A Healthy Blog

Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

FY 2012 Senate Budget Debate – Day 1

FY 2012 Senate Budget Debate – Day 1

May 26, 2011

As the Senate begins to wrap up day 1 of the FY 2012 Budget debate, a quick recap.

Anyone who wasn’t in the gallery (or watching online) at 10 this morning missed quite a performance of the National Anthem by Senator DiDominico’s son’s preschool class. I can think of some professional singers who could learn a thing or two about singing the Star Spangled Banner from this group of 4 and 5 year olds.

But I digress.

For the most part, today’s debate dealt with issues other than health care. One exception was Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz’s amendment closing the tax loophole on non-cigarette tobacco products, such as smokeless tobacco and flavored cigars that tend to appeal to young people. Senator Fargo joined Senator Chang-Diaz in speaking passionately for the amendment. Stand-alone legislation on this issue has been a priority of the Oral Health Advocacy Taskforce for several years, and we were disappointed that the amendment was rejected by a 15-23 vote.

This is an issue that continues to be an OHAT and HCFA priority and we will work with our friends at Tobacco Free Mass to see that this gaping loophole is closed.

Tomorrow promises to be a busy one for health issues. Keep your eye here for a wrap-up on the important happenings on Beacon Hill.
-Matt Noyes