Annually, the Massachusetts Legislature debates to prioritize and solidify a state budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
After the Governor files suggestions in January, both branches of the legislature work together to hold hearings to discuss revenue and issues facing the Commonwealth.
The House then releases and debates a budget in April, with the Senate debating theirs in May.
The budget includes funding for state programs, so-called “earmarks” to address specific concerns of legislators, and “outside sections” that include policy changes that do not deal with funding.
Over 1,000 amendments are filed in each branch, and both branches take multiple days of deliberation.
After both budgets are debated, a conference committee of six legislators will work together to come to agreement on each item.
Budget amendments are filed on a variety of topics, to both increase existing funding and add new funding.
The State House will be conducting the debate mostly virtually, and you can watch along on https://malegislature.gov/
Animal-Related Budget Items
There are three amendments filed to the House budget that would directly improve the lives of animals in Massachusetts.
#433 Mass Animal Fund
The Massachusetts Homeless Animal Prevention and Care Fund (MAF) helps provide spay/neuter to some of the most in-need residents across the commonwealth.
While some of the funding for this comes from an optional check-the-box on your taxes (33f if you haven’t filed your taxes yet), over the past few years the fund has been supplemented by funding secured in the budget.
This amendment would increase funding to MDAR for this fund.
#721 Hen Welfare
In 2016, Massachusetts passed a first-of-its kind law through ballot initiative to require that all whole eggs sold in Massachusetts be “cage-free” and fit certain requirements.
As other states have passed similar laws, they have adopted other protections and adopted a slightly different standard.
This amendment, also filed as a stand-alone bill, would strengthen hen welfare by affecting more hens and requiring more enrichment for these animals.
#1002 Animal Rescue League of Boston
Over the past year, we have seen incredible need in the communities we serve, and the need only continues to grow.
This funding would help ARL continue the critical community work we do, and help pets in the process.
Your Voice Matters!
As always, legislators rely on their constituents to reach out to them and share their priorities.
As a constituent, ask them to support these amendments and the welfare of animals in the FY22 budget.
The House will begin their budget debate early next week, so make sure to speak up for animals now!
For an example of how to format your email to your legislators, click here.
Find your representative here: https://malegislature.gov/Search/FindMyLegislator
Together, we can provide a better Commonwealth of Massachusetts for animals – Thank you!