Massachusetts House passes Information Technology Bond Bill

BOSTON – State Representative Richard M. Haggerty (D-Woburn) joined his colleagues in the House of Representatives to pass Bill H.4642 ‘An Act to provide for the future information technology needs of Massachusetts’, also known as the FutureTech Act. The bill authorizes $1.23 billion in bonded spending and utilizes an additional $400 million in anticipated federal funding to bolster critical information technology projects across the Commonwealth.

“As we continue to navigate an increasingly digital world, it is crucial that we invest in our state’s technological capabilities to better serve our residents, protect their information and remain at the forefront of innovation,” said Representative Haggerty. “The FutureTech Act will not only improve the efficiency of our state agencies but also position Massachusetts as a leader in emerging technologies. By supporting initiatives like the Municipal Fiber Grant Program, we are empowering our local communities to save money and enhance their networks. I am proud to support this forward-thinking legislation that will benefit our residents and ensure that we are prepared to tackle the challenges and opportunities of the future.”

The bill encompasses a range of initiatives designed modernize the Commonwealth’s information technology infrastructure. These measures will enable state agencies to operate with increased level of productivity and efficiency while simultaneously bolstering cybersecurity efforts. By dedicating resources to these technological advancements, Massachusetts seeks to broaden access to vital services and information, ultimately enhancing the digital landscape and user experience for all residents.

The FutureTech Act not only ensures seamless delivery of crucial government services but also establishes the groundwork for future technological advancements. Among the bill’s key initiatives are the implementation of transformative projects such as the Business Enterprise Systems Transformation (BEST) and the Commonwealth Digital Roadmap. These initiatives are designed to enhance administrative workflows and streamline state operations, thereby fostering a more efficient and effective government.

The bill also supports a new initiative to consolidate and update the Division Occupational Licensing (DOL)’s licensing database. This project will supplant the existing outdated infrastructure, which currently depends on paper files, manual data input and review processes. By modernizing the system, the project aims to address the issue of prolonged application and renewal processing times.

Moreover, the legislation comprises provisions for the ongoing implementation of the Employment Modernization Transformation (EMT), an initiative which will equip both employers and individuals seeking unemployment insurance with a new portal to conduct state-facing employment activities, facilitate a streamlined claims process for uploading information with a mobile-friendly design and increased accessibility features.

In addition to tackling the Commonwealth’s pressing needs, the FutureTech Act adopts a forward-looking approach aimed at establishing Massachusetts as a frontrunner in both existing and emerging technologies. The bill’s allocation of resources for prospective AI initiatives and supporting projects such as the Municipal Fiber Grant Program, not only ensures the state’s current technological competitiveness, but also fosters innovation at the local level, ultimately saving towns and cities money through enhancements to their networks.

Investments include:

  • $750 million to improve service delivery to the public, including:
    • $120 million for Business Enterprise Systems Transformation (BEST)
    • $100 million for Commonwealth Digital Roadmap
    • $240 million for Health Insurance Exchange
    • $90 million for One Health
  • $200 million for technology or telecommunications infrastructure improvements or maintenance, including:
    • $52 million for Employment Modernization Transformation (EMT)
    • $10 million for Integrated Eligibility and Enrollment Program
    • $12 million for Child Care Financial Assistance (CCFA) Modernization
    • $30 million for Electronic Health Records Modernization
  • $200 million to support the security of the Commonwealth’s IT Infrastructure, including:
    • $3 million for Criminal Justice 360 System
    • $5 million DOC Radio Modernization Initiative
    • $17 million Emergency Assistance Family Shelter Technology System
  • $250 million for various strategic initiatives, improvements to business intelligence, and modernization of governmental functions, including:
    • $15 million for Integrated Digital Data Services (IDDS)
    • $13 million for Enhanced Student Financial Aid Access
    • $33 million for Licensing Platform modernization
  • Other projects and items included in the bill:
    • $25 million for AI projects
    • $30 million for Muni Fiber Grants
    • $150 million for local and regional IT security improvements
    • $25 million for Community Compact IT Grants
    • Establishes a new Information Technology Federal Reimbursement Fund to facilitate the use of funds to support health and human services related IT improvements.

The bill passed the House of Representatives 152-2 vote. It now goes to the Senate for consideration.

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