…)

Special Report: Openness and Productivity on Beacon Hill

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

USA522letterBWPrintSession Featured Big Bills, Less Public View

BOSTON – Not long after state lawmakers ended their formal work for 2011 with a near-midnight November session, they began congratulating themselves for an exemplary season of legislating.

Among those accomplishments: casinos with the promise of new jobs and tax revenue, a law allowing municipalities to negotiate health insurance for public workers, balancing a budget in tough economic times and stabilizing the state’s pension plan.

“I would say this was one of the most impressive sessions over the past 30 years in terms of legislation passed,” said Michael Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Association.

But how much really got done this year, and, more importantly how much of the legislative process that moved these bills to law took place in public?

Numbers can be interpreted in different ways. Of the 206 bills passed in 2011, 39 – or 19 percent – affect the entire state – many in significant ways. Another 25 percent of the bills signed by Gov. Deval Patrick established sick leave banks for public employees. The rest were administrative laws pertaining to individual cities and towns, such as alcohol licenses and land transfers.

But behind the issue of legislative productivity looms a larger question about the process that moved various bills down the road, or left them on the roadside. A survey by the Boston University Statehouse Program of 19 major legislative committees that shape and move legislation found this process increasingly takes place outside the public view.

Among the findings:

- The staff for 15 of the committees polled said some voting is done through e-mails rather than in open executive sessions. The staff of 10 committees said the votes were not available to the public. State law requires that roll-call votes in executive sessions be recorded and made public. But committee rules do not address e-mail voting.

- Minutes and other details of committee meetings were not available from 18 of the committees, according to their staff. State law does not require such documentation of legislative committees, although it is required by other Massachusetts.

- Among the lack of documentation are records of attendance by committee members. Observers say fewer committee members now show up for public hearings as the work of the committees takes place through phone discussion or e-mail polls.

(more…)

Special Report: Mass. Takes on Mission Helping Vets Find Work

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

By Andrea Aldana

Since 2001, over 37,000 Massachusetts residents have served in Afghanistan or Iraq.  Now, with the official end of Iraq War, the Patrick administration wants to help returning troops find jobs.

It won’t be an easy. While the U.S. unemployment rate stood at 10 percent in March, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that unemployment for those who served after September 2001 had a rate of 11.5 percent. Veterans between ages 18 to 24 face an unemployment rate of 21.5 percent.

Those who work with veterans say finding a job is their first mission when they return home.

“The biggest [concern] they mention is obviously the segue into employment,” said Roxanne Whitbeck Plymouth’s Veterans’ Service officer.

The importance of jobs is illustrated by other numbers. Veterans represent 11 percent of the adult U.S. civilian population, but 26 percent of the homeless population, according to the Homeless Research Institute.

The Patrick Administration announced a new series of initiatives in November to support the hiring of veterans, including a task force to promote the benefits of hiring veterans and increased partnerships with potential employers through the Massachusetts Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives.

Employers can also advertise their support with a “Proud Employer of Massachusetts Veterans” plaque if they employ a veterans.

The state also has 34 one-stop free career centers with veterans’ employment representatives whose assist in job search and resume writing.

Vincent Perrone, a retired Air Force officer who is president of Veterans Inc. , said  such lessons are critical.

“When I left the military, they had a voluntary transitional assistance program, which these days are pretty much mandatory,” said Perrone, whose Worcester-based company provides aid to veterans . “I learned how to rewrite my resume. I hadn’t gone out on a job interview in 20 years.”

Lt. Gov. Tim Murray said the state is working to get the message across that veterans tend to be goal and career-oriented, as well as inform employers of tax credits they receive.

“We’re doing better on education and outreach but we can certainly do better,” he said.

The governor also created a subcommittees on veteran services for student veterans and re-employment within his advisory council .

“Fundamentally, we have an obligation. That’s something the governor and I feel strongly about,” said Murray, who chairs the Governor’s Advisory Council on Veteran’s Services, which Patrick established in April 2007.

Murray said the council grew out of meetings he and Patrick had with veterans during the 2006 gubernatorial campaign.

“In Westfield, one of the veterans talked about how it [the council] existed in the past, and it was a good opportunity to bring different veteran organizations and veterans from different wars and conflicts to talk about issues veterans were having,” Murray said.

