Showing posts with label senator Spilka. Show all posts
Showing posts with label senator Spilka. Show all posts

Monday, August 21, 2023

Senator Spilka's 55+ Health and Wellness Fair - Oct 14, 2023

Please save the date for the 2023 Fair, taking place Saturday, October 14, again at Keefe Tech School in Framingham.   

 

We look forward to seeing you on October 14, 2023.


RSVP online at -> https://karenspilka.com/fair2023


Senator Spilka's 55+ Health and Wellness Fair - Oct 14, 2023
Senator Spilka's 55+ Health and Wellness Fair - Oct 14, 2023


Thursday, August 10, 2023

MA State budget signed, one of the line items cut is "Hey Sam"

"GOV. MAURA HEALEY on Wednesday signed into law her first state budget, setting a different tone than the Republican who held the corner office for the previous eight years.

She invited Senate President Karen Spilka and House Speaker Ron Mariano to join her at the signing ceremony, signaling a united front among the top three Democrats on Beacon Hill. It was a departure from past practice under former governor Charlie Baker; Mariano called it a new precedent.

Overall, the $56 billion budget gives all three Democrats items they can crow about. Healey trumpeted a measure she initiated to cover “last-dollar funding” so students over age 25 can attend community college for free. She also highlighted a big boost in funding (1 percent of the state budget) for the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, the largest increase ever in K-12 school funding, and a 48 percent increase in funds for the state’s emergency shelter program."

The Mass Municipal Assoc also provides coverage ->  https://www.mma.org/gov-healey-signs-fy24-state-budget/

Boston Globe provides coverage of the signing ->

Via Senator Rausch wasn't pleased with one of the line items cut
"I am pleased that @MassGovernor signed much of the FY24 budget today, but concerned about several significant cuts, incl. complete elimination of funding for Hey Sam, a 100%-successful youth mental health text line, amid an ongoing #mentalhealth crisis. My full statement"
Senator Rausch statement on "Hey Sam"
Senator Rausch statement on "Hey Sam"

Sunday, July 2, 2023

Senate President Spilka: Progressive tax relief, celebrating Juneteenth + Pride Month, and more!


Updates from Beacon Hill & MetroWest

Delivering tax relief for residents who need it most.

Dear Friends –


June has been quite the month.

 

We passed progressive tax relief, spent joyful hours celebrating pride with our LGBTQ+ community, and commemorated freedom for all at Juneteenth events around MetroWest. To top it off, our local farmers' markets are in full swing—one of my favorite summer activities.

Our work on Beacon Hill has been truly historic. The tax relief package that the Senate unanimously passed will reduce income inequality, make Massachusetts more competitive nationally, and lessen the crippling impact of rising prices, inflation, and economic uncertainty. It delivers relief for workers, families, and elderly residents who are bearing the brunt of the rising costs of healthcare, housing, education, and basic goods. It is permanent, progressive, smart, and sustainable tax relief for the people who need it most.


It was an equally exciting month in MetroWest. My team and I joined Juneteenth celebrations in several of our communities, cut ribbons on educational and public safety facilities, and visited the MetroWest Visitors Bureau to discuss our incredible region—something I could talk about forever.

As always, my office is available if you need assistance or wish to share your opinion. You can email me at karen.spilka@masenate.gov or call 617-722-1500.


And if you see me by the tomatoes at one of our local farmers' markets—don't hesitate to say hello.


Warm regards,

Speaking to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Forum

I had the privilege of speaking to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce this month, and my message to them was: there's no place like home.


We have everything we need here to create a thriving, multiracial, diverse and welcoming Commonwealth that can be the envy of the other states. But we must tackle head-on the challenge facing the rest of the nation – that of shoring up and expanding our middle class.


By expanding access to the middle class, we can help the people who do some of our most important jobs – like home health aides, child care providers, and human service workers, among others – achieve the American dream.


That's why I'm proud the Senate has focused on the fundamentals, like access to housing, health care and higher education, among many other things, in our Fiscal Year 2024 budget and our recent tax relief package.

Tax Relief for Residents

On June 15, the Senate unanimously passed a $590 million tax relief bill which delivers support to low- and middle-income earners and chips away at the headwinds that threaten Massachusetts' competitiveness.


Focusing on providing relief to residents across Massachusetts while upholding fiscal responsibility, the Senate's tax relief package will provide relief to renters, seniors, and parents struggling with high early education costs while also increasing much-needed housing production.


