In an unusual break with tradition, a budget order was passed along party lines, 115-29, which prohibits any increases to local aid and Chapter 70 education aid. In addition, the budget order prevents much needed reforms in EBT and other welfare programs from being debated on the floor. Any attempts to debate these issues will be ruled out of order by the Speaker.
EBT reform passed in the House on November 7, 2013, and has languished in conference committee for more than five months with little hope to actually become law. Under normal rules, those reforms could be raised as part of the budget process, but not in this election year.
“This is yet another perfect example of one-party rule eliminating crucial debates on topics that the people of the Commonwealth care about the most,” said Kirsten Hughes MassGOP chairman. “The Democrats silencing debate on EBT reforms and local aid increases at the behest of the Speaker smacks of election-year folly and the residents of our cities and towns deserve better.”