On Nov. 8, the House passed a $2.74 billion supplemental budget bill to close out fiscal 2023 that includes funds to address the ongoing emergency shelter crisis, as well as conditional funding to address extraordinary special education cost increases.

The House bill (H. 4167) allocates the $250 million for the emergency shelter system that was requested by the governor in her September supplemental budget proposal, while carving out direction on how that money could be spent. At least $75 million would be allocated for related supplemental school funding, and at least $6 million would be earmarked for additional support to municipalities with emergency assistance shelter facilities.

The bill also includes $75 million to address extraordinary cost increases for special education in eligible school districts, following a decision made last October by the Operational Services Division that allows out-of-district special education private schools to increase tuition by 14% in fiscal 2024. It is not clear how many school districts would be able to access the funds to offset the extraordinary cost increase, as the language in the House bill includes several contingent thresholds to determine eligibility.

The House bill also includes a section to address costs associated with administering early voting and mail-in voting, providing $5 million for grants from a reserve account to be issued by the secretary of state.

The House adopted an amendment included to hold the 2024 state primary on Sept. 3.

Another outside section of the bill would authorize municipalities to amortize costs incurred as a result of recent natural disasters over fiscal 2025 to 2027, an important mechanism for impacted communities.

The bulk of the spending in the bill, $2.12 billion, is for MassHealth fee-for-service payments.

The House bill does not include the municipal finance law changes that were included in a supplemental budget bill filed by Gov. Maura Healey in March.

The supplemental budget bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.

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