The following is the text of a letter from Senate Republican Leader Bruce Tarr and House Republican Leader Brad Jones, Jr. to House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Therese Murray:
Dear Speaker DeLeo and President Murray:
On Sunday, Governor Patrick signed the Fiscal Year 2013 State Budget. This year’s budget took major steps to reform public safety and to ensure that public resources are protected and spent appropriately. Unfortunately, the Governor issued vetoes to measures that would reform the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) program and keep our roadways safe.
These reforms were acted on by the Legislature in a bipartisan and bicameral way. The decisive actions by the House and the Senate indicate the importance of moving forward on these priorities, including:
· Proof of legal residence to obtain the registration of a motor vehicle.
· The removal of certain items or services for purchase using EBT cards.
· Vendor payments of rent and utilities to be made by the state when it has been determined that public resources have not been used in the best interests of a child or any other chronic misuse has occurred.
Contrary to the Governor’s belief that these reforms are “political grandstanding” tactics, the members of the Legislature and the majority of the citizens of the Commonwealth are in favor of such common sense protections. Not only will these changes ensure that EBT benefits are reserved for those who truly need them, but these reforms will also make certain those who are in this country illegally and others are not able to use our roadways with reckless abandon because of the Administration’s failure or unwillingness to address this serious public safety issue.
The above measures differ greatly from actions taken by other states, including Arizona. These priorities are modest measures that both Republicans and Democrats have embraced. Members of the Legislature deserve the opportunity to vote on overriding the Governor’s vetoes and to reinstate these very important measures in the budget. On behalf of the House and Senate Republican Caucus’, we write today to ask for your continued leadership and support in bringing these vetoes to the floor of the House and Senate for a final vote immediately.
Thank you for your continued leadership on this very important matter. If we can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate in contacting us.
Senator Minority Leader
House Minority Leader