The Massachusetts state house.

In 2023, the Massachusetts legislature has a Democratic majority across the three chambers, including newly-elected Governor Maura Healey. This is the first time such a majority has occurred since 2015. The Massachusetts state house has biennial legislative sessions that begin in odd years. As such, this year is the start of the 2023-2024 legislative session. Ahead of the session, legislators announced their priorities.

Massachusetts FY 2024 Budget

Most notably, Massachusetts lawmakers passed their Budget for Fiscal Year 2024 on August 1, 2023. This budget was historic for many reasons, including:

  • The millionaire’s surtax revenue, totaling $1B, was split between education and transportation initiatives. Of this total, funding was divided between the following initiatives:
    • $523M earmarked for education
    • $477 earmarked for transportation
    • $5M to research a “means tested” MBTA fare
  • The budget included $50M in expansions to community college access, including:
    • $20M for MassReconnect, an new initiative by Governor Maura Healey
    • $18M to cover the cost of attending community college nursing programs
    • $12M to make community college accessible by the fall of 2023, an initiative by Senate President Karen Spilka
  • Under the budget, universal free school lunch is now a permanent program.
  • Lawmakers reintroduced an eviction protection program, called Chapter 257. The program will pause eviction cases for tenants who have a pending application for rental aid, which lapsed earlier this year.

Governor Healey signed the budget on August 9, 2023, with one veto and eight amendments. The veto removed $205M in one-time funding from the state.

Many priorities were not included in the final budget. These priorities will be included in future iterations of the annual budget.

Massachusetts Legislative Priorities in 2023

  • Equity Initiatives
  • Education
  • Guns
  • Environment
  • Abortion/ Reproductive Rights
  • Housing

Looking Ahead to 2024

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has only begun its two-year legislative cycle. Throughout the remainder of the session, legislators will continue to work on a wide range of bills and lead national movements on salient issues like gun violence and climate change. The Massachusetts legislature prides itself on its leadership in national conversations, and the state will be one of many to watch in the coming months.