Senator Lesser Votes to Pass Legislation Supporting Children and Families

Supplemental budget includes emergency assistance for family shelters, rape kits

“Cap on Kids” also lifted to give every family the assistance they need

 BOSTON — Senator Eric P. Lesser voted with the State Senate on Thursday to supplement the state budget, filling gaps through the end of the fiscal year to support programs including emergency assistance to families and funding to municipalities to help process sexual assault kits.

The proposed supplemental budget for Fiscal Year 2019 includes:

  • $30M for the Low Income Heating Energy Assistance Program

  • $10M for Emergency Assistance Family Shelters

  • $8M to assist municipalities in testing sex assault kits

  • $1M for SANE and Pediatric SANE Programs to provide trauma-informed, expert forensic nursing care to sexual assault patients

The supplemental budget also addresses a number of time-sensitive spending and policy items.

“These vital programs ensure that every member of our communities can feel safe, can know that their allegations are seriously investigated, and can receive the healthcare they need,” said Sen. Lesser.

The supplemental budget legislation, having passed the House, will now go to the Governor for consideration.

Lifting the “Cap on Kids”

The Senate also voted to repeal the state’s “Cap on Kids” policy, established in 1995 to discourage welfare clients from having additional children over the state-mandated limit by excluding additional children from the calculation of benefits. Under the new policy, effective September 1, 2019, and retroactive to January 1, 2019, 8,700 children who are currently excluded from grant calculations will now be included, resulting in higher monthly benefits for their families.

“Lifting the state’s ‘Cap on Kids’ is something that should have been done a long time ago. Every family needs to feed every single one of their children — not just some of them. This was a truly cruel policy that told families how many children the state would recognize, and it needed to change. This change in our state law will allow every family to get the help they need,” said Sen. Lesser.

The fiscal year 2019 budget already provides funding for this change, which was included in the House and Senate conference committee report but vetoed by the Governor.

Legislation lifting the “Cap on Kids” was sent back to the House for approval.

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Ryan Migeed