As I have said from the outset, tax relief should go to the workers, families, and elderly residents of the Commonwealth who need it most.


LEARN MORE

Juneteenth: Liberty and Justice for all Americans

Three years after the Senate voted to make Juneteenth a state holiday, I am thrilled to see it being celebrated around MetroWest and all around the country. This day reminds us that none of us are free until we are all free, and that it is incumbent on us to do the work of dismantling systemic racism in Massachusetts and nationwide. 


Juneteenth is a celebration of all Americans finally being truly free - and a reminder of the important work that lies ahead. I am immensely grateful to my colleagues in the Massachusetts Senate who work to uplift Black voices and strive to create a more equitable society for all.

From outdoor painting, to live music, to book recommendations and great food, MetroWest was full of lively Juneteenth celebrations this year! Thanks to the many community organizations who stepped up, including Ashland Residents for Equity and Action, Wayside Youth & Family Support Network in Framingham, and organizations in Natick, including Natick for Black Lives Matter, Spark Kindness, and others.

Celebrating Pride

It was a joy to celebrate Pride in MetroWest and at the State House alongside friends and leaders. We rejoiced in our diverse identities and unity as a Commonwealth, and stood firm in our commitment to equity and protecting the rights of our LGBTQ+ community. Making Massachusetts a place for everyone is not just a moral imperative—it is our competitive advantage. To LGBTQ+ folks and their allies around the country who are facing renewed discrimination, I say, come to Massachusetts!

I am especially proud of how residents of MetroWest cities and towns have come together to celebrate love, diversity, and equality with local Pride celebrations. Our communities must be places where everyone can live authentically and thrive.


Photos are of Pride celebrations in Hopkinton, where I was joined by Congressman Jim McGovern, Framingham, and Ashland.


Friday, June 2, 2023

Senate President Spilka: I'm so proud of the Senate's FY24 budget


Special Budget Update

Last week, the Senate overwhelmingly approved our Fiscal Year 2024 budget.

It's a great budget.


The funding and initiatives it contains will propel Massachusetts forward through expanded opportunities, and help us boldly face the future with our Commonwealth's unique brand of courageous competitiveness, which balances the need for economic fundamentals with our commitment to our highest values.


I am so proud that the Senate voted resoundingly for a transformative budget built on the simple principle that our success as a Commonwealth is tied to the success of every single person who calls Massachusetts home.


Massachusetts will be competitive so long as people from all over the world can come here to fulfill their dreams – whether by going back to school, advancing their career, starting a business, or finding affordable housing and child care to raise a family.


At a time when our world-class educational institutions are more needed now than ever, this budget adds a new chapter in Massachusetts' storied tradition of making education accessible to all through our expanded Student Opportunity Plan.


I want to thank Chair Rodrigues, Vice Chair Friedman, Assistant Vice Chair Comerford, the Senate Ways & Means Committee and all my Senate colleagues for their thoughtful and collaborative work on this budget.

As always, my office is available if you need assistance or wish to share your opinion. You can email me at karen.spilka@masenate.gov or call 617-722-1500.


Warm regards,

The Massachusetts Senate approved on Thursday a $55.9 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24). Following a robust, spirited, and engaging debate process, the Senate approved 478 amendments, adding $82.2 million in spending to the budget.


As the Commonwealth continues to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Senate's budget prioritizes upholding fiscal discipline and responsibility and supports the long-term economic health of the state.


The Senate budget delivers historic levels of investment in education, housing, regional transportation, health care, workforce development, climate preparedness, and much more, while centering equity and opportunity as part of a broader, more comprehensive strategy to make Massachusetts more affordable, inclusive, and competitive. LEARN MORE

Fair Share Revenue

Consistent with the consensus revenue agreement reached with the Administration and House in January, the Senate's FY24 budget includes $1 billion in revenues generated from the Fair Share ballot initiative voters approved in November 2022, which established a new surtax of 4 per cent on annual income above $1 million and invests these new public dollars to improve the state's education and transportation sectors.


To safeguard this new source of revenue, the Senate's FY24 budget also establishes an Education and Transportation Fund to account for these Fair Share funds in an open and transparent manner. This will ensure the public is visibly informed about how much revenue is collected from the new surtax and how much of this revenue is being dedicated to improving public education and transportation systems in accordance with the ballot initiative. LEARN MORE

Education

The Senate Ways and Means FY24 budget proposal takes the first step toward implementing the Senate's Student Opportunity Plan by making high-quality education more accessible and by making record investments to support students across the full breadth of the Commonwealth's education system, from Massachusetts' youngest learners to adults re-entering higher education. 

