Gov. Charlie Baker on Friday signed into law a $45.9 billion fiscal 2021 spending plan with very similar appropriations to the Legislature’s plan for the main municipal and school aid programs.

The budget act maintains funding of the Unrestricted General Government Aid account at $1.13 billion, and includes $5.28 billion for Chapter 70 education aid, a $107 million increase.

The governor vetoed $167 million in spending items and a number of proposed law changes, and he returned a dozen other policy items to the Legislature with recommended amendments. The Legislature has until the end of the current session in early January to override any of the vetoes and re-enact any returned items.

The vetoes include the full $1.5 million for the Commonwealth Sewer Rate Relief Fund and full and partial vetoes of funding for several targeted grant programs. Baker also vetoed funding for one-time grants to schools to help support educational quality during the pandemic based on per student allocations, but proposed in a separate budget bill that the same amount of assistance be provided on an as-needed basis.

The governor signed the provision to extend through calendar 2021 the waiver of the cap on hours worked and salary earned for retired public employees who return to work in the public sector (Section 68) and the provision to establish an interagency task force to review and investigate water and ground contamination of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) across the Commonwealth (Section 98).

The governor returned with a proposed amendment Section 99, which was drafted to provide for early voting by mail in state and municipal elections through March 31, 2021.

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