What can MN Legislature do in 2020? Expand broadband

Minnesota Legislature starts today and MinnPost asks –  Will the Minnesota Legislature get anything done this year?

If you have a legislative session with nothing on the must-do list, how do you know when you’re finished?

The 2020 Minnesota Legislature is going to find out. With balanced budget in hand, with no crises to respond to, lawmakers have lots of things they would like to do on their agendas but very little that has to get done. And with the House and Senate still split between the DFL and the GOP and a critical election on the horizon in November, the session that convenes Tuesday could end with meager accomplishments.

I was at the Legislature earlier today – the joint was jumping with rallies, protests, policymakers, policy persuaders and citizens. I listened to a quick debate (below) on whether or not the legislators should go home; they decided to stay.

People want things to happen – although there’s plenty to debate about what we want to happen. BUT there is an area with agreement – broadband. Even the MinnPost mentioned it…

Walz has been cautious about spending the surplus, and said he will propose a small supplemental budget that makes changes to the two-year plan adopted after contentious negotiations last spring. He has endorsed allocating additional money to build out rural broadband connections under a state program to subsidize private cable providers who have found it uneconomical to make the last-mile connections in sparsely populated areas of the state.

A bipartisan bill has already been introduced in the House and is expected in the Senate. Maybe what the legislature can do this year is better fun broadband! Or maybe the agreement on broadband can start a bipartisan trend and we’ll wonder after May 19 (end of session) what the legislature didn’t get done!

This entry was posted in MN, Policy by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (blandinonbroadband.org), hosts a radio show on MN music (mostlyminnesota.com), supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota (elimstrongtowershelters.org) and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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