We share this press release from the Senate President’s office.
Senate Passes Internet Technology Bond Bill
BOSTON – The Senate on Thursday passed legislation authorizing up to $999.2 million in spending for the improvement of information technology equipment and related projects in Massachusetts. The bill also includes important reforms to the state’s information technology systems and management, including increased oversight of all information technology projects and recommending best practices.
“For Massachusetts to remain competitive, it is critical that we support investments and oversight in our information technology systems while also improving how our systems are managed,” Senate President Therese Murray (D-Plymouth) said. “As technology continues to advance, so will the way we conduct business in state government, and the investments included in this bill represent the steps we need to be taking now to help guide the Commonwealth successfully into the future.”
“This legislation enacts the reforms needed to help protect taxpayers against expensive and broken IT projects,” said Senator Brian A. Joyce (D-Milton), Chair of the Senate Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets. “It will also ensure that our schools can implement technology upgrades to prepare our children for college and beyond.”
“As we have seen time and again, up-to-date information technology is essential to living in the modern world,” said Senator Stephen M. Brewer (D-Barre), Chair of Senate Ways and Means. “Many residents still do not have access to the Internet. This makes life difficult for a lot of people, including those operating small businesses, farmers promoting their products, and students who attend schools of all kind, from elementary school to online college courses. This bill enhances information technology services throughout the Commonwealth, including greater broadband access for many citizens.”
The bill increases coordination, planning and centralization of information technology systems through greater oversight of the Information Technology Division and creates an Information Technology Oversight Committee to provide consistent review of information technology projects. Additionally, the bill establishes an Enterprise Project Management Office to oversee and manage large information technology projects.
The bill also requires the Executive Office of Administration and Finance to issue regulations on the hiring of former employees of information technology vendors for management positions in the executive branch.
To enforce consistency and encourage competition, the bill establishes best practices for project procurement, including minimizing the scope of projects to improve flexibility and allow smaller companies and startups to submit proposals. This effort will increase the likelihood of finding the best vendor to create the highest-quality product for the Commonwealth.
In an effort to encourage offering online services in all agencies and departments, the bill requires executive offices to issue a report detailing the level of services offered by each office and available over the internet.
The capital plan also includes:
$9 million for support of the Commonwealth’s second active data center;
- $300 million for IT equipment and projects;
- $60 million for improvements to the Massachusetts State Lottery Commission;
- $140 million for federally-reimbursable IT equipment and projects;
- $220 million for self-supporting information technology projects;
- $50 million for the Massachusetts Broadband Incentive Fund;
- $68.2 million to upgrade the state police’s existing statewide communication network;
- $38 million for a public school district broadband access improvement grant program;
- $12 million for a data system to track diagnosis, treatment, services and outcomes of individuals with autism;
- $2 million for capital equipment for general government operations; and,
- $100 million for IT improvements at the Department of Transportation.
In addition, the bill requires the Executive Office of Administration and Finance to issue a report on making financial information from agency contracts valued at over $1 million available online and to submit biannual reports to the Legislature detailing the spending on projects funded through this bill.
The Senate bill and the House bill will now go to a conference committee to produce a compromise bill for final passage and consideration of the governor.