The council works with the Department of Veteran Services, reviewing state and federal laws and programs relating to veterans.
“It’s been a great vehicle to make sure we are meeting the needs of veterans that have served in past wars and conflicts and making sure we’re prepared for the wave of coming home,” Murray said.
John Yazwinski, president and CEO of Father Bill’s & MainSpring, a non-profit organization that provides emergency shelter and workforce training for homeless veterans, works closely with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as well as the Massachusetts. Department of Veteran Services.

“We have a contract with the VA to shelter veteran families and individuals, and we have a contract with the DVS where we provide homeless veterans with workforce opportunities,” he said.

The organization, which has offices in Quincy and Brockton, assisted 200 local homeless veterans in 2010. Some 90 participated in the workforce program, according to Yazwinski. Fifty veterans found permanent employment.
The new initiatives continue the state’s leadership in veteran’s affairs. Massachusetts is the only state to offer vets financial assistance, including food, clothing and housing supplies, according to a report issued by Murray’s office.

Other benefits unique to the state include $2,000 annual payments to disabled veterans, Gold Star parents, who have lost their son or daughter during service, and Gold Star spouses, if not remarried.

Massachusetts gives $1,000 to soldiers who return from active duty in Iraq or Afghanistan as a Welcome Home Bonus. An additional $500 is given for additional tours in the war zones.

Massachusetts has also led in reducing homelessness among veterans. In 2011, there were 1,268 homeless veterans in Massachusetts, down 18 percent from the previous year. The homeless rate declined 19 percent from 2000 to 2011, compared to 12 percent in the nation, according to Paulette Song, a spokeswoman for the Executive Office of Health and Human Services.
Future plans include a $2.86 million budget proposal for fiscal year 2013, providing $700,000 for Veterans Quit Smoking Patch Initiative and extending property tax exemptions to Gold Star widows until they remarry.

“Massachusetts is second to none in the U.S. to resources for our veterans,” Yazwinski said. “We feel very confident because of the commitment we see from the VA and the Patrick-Murray administration.”

Father Bill’s & MainSpring works closely with local veterans’ service officers, providing information about services and referring those who may be at risk for homelessness.

State law requires each city and town to have a veterans’ service officer.

“They really are the point people,” said Murray. “[Secretary of Veterans Services] Coleman Nee works with them on a daily basis and they have a strong partnership statewide.”

Murray said there was a strong collaboration between the VA and veteran service officers and state government.

“We are very aggressive in acquiring federal grants and will continue to be aggressive,” he said. “It’s really been a concern of this administration to secure federal funding.”

In 2010, the state secured two homeless veterans’ reintegration program grants and one workforce investment program grant from the federal government.

Yazwinksi said he hoped the federal and state government would continue such efforts as a new wave of troops come home.
“They’ve done so many tours. They’re coming back with PTSD that we as a country need to help with,” he said.

Quincy’s Tackey Chan wrapping up his first year in Legislature

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

By Andrea AldanaThe Patriot Ledger
Posted Dec 01, 2011 @ 07:44 AM
Last update Dec 01, 2011 @ 08:16 AM

BOSTON —Freshman state Rep. Tackey Chan of Quincy receives lots of emails and phone calls from his district every day.

Some, mostly from the Quincy’s Asian community, arrive via his mom, Siu Hay Chan.

“Those are always fun,” Chan said with a laugh.

Chan, along with Rep. Donald H. Wong, R-Saugus, made history on Nov. 2, 2010, by becoming the first Asian-Americans elected to the House. But Chan said a desire to represent the Asian voice was not his primary reason for seeking election.

“I truly just want to be an asset to the community and make sure everyone has as much access as they can to the government,” Chan said.

Chan attended Catholic schools, then went to Brandeis University. He commuted to school in three of his four years at Brandeis, while his mother worked nights at New England Medical Center, now Tufts Medical Center.

Chan’s mother was active in his campaign for the 2nd Norfolk District House seat last year – a seat that Stephen Tobin held for 22 years.

Chan, who is not Catholic, said he went to Catholic schools because his father, who died of colon cancer when Chan was 15, had attended parochial schools.

Chan said he learned the value of community service during those years.

