“A Conversation with Senators Barrett & Donnelly”

Representative Jay Kaufman’s award winning public policy forum, “OPEN HOUSE”, analyzes the FY ’15 state budget just recently passed by the House of Representatives. The forum, the ninth of the 19th season, will be held Thursday, May 15th, 7:00PM-8:00PM at the historic Depot in Lexington Center (13 Depot Square in Lexington Center).

On April 30th, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed its version of the annual state budget, approving a $36.2 billion spending plan. The budget, which did not include several taxes that Governor Deval Patrick proposed in his budget, cleared the House with broad, bipartisan support, culminating in a 148-2 vote. Debate lasted three long days, with the final vote occurring right around the stroke of midnight on Wednesday, April 30th. The budget will now go to the Senate where it will more than likely undergo a substantial revision from the House plan. The final contours of the Legislature’s spending plan for fiscal 2015, which starts July 1st, will likely be worked out in June by a six-member conference committee helmed by Senate Ways and Means Committee Chairman Sen. Stephen Brewer and House Ways and Means Chairman Rep. Brian Dempsey.  The Senate has traditionally taken up its budget the week before Memorial Day weekend.

Senator Michael Barrett (D-Lexington) was elected to the Massachusetts Senate in 2012, returning to public service after almost 20 years consulting in the private sector, focusing on the emergence of the Internet and the development of online services involved in health care. Senator Kenneth Donnelly (D-Arlington) was elected to the Senate in 2009 and, before that, worked for the Town of Lexington as lieutenant for the fire department.

How does the budget process work? Do the House and Senate always agree on their budget priorities? Does the Governor have any say after he submits his budget? How do activists and non-profits impact what programs get funded, and for how much? How can you get involved? Find out the answers to these questions and bring your own. Don’t miss this forum May 15th, from 7PM-8PM. As always, the forum will take its shape largely from questions from the audience. Questions can also be submitted in advance at www.jaykaufman.com, or tweet your questions to @repjaykaufman.

In 1997, OPEN HOUSE was awarded the prestigious Beacon Award, cable television’s equivalent of an Emmy, as the nation’s best government relations series. The series was also named the best television series by Massachusetts Cable Television Commission. The OPEN HOUSE series is produced through a partnership between Representative Kaufman and LexMedia which records the forums for broadcast in Lexington and Woburn.