July 11, 2014
To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives:
Pursuant to Article LVI, as amended by Article XC, Section 3 of the Amendments to the Constitution, I am returning to you for amendment Section 125 of House Bill No. 4001, “An Act Making Appropriations for the Fiscal Year 2015 for the Maintenance of the Departments, Boards, Commissions, Institutions and Certain Activities of the Commonwealth, for Interest, Sinking Fund and Serial Bond Requirements and for Certain Permanent Improvements.”
Section 125 requires public schools to adopt substance abuse prevention policies. I support this aspect of Section 125.
However, another unrelated provision of Section 125 promises to reimburse municipalities every year for the additional costs of students of military families, at the fiscal year level of $1.3 million. I do not object to funding this program in the fiscal year 2015 budget, but I believe it is bad policy to codify this promise indefinitely, and I therefore recommend amending the section to remove this provision.
For these reasons, I recommend that Section 125 be amended by striking out the text and inserting in place thereof the following text:-
SECTION 125. Chapter 71 of the General Laws is hereby amended by adding the following section:-
Section 95. Each public school shall have a policy regarding substance use prevention and the education of its students about the dangers of substance abuse. The school shall notify the parents or guardians of all students attending the school of the policy and shall post the policy on the school’s website, if a website exists. The policy and any standards and rules enforcing the policy shall be prescribed by the school committee in conjunction with the superintendent or the board of trustees of a charter school.