By Bob Katzen
The House 153-0, approved and sent to the Senate a $353 million fiscal 2023 supplemental budget. Provisions include $86 million for the emergency shelter system to help offset medical costs for migrant families going to emergency rooms for shelter and assistance; $130 million to keep expanded nutrition assistance in place for a few more months; $65 million for the universal school meals program; and provisions to keep some pandemic-era programs, set to expire, in place including allowing restaurants to sell beer, wine and cocktails for take-out and expanding outdoor dining from April 1, 2023 to April 1, 2024.
Another provision extends the authority, set to expire in a few weeks, for public bodies, agencies and commissions to hold their meetings remotely until March 31, 2025.
“The package … covers a number of different areas that all require our immediate attention,” said House Ways and Means Committee chair Rep. Aaron Michlewitz (D-Boston). “This modest proposal addresses some of the pressing needs the commonwealth is facing currently. As we begin this legislative session, we are on a quick time frame for some of these programs and this spending bill is one that we need to move fairly quickly to ensure our people receive the services they need.”
“The migrant crisis our commonwealth has been facing with these last couple of months has put our will to the test,” continued Michlewitz. “While Washington continues to struggle with finding a reasonable compromise on a broken immigration system, it is the state and our municipalities that have been forced to pick up the pieces.”
(A “Yes” vote is for the budget.)
Rep. Christine Barber Yes Rep. Mike Connolly Yes Rep. Erika Uyterhoeven Yes