I spent the day in a legislative meeting on Friday. The House was discussing the Job Growth and Energy Affordability Omnibus Policy and Finance bill. I learned a lot about different programs – from housing to Minnesota film. At the end of the day I heard Kim Babine speak about the Office of Broadband Development and Minnesota Broadband Fund – you can see her below…
Here’s the issue – the House hasn’t budgeted for the Office of Broadband Development nor the Minnesota Broadband Fund! This has surprised a lot of people. BUT I think one problem might be that while there was a lot of chatter about broadband last fall – there hasn’t been much lately. So the legislators think the interest is low. Also there’s some confusion about what is adequate broadband – but I’ll talk about that in a post later.
This is the time for people to call their legislators to let them know how you feel. If you received a Minnesota Broadband Fund – maybe let them know what that means to you community. If you have been working on it – let them know. Because after listening to public testimony yesterday I realize there are a lot of issues tied into the budget (energy, workforce, housing…) and a lot of passionate people – and I think the legislators understand passion.
At this point, I think it’s probably most valuable to contact people on the committee (get list here) and if you feel strongly, I might start with the Chair, Representative Pat Garofalo.
They are going to look at the issue over the weekend. The details for the Omnibus need to be completed by Friday. The window is open now.