Bill extending Rural Electric Coops easements to broadband introduced in MN House (HF686

The MN House Chief Clerk’s Office reports

H. F. 686, A bill for an act relating to rural broadband; allowing existing easements held by rural electric cooperatives to be used to provide broadband service; amending Minnesota Statutes 2020, section 308A.201, subdivision 12.

The bill was read for the first time and referred to the Committee on Commerce Finance and Policy.

Here’s the full bill as introduced (new part highlighted)…

A bill for an act
relating to rural broadband; allowing existing easements held by rural electric
cooperatives to be used to provide broadband service; amending Minnesota Statutes
2020, section 308A.201, subdivision 12.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

Section 1.

Minnesota Statutes 2020, section 308A.201, subdivision 12, is amended to
read:

Subd. 12.

Electric cooperative powers.

(a) An electric cooperative has the power and
authority to:

(1) make loans to its members;

(2) prerefund debt;

(3) obtain funds through negotiated financing or public sale;

(4) borrow money and issue its bonds, debentures, notes, or other evidence of
indebtedness;

(5) mortgage, pledge, or otherwise hypothecate its assets as may be necessary;

(6) invest its resources;

(7) deposit money in state and national banks and trust companies authorized to receive
deposits; and

(8) exercise all other powers and authorities granted to cooperatives.

(b) A cooperative organized to provide rural electric power may enter agreements and
contracts with other electric power cooperatives or with a cooperative constituted of electric
power cooperatives to share losses and risk of losses to their transmission and distribution
lines, transformers, substations, and related appurtenances from storm, sleet, hail, tornado,
cyclone, hurricane, or windstorm. An agreement or contract or a cooperative formed to
share losses under this paragraph is not subject to the laws of this state relating to insurance
and insurance companies.

(c) A cooperative organized to provide rural electric power may, on behalf of itself, its
subsidiary, or a business partner, provide broadband service by using an easement owned,
held, or used by the electric cooperative. An existing easement does not limit the type, size,
or amount of broadband infrastructure that may be used to provide broadband service, nor
is an electric cooperative required to obtain additional easements or pay additional
compensation to a property owner who is a party to an existing easement agreement in order
to provide broadband service.

(d) For the purposes of paragraph (c):

(1) “broadband service” means any service that provides advanced telecommunications
capability and Internet access; and

(2) “broadband infrastructure” has the meaning given in section 116J.394.

EFFECTIVE DATE.

This section is effective the day following final enactment.

This entry was posted in Cooperatives, 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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