BOSTON (SHNS) – The six lawmakers who have been trying to reconcile differences between the House and Senate budgets for fiscal 2022 now have even more on their plates — all six were appointed Thursday to also negotiate a compromise version of a supplemental fiscal 2021 budget bill, raising the possibility that issues in the two sweeping bills could become intertwined.
Reps. Aaron Michlewitz of Boston, Ann-Margaret Ferrante of Gloucester and Todd Smola of Warren, and Sens. Michael Rodrigues of Westport, Cindy Friedman of Arlington and Patrick O’Connor of Weymouth have been charged with working through the differences in the House and Senate versions of a roughly $260 million supplemental spending bill. The House passed its version of the spending bill (H 3871) on June 10 and the Senate approved its own bill (S 2485) on June 24.
The conferees will have more than dollars and cents to talk about. Both branches included their own proposals to replace the MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board, which expired Wednesday, in their supplemental budgets and the House approved a provision that would make mail-in voting permanent for state elections. Minority Leader Bruce Tarr spoke during Thursday’s Senate session about the importance and urgency of re-establishing an MBTA oversight body.
Secretary of State William Galvin and municipal leaders have been hoping the Legislature will resolve the issue of mail-in and early voting, at least in the short-term, for local elections scheduled to take place this summer and fall. The Senate’s plan to extend mail-in voting until December is still in a separate conference committee that is considering which other pandemic policies the Legislature should extend.