“As I told the priest at St. Ann’s on the closing day, the best thing about St. Ann’s is that you were never reminded that you were different. You were allowed to be part of the group,” he said.

Though he is in his first year as a representative, Chan is no stranger to the State House. The Wollaston native was an intern for former state Rep. Michael Bellotti before graduating with a degree in politics from Brandeis. He then worked for former state Sen. Michael Morrissey for 12 years and as assistant attorney general for three years.

“(Morrissey) let me do a lot of different things,” Chan said. “I took constituent calls: tree problems, pothole problems, crosswalks, Medicare, Medicaid. You name it, I’ve taken a call on it, as well as worked on intricate policy matters.”

Morrissey, now Norfolk County’s district attorney, said Chan “was highly recommended by Michael (Bellotti) and really liked politics; that impressed me. And he was bilingual. We also had a growing Chinese population in Quincy, so it was a natural fit.”

Chan’s parents met in Hong Kong in the 1960s while in their 20s, but they immigrated to the U.S. individually. His mother is from Hong Kong and his father grew up in a small town in China.

Chan went to law school at night while working full time for Morrissey. At the same time, he was part of the Quincy Asian Collaborative, a group formed to assess the needs of the growing Asian population in Quincy.

The collaborative worked closely with local organizations such as the YMCA, and recognized that not enough services were being provided to the immigrant population, said John Brothers, executive director of Quincy Asian Resources Inc.

“Tackey was one of the key members of that group,” Brothers said.

Quincy Asian Resources Inc., established in 2001, was a product of three years of those collaborative meetings, Chan said. Chan was the founding board president for the first three years, then was treasurer.

Brothers worked with Chan in 2000 promoting participation in the U.S. Census.
“It was a typical example of Tackey’s commitment to the community and civic life,” Brothers said.

Brothers said Quincy will soon print ballots in Chinese – a direct result of the 2010 Census.

According to the federal 2010 Census, 24 percent of Quincy’s population is Asian. Fifteen percent is Chinese.

Chan likes to hear from his district, whether it’s through his mother or not. A favorite issue is children – their health and education. On one recent day he left an eight-hour hearing conducted by the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy to attend a presentation on autism – an issue he considers important to his district because of the number of special-education students in Quincy.

“These issues cross racial and economic boundaries,” he said.

________________________________________________________________________________
AGE: 38

ADDRESS: 66 Meadowbrook Road, Quincy

OCCUPATION: State representative; member of Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure, Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy, House Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change; private attorney

EDUCATION: Boston College High School, 1991; bachelor’s degree in politics, Brandeis University, 1995; law degree, Southern New England School of Law, 2003

MUNICIPAL EXPERIENCE: Former member, Quincy Board of Zoning Appeals; former chairman, Massachusetts Asian-American Commission

CIVIC ACTIVITIES: Board member, Work Inc.; founder and board member, Quincy Asian Resources Inc.; member, Montclair/Wollaston Neighborhood Association; member, Friends of the Thomas Crane Public Library; former board member of Quincy Community Action Programs

FAMILY: Single
Phone: 617-722-2430
E-mail: Tackey.Chan@mahouse.gov

Link to Story

Legislature rolls the dice on casino gambling

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

By Andrea AldanaThe Patriot Ledger

Posted Nov 16, 2011 @ 03:04 AM
Last update Nov 16, 2011 @ 03:08 AM

BOSTON — South Shore legislators say they hope Tuesday’s passage of a casino bill will pay off in jobs, additional state revenue and the return of Massachusetts gamblers who have left billions of dollars on the tables of other New England casinos.

“This bill wasn’t an issue of should we legalize gambling or not,” said Rep. Mark Cusack, D-Braintree. “Gambling was legalized in ’71 with the establishment of the Lottery Commission. This is about expanded gambling to create jobs and increase revenue.”

The final bill establishes up to three casinos and one slot machine parlor. Casino developers will pay the state at least $85 million in initial licensing fees and promise to invest at least $500 million in each casino resort.
Rep. James Cantwell, D-Marshfield, voted for the bill despite his concern about the slot parlor. But he said the bill addressed one of his other concerns: gambling addiction. The bill would require gambling sites to provide free on-site counseling and display information on gambling addiction.

“We have people right now who (gamble) in Connecticut and Rhode Island and they have those same problems of bankruptcy and we don’t have the ability to help them,” Cantwell said.

