An Act To Establish a Broadband Policy for Maine
Emergency preamble. Whereas, acts and resolves of the Legislature do not become effective until 90 days after adjournment unless enacted as emergencies; and
Whereas, the availability of broadband service to all residents of the State is important for economic growth and opportunity; and
Whereas, facilitating increased use of broadband in this State will spur further broadband infrastructure investment and result in benefits to the users and to the economy of the State; and
Whereas, the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 has set aside $7,200,000,000 for broadband expansion in unserved and underserved areas of the Nation, and over $25,000,000 of those funds have been granted to a middle-mile broadband project in the State that will result in further private investment in last-mile infrastructure in the State; and
Whereas, the State will be benefited by attracting and receiving further federal funding for additional broadband projects in this State; and
Whereas, part of the process for receiving federal funds includes a review by the State to determine whether each grant application is consistent with the State's broadband policy; and
Whereas, all grant awards under the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 are scheduled to be awarded prior to the commencement of the 125th Legislature; and
Whereas, in the judgment of the Legislature, these facts create an emergency within the meaning of the Constitution of Maine and require the following legislation as immediately necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health and safety; now, therefore,
Sec. 1. 35-A MRSA §9202-A is enacted to read:
§ 9202-A. State broadband policy
(1) Educating residents of the State about the benefits and opportunities associated with broadband services, such as distance learning opportunities, opportunities in telemedicine, as defined in Title 24-A, section 4316, and state programs available online; and
(2) Educating small businesses regarding the advantages of broadband access, such as online business reporting and tax filings and national and global sales opportunities; and
In order to facilitate the achievement of the goals and policies of this section, the authority shall establish and regularly update, after opportunity for public comment and taking into consideration relevant federal policies, a definition of "broadband."
Emergency clause. In view of the emergency cited in the preamble, this legislation takes effect when approved.