House Ways & Means released their draft of the 2023 budget on Wednesday, totaling around $50 billion. This marks the official start of the magical time of year known as budget season. It's basically our legislators' Super Bowl: it’s all they’ll be talking about for the next month, everyone wants a piece of the action, but ultimately only two men get to call the plays.

Luckily, this draft budget allocates a lot of money towards terribly underfunded human services such as education and housing programs. It also includes one major policy victory: eliminating fees associated with phone calls made to incarcerated individuals, i.e. “no cost calls.” This is huge

I know, I’m as surprised as you are!

But it’s not over ‘till it’s over. We still have over a thousand amendments to get through (1,521 as of the writing of this Scoop), backroom deal shenanigans to watch out for, and a floor debate starting 4/25. Stay tuned for updates, analysis, and calls to action.

State House Scoop

House’s budget emphasizes childcare and early education

Massachusetts families spend 30 percent more on childcare than rent, which is particularly shocking when you remember how much they’re spending on rent (not that this Somerville resident knows anything about that). Apparently inspired to act following the release of a report on childcare needs in the state, Speaker Mariano and House Ways & Means Chair Michlewitz announced this week their intention to focus much of the budget on this sector. Specifically, the budget allocates $70 million towards rate increases for childcare workers. 

Boosting childcare worker pay is a great place to start; the average salary for childcare workers in Massachusetts is around $30,000/year. But this proposal is still miles away from the $1.5 billion investment called for in the report, and lightyears away from addressing the burdensome cost of childcare. Let’s hope this funding is meant to be in addition to, but not in lieu of the Common Start bill – the legislation backed by progressive advocates to make early education publicly funded like K-12 schooling.

What else is in the budget: rapid fire round

  • Free school meals for another year
  • Fully funds K-12 public schools according to the requirements of the Student Opportunity Act
  • $653 million for the UMass system
  • $337 million for community colleges
  • $853 million for housing programs, including $140 million for rental assistance
  • $37.5 million for loan forgiveness for workers in several human services positions
  • $11.2 million for residential reentry programs
  • Some other good stuff, probably
  • Some bad stuff, probably
  • (Forgive me, it's over 250 pages and I'm a slow reader)

 Senate passes clean energy bill, shoots down jobs & environmental justice amendment

The Senate passed a clean energy bill (S.2819) on Thursday focused on reducing emissions from transportation and construction. Before it was passed along party lines (37-3), the Senate waded through dozens of amendments over the course of almost 12 hours. One heavily debated amendment from Sen. Pacheco (based on his Building Justice with Jobs Act) would have made a plan to retrofit homes in Massachusetts, making them more energy efficient, prioritizing environmental justice communities, and creating thousands of union jobs to do so. Despite support from across the climate advocacy movement, this amendment was rejected 11 - 28. See how your rep voted here.


Take Action


The countdown is on: only 10 days until signature sheets are available, and only two weeks until our signature collection blitz Weekend of Action! Help us ensure voters get a voice on transparency in November by volunteering to collect signatures in your area.


Signature gathering is easy! Most people on the street will be happy to sign to get something on the ballot (especially something that 90% of Bay Staters support.) Learn more about The People's House campaign and our Ballot Question strategy at


That’s it for now folks! If you’re celebrating this weekend, stay safe and enjoy. And whether you’re celebrating or not, I hope you get to spend some sunny days with some loved ones.