BOSTON (WWLP) - The state Senate approved a $34 billion dollar state budget Thursday night that falls short of providing UMass the $480 million dollars it's requesting to prevent fees from going up in the fall. But the budget does tack on roughly $68 million dollars to early education, school bus services, and other investments.
"We have added a number of items for housing, mental health services, and those are the things that we're very, very proud of," said Sen. Stephen Brewer (D-Barre).
State senators reviewed 725 amendments in total – Including one successfully approved by West Springfield Senator James Welch that bumps up funding for homeless student bus services to more than $7 million dollars.
"As we continue to work on getting families out of hotels there will be that many less families and children that will require transportation, which hopefully means that the communities that are bearing those costs, those costs will be lower," said Sen. James Welch (D-West Springfield).
The Senate also reformed sex offender registry laws. They're allowing the Sex Offender Registry Board to reclassify offenders to a stronger level if they pose a greater risk of reoffending.
"Yes if you are subsequently charged, the Sex Offender Registry Board can now elevate your standing from a 2 to a 3," said Sen. Gale Candaras (D-Wilbraham).
Sex offenders will have to register within 2 days of being released from jail. Information of Level 2 offenders will be made available on the internet and information on Level 1 offenders will be sent to the Department of Early Education and Care.
The House and Senate will now have to consolidate their two state budgets, which must then be approved by Governor Deval Patrick by July 1 st.