Lawmakers fall short of agreements on two major policy priorities

Boston Statehouse

Lawmakers managed to get compromise bills on economic development and opioid addiction treatment to Governor Charlie Baker’s desk but fell short of an agreement on health care and public education funding.

Lawmakers pushed their midnight deadline Tuesday, passing a nearly $1.1 billion jobs bill, an opioid abuse prevention bill that would expand access to the overdose reversing drug Narcan, and a compromise bill on animal welfare.

State Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz, told 22News, the education funding bill should not have been difficult to negotiate.

“You know, the Senate, we did our level best to bring every creative idea we could to the table; we made major concessions,” said Chang-Diaz.

In the end, House leadership killed the bill completely.

In a statement, the House Conferees told 22News, “insufficient time remained” to make a fully-informed recommendation on recalculating aid.

The statement read: “Throughout the conference committee process, negotiations were complicated by new information obtained from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the exceptionally complex nature of recalculating various increments to the formula as we traded proposals.”

As for the healthcare bill, House and Senate Democrats could not reach agreements on stabilizing community hospitals.

And while the Senate passed its version of health care legislation last November, the House did not act until late June.

House Majority Leader Ronald Mariano told 22News, “We wanted to make sure these hospitals, which are all in our gateway cities, are on fine, strong financial footing. The Senate’s approach was more of a market driven approach, and we never could get together on a strategy that accomplished the same goal.”

Mariano has negotiated numerous heath care reform bills over his career, but he said this would be the first time he has failed to “come to agreement in the middle” with the Senate.

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