 

Recognizing that investments in our early education and care system support the underlying economic competitiveness of the Commonwealth, the Senate's budget makes a historic $1.5 billion investment in early education and care. This is the largest-ever proposed annual appropriation for early education and care in Massachusetts history. For context, this area of the budget has increased by more than 77 percent (more than $660 million) over the budget from three fiscal years prior. The FY24 budget will maintain operational support for providers, support the early education and care workforce, and prioritize accessibility and affordability throughout our early education and care system.

 

Notably, this will be the first fiscal year in which the annual state budget includes a full year of funding for C3 grants, signaling a historic commitment to maintain this crucial lifeline for our early education and care sector. Funded at $475 million, this program, which is open to all early education and care providers, provides monthly payments to programs throughout Massachusetts. These grants, which are received by 88% of early education and care programs in the Commonwealth, have empowered programs to raise salaries, to hire additional staff, to maintain their enrollment levels, and to avoid tuition increases. Without the continuation of these grants, 751 providers (which serve over 15,000 children) have indicated that they would have to close their doors.

 

Other notable funding includes:

 

  • $45 million for the center-based childcare rate reserve for reimbursement rates for subsidized care, including:
  • $20 million in line-item appropriations, and
  • $25 million in expected leftover funds from Fiscal Year 2023
  • $30 million for the Commonwealth Preschool Partnership Initiative, which empowers school districts to expand prekindergarten and preschool opportunities through public-private partnerships. This is double the amount that was appropriated for this initiative in FY23.
  • $25 million in new funding to reduce the waiting list for income-eligible child care assistance program, which will create approximately 2,200 new slots for children
  • $25 million in new funding for capital investments in early education and care programs to build capacity and ensure the ability of programs to safely accommodate additional slots
  • $17.5 million for grants to Head Start programs, which provide crucial early education and child care services to low-income families
  • $15 million, an increase of $5 million over FY23, to assist early education and care staff members with paying for their own personal child care
  • $10 million for professional development and higher education opportunities for early educators, to assist with recruitment and retention challenges in the workforce
  • $5 million, an increase of $1.5 million over FY23, for mental health consultation services in early education and care programs


In addition to these appropriations, the Fiscal Year 2024 budget includes a policy section that will allow subsidized early education and care programs to provide child care discounts to their own staff members.


For K-12 education, the Senate commits once again to fully funding and implementing the Student Opportunity Act (SOA) by FY 2027, investing $6.59 billion in Chapter 70 funding, an increase of $604 million over FY 2023, as well as doubling minimum Chapter 70 aid from $30 to $60 per pupil. This investment ensures that the state remains on schedule to fully implement the Student Opportunity Act by FY2027 and ensures that all school districts are equipped with the resources to deliver high quality educational opportunities to their students.

 

In addition to these record investments in early education and public K-12 education, the Committee's budget expands pathways to affordable public higher education for all by building capacity for free community college for all students in Fall 2024. Laying the groundwork for this momentous change to make higher education more accessible, the Senate budget includes $275 million for the scholarship reserve, $55 million to accelerate and build up capacity to support free community college across all campuses by fall of 2024, and $40 million for free community college programs for students aged 25 or older and for students pursuing degrees in nursing starting in the fall of 2023, thereby addressing a critical need felt across the state.

 

The Committee's budget also welcomes students regardless of their race, national origin, citizenship, or immigration status, making clear that all high school students who attend for three years and graduate from a Massachusetts high school are eligible to receive in-state tuition at our public institutions of higher education.  LEARN MORE

There is so much more in the Senate's FY budget...

Please go to karenspilka.com to learn more!

Press

An unfinished piece of criminal justice reform business: Raising the age for juvenile offenders


Boston Globe

May 25, 2023

Mass. Senate passes $56 billion budget, with focus on higher education access


GBH News

May 25, 2023

Give in-state college tuition to undocumented immigrants




Boston Globe

May 20, 2023

Senate budget would make undocumented students eligible for in-state college tuition. Healey says it's 'a really good thing.'

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Boston Globe

May 9, 2023

Senate reveals $55 billion spending plan; proposes free community college for all



Telegram & Gazette

May 9, 2023

Senate budget boosts RTA funding, backs fare-free buses


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Commonwealth Magazine

May 9, 2023

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Senate President Karen E. Spilka | Massachusetts State House, Room 332, Boston, MA 02133

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