BOSTON, SEP. 18 – Representative Driscoll and his colleagues in the House recently took action to restore vital funding that was vetoed by the Baker Administration. These veto overrides will enhance support for the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable residents, including those with dependent children, and bolster education initiatives.
The House voted to restore about $220 million in funding for MassHealth, including $209 million for caseloads, as well as funding for senior care and nursing home supplemental rates. The veto overrides also addressed funding for prostate cancer and pediatric palliative care.
“As elected officials, it is our duty to stand up for the voiceless and vulnerable,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D-Winthrop). “I thank my colleagues in the House for their extraordinary work to help those most in need while maintaining a responsible, balanced budget.”
“We restored funding to important statewide priorities and initiatives including monies for the pediatric palliative care and MassHealth to ensure full funding of the projected caseload while we continue to evaluate MassHealth reform,” said Representative Jeffrey Sánchez, House Chair of the Joint Committee on Ways & Means (D-Boston). “This returns us to Conference Committee funding levels, which are balanced and sustainable. We will continue to monitor state fiscal trends.”
“This round of veto overrides was centered on funding Mass Health and various other programs, ones that are mainly state-wide in scope,” noted Representative Driscoll.
The lawmaker for Milton and Randolph also drew attention to the fiscally responsible nature of the overrides, noting that the House “overrode vetoes to programs that are reimbursable via the federal government, limiting the final cost to Commonwealth taxpayers”. The vetoes add up to $274.7 million in public spending, but Driscoll pointed out that the federal government will reimburse for about $127.7 million.
The House took numerous steps to support vulnerable populations and children including funds for:
• Unaccompanied homeless youth
• Samaritans suicide prevention services
• The Chelsea Soldiers’ Home
• Employment training for young adults with disabilities
• Down Syndrome clinics
• Aging with development disabilities programming
The House has been a longstanding champion of early education and care (EEC) and in this year’s budget made unprecedented investments to support the workforce, provide access to high-quality learning opportunities, and help prevent and detect mental health issues in young children. The House overrode the Governor’s veto of $1.25 million for Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation Services. The House also voted to restore funding for numerous other education programs and institutions including:
• Public higher education
• Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Program
• Computer science education
• Programs for English language learners in Gateway Cities
The House also voted to restore funding for essential safety initiatives including the Department of Fire Services and the Boston Regional Counter-Terrorism Center.
Representative Driscoll was pleased to join his colleagues to override a number of line items that were specifically important to residents of the 7th Norfolk District. Driscoll noted that many constituents had called and written to his office recently to express their concerns with the Governor’s vetoes to key homelessness programs in the FY’18 budget. The governor's veto of line item 4000-0007, which was originally reduced by $675,000, was overridden by a roll call vote of 140 to 12. “While the state's revenue outlook is not ideal, the importance for homelessness prevention in our state has not diminished,” Representative Driscoll said.