A printable, PDF version of this Action Alert is available here.
Broadband Action Alert! Tell your senator and Senate leadership to not back down from bill language that would allow more cities to qualify for broadband grants!
Background Info: The Tale of Two Committees
Yesterday, the Minnesota Senate Finance Committee adopted important updates to the Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program that would allow more cities with poor broadband service to be eligible for grants. The adopted amendments, authored by Sen. Matt Schmit (DFL-Red Wing), are supported by the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities (CGMC) and the Greater Minnesota Partnership (GMNP).
In contrast, the House took a huge step backward yesterday. After much behind-the-scene work by broadband industry lobbyists, the House Jobs Committee removed a key provision supported by the CGMC and GMNP that would have set aside one-third of the broadband grant money for economic development projects in Greater Minnesota cities. The House committee also took additional steps that would restrict even more cities from grant consideration and further limit competition.
We expect industry lobbyists will now focus their attention on the Senate and try to remove the Schmit language that is beneficial to cities. We need you to help stop that from happening!
Call or email your local senator, Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk and Senate Finance Committee Chair Dick Cohen and tell them that you support the Schmit language in the Senate’s broadband bill and urge them to resist the pressure from the industry!
Let them know:
- The need for high-quality broadband is one of the most critical economic development issues facing Greater Minnesota communities.
- Under current law, many cities with poor broadband — service that is too slow or unreliable to compete in today’s global economy — do not qualify for grants.
- The Schmit language in the Senate finance bill would allow more cities to qualify for grants, thus helping the program benefit more residents and businesses in Greater Minnesota.
- Protecting the broadband industry — which has proven unwilling to invest in our communities and yet is trying to avoid competition from companies who are willing to invest — is not in the public’s best interest.
- Use this contact form to email Senate Majority Leader Bakk or call him at (651) 296-8881.
- Use this contact form to email Sen. Cohen or call him at (651) 296-5931.
- Call or email your local senator – Who Represents Me?
If you have any questions about this Action Alert or the issues surrounding broadband at the Capitol this session, please contact GMNP Executive Director Dan Dorman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 612-245-5204.