The Massachusetts House of Representatives could finish debating their version of the state budget as early as this evening. So what stands out about this budget plan two days into the House's debate?

It'll end up just shy of $40 billion in total, around the same amount Gov. Charlie Baker proposed earlier this year. This is Democratic lawmakers' first opportunity to shape spending for next year, so their priorities are a little different than the Republican governor's. There aren't a lot of extra dollars floating around, so budget writers are working in the millions, not billions, but the House intends to add a lot more funding for local education than Baker wanted: about $56 million.

Q: How do 160 members work through over a thousand amendment proposals to arrive at a final House budget in just three days? A: In secret, mostly. The vast majority of the action takes place behind closed doors in secret budget negotiations between rank and file members and Speaker Robert DeLeo's inner circle, lead by Ways and Means Chairman Brian Dempsey. The amendments are everything from funding modifications to straight up earmarks for lawmaker's district priorities - and everyone's got priorities. When the House leadership approves an amendment, it gets bundled into one of about a half dozen giant amendments that then get a stamp of approval from the full house.

There's new spending on some of the more contested parts of government, like child welfare and drug treatment. The House mostly went along with Baker's increases in funds for caseworkers and improvements at the Department of Children and Families. And there's about $9 million more for various opiate addiction treatment programs, like medication-based treatment.