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New England News

Massachusetts Governor Vetoes Items In FY 2013 Budget

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed the state’s FY 2013 budget on Sunday, but some proposals didn’t make the cut. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Lucas Willard took a look at what items the governor vetoed and filed a report…

Governor Patrick vetoed 32.1 million in line items from the 32.5 billion dollar budget signed earlier this week. Among the items cut were reforms to immigration policy, health and social services.

The governor rejected a compromise measure approved by the legislature to create a fiscal plan to prevent closure of the Taunton State psychiatric hospital. The plan would have allowed the 169 bed hospital to continue operating with 45 beds. The Governor’s move to close the facility has some groups disappointed.

David Schildmeier is a spokesman for the Massachusetts Nurses Association.

Schildmeier said that the state has an very short supply of metal health beds and the closure of the facility in Taunton will severely impact much-needed access to care for the mentally ill. 

The governor’s vetoes can be overturned by a 2/3 vote in both houses of the state’s legislature.

Governor Patrick also rejected a series of Electronic Benefit Transfer reforms that would ban the purchase of specific items like firearms, porn, tattoos, piercings, jewelry and legal fines. The governor did support the ban of use of the cards in certain businesses that sell those items, such as tattoo parlors, gun shops, and strip clubs. Governor Patrick called the reforms an example of “political grandstanding”.

State Representative Russell Holmes is one lawmaker opposed to the governor’s veto.

The Governor also vetoed a requirement that undocumented illegals show proof of residency when registering a motor vehicle. Frank Soults, spokesman for Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, applauded the governor’s efforts, saying that approval of the measure would have placed unfair restrictions on populations already integrated into American life.

Governor Patrick also vetoed $3.5 million for a special reserve fund for school districts.