….relative to housing and homelessness?
The Senate Committee on Ways and Means will release their budget proposal on Tuesday, May 16th. The deadline to file any amendments to the SWM proposal is Thursday and debates will begin the following Tuesday, May 23rd. Debates will wrap up in time for Memorial Day Weekend.
The budget proposal release is not the only action and activity taking place at the State House next week, click here for the full schedule of hearings and events for the month of May.
There are three committee hearings on Monday – the House Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets; the Joint Committee on the Judiciary, and the Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change. Both the House and Senate will be in “informal session”.
Monday will be a good day to call your Senator’s office and let them know what you hope they will prioritize in the Senate Budget Debates. Click here look up your State Senator and below is a sample script:
“Hi, my name is ______ and I live in the Senator’s district in _(your town)__. I am calling because I am concerned about (housing, homelessness, transportation, jobs, education…be specific) and I am asking that the Senator prioritizes these issues during the upcoming budget debates.
And it will also be a good day to write testimony in support of or against any of the bills that are being considered in the week ahead. Verbal testimony should be 3 minutes or less. Written testimony can be submitted to the committee.
Tuesday is the big day! Not only will the budget be released, but there are 12 hearings scheduled!! The Joint Committee on Housing is hosting an Oversight Hearing (oversight hearings generally include invited panelists from State or Quasi agencies or other experts in the field and the public is open to listen). Other hearings focus on bills, many of which touch on the issue of family homelessness, and are open to the public to listen and/or give testimony:
- The Joint Committee on Education at 10 am: will consider bills (at least 4!) relative to school transportation for children who are homeless, as well as an Act requiring reports on the implementation of McKinney Vento Homelessness Assistance Act
- The Joint Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities at 1 pm: this hearing will cover a range of bills relative to homelessness and to families facing housing instability and poverty including:
Bill Bill Title Sponsor S.30 An Act to bring child support home Cynthia S. Creem S.34 An Act to lift the cap on kids Sal N. DiDomenico S.35 An Act to promote employment Kenneth J. Donnelly S.36 An Act establishing the healthy incentives program Eileen M. Donoghue S.37 An Act promoting financial stability and asset development James B. Eldridge S.71 An Act relative to prevention of EBT fraud Richard J. Ross S.72 An Act to further reduce EBT fraud Richard J. Ross S.73 An Act relative to work requirements Richard J. Ross H.84 An Act to further provide a rental arrearage program Marjorie C. Decker H.85 An Act relative to the well being and care of a child Marjorie C. Decker H.94 An Act requiring the Department of Transitional Assistance to track and report on the use of emergency shelter services by families Danielle W. Gregoire H.101 An Act improving public health through a common application for core food, health and safety-net programs Jay D. Livingstone H.105 An Act relative to strengthening public assistance programs Shaunna L. O’Connell H.106 An Act relative to the out-of-state use of cash assistance Shaunna L. O’Connell H.114 An Act to prevent homelessness among recipients of transitional assistance Denise Provost H.121 An Act preventing funds deposited in children’s savings accounts from counting against cash assistance benefits Chynah Tyler H.1952 An Act to bring child support home Christine P. Barber
- Other hearings of interest are on Public Safety, Public Health, and Health Care Financing
Wednesday there is one hearing hosted by the Joint Committee on Transportation. Wednesday will be a key day for confirming sponsors for Amendments to the Senate Ways and Means Proposal and Thursday will be the deadline. Now is the time to sign up for our action alerts if you have not already.
Did you know that Massachusetts often near the top of the list for the number of bills filed; but is close to the bottom of the list of the number of bills passed. This slightly outdated article lists us as passing only 5% of all bills. However, hearings give us all a chance to be heard; to make our case, to elevate an issue, to interact with those that make decisions impacting our lives, to support legislators fighting the good fight, and to call out injustices of bad bills.