The Legislature today took final action on the Fiscal Year 2016 budget, Senate Committee on Ways and Means Chair Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland) announced. These veto overrides will enhance support for Massachusetts residents and municipalities, and ensure that local programs, education funding and economic development initiatives are well funded by the legislature.
“This final budget reflects a modest spending increase over last year that is within revenue projections,” said Senator Spilka. “Over the past two days, we restored funding to critical programs and services, especially in areas related to education, homelessness, substance abuse and our innovation economy. This is a balanced budget that covers expected costs for the coming year and makes strategic investments to lift families across the Commonwealth.”
The Massachusetts Senate today voted in favor of legislation to create a new Innovative Communities program to serve as a common place of access, education and point of connection for startups and municipalities seeking innovative technology solutions. Senator Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland), founder and co-chair of the legislative Tech Hub Caucus, filed the legislation in collaboration with many stakeholders in the startup community.
“We have an incredibly strong innovation economy here in Massachusetts. It’s time for our government to be innovative too,” said Senator Spilka. “This first-of-its-kind program is the product of a collaborative, interactive process, and it will foster stronger connections and opportunities for startups and local governments.”
“Today is an important milestone for startups, government and the residents of Massachusetts,” said Cole Boskey, a Boston entrepreneur who spearheaded grassroots efforts for the bill. “We’re one step closer to making it easier for startups to pilot their products and services with municipalities throughout the state, and in turn we’re showing why Massachusetts is the best place to start a business.”
Senator Spilka filed the bill after a Tech Hub Caucus “Idea-a-thon” in November 2014, where attendees pitched ideas to help technology companies start, grow and thrive in Massachusetts. After the event, Senator Spilka met with stakeholders in government and the tech community to develop the winning idea into the Innovative Communities program.
The Senate today voted in favor of S1007, a resolution to encourage equitable and diverse gender representation on boards of companies in the Commonwealth. Senator Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland) and lead co-sponsor Representative Pat Haddad (D-Somerset) filed the resolution in recognition of consistent research showing positive business impacts of greater diversity on boards of directors.
“This is not just a women’s issue or a family issue. This is a business issue,” said Senator Spilka. “Businesses with greater gender diversity at the top have a competitive advantage in the global economy. With this resolution, we are making a strong statement of public policy that Massachusetts values equality, justice and diversity.”
On Tuesday, July 21st, Senator Karen E. Spilka testified at the State House in support of three important pieces of legislation to ensure equality and justice for women in Massachusetts.
The Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development heard testimony on Senator Spilka’s Women on Boards Resolution and the Equal Pay Bill, bills to encourage equitable and diverse gender representation on boards of directors in Massachusetts and to help bridge the gender wage gap. The Joint Committee on Financial Services heard testimony on Senator Spilka’s bill to protect access to confidential health care, the PATCH Act.
Massachusetts is a beacon of equality and justice. It’s time that we live up to those values by taking action on equal pay, women in leadership and women’s health.
Continue reading for details on Women on Boards, Equal Pay and the Patch Act.
Last week, the legislature sent a $38.145 billion state budget for Fiscal Year 2016 to the Governor’s desk.
“These budget line items are more than just numbers. They represent values, priorities and meaningful tools for people across the Commonwealth,” said Senate Committee on Ways and Means Chair Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland).
“We invest in the future, strengthening pathways to educational opportunity from early education through college and workforce training.
We provide assistance for those struggling with opioid addiction and help people find stable housing solutions.
My goal when I became Chair of Senate Ways and Means this year was to create a budget to lift all families. This final budget accomplishes that goal.”
The Earned Income Tax Credit increase is a big step to address rising income inequality and put more money in the pockets of hard-working families.
On Tuesday, Senator Karen Spilka received the Legislator of the Year Award from the Young Democrats of Massachusetts Women’s Caucus at the group’s annual Ladies in Blue fundraiser. The event was held at the Bell in Hand Tavern in Boston, and money raised will benefit a scholarship for a Young Democrat to participate in the Emerge Massachusetts candidate training program.
“The Young Democrats are a terrific group of activists calling attention to important issues. They are our future leaders, and it was my honor to join them to celebrate strong, powerful women at all levels,” said Senator Spilka. “I’m also pleased to support the Emerge program, which encourages more young women to make their voices heard.”
Senator Spilka discussed several of her bills this legislative session to advance equality and opportunity for women, including paid family leave, a resolution to increase the number of women on boards and pay equity legislation.
Attorney General Maura Healey received the Women of the Year Award at the event.
Senator Karen Spilka or representatives from her staff will be available for district office hours in Franklin and Medway on Friday, June 19th and in Natick and Holliston on Friday, June 26th. Constituents are invited to share their concerns, questions and policy priorities and hear updates on the latest news and events from the State House and in the district.
Friday, June 19th
Franklin Office Hours
2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
17 E Central St., Franklin
Medway Office Hours
4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
116 Main St., Medway
Friday June 26th
Natick Office Hours
2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
1298 Worcester St., Natick
Holliston Office Hours
3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
76 Railroad St., Holliston
Residents who are unable to attend or are interested in scheduling an appointment should contact Senator Spilka’s office at (617) 722-1640 at any time.