On April 15th, the House Committee on Ways and Means released their budget proposal. You can read our analysis here, Mass Law Reform’s analysis on programs impacting families with low incomes here, and Mass Budget and Policy Center’s full analysis here.
Representatives filed 1,096 amendments to the proposal. All of the amendments are posted online and can be viewed here. Using the on-line mass.gov tool, you can search for particular amendments by key word, line item number, and amendment number and/or legislator name. If you click on the amendment number, you will be able to see the text of the amendment, as well as the names of the legislators that have signed on in support.
The chart below includes amendments that are relative to homelessness. We included all amendments that are being filed to our priority line items, issues that correspond to our Visioning Day recommendations, amendments that are priorities of our partner organizations, earmarks, and amendments that would have a negative impact on the people experiencing housing and economic instability, so that you know what is at stake in the debates.
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Next week, the House of Representatives will debate the amendments in order to finalize the FY 16 House Budget. Much of this process is done behind closed doors in “caucus meetings”, or meetings pertaining to a particular topic, such as housing. Legislators will have an opportunity to speak for or against a specific amendment, and then the Ways and Means committee will determine which amendments will get considered as part of a broad “consolidated” amendment relative to each topic. Then legislators will vote on the consolidated amendment. In other words, not every amendment will get voted on. This is why it is so important for you to advocate and let your representative know what amendments are important to you – and to addressing our family homelessness crisis. We need Legislators to show their support through co-sponsoring, but also for going to the caucus meetings and speaking up for the important issues. They need you to help educate them so that they can be active participants.
Click here to find out who your Representative is and their contact information.