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Policing Bill Talks Continue, Deal Reached on $1.8 Billion Info-Tech Bill

Negotiators have been working on the bills (H 4733 / S 2819) for more than two weeks, trying to come up with a compromise version.

Massachusetts State House 2017
NBC10 Boston/NECN

Massachusetts House and Senate negotiators agreed Friday night on final details of a $1.8 billion information technology bond bill, while talks are still occurring over a policing reform bill.

The bond bill invests in information technology and features outlays with implications for state government cybersecurity as well as the type of remote communications that have gained additional importance during the COVID-19 crisis.

"We've got the IT bond bill just about done, and hopefully the House will be taking it up shortly and we'll take it up in the Senate," Sen. Michael Rodrigues told the News Service.

Negotiators have been working on the bills (H 4733 / S 2819) for more than two weeks, trying to come up with a compromise version. Rep. Aaron Michlewitz was the chief House negotiator.

Legislators also hoped to reach agreement Friday on a policing accountability bill. The branches remain in session, with members mostly participating remotely, in case an agreement is reached on that bill or others.

Police reform bill negotiator Rep. Carlos Gonzalez confirmed late Friday night that the conferees were still meeting and had been meeting throughout the day on Friday.

"I think we've been having tough conversations, productive conversations," he said, adding that he was "continuing to be optimistic."

Another policing bill negotiator, Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, declined comment Friday night, calling the talks "confidential."

Asked what he would think if a police reform accord surfaced Friday night, House Minority Leader Brad Jones said, "This is like one of the most complicated, consequential pieces of legislation, and they are going to drop that out now and say we're taking it up tonight, and people are going to have, what, 30 seconds to look at it? That's ridiculous."

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