Amendment sets guidelines for subcommittees

For Immediate Release: July 21, 2021

Contact: Peter Jasinski |

BOSTON — Members of the Massachusetts Senate voted Wednesday to approve a $261.5 million supplemental budget for Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21), which addresses time-sensitive funding deficiencies and restructuring oversight of the MBTA. The supplemental budget includes most of an amendment offered by Senator John Keenan shaping the subcommittee work of the new MBTA Board of Directors.

“The supplemental budget includes important provisions extending voting by mail and establishing the MBTA Board of Directors,” said state Senator John F. Keenan (D-Quincy), Senate Vice Chair of the Joint Committee on Transportation. “As to the new MBTA board, I am pleased that the final version of the supplemental budget includes the majority of my amendment that will ensure proper oversight of the T by individuals with the right experiences.”

With the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s (MBTA) Fiscal Management and Control Board having expired on June 30, the supplemental budget passed by the Legislature establishes a replacement seven-member MBTA Board of Directors.

The amendment submitted by Senator Keenan requires that each of the board’s subcommittees consist of three members, and ensures that the safety and finance subcommittees are chaired by governor-appointed board members with appropriate expertise.

Other changes to MBTA administration approved in the supplemental budget include:

· Establishing the MBTA Board of Directors, which will include seven members: the Secretary of Transportation, serving ex officio; five members appointed by the Governor; and one member appointed by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Advisory Board.

· Requiring that one member of the MBTA Board of Directors appointed by the Governor be a rider that uses the T and is a resident of an environmental justice population.

· Requiring that one member of the MBTA Board of Directors appointed by the Governor be selected from a list of three persons recommended by the president of the AFL-CIO.

As the Senate continues to pave the way to an equitable recovery, the supplemental budget also includes $131 million to provide support and stability for the early educator workforce, $27.9 million for one-time economic relief payments to families on transitional assistance, and $12.5 million for costs associated with the implementation of last session’s landmark police reform bill.

Additionally, in response to the tragic passing of Worcester Police Officer Familia, this budget closes an existing loophole in the line-of-duty death benefits statute. As currently written, a line-of-duty death benefit would only be available to Officer Familia’s family had he been a firefighter.

The new provision addresses this inconsistency by making these benefits available to both firefighters and police officers who, while responding to an emergency, are killed or sustain injuries which result in death. The amendment, filed by Senator Michael Moore (D-Worcester), passed the Senate unanimously. Senator Keenan worked with Senator Moore to ensure that the language of the amendment effectively closed the loophole.

The supplemental budget will also extend voting provisions enacted during the pandemic, including the ability to vote by mail through to Dec. 15 and expanding access to early voting.

Following this week’s approval by both the Senate and the House, the supplemental budget now goes to the Governor for his review.