An amendment to the bill establishes a cooling-off period that would bar public officials who had been involved in gambling legislation from working in the industry for one year after leaving government.

The final bill does not include the “happy hour” provision approved by the Senate on an amendment by Sen. Robert Hedlund, R-Weymouth, but instead requires a two-year study by the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission. Hedlund’s amendment would have lifted restrictions on happy hours in bars if casinos are allowed to give away drinks for free.

Hedlund and Sen. John Keenan, D-Quincy, voted against the bill. The Senate passed the final bill 23-14 shortly after the House voted 118-33 for the bill.

Keenan had previously offered an amendment that would have eliminated the slot parlor and limited the number of resort casinos to two.

“Three casinos and one slot parlor oversaturate the market, and the social cost associated with it would outweigh any of the financial benefits,” he said.

Link to Story

Quincy dad ‘grateful’ as Senate passes three-strike bill for violent felons

Friday, November 11th, 2011

By Andrea AldanaThe Patriot Ledger

BOSTON — Criminals convicted of a third violent crime would be denied parole under a bill unanimously approved by the Senate on Thursday.
The Quincy man who has been fighting for such a law since his 27-year-old daughter was murdered by a habitual offender in 1999 was at the State House to see the vote.

Les Gosule of Quincy, father of murder victim Melissa Gosule, and Chuck Maguire, brother of Jack Maguire, a Woburn police officer shot last December by a habitual offender, were present for the Senate debate. They issued a joint statement Thursday morning urging the Senate to move the bill forward.

Melissa Gosule, a Boston teacher and Randolph native, was kidnapped, raped and murdered in 1999 after she accepted a ride from a passer-by after her car broke down in Bourne. Her killer, Michael Gentile of Halifax, had a record of 22 arrests.

“The members of our family suffered a terrible tragedy. It took me and my family 12 years to get here,” Les Gosule said after the vote. “I am so grateful today. I hope the House does the right thing next week and this brings the bill to the governor’s office.”

Dominic Cinelli, Maguire’s killer, had been paroled despite convictions that led to three concurrent life sentences.

“Had these changes been seen earlier, Dominic Cinelli wouldn’t have been out on the street,” said Sen. Robert Hedlund, R-Weymouth.

The list of crimes that would trigger the three-strikes rule covers more than 60 offenses, including armed robbery, murder, manslaughter, rape, kidnapping, mayhem, arson, unlawful possession of an assault weapon and assault and battery causing serious bodily injury.

The bill balances the tough-on-violent-crime attitude with an easing of some mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenders, lawmakers said.

Opponents, including prisoner-rights groups and the Massachusetts Bar Association, said the three-strike rule would increase prison crowding and state costs.

Some local senators were opposed to reducing mandatory minimums for certain drug crimes. Hedlund said he had opposed weakening those provisions.

Sen. John F. Keenan, D-Quincy, filed amendments that would have maintained stricter sentencing for high-level drug offenders.

‘‘If they’re not dealing drugs but using, results are better if they get treatment,” he said after the vote. “If they’re dealing, I believe they should be incarcerated for a longer period of time than what has been agreed upon.”

The bill now goes to the House.
Material from the State House News Service was used in this story.

Link to Story

Massachusetts aims to help returning veterans

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

By Andrea AldanaThe Patriot Ledger

The 28,000 Massachusetts residents who served in Iraq and Afghanistan since Sept. 11, 2001, faced danger and deprivations in the war zone. Now, according to local veterans officials, the thousands of military personnel returning to civilian life by year’s end will face another challenge – finding work.

“They want to be able to know that they have an established lifestyle, not cast in the wind when they return,” said Anton Materna, Rockland’s veterans agent.

Quincy Veterans Agent Thomas Stansbury said it was hard to categorize the needs of all veterans because they all have individual issues.

“Because of the economy, they could owe money and mortgages,” he said. “Some made more in a civilian job than in the military and have to get back into the swing of making money and paying bills.”

On Wednesday, state officials recognized the problems facing returning vets as Coleman Nee, secretary of the Council on Veterans’ Services, joined with others to announce a series of initiatives at the State House.

Lt. Gov. Tim Murray, veterans’ services chairman, had been scheduled to attend the meeting, but left the State House early to be cleared by a physician after he was in a car accident Wednesday morning.

