The legislation also extended several existing measures, including remote participation in government meetings.
Governor Charlie Baker signed a $101 million supplemental budget over the weekend that includes additional funding for a state COVID-19 emergency paid sick leave program and increased access to vaccines and other pandemic supplies.
Baker said in a letter to state lawmakers Saturday that the legislation he signed authorizes $76 million primarily intended to increase access to COVID-19 tests, vaccines, and masks. The legislation also includes a $25 million increase for the state’s COVID-19 emergency paid sick leave program drawn from federal funds.
“We will continue to work with the Legislature if additional funding is needed in the future for this important sick leave program,” Baker said. “These spending authorizations will be helpful as we continue our COVID-19 public health efforts, and I am approving those amounts in full.” The legislation was a supplement for the state’s fiscal 2022 budget, which Baker approved in July.
Baker pushed back, however, on some provisions that would have required distribution of masks and millions of dollars for testing and vaccines to health care providers and municipalities by month’s end. Baker said in the letter that he did not approve those measures because the deadline did not leave enough time to complete the distribution.