June 29 2020

Rep. Gordon Supports Bill for Supplemental COVID-19 Funds and Making Juneteenth a State Holiday


Burlington’s representative in the State House is backing a bill that increases funds for those affected by the pandemic and to make an important day in African American history a state holiday. 

Representative Ken Gordon, along with his House colleagues, passed a supplemental budget to facilitate federal CARES Act funding to reimburse communities affected by COVID-19 and establish Juneteenth as a state holiday in Massachusetts, a release from his office states. 

The spending measure follows the April passage in Congress of the Federal Cares Act, that requires states to expend funds on items related to COVID-19 for federal reimbursement. The supplemental budget directs funds to address vital needs including personal protective equipment, field hospitals and contact tracing. 

The bill also establishes Juneteenth Independence Day on June 19 in Massachusetts, marking the day in 1865 when the enslaved people of Galveston, Texas, learned they were free, the release says. 

“I was proud to vote in favor of this important budget, especially because it would make Juneteenth an official holiday in Massachusetts” said Gordon. “It is critical that we memorialize this day and continue to fight for equality and justice in the Commonwealth. I’m grateful to my colleagues in the Black and Latino Caucus for putting forth this historic provision”. 

The spending bill includes, among other items:

- $350 Million for personal protective equipment costs across the Commonwealth;

- $139 Million for increased rate add-ons to congregate care providers;

- $94 Million for incentive pay for human service employees;

- $85 Million for field hospitals and shelters;

- $44 Million for Community Tracing Collaborative;

- $81.6 Million for child care needs during the pandemic and re-opening;

- $500,000 to create an Early Education and Care Public-Private Trust Fund to establish an infrastructure to foster public-private and philanthropic efforts in support of childcare providers.

The bill now moves to the Senate.

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