A nearly $400 million spending bill is now on Gov. Maura Healey’s desk after unanimous votes in the state House and Senate Thursday. The bill is meant to bolster food security efforts and help the state’s emergency shelter system respond to an ongoing surge in demand.

Sen. Michael Rodrigues, the Senate’s budget chief, said the bill spends $388 million on “time-sensitive, urgent" needs. That includes $85 million to expand capacity at emergency family shelters and $65 million to ensure the state’s universal free school meals program can keep operating through the rest of the academic year.

When Healey filed an initial version of the bill almost two months ago, she wrote in a message to lawmakers that emergency temporary shelters were at capacity amid heightened demand from families experiencing homelessness, and asked them to pass the bill "promptly to ensure that we continue to have capacity to shelter all eligible families."

While lawmakers worked on the bill Thursday, Healey was in the Merrimack Valley to tout her free school meals and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program funding proposals with stops at a Billerica elementary school and Lowell food pantry.

The federal government had provided households receiving food assistance with additional SNAP benefits earlier in the pandemic. That expansion ended three weeks ago, leaving about 640,000 Massachusetts households with an average $150 less to spend each month.

Healey proposed and lawmakers agreed to $130 million to soften the impact of that change. In what Rodrigues referred to as a “ramp-down,” the state will provide SNAP recipients with 40% of the previous enhanced federal allotment for three months.

The state's Department of Transitional Assistance has flagged an uptick in scams where thieves attach skimming devices to card readers to steal people’s public benefits. The bill responds to that by allocating $2 million to reimburse people whose SNAP benefits have been stolen.

Acting DTA commissioner Mary Sheehan told lawmakers earlier this week that there is "nothing more maddening to me than somebody stealing benefits from the people that need it the most.”

Along with the $388 million in direct spending, the bill authorizes $740 million in state borrowing to support local infrastructure grants, the Clean Water Trust Fund, broadband improvements and other initiatives.

Healey gets 10 days to decide whether to sign the bill, veto any of its components, or send it back to the Legislature with any suggested amendments.

The bill would also:

  • Extend the pandemic-era authorization for restaurants to offer cocktails, beer and wine to-go with takeout orders another year, until April 1, 2024.
  • Give the special commission reevaluating the state’s seal and motto a new deadline of Nov. 15, 2023, to complete its work. The commission has received several extensions since its original October 2021 due date.
  • Dedicate $1 million to "a public awareness campaign to educate providers and the public about crisis pregnancy centers and pregnancy resource centers and the centers' lack of medical services." The campaign would also "include information on the availability of providers across the commonwealth that provide legitimate medical and family planning services."
  • Steer $2 million to the Boston branch of the NAACP to support programming at its upcoming national convention, and make sure local residents have access to those programs. The convention kicks off July 26.