Gov.Baker Files Legislation Authorizing $1.1 Billion to Improve Information Technology, Public Safety Infrastructure

The following is a press release from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts submitted to SOURCE

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BOSTON — Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker today, April 1, filed legislation authorizing more than $1.1 billion in capital funding for public safety and information technology investments, including programs to strengthen police and fire infrastructure and enhance the security of the Commonwealth’s IT assets.

The bill also includes authorization for other capital investments designed to improve the delivery of state and local services.

“It is critically important that the Commonwealth make these capital investments to strengthen defenses against cyber threats and continue modernizing and securing our digital assets,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “This bill will also help us to partner with local agencies and provide additional capital support to better serve the residents of Massachusetts.”

The majority of the proposed authorizations in the bill, $600 million, would support IT infrastructure needs throughout the Commonwealth, strengthening cybersecurity and improving how state agencies serve their constituents.

The bill authorizes $137.5 million for public safety, including $82.5 million to replace and modernize State Police cruisers. The bill authorizes $35 million for the Department of Fire Services, including $10 million to establish a new fire training facility in southeastern Massachusetts, and $20 million in capital funding for the Department of Correction and other public safety agencies.

The bill also authorizes $390 million to support other capital programs, including grants to cities and towns to encourage housing production, as well as funding for library construction, technology upgrades and accessibility improvements. The authorizations include $30 million for a municipal IT grant program to assist communities with modernizing their technology systems so that they may deliver services to their residents more efficiently.

“Supporting cities and towns is a top priority for our administration and we have seen first-hand the impact that these IT investments have at the local level,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “In addition to important IT projects, this bill will enable our local partners to make investments in their infrastructure, including improving access to municipal buildings for persons with disabilities and providing new training capacity for firefighters.”

As it considers IT capital investments, the Executive Office of Technology Services and Security, elevated to the cabinet level in 2017, is prioritizing projects that are reliable over the long term and deliver maximum benefit for the residents they serve.

The $600 million in authorization for IT infrastructure will help fortify the Commonwealth’s defenses against cyber attacks, advance strategic IT initiatives, modernize digital and telecommunications infrastructure and improve the user experience for residents interacting with state government, including for services related to health care, housing, education, employment assistance, public safety and emergency management, transportation and the environment.

“All residents of the Commonwealth benefit when the underlying technology systems that power state government function smoothly and efficiently,” said Secretary of Technology Services and Security Curt Wood. “Continued support of the Baker-Polito Administration’s approach to capital investment will strengthen protections against cybersecurity threats and improve access to and delivery of services to the people of the Commonwealth in an increasingly digital world.”

“Governor Baker’s proposal will help us modernize and replace the State Police’s fleet of cruisers,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Security Thomas Turco. “This proposal would also significantly increase our ability to train firefighter recruits by reducing wait times to join a class and provide a much more convenient location for recruits in southeastern Massachusetts.”

“The Baker-Polito Administration’s consistent approach to capital investment balances the need to modernize our infrastructure with our commitment to fiscal responsibility and investing for the long term,” said Secretary of Administration and Finance Michael J. Heffernan. “This legislation will help pave the way for more secure and user-friendly IT systems, both for employees and the public, and will allow us to continue providing strong capital support to our municipal partners.”

Authorizations in the bill include:

Information Technology

·         $195 million for improved constituent services, including systems related to health care, housing, education, employment assistance, public safety and emergency management, transportation and energy and environment

·         $165 million for strategic initiatives related to the efficiency of state IT resources, including new Human Resources and Financial Systems, and background records checking

·         $135 million for upgrades to cybersecurity for the Commonwealth’s digital assets, including a new Security Operations Center, vulnerability testing of state IT infrastructure and Commonwealth-wide IT systems, and enhancement of access security for state systems

·         $105 million for modernization of the Commonwealth’s digital and telecommunications infrastructure

Public Safety

·         $82.5 million for the State Police to modernize and replace cruisers

·         $35 million for the Department of Fire Services, including:

o   $25 million for a new firefighter safety grant program for municipalities to fund equipment including turnout gear and washers/extractors to ensure proper cleaning of gear

o   $10 million for capital improvements for the new proposed Southeastern fire training facility in Bridgewater to reduce a training backlog and provide a more convenient training option for departments in the southeastern part of the state. (The Administration’s FY20 budget proposal includes $3.2 M in funding for operating costs for this facility.)

·         $20 million in capital funding for the Department of Correction and other public safety agencies

Other capital investments

·         $100 million for the Library Construction Grant program

•      $30 million for a municipal IT grant program

·         $20 million for grants to equip municipal buildings with fiber-optic technology

·         $25 million for Housing Choice grants to spur development of new housing

·         $10 million for the Massachusetts Office on Disability’s Municipal ADA grant program, which supports capital improvements dedicated to improving access for persons with disabilities in cities and towns throughout the Commonwealth

·         $5 million for grants to school districts to upgrade their Internet and WiFi resources

Framingham Source Editor Susan Petroni

Susan Petroni Framingham Source Editor Email: editor@FraminghamSource.com Phone: 508-315-7176

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