Action Alert

The Senate’s FY’19 budget recommendations, while including some big wins for the housing court and homeless youth, do not include funding for several critical areas.

Senators have submitted their amendments, and now the debates are on!

This is your chance to join us and stand up for civil legal aid, low-income kids in schools, and an exciting new amendment focusing on parents and students facing language barriers in the classroom! One quick call to your senator could make the difference.

Civil Legal Aid

Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporations (MLAC) has requested an additional $5 million in state support this year (for a total of $23 million).

The Senate Committee on Ways and Means’ budget includes $19 million in funding for MLAC, which is $1 million less than the House’s budget and still short of MLAC’s request of $5 million in additional funding

MLAC is the largest provider of civil legal aid services in the state and without full funding, civil legal aid programs will be forced to turn away thousands of people in need.

Senator Creem and Senator Brownsberger have filed Amendment #992 that would provide the full $23 million in funding MLAC has requested and help provide aid to those with critical unmet legal needs across the state.

Action You Can Take:

Click here to email your senator TODAY and ask them to support Amendment #992.

Lunch Shaming and Student Hunger

Lunch shaming is the practice of humiliating and punishing children who are unable to afford lunch, and is unfortunately the policy of many schools in Massachusetts. With a recent bill aiming to ban lunch shaming that we supported unlikely to pass this session, Senator Creem has filed Amendment #167.

This amendment would require cities and towns to publish their meal charge policies so that parents are fully informed about the consequences of accruing school meal debt. It would also enable advocates like us to track different schools’ meal policies to better combat lunch shaming.

This would be an important step in the fight to protect children from harmful lunch shaming policies.

The publication of meal policies will allow us, along with our community partners, to hold school districts accountable and continue this important discussion at the local and statewide levels.

Action You Can Take:

Click here to find your senator’s contact information and ask them to support Amendment #167.

Language Access in Schools

Despite federal laws and regulations outlining the responsibilities schools have in communicating with limited English proficient (LEP) parents in a language they understand, too many families continue to face staggering language access barriers, in up to as many as 113 school districts in the state.

In response to this widespread problem, Senator Welch has introduced Amendment #284. This amendment would enable the creation of a Task Force to develop recommendations regarding the training, assessment, and certification of interpreters in educational settings to improve language access for LEP parents.

Too often, bilingual school staff – including secretaries, school counselors, janitors, and cafeteria workers – are being asked to stand in and interpret, despite not being appropriately trained as an interpreter.

The establishment of this Task Force will set standards for interpreters and will allow schools to better serve the needs of each unique child and family, regardless of the language they speak.

Action You Can Take:

Click here to find your senator’s contact information and ask them to support Amendment #284.

Thank you for standing with us throughout this budget process as we fight for necessary funding and policy changes in these critical areas. Please join us again and tell the Senate why these issues are important to you. When we stand up and we speak out, we win!


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