State Senate Restores Education, Public Health Funding

The Massachusetts Senate restored $24.9 million to the Fiscal Year 2018 budget last Friday, September 29, overriding 26 of Governor Charles D. Baker Jr.’s line item vetoes, which totaled $320.6 million.

These veto overrides bolster programs for children, families and vulnerable residents across the commonwealth, according to Senator Julian A. Cyr, a Democrat from Truro whose district includes Mashpee.

“These programs and services provide critical resources for people across the state—from housing support for young people and families, to mental health services for children to basic education and skills training for low income adults,” Sen. Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland), chairman of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, said in the release. “The Senate has carefully reviewed vetoes in the context of our difficult fiscal situation and ongoing efforts on health care cost containment. I am confident that the budget remains in balance and cautiously optimistic about revenue collections and potential savings moving forward.”

“The Conference Committee worked diligently to put together a balanced budget that made targeted investments in local aid, housing, children and families, and health care,” Sen. Cyr said. “The Legislature’s budget was thoughtfully developed and fiscally responsible, and I am proud to restore funding to vital programs that support people in all corners of the commonwealth.”

Overrides included $200,000 for the Commonwealth Preschool Partnership Initiative and $850,000 for adult basic education.

“The Senate reaffirmed its commitment to combating the opioid epidemic and advancing public health across the state, restoring $1.3 million for early childhood mental health clinicians, $5 million for MassHealth Senior Care and $800,000 to eliminate the waiting list for pediatric palliative care,” the release said.

In recognition of Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, the Senate restored $200,000 for Samaritans Inc. suicide prevention, intervention, education and outreach services.

Other overrides included $1.9 million for the Massachusetts Cultural Council, $7.5 million for MassHealth Nursing Home Supplemental Rates, $675,000 for Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Services and $250,000 to expand the state Housing Court.

“The overrides taken up by the Senate will benefit the residents of Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket,” Sen. Cyr said. “An expansion of the housing court to include Barnstable County will help to stabilize housing and keep residents in their homes. Overriding the governor’s vetoes to MassHealth Senior Care and MassHealth Nursing Home Supplemental Rates will ensure that older adults are able to access the long-term care they need while remaining out of the hospital and engaged in their community.”

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