MCOA Legislative Alert FY19 3A Senate Debate-ACTION NEEDED


MCOA Membership and Allies: ACTION NEEDED
Several Floor Amendments have been filed on behalf of municipal Councils on Aging. Two are extremely important to MCOA and we ask our Membership and allies to conduct a full court press and encourage your Senator to sign on to both Amendments #559 and #452. In addition, to these two amendments, several dozen ‘earmarks’ have also been filed that further complicate our efforts- but for now we need you to focus on #559 and #452.
#559: As you already know (Leg Alert #3) the Senate Ways and Means (SWM) allocation for line item #9110-9002 was $15.7million with a $100,000 earmark. The $15.6m balance, funds COAs at $11/elder and fully funds the Service Incentive Grant program (SIG). The Governor and the House funded the line item at $16,615,125, specifying $12/elder which then underfunds the SIG program by $385,000 = 25% cut across the board to every SIG program. Amendment #559 corrects both shortfalls by fully funding SIG while allocating $12/elder for FY19.
#452: Furthermore: Neither the Governor, the House, nor the SWM allocated any funding for the five existing Elder Mental Health Projects (EMHOT) serving 44 communities. Without Amendment #452 these projects close down June 30, 2018. Hundreds of older adults currently receiving treatment for depression, hoarding, bipolar, and schizophrenia, among other disorders, would be left with no service. The $500,000 allocation would continue these five projects thru FY19.
CALL, WRITE and VISIT your Senator’s office and encourage them to sign onto both Amendments #559 and #452. We have all week and need as many Senators as possible – we are hoping to get 20-25. 
SQUEAKY WHEEL: Remember the more calls/emails/contacts, the more likely they are to make these a priority. 20+ contacts will get their attention.
  1. Bring staff and older adults into your office and pass the phone around and push redial – leave their name and address and specify request to co-sponsor Amendments #559 & 452
  2. If emailing make sure your town, the amendment # and the word co-sponsor are in the SUBJECT line. “Northampton: Please co-sponsor Amendments #559 & 452”
  3. FLOOD your local office as well as the statehouse. 
  5. Key Word Co-Sponsor. Each Senator has a procedure to record his “Co-sponsorship.” We will publish that list once it is final so you can thank them profusely.
If we do nothing… the Formula Grant will be $11/elder, the SIG grants could be cut 25% and the EMHOT projects will be cancelled with hundreds of older adults losing mental health services.
Thank you for your week long attention to this mater – KEEP CALLING ALL WEEK ALONG
David P. Stevens
Executive Director
Massachusetts Councils on Aging
Cell: 413.539.0565
Budget Amendment ID: FY2019-S4-559
EHS 559
Grants to Councils on Aging
Ms. L’Italien moved that the proposed new text be amended in section 2, in item 9110-9002, by striking out the figure “$15,700,000 and inserting in place thereof the following figure:- “$17,100,000”.   This allocation would allow for $12/elder and fully funds the Service Incentive Grant Program (SIG). The SWM proposal fully funds SIG but only allows for $11/elder.
Budget Amendment ID: FY2019-S4-452
EHS 452
Elder Behavioral Health
Ms. Jehlen moved that the proposed new text be amended in section 2, in item 5046-0000, by adding the following words:-
“; provided further that the Department of Mental Health and the Executive Office of Elder Affairs shall execute an elder behavioral health interagency service agreement to provide not less than $500,000 for adult and community based behavioral health services to adults over the age of 60”; and
In said section 2, in said item 5046-0000, by striking out the figure “486,920,614” and inserting in place thereof the figure “487,420,614”.
This allocation would fully fund the 5 existing Elder Mental Health Projects .