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Mass. Senate Backs Spending Bill

The Massachusetts Senate has approved a $94 million dollar spending bill that includes additional funds to help low-income families pay their winter heating bills and provide shelter for homeless families in hotels and motels.

The measure passed by the Senate on Thursday is similar to one approved a day earlier by the House. Negotiators from the two chambers will now meet to resolve differences.

Lawmakers said the $20 million for heating assistance will address delays in funding for the program resulting from the federal government shutdown that ended on Thursday.

The Legislature also backed a provision that would help North Attleborough police offset unusual costs associated with a murder investigation that resulted in charges against former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez. The exact amount the department might receive has yet to be worked out.

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.