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Legislature Passes Spending Bill with Focus on Families of First Responders

BOSTON, Mar. 24 – Representative Bill Driscoll Jr. joined his colleagues in the Massachusetts Legislature to pass a supplemental budget that makes crucial investments to support the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable residents including the families of those killed in the line of duty.

“As public officials it is our job to look out for those facing adversity, especially our younger residents and those battling addiction,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo. “As we encounter uncertainty on a national level, this bill will provide vital resources for these individuals and families. I’m particularly proud that we’ve bolstered financial support for the families of Massachusetts heroes who are killed in the line of duty.”

“This vote was taken hours after we gathered to celebrate the life of father of five, Randolph resident & 20-year veteran of the Watertown Fire Department, Joe Toscano," Representative Driscoll said. “I echo the Speaker in being particularly proud to support our firefighters and other first responders' families by voting to double the benefit paid to families should their loved one be killed in the line of duty," he added.

The House continues to provide record-level funding to confront the behavioral health and substance addiction challenges plaguing Massachusetts. This legislation invests more than $2.8 million for the Department of Mental Health. It also provides support in numerous ways to help vulnerable populations including:

· More than $5.2 million for the Department of Children and Families;

· Nearly $11 million for the Department of Developmental Services which will help than 464 individuals;

· About $4.5 million for the Department of Elder Affairs;

· About $21 million for emergency homelessness assistance;

· More than $31 million to provide legal representation for those who cannot afford it including youths and those with mental health problems.

The spending bill also doubles the benefit for those killed in the line of duty, bringing the total to $300,000 to provide support for their families.

The legislation now goes to the Governor for his signature.

*Photo: Ken McGagh, Wicked Local Randolph

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