Legislature Enacts $1.8 Billion Bond Bill to Strengthen Information Technology, Physical Infrastructure – East Boston Times-Free Press


House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, Senate President Karen E. Spilka, and Representative Adrian Madaro joined their colleagues in House and Senate to pass legislation authorizing up to $1.8 billion in spending for the improvement of information technology equipment and other capital projects in Massachusetts.

The legislation also authorizes funding for food security, law enforcement body cameras, and investments in educational technologies in Massachusetts schools.

“Now, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, more than ever, everyone realizes the importance of our information technology infrastructure,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D-Winthrop). “These investments will strengthen the resilience of our state and help provide more equitable access to key services for our residents. I thank Governor Baker, Senate President Spilka, and my colleagues in the Legislature for their work on this important bill.”

“As we adjust to a world transformed by a global pandemic we stand committed and ready to supporting existing programs and finding new ways to invest in underserved and underrepresented populations,” stated Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland).“I am thrilled to see this bill authorizes additional much-needed supports for childcare providers. I am equally proud to see this borrowing bill directs resources to a program aimed at supporting communities of color. I would like to thank all my colleagues, including House Speaker DeLeo and Senator Michael Rodrigues, for their work priorities.”

“This bill makes critical investments in IT infrastructure across the Commonwealth. It strengthens resiliency and improves responsiveness for essential services in our communities, while also providing for important COVID-19 recovery resources, such as food security,” said Representative Madaro. “I was proud to advocate for increased funding for community health centers in this legislation, especially for East Boston Neighborhood Health Center. The funding from this bill will help them update their digital infrastructure and security, better serving patients across East Boston and keeping confidential patient information more secure.”

“The IT Bond bill contains numerous and necessary upgrades to services that our constituents rely on each and every day,” said Representative Aaron Michlewitz (D-Boston), Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Ways & Means. “By enacting this legislation, we are ensuring that the Commonwealth will continue to provide those services in a timely and efficient manner, despite the lasting effects of COVID-19.”

“As we continue to confront challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the enactment of this bond bill to modernize our Commonwealth’s general government infrastructure and to invest in underserved populations is critically needed at this juncture,” stated Senator Michael J. Rodrigues (D-Westport), Co-Chair, Joint Committee on Ways and Means. “Whether it’s empowering communities of color disproportionately impacted by the criminal justice system or ensuring equitable access to remote learning opportunities for families in need, this bill reflects our commitment to work together during this public health crisis and deliver critical investments in a meaningful and timely way.”

“The final General Government Information Technology bond bill invests a great deal in technological improvements, enabling our state government to better serve its residents during public health and economic crises,” said Representative Antonio F. D. Cabral (D-New Bedford), Chair of the House Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets. “We are utilizing a measured and thoughtful approach to improving our state agencies’ online delivery systems, including the Department of Unemployment Insurance’s platform, to address the complex challenges we are facing as a Commonwealth.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has made us more reliant than ever on our information technology infrastructure,” said Senator Michael Moore (D-Millbury), Chair of the Senate Bonding Committee. “By passing this legislation, we have taken the proper steps towards ensuring that all services provided by the Commonwealth may be accessed remotely.”

“It was an honor to be a part of this process, and this bill provides much needed infrastructure investment across Massachusetts including a critical training facility for our public safety officers and resources for our colleges and universities,” said Representative Danielle Gregoire (D-Marlborough), Chair of the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight. “I am grateful for the work that all of the conferees put into this process and look forward to the Commonwealth’s residents experiencing the results of this work.

“I am pleased to have voted with my Senate colleagues in favor of legislation that will extend valuable resources for critical information technology improvements throughout the Commonwealth,” said Dean of the Massachusetts Senate Marc R. Pacheco (D-Taunton), Chair of the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight.  “Unique challenges brought on by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have magnified pre-existing gaps in our society, putting unprecedented strain on our existing infrastructure.   Critical upgrades made possible by this legislation will ensure that Massachusetts residents from every region have access to more efficient and more effective services.”

“This bond bill provides over $1.5 billion in critical funding for library construction, public safety initiatives, food security programs, and technology upgrades throughout state and local government,” said House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading). “These are important investments that will allow Massachusetts to continue to address its infrastructure needs while also responding to the many challenges presented by the COVID-19 global pandemic.”

“House and Senate members made certain that the components of this legislation would have positive wide-ranging impacts for our residents over many key areas. We modernize the state’s economic, justice and education systems, harden our cybersecurity capabilities and combat food insecurity with farm and fisheries grants to make food supply channels more robust and connect those in need with food resources,” said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R – Gloucester).

The capital plan, which includes $794 million for state and local general technology and physical infrastructure, features the following targeted investments.

$110 million in public safety infrastructure and equipment

$134 million in statewide economic development grants and reinvestment in disproportionately impacted communities

$80 million in educational IT and infrastructure grants, including $50 million to assist public schools in facilitating remote learning environments

$10 million to fund technology investments at community health centers

$37 million in food security grants

$25 million in capital improvements for licensed early education and care providers and after school programs to ensure safe reopening during COVID-19

$30 million in public safety accountability technologies including body cameras and a race and ethnicity data sharing system

The legislation has been signed into law by the governor.



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