In The People's Blog

On Monday, December 4, the Senate and House passed a conference committee report for a closeout supplemental budget. The $3.1 billion bill provides funds for a number of urgent needs and closes the books on Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23). It was signed into law a few minutes after it landed on the Governor’s desk.

Below I’ve included a summary of the funding and policy in this bill. My team and I worked in past weeks on provisions that are a priority for our district and our people.

Funding and ratifying collective bargaining agreements

Contracts for state university faculty and staff, community college faculty and staff, and state employees  — after they are agreed to by both union and employer — must then be funded and ratified through legislation. This supplemental budget contained $378 million in spending for 90 bargaining agreements.

We represent many state employees in the district, so funding and ratifying these contracts has been a top priority for months. I am grateful to the Senate President and the Chair of Ways and Means for their urgent work to get these contracts funded and for receiving advocacy from me, my team, and constituents with open hearts and minds.

$15 million for municipal storm damage relief

Municipalities in the district — and statewide — are grappling with multi-million dollar unanticipated expenses due to storms that damaged roads, bridges, and other infrastructure. As we close the books on FY23, I was glad to advocate for this budget to include $15 million to help municipalities repair and rebuild. (This is also why I joined with Representative Natalie Blais to file legislation to create a state disaster relief fund, read more here.)

Strengthening career centers to help new residents find work

MassHire Career Centers are central to helping employers hire and to helping people find fulfilling work. This year, the state’s career centers are experiencing higher demand than anticipated as newly-arrived migrants and immigrants get their employment authorization documents and seek jobs.

We have employers clamoring for employees and we have newly-arrived migrants and immigrants who want to work. 

That’s why I worked with colleagues to help secure $2 million in funding in the supplemental budget so that our career centers can continue this critical matchmaking.

Supporting small town police departments

When the legislature passed police reform legislation in 2020, the law required significant additional training for part-time officers. This has resulted in staffing challenges across small town police departments.

I worked with colleagues to support a provision in the closeout supplemental budget that provides financial assistance to student officers to attain the newly-required training, and to allow that training to be offered in partnership with community colleges. This will result in better trained small town police departments and will hopefully reduce the strain on municipal budgets so they are not left to pay for the cost of officer training.

More funds to shelter families as winter approaches

To address the ongoing humanitarian emergency shelter crisis, the final bill allocates $250 million to be spent to address costs associated with sheltering eligible families, including by making funding available for temporary emergency shelter sites for families on a waitlist for permanent shelter. The final bill also stipulates that a portion of the $250 million be spent on support services and resources so that individuals and families can address the complex issues and challenges they face, as well as reimbursements to school districts for increased enrollment costs associated with an influx of migrant students.

Other notable items in the closeout supplemental budget include: 

  • $75 million for school districts impacted by special education tuition rate increases
  • $500,000 for the Commission on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning Youth
  • Funding for MassHealth
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