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.
On April 30, the Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities held its first hearing of the session which focused mainly on bills related to the Department of Developmental Services (DDS). Four bills of concern to The Arc were heard with Nicky’s Law (joined with Dana’s Law, and otherwise known as the Abuse Registry Bill) being first on the panel’s list.
The House of Representatives passed a strong budget for persons with disabilities in April. We thank and appreciate House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Ways and Means Chair Aaron Michlewitz for their responsiveness as well as Rep. Ron Mariano and other House leaders. Thank you to House members who shared their priorities with fellow members and leadership.