Legislature overrides governor's vetoes!

The House and Senate have overridden several education-related gubernatorial vetoes, including a measure to restore funding for state employee health insurance premiums.

Other vetoes by Governor Mitt Romney that were overridden and amounts restored include:

  • Head Start Grants: $1.4 million.
  • Parent-Child Home Program: $1 million.
  • Education Reform Reserve Account (the so-called "Pot-Hole" account for school districts facing extraordinary expenses): $4.4 million.
  • Feasibility assessment on toxic alternatives at UMass/Lowell: $250,000.
  • Office of Dispute Resolution Operations, UMass/Boston: $166,440.
  • Salem State College Second Degree Nursing: $915,900.
  • North Shore Community College Public Policy Institute: $250,000.

MTA President Catherine A. Boudreau said she was "extremely pleased" with all of the overrides. "The legislators have done the right thing for students and the fair thing for state employees."

As of January 1, 2006, the premium split will be restored to 85/15 for all state employees hired before June 30, 2003, while employees hired after that date who make more than $35,000 will have an 80/20 split. New employees earning less than $35,000 will pay at the 85/15 rate. The override vote was 140-11 in the House and 37-0 in the Senate.

This restoration was promised by legislators when they voted to temporarily increase the employees' share in light of the fiscal crisis. MTA lobbied hard for restoration.

Under the temporary system, the split was divided into three rates:

  • 85/15 for veteran employees (those hired before June 30, 2003) earning less than $35,000 a year.
  • 80/20 for veteran employees earning more than $35,000 a year.
  • 75/25 for new employees.