On Friday, the Senate passed the Conference Committee Report for what was called the General Government / IT Bond Bill, a $1.8 billion investment to modernize our Commonwealth’s general government infrastructure, improve cybersecurity capabilities, empower communities disproportionately affected by the criminal justice system, support early education and care providers, and expand access to remote learning opportunities for vulnerable populations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Like other bond bills, it also contained important policy.
Senate-led priorities in the report included the following:
- $65M in economic empowerment and justice reinvestment capital grants to support communities disproportionately impacted by the criminal justice system with access to economic and workforce development opportunities.
- $50M to enhance and expand access to K through 12 remote learning technology for vulnerable populations during the COVID-19 pandemic
- $37M for a food security grant program to address infrastructure needs for farms, retailers, fisheries, food system food distribution channels to address growing food insecurity and food supply chain needs across the Commonwealth due to the COVID-19 pandemic
- $25M to assist licensed early education and care providers and after school programs with capital improvements to ensure safe reopening during the COVID-19 public health emergency
- $20M for a body camera grant program for police departments to ensure accountability in public safety
- $10M for a statewide criminal justice data system modernization to help better track racial and ethnic disparities across the judicial and public safety systems
- $5M for the creation of a common application option for Mass Health and Medicare Savings Program applicants to apply for SNAP at the same time, use the same core eligibility information and verifications
- $2.9M for public health data warehouse for the analysis of population health trends including health trends and health inequities related to the COVID-19 pandemic
- $2.5M for implementation of an automated electronic sealing process to seal certain criminal records