All eyes will be on Senate President Karen Spilka Tuesday afternoon as she addresses the Government Affairs Forum of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. The annual address is an opportunity legislative leaders have traditionally used to set the agenda for ambitious policy goals and reflect on the last year.
The House Ways & Means Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) budget will be released Wednesday and with state revenues higher than they were when Governor Charlie Baker proposed his $45.6 billion spending plan, it’s anticipated that the House proposal will reflect a new, more optimistic outlook with increased spending. Amendments to the budget must be filed by this Friday, April 16 with debate scheduled to begin on Monday, April 26.
A large chunk of budgetary spending will be reflected in the local aid agreement set by legislative leadership, which includes a $219.6 million increase in Chapter 70 funding for K-12 public schools. This increase, if signed into law with the final budget, fulfills the first year of the seven-year implementation schedule of the landmark 2019 Student Opportunity Act that requires the state to spend $1.5 billion more annually for schools.
Also on Tuesday, the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development, chaired by Rep. Jay Cutler (D-Duxbury) and Sen. Pat Jehlen (D-Somerville) holds a virtual hearing on a proposal for an amendment to the constitution that would establish a right to employable skills training and the Joint Committee on COVID-19 and Emergency Preparedness and Management holds a virtual hearing focusing on the emerging COVID-19 variant strains.
On the heels of the Vaccine Equity Now! Coalition’s virtual town hall, the Special Joint Committee on Redistricting will meet virtually Wednesday morning. Those interested may testify virtually or submit testimony. The U.S. Census Bureau announced in February that states will receive necessary redistricting population data by September 30, months later than the original deadline of March 31. New precincts must take effect at the end of the year, compressing the timeline of the committee’s work. The Special Committee is co-chaired by state Senator William Brownsberger (D-Belmont) and Rep. Mike Moran (D-Brighton). Moran led the committee in 2011 for the House.
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