#149 Disclosure of Political Spending (OS): This amendment will address the problems created by the Citizens United decision by requiring new levels of disclosure and transparency for corporate political spending. Specifically, it would: 1) clarify that current disclosure and reporting requirements apply to corporations as well as to other entities that currently must disclose 2) require OCPF to issue regulations about transfers of money made between entities in order to disclose their true source 3) fix drafting errors in the current law 4) require political advertisements to include statement that contributors to advertisements may be accessed through www.mass.gov/ocpf 5) prevent coordination between candidates and SuperPACs by limiting interchangeable staffing.
#33 Transparency and Accountability for Discretionary Tax Credits (OS): This amendment would ensure that discretionary, “grant-like” tax credits (those awarded on an application basis) are awarded transparently and administered according to best practices. This amendment, which is based on a recommendation from the recently-completed Tax Expenditure Commission, would:
1) Require companies applying for a discretionary tax credit to make a clear written commitment about the benefit (such as jobs) they will be providing to the Commonwealth, and make that commitment public
2) Require companies receiving a discretionary tax credit to report on the status of that benefit (such as number of jobs actually created) to the state, to make those reports public
3) Require the state to “clawback” the discretionary tax credit if the company fails to keep its promise, and make that information public when it happens.
#281 Home & Healthy for Good Program (7004-0104): This amendment would fund the Home and Healthy for Good program at $2.2 million, consistent with the Governor’s budget proposal. This program enables chronically homeless individuals to secure stable, affordable housing.
#282 Public Housing Operating Subsidy(7004-9005):This amendment would fund the Public Housing Operating Subsidies at $66.5 million, consistent with the Governor’s budget proposal, and encourage the administration to bring vacant units back on line. Public housing remains a critical resource for 47,000 Massachusetts households, 2/3 of which are comprised of seniors or persons with disabilities
#633 Relative to Continuity of Care for Families Relying on MassHealth Coverage(OS): Every year, thousands of children go without health insurance because they are unable to renew their health insurance, resulting in unnecessary disruption of care and increased administrative cost. This amendment would allow families to renew their health insurance at the doctor’s office six months prior to their renewal date. It also encourages the Office of Medicaid to send pre-populated forms to their members in order to simplify the renewal process. Finally, the amendment provides for automatic renewal of eligible children and families into MassHealth using other public programs, such as SNAP.
#619 Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Prevention and Victim Services (4513-1130): Domestic violence is known to increase during times of economic hardship, yet key programs to address domestic violence and sexual assault have been cut 15% since FY09. This amendment would add $877,337 to DPH line item to restore service capacity to the FY09 level of $6,391,677.
#357 Educational Rewards Grant Program (7002-1084): This amendment invests $1.5 million in the Educational Rewards Grant Program to help low-income students access education and training leading to identified middle skill jobs. The grant is currently not available due to lack of funding.
#598 Removing Barriers to Asset Development (OS): This amendment would remove some barriers to asset development for low-income Massachusetts residents who receive support through the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA). The amendment would increase access to education and training for families and make it easier for them to have reliable transportation and save money for debt reduction, job training and housing.
#268 Individual Development Account Program (New Line Item): The Massachusetts Individual Development Account program is a competitive grant program administered by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to target funds to community based non-profits. Funds are used to support financial literacy training and asset development along with an average 3:1 in matching funds for eligible participants with savings set aside to purchase their asset. The IDA program allows low and moderate wage earners to move towards economic self sufficiency. They may use these IDA savings to purchase their first home, receive post secondary education or training, or start/expand a small business. This amendment would fund this line item at $250,000 to recreate the program.
#205 Department of Environmental Protection Administration (2200-0107):This amendment would provide additional funds to support the implementation and enforcement of the Commonwealth’s environmental laws. The Department of Environmental Protection has steadily lost funding and staff over the last decade, at a time when additional responsibilities have been added to the agency through the passage of such bills as the Global Warming Solutions Act, the Green Communities Act, the Toxics Use Reform Act, the Mercury Management Act, and the Clean Energy Biofuels Act. This amendment would add $132,082 to bring funding to $25,735,436.
#199 Recycling and Solid Waste Management (2200-0107): Recycling saves municipalities millions of dollars in avoided waste handling and disposal costs while reducing our impact on our environment. In FY 2001, the budget for recycling and solid waste management was over $9 million. By FY 2011, the budget had been cut to a mere $275,000. The recycling program is now forced to depend entirely on federal grants, and staffing has been cut in half between FY2009 and FY 2011. This amendment brings funding up to $375,000 to match the House funding level.
#196 Safe Drinking Water Act (2250-2000): This amendment would fund the Safe Drinking Water assessment account at $1,603,609, consistent with the Governor’s budget. This funding allows MassDEP to offer specialized technical assistance and compliance programs to public water suppliers to ensure compliance with Safe Drinking Water Act requirements. Further reductions in this account stand to threaten the services that public water systems receive.
#60 Effective Enforcement of Wetland Ordinances and Bylaws (OS): This amendment would help cities and towns enforce local wetland ordinances and deter potential violators from illegally and permanently destroying sensitive water resources not already protected under the state act by authorizing municipalities to increase local penalties against violators of wetland ordinances and bylaws from $300 to $1000. It would also allow municipalities to streamline enforcement procedures by seeking a penalty in the same court where they seek equitable relief (e.g., an injunction or stop work order).
#141 District Local Technical Assistance (DLTA) (1599-0026): DLTA funds are distributed among the state’s 13 Regional Planning Agencies (RPAs) to provide cities and towns with technical assistance to help move municipalities forward in the Commonwealth’s key initiatives, including regional collaboration, promoting economic development, best practices in zoning and protecting the environment. This amendment level DLTA at $2 million.