An update from the MN Broadband Coalition…
House Passes Broadband Funding
The Minnesota House of Representatives passed $70 million for the Border-to-Border Broadband Grant Program as part of its omnibus Jobs and Economic Development bill, SF 9. The bill passed the chamber 71-61. This bill is nearly identical to the version passed by the Senate that we updated you on earlier this week. The broadband provisions are identical and contain no policy changes.
However, differences remain between the two bills. The Senate removed a provision related to contractors working in oil refineries and sent the bill to the House. The House added the provision back in sent it to the Senate. It appears that the bill will head to a conference committee to resolve this issue. Nearly all the bill’s contents were negotiated by the House, Senate, and Governor’s administration negotiators, but the refinery provisions are a late-game wrinkle that weren’t agreed to as part of the end-of-session deal.
It remains to be seen how the Senate and House will work out their differences on this bill. The Legislature must complete its work by June 30, or the state government will begin to shut down. As always, we will give you further updates as we receive more information!