Plans include an optional veteran designation on driver’s licenses and state IDs and the creation of subcommittees within the governor’s advisory council on veteran services for student veterans and re-employment. Massachusetts businesses would also have the option of displaying a plaque that shows they employ veterans.

The Patrick administration plans to file legislation that would allocate money for a range of veterans programs, including employee training and nicotine patches, funding for homeless shelters, and extending the property tax exemption for Gold Star widows and widowers until they remarry or die.

The House adopted an amendment Wednesday that would add $700,000 to the Welcome Home Bonus account to provide up to $1,000 bonuses for Massachusetts residents returning from deployment.

Roxanne Whitbeck, Plymouth’s veterans agent, praised the state for its benefits to veterans.

“Massachusetts is head and shoulders above other states,” said Whitbeck. “Chapter 115 (Massachusetts veteran benefits law) helps veterans financially. If they can’t find that job right away, it bridges financial gap until they are employed again.”

Massachusetts is the only state in the country that has a veterans’ service coordinator in every city. It is also the only state that pays servicemen and women deployment bonuses for multiple overseas deployments, Nee said.

Stansbury said, “The most important thing, that they know that every city and town has a veterans agent and we’ll sit down and explain all the benefits to them. A lot of our veterans haven’t even applied for our veterans bonus.”

Materna said returning veterans need help returning to civilian life.

“Coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan is very difficult for veterans who are accustomed to one set of rules,” Materna said.

Material from State House News Service was used in this report.

Link to Story

Mass. political redistricting proposal passes House, Senate

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

By Andrea AldanaThe Patriot Ledger

After months of hearings with voters and meetings with lawmakers, the House and Senate gave quick approval to a redistricting plan Tuesday that will redraw the Massachusetts political landscape for the next 10 years.

The Senate voted 36-0 for its boundaries. The House voted 151-3 for its boundaries after rejecting seven of eight amendments, including one filed by Rep. Bruce Ayers, D-Quincy, to keep his district the same.

Under the plan, Ayers would lose Precinct 3 of Ward 3 to Rep. Martin Walsh, D-Dorchester, and swap precincts with Rep. Tackey Chan, D-Quincy. Ayers would also lose Precinct 5 of Ward 5 to Chan and gain Precinct 4 of Ward 3.

Three other local representatives did not challenge the changes made to their districts.

Rep. Daniel Webster, R-Pembroke – who represents Duxbury’s Precincts 2, 3, 4 and 5 – would pick up Precinct 6 from Rep. Thomas Calter, D-Kingston, who would gain Precinct 2 of Halifax from Webster.

When Webster ran for office in 2002, he promised his constituents that he would work to unify Duxbury, he said.

“Ideally (the district) would be all of Hanson, all of Pembroke and all of Duxbury, but they’ve grown too much,” said Webster.

Webster said he would serve his Duxbury constituents just as he did before.

“Before, when I only represented four (Duxbury) precincts, I always regarded (the town) as completely in my district and that will remain the same as it always has,” said Webster.

Calter, who would represent Precinct 1 of Duxbury and all of Halifax, applauded the redistricting committee, but was disappointed that towns in his district would continue to be split.

“While I am delighted that Halifax will be unified, I am disappointed for the towns of Duxbury and Middleboro who had hope that their two towns would be unified as well,” said Calter.

Rep. Walter Timilty, D-Milton, said that because both Milton and Randolph precincts changed, changes to his district were inevitable.

But he said the changes will have little effect because he considers himself as a representative of both towns.

Timilty said he works closely with Ayers and Rep. Mark Cusack, D-Braintree, in representing Randolph, and with Reps. Linda Dorcena Forry, D-Dorchester, and Angelo Scaccia, D-Readville, in Milton. Scaccia would no longer represent Milton in January if the plan is enacted.

Link to Story

Baby boomers may get their own Mass. license plates

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

By Andrea AldanaThe Patriot Ledger

BOSTON — Baby on board? How about baby boomer on board?
It may be taboo to ask people of a certain vintage how old they are, but legislation pending on Beacon Hill would give baby boomers the option of telling the world they aren’t spring chickens by putting up the money for a special license plate.

