Governor Charlie Baker signed an additional $ 101 million budget over the weekend that includes additional funding for a state-run 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 approves $ 76 million, primarily intended to increase access to COVID-19 tests, vaccines and masks. The legislation also includes a $ 25 million increase to the state’s COVID-19 emergency paid sick leave program deducted 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 permits will be useful as we continue our COVID-19 public health efforts, and I fully endorse these amounts.” The legislation was a supplement to the state budget for 2022, which Baker approved in July.
Baker, however, withdrew some provisions that would have required the distribution of masks and millions of dollars for testing and vaccines to health care providers and municipalities by the end of the month. Baker said in the letter that he did not approve of these measures because the deadline did not allow enough time to complete the distribution.