COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS
STATE HOUSE, BOSTON 02133
Senator Joan B. Lovely
2nd Essex District
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
June 17, 2022
Senate Passes General
Government Bond Bill
Legislation funds construction of public facilities, environmental protection,
housing and more, and halts construction of new prisons
BOSTON– On Thursday, June 16th the Massachusetts State Senate passed a $5.07 billion general government bond bill to fund construction projects related to health care, higher education, information technology, workforce development, the environment, affordable housing, and more. The bill also includes a moratorium on the construction of new prisons in Massachusetts.
“These investments will kickstart important projects related to buildings, infrastructure, pollution mitigation, broadband services and more, providing incalculable benefits to the residents of Massachusetts,” said Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). “I want to thank Ways and Means Chair Rodrigues and his staff, the members of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, Senate Chair of the Bonding Committee Nick Collins and all of my partners in the Senate for ensuring this is a comprehensive bill.”
“Today’s passage of the General Government Bond Bill will support a strong future for our Commonwealth through critical infrastructure and information technology investments in areas like public higher education, cybersecurity, state building decarbonization and much more,” said Senator Michael J. Rodrigues (D -Westport), Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “I want to thank Senate President Spilka for her continued leadership and my colleagues for their support in passing this vital $5 billion bond bill to meet the evolving needs of our state and create an even better tomorrow for our residents.”
“This legislation represents the Senate’s commitment to ensuring that our Commonwealth’s institutions are modernized while continuing to responsibly steward our state’s fiscal health and strengthening our reputation as a good place to do business.” said Senator Nick Collins (D-Boston), Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets.
“I am proud to join with my Senate colleagues to pass the General Governmental Bond Bill to support both our communities and our Commonwealth,” said Senator Joan B. Lovely (D-Salem), “and secure authorizations for critical infrastructure projects across the Second Essex District. Thank you Senate President Karen Spilka, Senate Ways and Means Chair Michael Rodrigues and Chair Nick Collins for your leadership.”
The Senate adopted the following amendments Senator Lovely filed on behalf of the Second Essex District to the General Government Bond Bill:
- $500,000 for renovations to Beverly City Hall.
- $500,000 for the acquisition of land and design of a new Danvers public works department.
- $500,000 to make energy efficiency upgrades to municipal buildings in Peabody.
- $500,000 for the remediation and restoration of Mansell Field Salem.
- $500,000 for renovations to the water tank in Topsfield.
The bill would provide funding for construction costs related to a wide variety of public facilities— including state universities and community colleges, hospitals and courts. Funding in this legislation includes:
- $820 million for the Executive Office of Health and Human Services to acquire, maintain and repair Commonwealth owned health care facilities.
- $750 million for improvements and repairs at state institutions of higher education.
- $675 million for improvements to court facilities.
- $530 million for additional safety improvements, maintenance and repairs by the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, to state institutions, including Bridgewater State Hospital.
- $100 million in grants to support municipalities in addressing local construction needs.
Additionally, the bill allocates $975 million for general state agency facility acquisition, maintenance and repair.
The general government bond bill also includes funding to address the uneven impact of climate change on Massachusetts communities, with $400 million being allocated to projects to decarbonize and reduce the environmental impact of state-owned facilities. Furthermore, the bill includes $64 million for the Water Pollution Abatement Revolving fund, which provides local governments and utilities with grants to build or replace water infrastructure and ensure safe and renewable sources of drinking water.
The bill includes grants to address needs related to workforce development and technical expertise for start-ups. In light of the need for Massachusetts to maintain a robust workforce prepared to meet the needs of a variety of cutting-edge industries, the general government bond bill allocates $100 million for career technical skills and capital grants. The bill also includes $16.1 million for grants to innovative early-stage entrepreneurs through the Massachusetts Technology Development Corporation.
Housing-related items in the bill include $60 million for the Housing Stabilization and Investment Trust Fund, which supports affordable rental housing production and rehabilitation, and $25 million for grants to support cities and towns that are producing new housing.
Additional funding in the bill includes:
- $100 million to update information technology used by state agencies, including investments to support the educational workforce and to modernize the state’s unemployment system.
- $51 million for the Food Security program, to fight food insecurity.
- $50 million for the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund, to support cultural institutions throughout the Commonwealth.
- $20 million to support cities and towns offering hybrid meetings through technology investment grants.
A total of $98.9 million was added to the bill during course of debate.
Notably, the bill also includes a five-year moratorium on the construction of new prison facilities in Massachusetts. During this time, the state would not plan or construct new prisons, and active prisons would not be expanded and could only be renovated in such a way that does not increase the state’s overall prison capacity. Records of inmate populations have shown that Massachusetts prisons are currently at historically low levels and well below maximum capacity.
A version of this legislation having previously passed in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, the legislation now goes to the House for further consideration.