Today is one of those good days. Yesterday afternoon, we celebrated the positive news from the State House’s Conference Committee led by Chairs Jeffrey Sanchez and Karen Spilka. The conferees gave us the highest funding possible from the two versions of the budget released earlier this session. At 7:57 pm last night, Mike Moore’s office gave us word that the Senate had passed Nicky’s Law – a registry bill which will prevent staff who have abused adults in the Dept. of Developmental Services (DDS) program or service to work in another DDS setting.
Yes, pretty good news.
These outcomes also demonstrate how collaborative our General Court can be. We’ll use the Registry bill or Nicky’s Law as an example. From the beginning, the bill has had the significant efforts from the Senate, the House, and the Administration. It is an essential disability rights bill. Lead sponsors Mike Moore and Linda Dean Campbell have worked together on ensuring similar bills through most of this legislative session.
Chair Kay Khan worked with House and Senate members on her committee to address early revisions in the House bill, giving it a strong endorsement. As the bill was going through one more set of changes over the past few weeks, Sen. Moore reached out to Sen. Pat O’Connor, who had sponsored another bill while still supporting Nicky’s Law. Sen. Moore accepted some changes from Sen. O’Connor’s bill as well as input from others. Ways and Means Chair Karen Spilka and staff made the changes needed to gain passage.
As we go back to the House, the leadership from the Speaker, his leadership team, and continued collaboration will be essential. Even before Senate passage, Children, Families and Disabilities Chair Kay Khan was working with sponsor Linda Dean Campbell and Ways and Means to review the changes in the bill.
This is a bill where the branches have had a shared vision and investment. Its time has come. We hope to have another good day soon this month. Stay tuned.
To read more on the Conference Committee budget, visit our State Budget page.
Leo V. Sarkissian