Exactly what the baby boomer plate would depict or say is unknown. The design will be selected through a contest judged by a five-person panel appointed by the state’s secretary of elder affairs.

That assumes that the Legislature goes along with the idea, and the governor signs it into law.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Sarah Peake, D-Provincetown, would allow the Registry of Motor Vehicles to issue a Baby Boom Generation license plate and distribute the revenue to a special fund for local councils on aging.

A completely unscientific sampling of people walking near the State House on Wednesday found mixed interest in the plate.

“That’s a great idea,” said Robert Zaykon, a financial planner from Newton. “I very well might do it. They have Red Sox and Cape Cod plates. Why not have the boomers?”

Colin Blair, a state researcher from Arlington, said he would not buy the boomer plate, especially to display his age.

“They can tell it’s not a teenager driving,” said Blair, who has a Right Whale Environmental plate. “Why would anyone want to be identified?”

Baby boomers were born between 1946 and 1964.

The plate would cost at least $30, in addition to the regular registration fee of $90 for two years. All special license plates now sold by the Registry cost an extra $40, except the Olympic Spirit and Cape Cod plates, which are $50.

The Executive Office of Elder Affairs would distribute proceeds to the councils on aging in direct proportion to the number of plates registered within each council’s jurisdiction. The money could be used for salaries, health screening and volunteer development, according to the bill.

Maureen Firnrohr, a medical office secretary from Marshfield, had her doubts about this and other aspects of the plates, saying she wouldn’t pay the extra money.

“A lot of government money never really reaches the towns,” she said. “It would be nice if the money goes to where it’s intended.”

Link to Story

Ayers pushes for state rules on body piercing

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

By Andrea AldanaThe Patriot Ledger

QUINCY —BOSTON – Quincy was the first city in the state to stipulate that people younger than 18 could not get body piercings – studs, rings and the like – without parental permission.

Now a state representative from Quincy is pushing legislation that would take the rules statewide. Mom or Dad would have to accompany any teen 17 or younger who wanted to get a body piercing, and they would have to sign a consent form.

“Some of the high-risk, blood-borne diseases minors are vulnerable to can be prevented by this legislation,” Rep. Bruce J. Ayers, D-Quincy, said after testifying Tuesday before the Legislature’s Committee on Public Health at a public hearing.

“What this legislation would do is … create a statewide law regulating sanitary body piercing practices,” said Ayers, who filed the bill.

In 1997, Quincy was the first municipality in the state to require parental consent for body piercings. While other cities and town have since followed suit, there is no state law regulating the practice.

The proposed legislation would authorize the state Department of Public Health to implement regulations such as requiring parental consent, ensuring the cleanliness of the facility, proper sterilization and disposal of equipment and requiring education and training for those who perform piercings, as well as mandatory apprenticeship programs, Ayers said.

Mik Miller opened the first body-piercing shop in North Quincy in the summer of 1996. The Quincy City Council passed the age restriction a few months later. During the summer of 1997, Miller’s license to run his shop, Body Xtremes, was suspended for seven days because a 17-year-old Weymouth girl’s navel was pierced even though the girl did not have parental permission.

Ayers was the Ward 6 councilor at the time.

In an interview, Miller said the girl had a fake ID. He said he has since taken courses to distinguish fake IDs.

“I believe the proposals are very good to a point, but Ayers needs to expand them,” Miller said. “There are procedures that are more medical than they are body piercing, like microdermals.”

Microdermals, piercings that are implanted into the skin, are illegal in Quincy. Miller would like to see the state ban them. He also supports greater regulation of home-based piercings.

“There are a lot of people who are illegally tattooing and piercing minors in their homes,” he said.

Miller believes that state legislation would also help enforce regulations in communities where laws exist.

The city of Brockton has regulations similar to those in Quincy and those being proposed statewide. Both cities require parental consent, training for operators, including anatomy and physiology courses, and apprenticeships under a licensed body piercer.

“I think it’s a good thing and it should be the law,” said Kenny Furlong, the piercer at Pins & Needles Tattoo’s & Body in Brockton. “It keeps minors safe. A lot of houses tend to do it illegally, and they don’t know appropriate sterilization techniques.”

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, Massachusetts is one of 18 states without laws restricting body piercing on minors.

Link to Story

Other News »