On Sunday night, the House and Senate Conference Committee negotiated a compromise budget bill for FY’2020 (July 1, 2019-June 30, 2020) that includes significant gains for the Commonwealth’s disability community and their families. Yesterday, the House and Senate voted to approve this budget and it was sent to the Governor who now has 10 days to review the budget bill and make decisions on what to approve, veto or return with proposed changes.
The FY2020 budget is currently in Conference Committee and we need your help so that the highest amount of funding possible for our priorities is agreed upon by the two branches. The Conference Committee is composed of the House and Senate Ways and Means Chairs, Senator Michael Rodrigues and Rep. Aaron Michlewitz, and Vice-Chairs, Senator Cindy Friedman and Rep. Denise Garlick, and Senior minority members, Senator Viriato deMacedo and Rep. Todd Smola, to resolve differences in the House and Senate budgets and draft a compromise budget proposal.
The Senate and the House are moving into the final stages of their work on the FY’20 budget. Both chambers have finalized their budgets and the remaining work rests with the Conference Committee that must settle the differences of each line item from each budget.
The Conference Committee is made of three members each from the Senate and House Ways and Means Committees. This includes the Chair and Vice Chair of each committee and the ranking minority member from each committee. The Conference Committee members include Senators Michael Rodrigues, Cindy Friedman, and Vinny deMacedo; as well as Representatives Aaron Michlewitz, Denise Garlick, and Todd Smola.
We are watching closely four DDS line items where three of the House final numbers were greater than the Senate numbers. The Respite and Family Support line item (5920-3000) in the House budget was $3.5M more than the Senate version. The Community Day and Work line item (5920-2025) in the House was $3.4M more than the Senate version. The Autism Omnibus line item (5920-3020) in the House was $2.5M more than the Senate version. Finally, the Aging with Developmental Disabilities line item (5920-3025) was $100K more in the Senate than in the House version.
Now is the time to reach out our Representatives and Senators, urging them to contact the Conference Committee members and to ask them to support the budget version that best serves individuals and families. Deliberations by the Conference Committee are slated to begin next week, so action now is important. Now is the time to call your legislator (617-722-2000).
Click the images of the Conference Committee members below to be taken to their legislative profile (including direct contact information).
Last week, Chair Michael Rodrigues and the Senate Ways and Means Committee released their budget that aligns significantly with the Governor’s budget proposal. While we are grateful for the support for Turning 22, the increase of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education partnership program with Department of Developmental Services (DESE-DDS program) – with $300,000 above the Governor’s budget, and other critical line items, there are still significant shortfalls for the disability community.
Chair Michael Rodrigues and the Senate Ways and Means Committee released their budget with the theme “boldly move forward.” The budget blueprint highlights $2.1 billion in disability services in its executive summary. The investment in the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) tracks significantly with the Governor’s proposal in areas of housing, employment, transportation, and adult omnibus services.