House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo and Senate President Karen E. Spilka 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.”
“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.”
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
In addition to the funding made available for IT infrastructure, Senator Moore was able to secure $5 million in funding for CENTRO and the Latin American Business Organization. This funding will be provided in the form of a grant program for businesses in the second Worcester district owned by individuals from socially and economically disadvantaged communities.
The legislation has been signed into law by the governor.