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Legislature OKs compromise budget including snow removal, shelter funding

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BOSTON — The Legislature has signed off on a compromise spending bill that includes funds for snow removal, homeless shelters and state employee health insurance.

The $364 million bill was approved Tuesday by the House and Senate after negotiators met to work out differences between earlier versions passed in both chambers.

The measure includes $50 million to pay snow removal bills left over from a record-setting series of winter storms.

Lawmakers also approved $51 million to fund emergency shelters that were in danger of running out of money, and $190 million to cover a deficit in the state's Group Insurance Commission.

The bill includes several non-budget items, including reauthorization of a statewide grand jury and a change in the casino law that increases the threshold for winnings before gamblers have to fill out tax withholding forms.

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