House Overrides Baker’s Vetoes of Key Programs for Malden

BOSTON – Representative Steve Ultrino (D – Malden) joined his colleagues in the House to override Republican Governor Charlie Baker’s vetoes of key programs that support Malden’s children, families, and seniors, and some of the state’s most vulnerable residents. Baker’s unilateral budget cuts came after the Legislature passed a balanced FY 2018 budget two months ago that made responsible investments in education, health care, and public safety.

The House voted to restore about $220 million in funding for MassHealth, including $209 million for caseloads, as well as funding for senior care and nursing home supplemental rates. The veto overrides also addressed funding for prostate cancer and pediatric palliative care. Funding for HIV/AIDS prevention services and affordable housing was also restored.

“These unilateral cuts put our community more at risk, and took away vital resources from poor individuals and families, for seniors, for people with serious illnesses and people suffering from homelessness,” said Representative Steve Ultrino. “I was proud to advocate for this funding, and am glad that the House restored these programs.”

Governor Baker also cut several Malden-specific budget items, including funding for Portal to Hope, which provides services for survivors of domestic violence, and Housing Families, which supports families who are experiencing homelessness or who are at-risk of being homeless. More Baker vetoes removed funding for opioid addiction treatment, including many programs needed in the Mystic Valley. Representative Ultrino vowed to fight these cuts.

“Families who are homeless, survivors of domestic violence and people struggling with opioid addiction need these resources desperately,” said Representative Steve Ultrino. “I will continue to advocate for this funding to be restored. The Governor’s cuts to our balanced budget are unwarranted and cruel, and fall on the backs of those most in need.”

The House’s veto overrides also included support for vulnerable populations and children including funds for:

•             Unaccompanied homeless youth
•             Samaritans suicide prevention services
•             The Chelsea Soldiers’ Home
•             Employment training for young adults with disabilities
•             Down Syndrome clinics
•             Aging with development disabilities programming

The House has been a longstanding champion of early education and care (EEC) and in this year’s budget made unprecedented investments to support the workforce, provide access to high-quality learning opportunities, and help prevent and detect mental health issues in young children. The House overrode the Governor’s veto of $1.25 million for Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation Services. The House also voted to restore funding for numerous other education programs and institutions including:

•             Public higher education
•             Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Program
•             Computer science education
•             Programs for English language learners in Gateway Cities

The House also voted to restore funding for essential safety initiatives including the Department of Fire Services and the Boston Regional Counter-Terrorism Center.

Each vote easily cleared the two-thirds threshold required to override the governor’s veto. The overrides now move to the Senate for final consideration.