In case you missed it, today marks the third 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.
Today’s debate will begin with amendments relative to labor and economic development. Below, you will find the amendments offered by House Republicans, along with a brief description of the amendment.
Amendment 23 - Fairness in Workers Compensation (Jones, Bradley) ADDS a new outside section prohibiting an employee from receiving workers' compensation benefits if an injury is caused by serious willful misconduct, including the use of drugs and alcohol on the job.
Amendment 34 - Student Entrepreneurial Development and Economic Investment Fund (Jones, Bradley) ADDS a new outside section creating a channel for students to receive funding at a prototype level before they have reached the point of presenting a business plan to a private venture capital company. The intent is to foster an economic environment that will keep students in the Commonwealth after graduation from college by promoting the business opportunities available to them in Massachusetts.
Amendment 53 - Treble Damages (Jones, Bradley) ADDS a new outside section reversing the 2008 law mandating treble damages for employees who prove that their employers did not properly compensate them - this includes willful violations and accidental violations, like accounting errors.
Amendment 258 - Full Renovation of Topsfield Town Hall (Hill, Bradford) EARMARKS $150K from the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism account (7008-0900) for renovations to Topsfield Town Hall. Increases the overall appropriation by $150K.
Amendment 259 - Partial Renovation of Topsfield Town Hall (Hill, Bradford) EARMARKS $100K from the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism account (7008-0900) for partial renovations to Topsfield Town Hall. Increases the overall appropriation by $100K.
Amendment 260 - Teen Training Wage (Boldyga, Nicholas) ADDS a new outside section establishing a training wage no lower than $8 per hour, or 20% less than the prevailing minimum wage for individuals under the age of 18 for the first 90 days of consecutive employment.
Amendment 333 - Broadband Planning (Vieira, David) EARMARKS $80K from the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development account (7002-0010) for a Last Mile Broadband grant in Falmouth. Increases the overall appropriation by $80K.
Amendment 472 - Norfolk County Simulcasting (Dooley, Shawn) ADDS a new outside section shortening the horseracing season at Plainridge Casino (at their request) for this current season only, provided they may perform the same number of races over less days to allow for construction.
Amendment 573 - Local and Regional Cultural Councils (Beaton, Matthew) ADDS a new outside section extending the term limitation on members of local and regional cultural councils from two terms to four terms.
Amendment 592 - Plymouth 400th Anniversary (deMacedo, Viriato) EARMARKS $310K for the Town of Plymouth 400th Anniversary Committee and $60K for the Town of Provincetown Tourism Fund from the Massachusetts Tourism Fund account (7008-0900).
Amendment 752 - Relative to exempting non-profit and municipality operated camps from the
new minimum wage (Poirier, Elizabeth) ADDS a new outside section exempting municipal and non-profit run camps from following the prevailing minimum wage policies, so long as their wage is not less than $8.00 per hour.
Amendment - 768 Racing Extension (D'Emilia, Angelo) CHANGES the language in SECTION 69 by further extending greyhound racing licensees eligibility to 2018.
Amendment 793 - Treble damages (O'Connell, Shaunna) ADDS a new outside section updating the treble damages for employees who prove that their employers did not properly compensate them, to provide that only willful or knowing violations be awarded treble damages. Provided that non-willful violations may be awarded lost wages and attorney's fees.
Amendment 1003 - Drury Square in Auburn (Frost, Paul) ADDS $100K by creating a new line item (7004-xxxx) in the Department of Housing and Community Development account for beautification, signage, and wayfinding in Drury Square in the Town of Auburn.
Amendment 1013 - Route 12 Corridor in Auburn (Frost, Paul) ADDS $150K by creating a new line item (7004-xxxx) in the Department of Housing and Community Development to develop a study of the Route 12 Corridor in the Town of Auburn.
Amendment1029 - Brierly and Ramshord Pond Dam Repairs (Frost, Paul) EARMARKS $500K from the Mass. Office of Travel and Tourism account (7008- 0900) for two dam repair projects in Millbury. Does not increase the overall appropriation.
Amendment 1036 - Asbestos removal in Millbury (Frost, Paul) EARMARKS $100K from the Mass. Office of Travel and Tourism account (7008- 0900) for the abatement of asbestos and demolition of an abandoned house located in Millbury. Does not increase the total appropriation.
Amendment 1048 - Auburn Youth and Family Services (Frost, Paul) EARMARKS $4.5K from the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism account (1107-2400) for Auburn Youth and Family Services summer programming. Does not increase the overall appropriation.
Amendment 1057 - Auburn Youth and Family Services Directly (Frost, Paul) EARMARKS $4.5K from the Mass. Office of Travel and Tourism account (7008- 0900) for summer programming through Auburn Youth Family Services. Does not increase the overall appropriation.
Amendment 1064 - Equity for Restaurants (Orrall, Keiko) ADDS a new outside section giving licensing authorities the right to impose a fine for restaurants that are suspected of failing to follow the previsions of the license, rather than the current practice of revoking the license immediately.
Amendment 1169 - We the People Program (Frost, Paul) ADDS $20K by creating a new line item (xxxx-xxxx) for professional development and costs to administer the "We the People" program within the Massachusetts Center of Civic Engagement.
Amendment 1170 - We the People Competition (Frost, Paul) ADDS $20K by creating a new line item for travel and lodging costs for students and faculty participating in the "We the People" competition administered by the Massachusetts Center for Civic Engagement.