November was quite a month! A LOT happened on the national stage, and here in Massachusetts we've kept moving forward.
The Senate released its version of the FY 2021 budget on November 18. It does not include the increase of $500,000 to the Massachusetts Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program's (MTCP) line that the House had proposed in its version. Instead, it level-funds the program at the FY 2020 amount of $4.6 million.
The House and Senate are currently in conference to iron out differences between the two versions. Tobacco Free Mass and other organizations have advocated for the Conference Committee to use the House's version, which would give MTCP a much-needed increase in the face of increased demands on the program. We do not know how long the Conference Committee will deliberate, but we'll keep you posted and we'll let you know what the next steps are.
In good news, the Senate voted down an amendment from Sen. Fattman that
would have allowed the sale of flavored tobacco products, including menthol
cigarettes. This is a victory and validation of our newly-passed