From the MN Rural Broadband Coalition…
$120 Million Broadband Bills Introduced in House, Senate
Saint Paul, Minn.—Legislators supporting broadband expansion wasted no time getting broadband funding bills introduced this session. Bills for $120 million per biennium in ongoing funding were introduced in the House by Rep. Rob Ecklund (DFL-Int’l Falls) and in the Senate by Sen. Tom Bakk (I-Cook). These bills align with the Coalition’s top legislative priority to get $120 million—$60 million per year—in the upcoming biennial budget.
HF 14 was referred to the Industrial Education and Workforce Development Committee. It has several coauthors including Reps. Julie Sandstede (DFL-Hibbing), Mike Sundin (DFL-Esko), Dave Lislegard (DFL-Aurora), and Heather Keeler (DFL-Moorhead). SF 22 was referred to the Housing Committee. Sen. David Tomassoni (I-Chisolm) is the coauthor on the Senate bill.
The ongoing restrictions at the Capitol make collecting signatures for a bill much more difficult than it normally would be. We expect to see more legislators sign these bills, including Republicans, in the coming days and weeks. The next step is hearings in the appropriate committees for each bill. Stay tuned for more updates as they move through the process.