Senate restores $24.9M for education, public health, arts

cfriedman 90Friedman among votes to reverse vetroes.

Globe opinion, Oct. 1: Build Mass. by building arts 

UPDATED Oct. 1: The state Senate has restored $24.9 million to the fiscal 2018 budget, bolstering valuable programs for children, families and vulnerable residents statewide.

Among those voting to override 26 of Governor Baker's line-item vetoes, totaling $320.6 million, was Senator Cindy F. Friedman, Democrat of Arlington.

"The Senate took a stand today to secure resources that are vital to the well-being of our residents in the Commonwealth," she said in a Sept. 29 news release. "We've made a commitment as legislators to advocate for the needs and interests of our most vulnerable residents in the towns and cities we represent. I'm proud to vote for these additional investments to help ensure that more children and families have access to the resources they need to thrive in Massachusetts."

The Senate restored funding for several programs that focus on high-quality education for everyone, from children at birth to adults making midlife career transitions. Overrides include $200,000 for the Commonwealth Preschool Partnership Initiative and $850,000 for adult basic education.

The Senate reaffirmed its commitment to combating the opioid epidemic and advancing public health across the state, restoring $1.3 million for early childhood mental-health clinicians, $5 million for MassHealth Senior Care and $800,000 to eliminate the waiting list for pediatric palliative care.

In recognition of Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, the Senate restored $200,000 for Samaritans Inc. suicide prevention, intervention, education and outreach services.

Other overrides included:

$1.9M for the Massachusetts Cultural Council;

$675K for Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Services; and

$250K to expand the Housing Court to serve all residents across the state.

Senator Karen E. Spilka, Democrat of Ashland, chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, said in the release: "These programs and services provide critical resources for people across the state -- from housing support for young people and families, to mental health services for children to basic education and skills training for low income adults.

"The Senate has carefully reviewed vetoes in the context of our difficult fiscal situation and ongoing efforts on health-care cost containment. I am confident that the budget remains in balance and cautiously optimistic about revenue collections and potential savings moving forward."

Senate President Stan Rosenberg, Democrat of Amherst, said, "The Senate's analysis shows that these critical services are necessary and affordable, and will go a long way toward supporting working families across the Commonwealth. These investments will ensure that the right resources are in place to educate and promote the well-being of tomorrow’s learners and leaders, while also taking care of our most needy." 

This news announcement was published Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017, and updated Oct. 1, to add link.