The following is a press release.
BOSTON – State Representatives Jack Patrick Lewis, Carmine Gentile, and Maria Duaime Robinson joined Senate President Karen E. Spilka and other colleagues last month in enacting legislation authorizing up to $1.8 billion in spending for the improvement of information technology equipment and other capital projects in Massachusetts.
“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,” said Senate President Karen E. Spilka. “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 legislation has been signed into law by Governor Charlie Baker.
“With COVID-19, the need for investment in our IT infrastructure is more obvious than ever,” said Framingham State Rep. Robinson. “This funding will be used to create new opportunities for our municipalities and school districts to assist in short-term and long-term learning plans.”
This legislation additionally authorizes funding for other capital projects in Massachusetts, such as food security and law enforcement body cameras. As the Coronavirus pandemic continues to dwindle funds and make learning more difficult, this money provides much needed aid to the Commonwealth.
“This bond bill provides needed funding to upgrade information systems in many of our cities and towns as well as our school districts. It’s a great shot in the arm at a time when our communities need it most,” said Rep. Gentile. “I’m thankful for Governor Baker’s initiating the process and finally signing the amended bill we sent to him. It is a win-win for state and local government and every resident of the Commonwealth.”
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
“As our local communities continue to struggle with the effects of COVID-19 and many of our area children returning to school remotely,” said Rep. Lewis, who represents Framingham & Ashland. “There is more need now than ever before for sustained investments in IT infrastructure.”