The MN Broadband Coalition reports…
Senate Passes Broadband Package
The Minnesota Senate passed the Omnibus Agriculture, Housing, and Broadband bill yesterday 41-26. HF 4366 was received by the Senate after it passed the House earlier this week. The Senate amended the bill with a “delete everything” amendment and added their preferred spending and policy package. This includes $110 million for broadband which comes from the Capital Projects Fund. Additionally, they included language that would increase the state’s match from 50% to 75% as well as the line extension pilot program, broadband easements for cable providers, and other language directing the state to spend the forthcoming BEAD funds on the Border-to-Border program.
As a reminder, the House position is $25 million in general fund cash, no federal funding, and raising the match to 75% as well as increasing the project cap from $5 million to $10 million.
The two versions of this bill will be reconciled in a conference committee that will be appointed soon. Typical conference committees are made up of five members from the House and 5 members of the Senate. They will first work through their same and similar provisions and then tackle areas of disagreement. The Legislature must adjourn by May 23 and there is plenty of time for a deal to come together. We will keep you updated as things move forward.