Minnesota Senate Advances Bill to Expand Broadband Access

The Minnesota Senate passed legislation on Wednesday to expand access to broadband internet for residents throughout the state.

The bill, SF 4019, will send $210 million from the federal government to improve services in the state.

“Many Minnesotans, especially in rural areas, are being left behind in the modern economy because they lack access to reliable internet or affordable housing,” Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Torrey Westrom said. “We are seeing our Agriculture sector struggle with numerous challenges including animal disease outbreaks and processing issues. Our bill addresses these challenges by making smart investments that will work to help Minnesota families and farmers.”

In addition to broadband, the measure targeted issues facing the agriculture industry and housing problems. For example, $65 million would be directed towards helping individuals obtain home ownership.

“We’re committed to supporting farmers in the field by making the investments that lead to innovation and economic development in agriculture,” State Senator Bill Weber (R-Luverne) added. “After the last few years, we’ve seen some of the struggles our farmers have faced and are committed to helping them out. Additionally, this bill makes critical investments in broadband to continue the expansion of reliable internet access so that families and workers can get ahead.”

Notably, the legislation would also block measures to enact rent control. The provision would apply retroactively to November 2021. Seemingly, this would directly impact a measure approved by voters of St. Paul to cap the increase of rent.

The residents voted to limit the ability of landlords to raise the price of monthly rent by more than 3 percent in one year.

In order to enact the limit, St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter established a “Rent Stabilization Stakeholder Group” to “identify considerations on improving and enhancing rent stabilization in Saint Paul.”
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Cooper Moran is a reporter for The Minnesota Sun and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].


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