Veto overrides result in investments for education, workforce development
BOSTON – In a rare Saturday formal session, Representative Jeffrey Sánchez voted in favor of reinstating funding for several important budget priorities, beginning the final stage of the FY17 budget process—overrides. Budget overrides require a 2/3 majority in the House and Senate to override the Governor’s vetoes on specific spending items. Earlier this month, Governor Baker vetoed $256 million in spending from the FY17 budget.
“These budget overrides help vulnerable residents access the resources they need to succeed.” said Sánchez shortly after session ended. “It’s important that the success of our economy reaches each neighborhood of Boston and every corner of Massachusetts.”
The veto overrides touched on a wide array of departments, including education, welfare, and economic development. Early Education Rate Reserve, which provides the funding for teachers in vital pre-K classes, was restored to $12.5 million. Other education funding reinstated by the House included public libraries, Reach Out and Read, and Massachusetts Community Colleges.
The House also voted to override cuts and changes to the Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children program, which ensures that struggling families will continue to receive the support they need to get back on their feet. It reinstates $23.5 million in assistance without changing eligibility requirements.
The House also continued to support economic development and workforce programs, overriding vetoes to the Workforce Competitiveness Trust Fund, Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, Digital Health Internship Incentive Fund, and the Big Data Innovation and Workforce Fund. This funding will support the thriving innovation and biotechnology economies in Massachusetts and will oversee that the next generation of Bay Staters is prepared to participate in this new economy.
Another item of note includes the restoration of funding to early voting, which will ensure the Commonwealth can effectively implement the 2014 early voting law. It also restores funding for prostate cancer research and the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.
In session on Saturday, the House of Representatives also approved the conference committee report for pay equity legislation. The bill prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender in the payment of wages for comparable work. After being approved by the Senate, the bill now goes to the Governor for his signature.
The House will reconvene next Saturday, July 30th and Sunday, July 31st in the last two days of formal session to continue budget veto overrides and finalize legislative priorities. For a full list of budget veto overrides, click here.