Amendment #737: Unaccompanied Homeless Youth - Funding 4000-0300 – Sen. Harriette Chandler filed an amendment that follows up on the Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Commission’s recommendations to provide support for this vulnerable community. This amendment would increase the line item by $500,000 to fund an annual survey of unaccompanied homeless youth, pilot programs to serve this population, and a part time staff person at EOHHS to carry out these recommendations. This amendment was not included in the final Senate budget, but $150,000 was included in the final House budget. Our focus is on advocating within the conference committee.
Amendment #186: Commission on LGBT Youth - Funding. 0950-0050 – Sen. Gale Candaras and Sen. Sal DiDomenico filed an amendment to increase the funding for the Commission on LGBT Youth from $200,000 to $500,000. This increase in funding is essential to continue implementation of the Safe Schools program in partnership with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Funding for the Youth Commission was increased in the Senate budget to $300,000, the same amount as the House budget. Our focus is on advocating for preservation of this vital funding in the budget.
Amendment #829: HIV/AIDS Funding. 4512-0103 – Sen. DiDomenico is filing an amendment to increase the Commonwealth’s HIV/AIDS funding to $34,102,505, a $2,000,000 increase over FY14. This increase will fund prevention, screening, HIV and Hepatitis C (HCV) case management programs, and HCV prevention, screening, surveillance and treatment. This amendment was not included in the final Senate or House budgets so it will not be debated in the conference committee. There will be no need to advocate for this amendment with the conference committee.
Amendment #719: Home and Healthy for Good LGBTQ Pilot Program. 7004-0104 – Sen. John Keenan filed an amendment to ensure funding for the LGBTQ Pilot Program through the Home and Healthy for Good program of the MA Housing and Shelter Alliance. This amendment was not included in the final Senate budget. Our focus is on advocating within the conference committee to be sure that funding is earmarked for this program.
Amendment #834: Unaccompanied Homeless Youth - Language – Sen. Jason Lewis filed an amendment that would add an outside section of the budget to direct EOHHS to provide housing and support services to address the needs of unaccompanied homeless youth. This is the same language included in House Bill 135. This amendment was not included in the final Senate or the House budgets and so it will not be debated in the conference committee. There will be no need to advocate for this amendment with the conference committee.

This is how our budget items fared in the final FY 2014 budget.  

  • Unaccompanied Homeless Youth 4000-0300: This line item was funded at  $150,000, and the monies will be used to fund a statewide count of unaccompanied homeless youth as well as support the work of the Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Commission. 
  •  Commission on LGBT Youth - Funding 0950-0050: This line item was funded at $200,000, and the monies will support the work of the Safe Schools Program and other initiatives of the LGBT Youth Commission.  
  • Elder Home Care Language 9110-1630: This language to create a Commission on LGBT Elders was included in the final budget. 
  • HIV/AIDS Funding 4512-0103: This line item was funded at $32.1 milion and will provide support to prevention efforts and also services for those with HIV/AIDS.  
  • Domestic Violence Funding 4513-1130: This line item was funded at  $5,718,990, and the monies will be used to support services for domestic violence survivors, including LGBTQ victims of intimate partner violence.
  • Commission on LGBT Youth Language 7010-0005: The language in this line item allows DESE to direct funding to make sure that the vulnerable population of LGBTQ kids are safe in schools.  Programming includes bullying, suicide and violence prevention, and work to reduce health disparities. 

MassEquality is asking YOU to show your support for the following issues by advocating with the conference committee. These issues impact LGBTQ people in your district and across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. For more information about any specific amendment, please contact Carly Burton at 617-878-2328 or carly@massequality.org.

There are six members of the conference committee:

Senate

Senator Stephen Brewer: 617-722-1540, Stephen.Brewer@masenate.gov
Senator Jennifer Flanagan: 617-722-1230, Jennifer.Flanagan@masenate.gov
Senator Richard Ross: 617-722-1555, Richard.Ross@masenate.gov

House

Representative Brian Dempsey: 617-722-2990, brian.dempsey@mahouse.gov
Representative Stephen Kulik: 617-722-2380, Stephen.Kulik@mahouse.gov
Representative Vinny deMacedo: 617-722-2100, Vinny.deMacedo@mahouse.gov

The conference committee is charged with reconciling the House and Senate budgets and sending a final budget to the Governor for his vetoes or approval. This is a pivotal moment in the budget process, and your voice will help procure vital funding for members of the LGBT community! Call or email today!