By Bob Katzen

The House 153-0, Senate 39-0 approved and Gov. Charlie Baker signed into law most of a $5 billion bond bill that borrows money for hundreds of construction projects—the majority involving maintenance and modernization projects of buildings related to health care, higher education, information technology, workforce development, the environment and affordable housing. Many of the buildings are decades old. Baker vetoed several provisions including one that would have imposed a five-year moratorium on any prison or jail construction in Massachusetts.

“The facilities improved by this bill will serve some of the commonwealth’s neediest citizens, help educate our future workforce, prepare for climate change, help us meet key environmental objectives, and keep our communities and workers safe,” said Gov. Baker. “This administration is proud of the work done in close collaboration with the Legislature to keep commonwealth facilities on a path of good repair, and this bill supports the continuation of many of the key themes and objectives that have guided our capital planning decisions over the past eight years.

Baker noted that he opposes a five-year prison moratorium that would not only prohibit the construction of new correctional facilities but also studies or renovations of existing state or county correctional facilities. “I reiterate that the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security and the Department of Correction have no intention of constructing new correctional facilities now or in the foreseeable future. Nor do they believe that it will be necessary to increase overall operational capacity given that the department has experienced a continued decline in prison population statewide.”

(A “Yes” vote is for the bill).

Rep. Christine Barber Yes Rep. Mike Connolly Yes Rep. Erika Uyterhoeven Yes Sen. Patricia Jehlen Yes

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