In case you missed it, today marks the first day of debate on the House Ways & Means Fiscal Year 2015 Budget.
As you may have heard, the House of Representatives recently unveiled their $36.2 billion state budget proposal. While the Democratic-majority set an unfortunate tone to this year’s budget debate by refusing to consider amendments relative to local aid, education spending, and welfare reform, the House Republican Caucus will not be deterred.
During this year’s budget debate, House Republican’s firmly believe that the Legislature must make considerable strides in delivering a budget that is mindful of the economic times, while producing a spending plan that delivers an accountable and transparent state government which reflects the taxpayers’ priorities, and seeks to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse.
Tonight’s debate will now focus on amendments relative to judiciary/public safety. Below, you will find the amendments offered by House Republicans, along with a brief description of the amendment.
Amendment 11 - Controlled Substance Analogue (Jones, Bradley) ADDS new outside sections establishing a controlled substance analogue law. This would require that substances substantially similar in the chemical structure of a controlled substance be treated the same as the controlled substance counterpart.
Amendment 28 - Indigent Counsel Fee Collection (Harrington, Sheila) ADDS a new outside section requiring that indigent counsel fees be paid by bank check or money order. Also requires that the payments be time stamped, copied and initialed as collected.
Amendment 45 - Juvenile First Degree Murder (Jones, Bradley) ADDS new outside sections establishing parole procedures for juveniles convicted of first degree murder. No such juvenile will be eligible for parole until the expiration of 35 years. In order to be granted parole, the parole board must vote unanimously in favor of parole.
Amendment 54 - Prohibit Paid Counsel for Sex Offender Classification Hearings (Jones, Bradley) ADDS new outside sections prohibiting the use of state paid counsel for sex offender classification hearings.
Amendment 602 - An Amendment relative to the collection of outstanding delinquent legal fees (Lyons, James) ADDS a new outside section adding language to indigent counsel fee collection requiring that if a counsel fee has not been made in 90 days, the Registry of Motor Vehicles must suspend a person's drivers license.
Amendment 754 - Relative to the protection of persons with disabilities (Poirier, Elizabeth) ADDS a new outside section requires that an individual who has forced or unnatural sexual intercourse with a person with a disability be punished by imprisonment.
Amendment 37 - Inmate Fee - Social Innovation (Jones, Bradley) ADDS a new outside section allowing for the collection of inmate fees. The language ensures that inmates would not be denied access to care for inability to pay any fees. Fifty percent of fees collected would be transferred to the Social Innovation Financing Trust Fund; CHANGES the language for the Social Innovation Financing Trust Fund (1599-3557) to require that 100% be paid through inmate fee collection.
Amendment 87 - Elevator Inspections (Jones, Bradley) ADDS a new outside section that reduces the requirement for elevator inspections for churches and religious organizations from every year to every three years.
Amendment 255 - Full Public Safety Grant for Hamilton (Hill, Bradford) EARMARKS $200K from the Executive Office of Public Safety account (8000- 0600) for a public safety grant to the municipality of Hamilton. Increases the overall appropriation by $200K.
Amendment 256 - Partial Public Safety Grant for Hamilton (Hill, Bradford) EARMARKS $100K from the Executive Office of Public Safety account (8000- 0600) for a public safety grant to the municipality of Hamilton. Increases the overall appropriation by $100K.
Amendment 295 - Barnstable County Sheriff's Office (Vieira, David) INCREASES the total appropriation for the Barnstable Sheriff account (8910- 8200) by $1.8M.
Amendment 475 - Prison Mitigation (Dooley, Shawn) ADDS a new outside section establishing the Prison Mitigation Fund. Directs at least $2.8M to be annually distributed to host cities and towns according to the following formula: the aggregate amount in the fund divided by the average daily prisoner population at all facilities, multiplied by the average daily prisoner population located within the respective host city or town.
Amendment 707 - Commission to study implementation of national criminal background checks
(O'Connell, Shaunna) ADDS a new outside section establishing a commission to research and develop procedures to implement a system permitting criminal offender record information requestors to conduct fingerprint-based background checks with the national criminal history databases. A report is required by December 30, 2014.
Amendment 738 - An Amendment for Department of Fire Services (Kuros, Kevin) INCREASES the total appropriation to the Department of Fire Services (8324- 0000) by over $3M.
Amendment 740 - Bristol Sheriff's Office (Poirier, Elizabeth) INCREASES the total appropriation to the Bristol County Sheriff's office (8910- 8300) by nearly $2.8M.
Amendment 760 - Prison Mitigation Fund (D'Emilia, Angelo) ADDS a new outside section establishing a Prison Mitigation Fund. Directs that not less than $2M shall be distributed according to the following formula: the aggregate amount in the fund divided by the average daily prisoner population at all facilities, multiplied by the average daily prison population within the city or town.
Amendment 763 - Prison Mitigation Fund Allowing Host Communities $800,000 (D'Emilia, Angelo) ADDS a new outside section establishing a Prison Mitigation Fund. Directs that not less than $2.M be distributed each fiscal year according to the following formula: the aggregate amount in the fund divided by the average daily prisoner population at all facilities, multiplied by the average daily prison population within the city or town. No city or town may receive more than $800K in a fiscal year.
Amendment 1041 - Funding the Worcester County Sheriff's Department's 'After Incarceration
Support Systems Program' (Durant, Peter) ADDS $150K by creating a new line item (xxxx-xxxx) in the Worcester County Sheriff's Office to operate the After Incarceration Support Systems Program in Worcester County.
Amendment 1052 - Peace Officer Standards and Training (Vieira, David) ADDS new outside sections establishing the Special Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST). Directs the commission to focus on proposing how to implement a POST system in Massachusetts, does not require the commission to develop specific standards or training, with a report due by July 1, 2015.
Amendment 1071 - MA Sheriffs' 'After Incarceration Support Systems Programs' (Durant, Peter) ADDS $1.5M by creating a new line item (xxxx-xxxx) for the Massachusetts Sheriffs' Offices to operate After Incarceration Support Systems Programs.
Amendment 1106 - The Yellow Dot Program (Durant, Peter) ADDS $1M by creating a new unspecified line item for the operation of an Emergency Responder Yellow Dot Program. The Yellow Dot Program is a voluntary program of the RMV to assist drivers and passengers who choose to participate and emergency medical personnel in reporting critical medical information in the event of an accident or medical emergency.