Friedman, Massachusetts Senate unanimously approve investments in cybersecurity, online accessibility, and new tech 

The FutureTech Act authorizes $1.24B in bonds, allocates $400M in federal funds 

(BOSTON–6/6/2024) Today, Senator Cindy F. Friedman (D-Arlington) joined her colleagues in the Massachusetts Senate to unanimously pass the FutureTech Act, taking action on a $1.24 billion bond authorization to modernize the Commonwealth’s digital infrastructure and create safer and more accessible experiences for residents and employees alike. 

Funding and projects included in S.2806, An Act to provide for the future information technology needs of Massachusetts, would allow state agencies to deliver services more efficiently to residents, enhance cybersecurity on statewide platforms, and broaden access to services used by hundreds of thousands of residents statewide. The bill would also invest in emerging technologies and artificial intelligence (AI) and direct $400 million in anticipated federal funding to bolster health and human services-related projects.  

“Today’s unanimous vote in the Massachusetts Senate signals a bright future for improving our technology systems statewide, providing for bond authorizations that will improve user experience and accessibility for more residents of the Commonwealth” said Senator Friedman, Vice Chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. “I am especially excited to see this legislation include several targeted health care related programs and increased support for our partners in municipal governments, which will translate to safer and more efficient municipal operations.” 

The FutureTech Act lays a foundation for technology innovation in the Commonwealth by implementing transformative projects like the Business Enterprise Systems Transformation (BEST) and the Commonwealth Digital Roadmap, both of which would be targeted at streamlining state operations and making essential government services quicker and more efficient.  

It would support a new project to consolidate and modernize the Division Occupational Licensing (DOL)’s licensing database, which currently relies on outdated infrastructure, paper files, and manual data entry. Once full implemented, new systems will accelerate licensing and renewals.  

The bill includes authorizations for the Employment Modernization Transformation (EMT) rollout, which will provide employers and those seeking unemployment insurance with a new portal to manage unemployment insurance claims. With phase one already rolled out, future improvements will include easier uploads, a mobile-friendly design, and enhanced accessibility features. 

The FutureTech Act builds on Massachusetts’ longstanding leadership in emerging technology by allocating funds for future AI projects and supporting initiatives like the Municipal Fiber Grant Program, which boosts innovation and extends efficiencies to cities and towns. 

Additional investments in the bill 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 
  • $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 
  • Creation of a new Information Technology Federal Reimbursement Fund to facilitate the use of funds to support health and human services related IT improvements.  

A previous version of this bill having passed the House of Representatives, the two branches will now reconcile the differences between the bills before sending it to the Governor’s desk.