From the Minnesota Rural Broadband Coalition…
Return to Saint Paul, Convene 2022 Session
201 Republican and DFL lawmakers—as well as their hardworking staff—returned to the State Capitol today to convene the 2022 legislative session. Much like the first day of school, the first day of the legislative session consists of ceremonial procedures and housekeeping items. But committees are already scheduling their first hearings and work will soon be underway. The specter of COVID is still hanging over the year’s work: the House has elected to conduct all their committee business virtually and the Senate will hold hybrid virtual and in-person meetings.
Two major forces will drive the action at the Capitol this year: a historic $7.7 billion surplus and the 2022 election, which includes every Representative, Senator, and the Governor on the ballot. Republicans and DFLers sketched out some of their spending priorities in the last few weeks, including a supplemental budget proposal with $170 million for broadband funding from Gov. Walz.
The Coalition will support the $170 million request in the governor’s supplemental budget proposal as well as pursue $110 million in unallocated funds from the Capital Projects Fund.
Senate Elects New President
Sen. David Osmek (R-Mound) was elected as President of the Senate today. Sen. Jeremy Miller (R-Winona) stepped down as President when he was chosen as Majority Leader by the Republican Caucus earlier this month. The Senate President oversees and manages the Senate chamber during floor sessions.
Broadband Hearing Scheduled for Wednesday
The House Industrial Education and Economic Development Committee will hold an informational hearing Wednesday, February 2, at 8:30 am. The Office of Broadband Development will present information on the Border-to-Border Grant Program and committee members will be able to ask questions. No bills will be presented or heard. You can find livestream (YouTube) information by clicking on this link.
MRBC Virtual Day on the Hill
A brief reminder to those who may have missed it, but our 2022 Day on the Hill will be March 30, 2022. Please mark your calendars and keep an eye out for more information in the coming weeks. The event will be held virtually again this year.