By Bob Katzen
The governor signed into law a bill providing $165.5 million to modernize the state’s courthouses and technology system. The measure also includes a section dealing with state’s gun laws.
Provisions include $95 million to allow courts to go digital; $35 million to ensure the safety of the courts’ employees and guests; and another $35 million for the technological modernization of court administrative operations.
Another key provision included is in response to a recent New York Supreme Court decision in the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen that took away local police chiefs of significant discretion about who is allowed to possess and carry a firearm. The provision amends Massachusetts law to bring gun licensing provisions into compliance with the court decision and to ensure that individuals seeking a license to carry are first interviewed personally by their local police chief.
“This bill authorizes up to $165.5 million in spending, which will enable the Judiciary to address information technology needs through future capital investment plans,” said Gov. Baker. “Specifically, this bill supports key investments that will enhance the virtual and physical security infrastructure of court facilities, increase the efficiency of courts systems, modernize administrative processes, and improve court proceedings for the many stakeholders in our justice system.”
“When courts do not have proper communication systems, let alone access to a reliable internet connection, it limits the Judiciary’s ability to serve the people,” said Rep. Mike Day (D-Stoneham), House Chair of the Judiciary Committee. “I am proud to have advanced this bill which promises to enhance the courts efficiency. This will improve our residents’ access to justice by providing a more equitable approach to the law, In addition to this historic investment, we also take action to strengthen our gun safety measures, so the commonwealth can continue to be one of the safest places in America.”
“The … bill makes a significant financial investment in critical technology upgrades that are needed to help modernize our state’s court system,” said Rep. Todd Smola (R-Warren). “Providing for digital document management and the electronic filing of legal documents and signatures will help streamline administrative operations and ensure that the courts are more user-friendly, open and accessible to the public.”