Special Session: What does it mean for broadband?

I spent the weekend watching Schoolhouse Rock’s lesson on the Preamble with a fifth grader who should ace her test today. It’s always a good reminder that what I know about history and civic process, I learned on Saturday mornings. And I don’t remember the version where Bill goes to Special Session before the Governor signs him. So what does the special session mean?

A friend of mine wrote a concise and frank primer on Four Things You Need to Know About Minnesota’s Special Session.

  • Why a special session?
  • When is the special session?
  • How does a special session work?
  • Will there be a government shut-down?
  • What’s at stake?

There are two things I found very interesting in Mary’s article. First, “ how does it work?”…

The governor and legislative leaders will fight over the provisions of the omnibus bills until they come up with an agreement. They could also agree to pass other bills, such as the voting rights bill that was abandoned during the session or the drivers licenses for all bill or the legacy finance bill.

After they have reached agreement on what bills will be voted on and the exact provisions of each bill, the governor will call a special session. Then the House and Senate will tamely vote on the compromises that the leadership agreed to, and adjourn. At least, that’s the way it has worked in the past, and the way it is expected to work this year.

So it seems to me that discussion are happening now, which means if broadband is important to you – it’s a good time to let your representatives know it, because (and this is my second thing) broadband does not appear in the list of Mary’s hot topics to be addressed – and I’ve seen a few similar lists where broadband isn’t listed because in the metro area broadband isn’t a hot topic. We have Comcast and CenturyLink pulling fiber. That’s what we see we (and that includes many policymakers) need reminders that broadband isn’t ubiquitous!

1 thought on “Special Session: What does it mean for broadband?

  1. Wanted to add a nice blurb on the special session from the St Cloud Times…

    Luckily, the special session presents lawmakers with a “do-over.” Not only should they adopt the aforementioned outstate Minnesota priorities that were included in the vetoed bills, but they should use this opportunity to strengthen them. For example, the vetoed jobs bill included only $10.8 million for broadband funding, far less than the $100 million recommended by the Governor’s Task Force on Broadband and only a small sliver of what is needed to address the estimated $3 billion needed to bring high-quality Internet service to all parts of Minnesota. Clearly, more needs to and can be done during the special session.


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