MassEquality News (May 22, 2017)

LGBTQ Program Funding Reduced in State BudgetMassachusetts State House
Last week, the Massachusetts Senate Ways and Means budget for 2018 was released, and the Senate is scheduled to begin debating the budget and voting on budget amendments tomorrow. Unfortunately, several important LGBTQ programs are underfunded in this year’s state budget. The good news is that amendments have been filed to restore funding to these programs, but we need your help to make sure these amendments pass in the Senate.

Please take a moment today to call and email your State Senator and ask for their support of these critical programs. Calling is easy and takes just a few minutes. Don’t know who your State Senator is? Go to http://wheredoivotema.com to find out.

When you contact your Senator:

  1. Identify yourself as a constituent, and ask for your Senator’s support for the following budget amendments that impact the health and safety of LGBTQ people in Massachusetts:
  • Amendment #550LGBTQ Youth, sponsored by Sen. Julian Cyr
  • Amendment #551LGBTQ Youth Safety & Resiliency, sponsored by Sen. Julian Cyr
  • Amendment #378HIV/AIDS Prevention, sponsored by Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry
  • Amendment #306Special Commission on Unaccompanied Homeless Youth, sponsored by Sen. Julian Cyr
  • Amendment #481Unaccompanied youth homeless funding, sponsored by Sen. Jason Lewis

Share the amendment numbers and sponsors, and briefly tell your Senator or their staff member why these budget amendments are important to you.

  1. Ask your Senator to co-sponsor these budget amendments and to speak in support of them during Senate budget debates.
  2. Thank them for their time.

More information about the underfunded budget line items and the budget amendments associated with those items is below:

Youth at Risk (Line Item 4590-1507)
This line item has historically funded 39 community-based organizations—including BAGLY, HBGC, Youth on Fire, The Theater Offensive, and Fenway's VRP—for youth development and violence prevention programs. For the second year in a row, these organizations are facing budget cuts that would severely impact services for LGBTQ youth.

Budget Amendments: #550 and #551
Sponsor: Sen. Julian Cyr
Purpose: Restore $1.8 million lost in FY17 and missing from Senate Ways and Means FY18 proposed budget for competitive youth violence prevention grant program.

HIV/AIDS (Line Item 4512-0103)
Restoration of funding is needed for critical public health and prevention programs for HIV/AIDS/Hepatitis C, including but not limited to, syringe access programs and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) programs to reduce new infections in Massachusetts.

Budget Amendment: #378
Sponsor: Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry
Purpose: Restore HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C prevention funding to reduce new cases of HIV and Hepatitis C infection.

Youth Homelessness (Line Items 4000-0005 and 4000-0007)
Advocates are seeking $4 million in the FY18 budget to address the housing and support service needs of unaccompanied youth and young adults who are experiencing homelessness and $150,000 for the ongoing work of the Special Commission on Unaccompanied Homeless Youth.

Budget Amendments: #306 and #481
Sponsor: Sen. Julian Cyr and Sen. Jason Lewis
Purpose: Restore and increase funding for housing and services for unaccompanied youth, and continue the work of the Special Commission on Unaccompanied Homeless Youth.

Thank you for taking the time to contact your State Senator and letting them know that we need to restore funding for LGBTQ programs in Massachusetts!

[Photo Credit: Mark Williams]



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