Legislation will increase access and affordability
Lansing, MI, June 2, 2021 — House Democrats set out their plan today for legislation that would help bring high-speed internet to more Michigan homes and businesses. The plan coincides with today’s announcement by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist of the creation of an Office of High-Speed Internet within the Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity.
“Since I first came to Lansing, I have been working to expand high-speed internet access, both in my district and across our state. I am thrilled that the Whitmer administration is taking action with us,” said House Democratic Leader Donna Lasinski (D-Scio Township). “Our legislation will ensure that high-speed internet, which is critical to success in modern-day business and education, will be available and affordable in both urban and rural areas alike.”
Among the bills to be introduced is legislation to:
- Appropriate $400 million in available federal funding to expand high-speed internet access to underserved areas across Michigan.
- Allocate $25 million to help schools purchase mobile hotspots for students.
- Codify the Office of High-Speed Internet, announced by the governor today.
- Make high-speed internet more affordable to working families.
“High-speed internet used to be a luxury. In today’s world, it’s a necessity. That’s why I introduced a budget amendment that would have helped expand access for our residents and businesses,” said state Rep. Jim Haadsma (D-Battle Creek). “Our success as a state depends on making sure critical infrastructure is available to homes and businesses, and that includes high-speed internet access.”
Among the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic is that the ability for students and workers to be able to connect to their peers virtually is necessary for success. House Democrats believe that creating more accessible, affordable high-speed internet is necessary to attract and retain good-paying jobs and talented workers to our state.
“Bringing reliable, affordable high-speed internet to every corner of our state will help our existing small businesses succeed, and it will show businesses thinking of setting up shop here that Michigan is open for business,” said state Rep. Christine Morse (D-Texas Township). “Our economy is recovering from the pandemic, and this legislation will help us build back better and emerge stronger than ever before.”