Friday, May 23, 2014
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 taxes. 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 background checks.
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 forward.”
* Below are several amendments that the Senate Republican Caucus was successful in securing.
OTH 12 Medical Device Tax Credit CommissionCreates a commission to study the effects of the ACA medical device tax on the Massachusetts economy
OTH 21 Foundation Budget Review CommissionRevives 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 thereafter.
OTH 35 Veterans Tax AbatementsPermits 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 CollectionClarifies 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 NavigatorsRequires 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 CertificationCalls 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 LabCreates a five-member panel that will have oversight jurisdiction over all facilities engaged in forensic services in criminal investigations.
EPS 631 Removal of Pepper Spray from Firearms IdentificationRemoves the requirement of a firearm ID to purchase and possess pepper spray or Chemical Mace.
EHS 674 Hospital Stay WaiverRequires 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 and FamiliesEnsure that DCF is taking the appropriate precautions in its hiring and placement process by requiring CORI, SORI, and fingerprint-based background checks.
EHS 694 Conducting Background Checks on Household Members of Foster Care HomeRequires DCF to conduct CORI checks on all household members of a foster home over the age of 14.
EHS 724 Quality OutcomesRequires 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 CapacityStates 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 CareRequires the Governor of the Commonwealth to seek a permanent waiver under the Affordable Care Act to restore the rating factors and calendar requirement.