October 17, 2013
Boston – Senator Richard J. Ross (R-Wrentham) voted today to pass a supplemental budget including both new spending and unspent funds from the fiscal year 2013. The budget provided funding for shelter programs, MassHealth fee-for-service payments, and reimbursements to cities and towns for their special election costs, among others. The supplemental budget passed unanimously.
“This budget includes several important priorities that will particularly benefit our constituents who are most vulnerable,” said Senator Ross. “I am pleased that we are able to provide essential relief to individuals and families in need across the Commonwealth.”
Senator Ross spoke before his colleagues in support of several amendments he had filed to the supplemental budget. Citing the rising costs associated with hosting special elections, Senator Ross debated on behalf of his amendment which mandates cities and towns receive their special election reimbursements within thirty days of the special election. This amendment was withdrawn as the issue will be addressed in future legislation. Additionally, Senator Ross sought to include a commission to study vegetation removal performed by public utility companies, with a focus on the fiscal and environmental impacts of that practice. Senator Ross was disappointed to see this amendment rejected by the Senate.
An amendment, co-sponsored by Senator Ross, to extend $20 million in funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) for the Fiscal Year 2014 was also passed by the Senate. LIHEAP provides heating assistance to low-income, elderly individuals, working families and other individuals in need. The advance funding provided to agencies administering LIHEAP will be subject to federal reimbursement.
A conference committee will be appointed to resolve all differences between the supplemental budgets passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Please contact the office of Senator Ross with any questions or concerns at (617) 722-1555 or Richard.Ross@masenate.gov.