But Yes! There are Good Bills!

GrowSmart Maine continues to participate in the Maine Broadband Coalition, an informal federation of public policy professionals, educational institutions, businesses, non-profit organizations and individuals who care deeply about Maine’s economic future. An important purpose of the MBC is to assemble cogent, fact-based information to help public policy makers and Maine citizens make the best choices about building a robust and productive information technology infrastructure.

There are three strong bills moving through the House and Senate at this time:

LD 1063, which proposes improvements to the ConnectMe program, is moving along well in the House and Senate.

LD 465 removes the broadband sustainability fee, a current barrier for small internet providers to access the Three Ring Binder as part of their work to improve access to broadband – this bill was signed by the Governor on Tuesday!

Kudos to Rep Norman Higgins of Dover-Foxcroft for putting forward LD 1185, a bill to direct additional funding for community level planning grants, so that more Maine communities can directly engage in this issue.

The groundswell of support for this issue has been impressive, with towns, businesses and individuals across Maine advocating for better access to fast internet.  This isn’t simply about watching movies online; it’s about Maine businesses and entrepreneurs needing to send and receive information in order to do their work, wherever they choose to live in Maine.

LD 1372, "An Act To Encourage the Redevelopment of Upper Floors of Buildings in Downtowns and on Main Streets" , came out of the LCRED committee with a unanimous support for an amended version that incorporates this issue into considerations for municipal comprehensive plans.  Thanks to Rep. Dick Campbell for sponsoring this legislation.

Stay tuned!  The Legislature is scheduled to adjourn next Wednesday the 17th!