I released the following statement today regarding the Senate
passing a version of the Fiscal Year 2015 state budget by a roll call vote of 39-1:
“The Fiscal Year 2015 state budget passed tonight by the
Senate includes many commendable features that are important for fiscal
discipline and encouraging economic growth, including a relatively limited draw
from the state’s stabilization fund, and the absence of any new broad-based
The budget also provides
significant spending on key priorities such as special education, regional
school transportation, substance abuse programs, and public safety.
Throughout the budget debate, Senate
Republicans have fought to secure needed reforms and critical investments, and to
bolster state efforts to grow jobs and the economy, and in many instances the
Senate has responded by approving several amendments, some of which include:
- Creating a commission to
study the effects of ACA medical device tax on the Massachusetts economy;
- Permitting veterans and
surviving spouses to continue to receive a veteran tax abatement if the
veteran’s property is placed in a trust and administered by a third party;
- Creating a five-member
panel that will have oversight jurisdiction over all facilities engaged in
forensic services in criminal investigations;
- Requiring the Governor of
the Commonwealth to seek a permanent waiver under the Affordable Care Act
to restore the rating factors and calendar requirement; and
- Requiring DCF to conduct
CORI checks on all household members of a foster home over the age of 14,
and ensuring that DCF takes the appropriate actions in its hiring and
placement process by requiring CORI, SORI, and fingerprint-based
This budget is an important step
in many fronts.
The work of reform,
fiscal discipline, and catalyzing a robust economic recovery is not done, and
we still have serious concerns that must be addressed, but this budget moves us
* Below are several amendments that the Senate Republican
Caucus was successful in securing.
OTH 12 Medical Device Tax Credit Commission
Creates a commission to study the effects of the ACA medical
device tax on the Massachusetts economy
OTH 21 Foundation Budget Review Commission
Revives the foundation budget review commission to review
foundation budget calculations and make recommendations for reform. An initial
report will be due on December 31, 2014 and additional reports every four years
OTH 35 Veterans Tax Abatements
Permits veterans and surviving spouses to continue to
receive a veteran tax abatement if the veteran’s property is placed in a trust
and administered by a third party.
OTH 63 Streamlining Municipal Collection
Clarifies the law that allows municipalities to designate a
Town Collector. Currently, the law requires all funds due to the municipality
to be paid to this office, including minor sums as library fines and senior
lunch payments. This amendment changes the language from "all" to
"any", giving the authority to collect any costs without requiring
the collection of all.
GOV 168 CORI Checks for ACA Navigators
Requires Navigator organizations, established under the
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, to obtain background checks prior
to hiring an employee as a “navigator,” and to conduct a background check for
all current “navigator” employees, within one year of enactment.
ECO 329 40B Cost Certification
Calls for a third party audit of all affordable housing
projects built through the comprehensive permit process since July 1, 1998 - to
determine money owed municipalities.
EPS 622 Oversight Board for Crime Lab
Creates a five-member panel that will have oversight
jurisdiction over all facilities engaged in forensic services in criminal
EPS 631 Removal of Pepper Spray from Firearms Identification
Removes the requirement of a firearm ID to purchase and
possess pepper spray or Chemical Mace.
EHS 674 Hospital Stay Waiver
Requires the executive office of health and human services
to seek a waiver from the Medicare requirement that admission to a skilled
nursing facility be preceded by a 3-day inpatient hospital stay.
EHS 678 Background Check Requirements Department of Children
Ensure that DCF is taking the appropriate precautions in its
hiring and placement process by requiring CORI, SORI, and fingerprint-based
EHS 694 Conducting Background Checks on Household Members of
Foster Care Home
Requires DCF to conduct CORI checks on all household members
of a foster home over the age of 14.
Requires the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services to establish
a public facing dashboard by June 30, 2015, which shall report on, but not be
limited to: 1) consumer satisfaction with provided substance abuse services,
and 2) key outcomes-based measurers, including step down to next level of care,
abstinence measures, and recidivism, with consideration to individual patient
acuity as defined in regulation.
EHS 726 Increased Bed Capacity
States that DPH shall prepare a report examining overall
substance abuse bed capacity across the full continuum of care from both detox
and post-detox treatment, in addition to a plan to ensure access to both short
and long term care.
EHS 894 Restoring Massachusetts Health Care
Requires the Governor of the Commonwealth to seek a
permanent waiver under the Affordable Care Act to restore the rating factors
and calendar requirement.