The House Committee on Ways and Means released their budget proposal on Monday, April 10th, a change from the typical Wednesday release to accommodate for Good Friday. Representatives had until 5pm on Thursday to add amendments to the $40.3Billion spending proposal. Amendments can add additional funding and change line item language. Amendments must be filed by at least one representative, and others can add their name as co-sponsors after the amendment has been filed. Historically, representatives co-sponsored an amendment by signing their names next to the corresponding number in a book in the clerk’s office with a quill pen.
Advocates and others would have to go to the clerk’s office at the State House and ask to see “the book” to see who had signed on. Now, legislators can use the “quill” feature on an online system that we can all track. Technology makes the process much more transparent.
The Massachusetts Legislature’s website had a bit of a face lift since last budget season. This blog post gives an overview of how to navigate the website so that you can read the various amendments, see what amendments your representative filed, and check to see if your State Representative is supporting the Budget Amendments that are important to you.
Step 1. Go to https://malegislature.gov/
Step 2. Go to the House Debate Page
Step 3. Use the Filter
When you enter your search terms, don’t forget to click the “filter” icon; use the “clear filter” feature to start a new search.
- If you don’t know who your State Representative is, click here
- Housing programs all are listed with line item number 7004-
- Line items we follow are: MRVP (7004-9024); Emergency Shelter (7004-0101); and HomeBASE (7004-0108)
- Key words include: homeless, housing, voucher…
Step 4: Find your Amendment(s)
Step 5: Review the Amendment
Amendment #780 is an example of a funding amendment; striking the budget amount of $100M for MRVP and inserting $120M.
Click here to read the “technical amendment” #382 that was filed on MRVP
Step 6: Take Action
If your Representative is signed on: say thank you!
If your Representative is not signed on: ask him/her to consider co-sponsoring.
You can call, email, use social media, visit the State House, attend an event.
Feel free to contact us with any questions or for more information. For a sample script and a list of the amendments we are watching, click here
Stay tuned for more information; we will do our best to keep the blog updated as the budget process continues. Representatives have up until the debates begin to co-sponsor and get educated about the amendments.
The debates begin on Monday, April 24th!