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Support Human Services: Attend budget hearings

Members of the House and Senate Ways and Means committees will hold public hearings throughout Massachusetts to get input and feedback from constituents on the $38.1 billion fiscal 2016 budget proposal filed by Gov. Charlie Baker on March 4.

The Providers' Council and The Caring Force urge members to attend meetings scheduled in your region and provide testimony on the areas of the budget that affect your programs, services and workforce. Last year, The Caring Force turned out big in their gold shirts and packed the Gardner Auditorium for the final hearing before the House announced its FY'15 budget last year. This year we want to do even better. We need you, your friends, colleagues and fellow human service supporters to show up and provide testimony at these public hearings.

The hearing schedule is listed below. All hearings start at 10 a.m.:

Tuesday, March 24, at Greenfield Community College Auditorium, One College Drive, Greenfield. Topics & Agencies: Education and local aid; departments of Early Education and Care, Elementary and Secondary Education, and Higher Education.

Wednesday, March 25, Quinsigamond Community College, 670 West Boylston St., Worcester. Topics & Agencies: Public safety, district attorneys, sheriffs, and the judiciary; ethics, Office of Campaign and Political Finance, Committee for Public Counsel Services, Mass. Commission Against Discrimination and Disabled Persons Protection Commission.

Tuesday, March 31, Methuen High School, 1 Ranger Road, Methuen. Topics & Agencies: Environment and energy, transportation; Department of Transportation, the Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Department of Public Utilities and the Registry of Motor Vehicles.

Wednesday, April 1, Everett High School Library, 100 Elm St., Everett. Topics & Agencies: Economic development, housing, libraries, and labor; consumer affairs and business regulation, departments of Business Development, Housing and Economic Development, Labor and Workforce Development; Workforce Investment Board, Board of Library Commissioners, Mass. Cultural Council and Commission on the Status of Women.

Tuesday, April 7, Medford City Hall, Council Chambers, 85 George Hassett Drive, Medford. Topics & Agencies: Health and human services; departments of Children and Families, Youth Services, Transitional Assistance, Developmental Disabilities, Mass. Rehab Commission, Mass. Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Mass. Commission for the Blind, Office of Refugees.

Thursday, April 9, UMass Center, Tower Square, 1500 Main St., Springfield. Topics & Agencies: Health and human services; Executive Office of Health and Human Services; Office of Medicaid, departments of Public Health and Mental Health, Center for Health Information and Analysis, Elder Affairs, Veterans Affairs and Soldiers Homes.

Monday, April 13, Gardner Auditorium, State House, Boston. Topics & Agencies: Lawmakers have traditionally allowed anyone interested in testifying to do so at the final budget hearing.

For any questions on the budget process, budget cuts or state funding, please email Bill Yelenak or call him at 617.428.3637 x122.