Sens. Finegold and Payano Hail Senate Passage of Housing, Education, Safety Net Bill

Massachusetts State House. (Photograph by King of Hearts. Creative Commons.)

Last week, the Massachusetts Senate passed legislation that makes investments in housing, education and key safety net programs.

According to a joint press release from Sens. Barry R. Finegold and Pavel Payano, the bill extends programs first implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic and adds $814.3 billion in bond borrowing to support economic development projects across the Commonwealth.

“I am especially grateful to see over $85 million allocated for housing, including $45 million for emergency shelter assistance. Housing in our Commonwealth is less affordable today than at any time in modern history. These funds will go a long way in supporting the work of local organizations in districts like mine, where the demand for affordable housing far outweighs the supply,” said Payano

Overall, the bill provides $368.7 million to various essential social services, including $130 million for SNAP food assistance benefits, $68 million for the Early Education C3 stabilization grant program, $65 million for the continuation of free school meals, $45 million for emergency shelter assistance and more than $40 million to support affordable housing for immigrants and refugees.

“It is essential that we continue to grow the innovation economy here in Massachusetts,” added Finegold. “Crucially, the Senate’s supplemental budget authorizes $200 million in bond funding to match federal CHIPS and Science Act funding opportunities. This money will support initiatives like the Microelectronics Commons, which will help foster the semiconductor industry in Massachusetts and go a long way towards keeping the Commonwealth competitive.”

The bill also extends outdoor dining, remote public meeting access and support for assisted living residences. It also permanently allows notaries public to conduct remote online notarization using communication technology.

With a version of this legislation passed in the House, the two branches will now reconcile the differences between the bills.

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