The budget proposes a 10-member commission to review the financing model for higher education in Massachusetts and determine appropriate funding levels moving forward. The Ways and Means proposal calls for the same type of commission to review early education services and needs.
In the area of reforms to the Sex Offender Registry, the budget requires the Department of Early Education and Care to perform address matches of licensed care facilities and the registry in the wake of a report from Auditor Suzanne Bump raising concerns about a lack of oversight. The auditor found that 119 sex offenders had addresses that matched the locations of 75 child-care providers.
Level II sex offenders, whose identities are only available now upon request at local police stations, would be posted online, under a provision in the budget.
District attorneys would see 5 percent increases in their office budgets.
In response to another crisis over evidence tampering at state drug evidence laboratories, the Ways and Means budget proposes $3 million to hire 43 short-term employees and $846,000 to build out the headquarters of the State Police drug lab in Maynard to address a backlog of testing samples.
The focus of the tax debate now shifts to the Senate where its Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday is expected to release a revised version of the House-backed transportation financing proposal.
The Senate bill, according to advocates and sources within the Senate, however, is expected to contain reforms and other changes that may require the two branches to reconcile the bills, a step that would delay the proposal from reaching the governor’s desk.
Material from State House News Service was used in this report.