$27 million in broadband funding passes in the MN House

The Minnesota Star Tribune reports…

Minnesota Democrats in the House are pushing for a $208 million housing and economic assistance package, teeing up end-of-session negotiations with Senate Republicans over whether targeted aid or tax relief is the best way to help Minnesotans struggling during the coronavirus pandemic.

The DFL proposal passed the House 75-58 Thursday on a largely party-line vote. It would pump $100 million into rent, mortgage, utility-bill and property-tax assistance. Another $55 million would fund grants for small and minority-owned businesses. It also includes $27 million in broadband access to expand telemedicine and help families in rural areas with distance learning, as well as $26 million to help compensate personal care assistants helping vulnerable people during the pandemic.

You can see the discussion on the house:

There were a few questions/comments:

  • Rep Kresha emphasized his focus on unserved (versus underserved) areas.
  • Re Kresha offers recommendation to build up 5G in urban areas to reach school kids in certain areas
  • Neither amendment was accepted

Now it’s a matter of seeing what happens in the Senate. The Senate passed something similar last week with at least one big difference and that’s the origin of the $10 million for broadband grants. Both House and Senate make federal funding first choice for broadband; right now only the House offers a state funding option if federal doesn’t manifest.

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