H.3505 – An Act making appropriations for the fiscal year 2019 to provide for supplementing certain existing appropriations and for certain other activities and projects
On Wednesday, February 28th 2019, the Massachusetts State House of Representatives passed H.3505, a $135 Million supplemental budget. I joined my colleagues in voting affirmatively to pass the measure. The supplemental budget addresses multiple areas including heating assistance, enhanced support for victims of sexual assault, and programs to help those experiencing homelessness. Below are some highlights of what the bill included.
Increased funding for Low Income Heating Energy Assistance (LIHEAP)
Amount: $30 million (+$19 million from Governor’s proposal)
Details: This program ensures that all families in the Commonwealth can afford to keep their heating on through the winter. The additional funding makes up for the Federal funding shortfall.
Increased funding for Emergency Shelter Assistance for people and families experiencing homelessness
Amount: $10,046,612 (level with the Governor’s proposal)
Details: This program helps individuals and families that are experiencing homelessness by increasing the amount of shelter beds to help accommodate the needs of the State.
Increased funding for sexual assault evidence testing kits
Details: This program will aid in addressing the backlog of sexual assault kits in the State and ensure that we are on the right path towards bringing justice for victims of sexual violence.
Increased funding for the costs associated with an independent statewide examination of the safety of gas distribution infrastructure
Details: These funds will go toward addressing the safety hazard of poorly maintained pipelines. After the disaster that took place in the Merrimack Valley in September, the State is incentivized to take a good look at what can be done to prevent another emergency.
Authorization of Collective Bargaining Agreements
Details: The Supplemental Budget included authorization for collective bargaining agreements previously made between employers and trade unions for the following organizations/departments:
- Massachusetts Department of Transportation and DOT Unit A – National Association of Government Employees, Clerical and Administrative Workers
- University of Massachusetts and the New England Police Benevolent Protection Organization, Amherst Campus, Unit A07
- University of Massachusetts and the Maintenance and Trades Unit/MTA/NEA, Lowell Campus, Unit L93
- University of Massachusetts and Classified and Technical Union, Lowell Campus, Unit L92
- Sheriff of Bristol County and the National Association of Government Employees, Maintenance Workers, Unit C
- Sheriff of Worcester county and the New England Police Benevolent Association, Local 550, Unit SW6
- Sheriff of Hampden County and the National Correctional Employees Union Mental Health Staff Unit, Local 131, Unit SH1