Senate passes bond bill, will include funding for early education, Covid-19 remote learning

Senator Sal DiDomenico and his colleagues in the Massachusetts Legislature recently passed a Governmental Bond Bill focused on capital improvements to strengthen government infrastructure, support early education and care providers with safe reopening during the COVID-19 pandemic, and expand equitable access to remote learning opportunities for vulnerable populations across the Commonwealth. During the Senate debate of the bond bill, DiDomenico secured a total of $1.75 million in additional funding for the city of Everett.

This funding includes:

• $1.5M to address the racial disparities in education, housing, and small businesses in Everett

• $250K for free wireless internet in parks and other public spaces in the city of Everett

DiDomenico also secured $5 million for the development of a common application for MassHealth enrollees to more easily access the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The Senator has been longtime champion of food security in the Commonwealth and has repeatedly filed legislation to streamline the process for individuals and families applying for federal SNAP benefits in an effort to help people more easily access the nutritional resources they need.

Following the debate of the Senate version of the bill, Senator DiDomenico was appointed by Senate President Karen Spilka as a member of the conference committee charged with reconciling the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill. Through his role as a conferee, DiDomenico worked to ensure that funding for his district and top priorities were included in the final compromise version of the bond bill.

The final version of the bond bill includes $660 million dedicated to state information technology needs, including $40 million in education grants to public schools to enhance remote learning environments and services. The capital plan also includes the following:

• $798 million for state and local general technology infrastructure; $660 million for state information technology upgrades; $110 million in public safety infrastructure and equipment; $117 million for reinvestment in disproportionately impacted communities;

• $105 million in educational information technology and other capital projects;

• $65 million in housing and economic development $37 million in food security grants; $30 million in public safety accountability technologies including body cameras and a race and ethnicity data sharing system;

• $10 million to fund technology investments at community health centers.

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