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While Waiting for Jobs Bill

While Waiting for Jobs Bill

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Published by masshousegop

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Published by: masshousegop on May 08, 2012
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2012….With the days quickly ticking by before
lawmakers turn their full attention to re-election campaigns, House Republicans thisweek are taking full advantage of the chance to air out job creation proposals filed aspart of a package crafted earlier this year.With five bills pending before joint House and Senate committees dealing with energycosts, veterans' education, business regulations, taxes and health care, theoutnumbered GOP lawmakers are keeping close tabs on their proposals, some of whichhave already found their way into larger bills sponsored by Democrats.Two week ago, several proposals filed by House Minority Brad Jones and otherRepublican members as amendments to the House budget were incorporated in the$32.4 billion bill. Those amendments aim to give vocational and technical schools a seaton professional licensing boards, expand access to college credits for military training,create a student start-up business fund, and expedite professional licensing forveterans.Other pieces have been incorporated by Senate Democrats into an omnibus cleanenergy bill and the Valor Act passed by the Senate last week aimed at expanding joband education opportunities for veterans.This week there are four hearings on Republican-sponsored job creation bills, and atleast House Minority Leader Brad Jones and Rep. Viriato deMacedo have plannedmedia appearances to discuss their efforts.Though Democrats claim many of the ideas put forth by Republicans have beenproposed by Democrats as well over the years, the absence of a clear-cut job creationbill from Democratic leaders has given Republicans an opening to take some measureof credit.As Republicans have sporadically amplified their criticism of leadership for a perceivedlack of attention to job creation, Democrats have pushed back pointing to expandedgambling, a bill that froze unemployment insurance rates and pending legislationaddressing electricity and health care costs as efforts that will spur job growth andremove impediments to hiring.
 House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Economic Development Committee Chairman Rep.Joseph Wagner have also talked about an economic development proposal in theworks, though Wagner has said such a bill could take a back seat to the budget and ahealth care cost control bill."This election both statewide and nationally is jobs, jobs, jobs," Rep. William "Smitty"Pignatelli told the News Service Tuesday. "It's got to be about the economy and I thinkwe need to step up and try to do something. I think Chairman Wagner is talking aboutan economic development bill coming out in the next couple of weeks and I'm veryeager to see what that looks like and maybe we can incorporate some of thecomponents of these Republican bills as well."Wagner could not immediately be reached for comment on the timing of a bill, butRepublicans say they are pleased to see some GOP ideas being accepted by theirDemocratic colleagues."It is nice to see when common sense is used. The caucus put forward a lot of goodideas in its job package and I am pleased to see those ideas being used," Rep. AngeloD'Emila (R-East Bridgewater) recently told the News Service after his amendmentproviding educational opportunities for veterans was incorporated in the House budget.On Tuesday, D'Emilia, Rep. Steven Howitt (R-Seekonk) and Rep. Brad Hill (R-Ipswich)testified before the Joint Committee on Higher Education in favor of a bill that wouldrequire the Board of Higher Education to develop a policy requiring each public collegeand university in the state to develop procedures for evaluating whether veterans shouldreceive credit toward a degree based on their military occupation, training andexperience."They served their country and come back here and it's a disgrace we don't have worklined up for them," Howitt said.Sen. Michael Moore, co-chair of the Higher Education Committee, noted that theproposal had already been incorporated in the House budget and the Senate's ValorAct. "The House and Senate are trying to address this issue," he said.House co-chairman Rep. Thomas Sannicandro also noted that "we've been hearingabout this issue for quite some time."Prior to the higher education hearing, several House Republicans testified before theJoint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy on a bill that wouldestablish a 19-member commission to study the impact of state energy policies, such asthe Green Communities Act, on ratepayers."My concern is that we do these long-term, renewable energy contracts in the mostopen and transparent way," said Rep. Keiko Orrall (R-Lakeville).

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