By Bob Katzen
The Senate 39-0, approved a bill that would provide $1.1 billion to cover expenses related to response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Governor Baker has been urging the Legislature to quickly get a spending bill to his desk because the state cannot be eligible for federal reimbursements for costs related to the respiratory virus until a package is approved by the Legislature and signed by the governor. The House has approved a different version of the bill and a confernec committee willl n
The package includes $350 million for personal protective equipment, $139 million for rate add-ons for providers, $82 million for child care needs including emergency child care for essential workers, $15 million for essential behavioral health services including services for children, $15 million for food security support, $10 million for grants to community foundations with direct support like housing assistance, and $10 million for wage and benefit support to workers impacted by the virus.
“This bill will help the commonwealth continue to make strides in its fight against COVID-19 as well as support the many sectors impacted by this unprecedented public health crisis,” said Senate President Karen Spilka (D-Ashland). “With the Senate actively working on legislation to address racial inequities, I am thrilled this bill takes the historic step of recognizing the importance of Juneteenth—a day celebrating the liberation of the remaining enslaved African Americans—and making it a state holiday.”
“Due to the unprecedented challenges facing our commonwealth, this supplemental budget will allow us to maximize federal aid to support COVID-19 response costs and provide critical resources to help working families and our most vulnerable populations,” said Sen. Mike Rodrigues (D-Westport) the chair of the Senate Committee on Ways & Means.