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SF 4494

1st Unofficial Engrossment - 91st Legislature (2019 - 2020) Posted on 05/15/2020 04:53pm

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.
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A bill for an act
relating to telecommunications; establishing a funding program for distance learning
equipment; establishing a grant program for telemedicine equipment purchased
to deal with COVID-19; requiring reports; appropriating money.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

Section 1. new text beginDISTANCE LEARNING BROADBAND ACCESS FUNDING.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Definitions. new text end

new text begin For the purposes of this section: (1) "commissioner" means
the commissioner of education, and (2) "school" means a school district, charter school, or
cooperative unit.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Establishment; purpose. new text end

new text begin A distance learning broadband access funding program
is established in the Department of Education to provide wireless or wire-line broadband
access for a limited duration to students currently lacking Internet access so that the students
may participate in distance learning offered by school districts and charter schools during
the peacetime public health emergency period that relates to the infectious disease known
as COVID-19.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Aid amount. new text end

new text begin Each school is eligible for onetime distance learning aid equal to
the lesser of:
new text end

new text begin (1) the school's actual expenditures under subdivision 4; or
new text end

new text begin (2) an allowance equal to the amount appropriated in section 3, paragraph (a), divided
by the statewide enrollment for fiscal year 2019 times the students enrolled in each school
during fiscal year 2019.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 4. new text end

new text begin Eligible expenditures. new text end

new text begin Aid received under this section must be used to:
new text end

new text begin (1) provide a student with the equipment necessary for the student to use a broadband
connection to access learning materials available on the Internet through a mobile wireless
or wire-line broadband connection;
new text end

new text begin (2) pay for actual costs incurred to provide emergency distance learning wireless or
wire-line broadband access during the 2019-2020 school year; and
new text end

new text begin (3) pay for the cost of wireless or wire-line broadband Internet access for households
with students that did not otherwise have Internet access before March 13, 2020, for the
2019-2020 school year.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 5. new text end

new text begin Schools to report expenditures. new text end

new text begin Every school that receives aid under this
section must submit a report to the commissioner of education by February 15, 2021,
documenting its expenditures and describing the onetime and permanent improvements
made to its distance learning access delivery system.
new text end

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective the day following final enactment.
new text end

Sec. 2. new text beginTELEMEDICINE EQUIPMENT REIMBURSEMENT GRANT PROGRAM.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Definitions. new text end

new text begin (a) For the purposes of this section, the following terms have
the meanings given.
new text end

new text begin (b) "Commissioner" means the commissioner of employment and economic development.
new text end

new text begin (c) "Telemedicine" has the meaning given in Minnesota Statutes, section 62A.671,
subdivision 9.
new text end

new text begin (d) "Telemedicine equipment" means multimedia communications equipment and
software that facilitates the delivery of telemedicine by a licensed health care provider.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Establishment. new text end

new text begin A grant program is established in the Department of
Employment and Economic Development to award grants to provide reimbursement to
grantees for the purchase and installation of telemedicine equipment in order to provide
health care services through telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic and to ensure
that necessary health care services continue to be accessible to patients during this pandemic.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Eligible applicants. new text end

new text begin Eligible applicants include the following:
new text end

new text begin (1) community health clinics defined under Minnesota Statutes, section 145.9268, clause
(1);
new text end

new text begin (2) critical access hospitals described in Minnesota Statutes, section 144.1483, clause
(9);
new text end

new text begin (3) local public health departments as defined in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 145A;
new text end

new text begin (4) county boards as defined in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 375;
new text end

new text begin (5) individual or small group physician practices that are primarily focused on primary
care; and
new text end

new text begin (6) nursing facilities licensed under Minnesota Statutes, chapter 144A.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 4. new text end

new text begin Eligible expenditures. new text end

new text begin A grant may be used to reimburse the cost incurred by
a grantee for the purchase and installation of telemedicine equipment that enables the grantee
to provide health care services through telemedicine in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,
including the diagnosis and evaluation of patients for the COVID-19 disease during the
COVID-19 pandemic.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 5. new text end

new text begin Application; review. new text end

new text begin (a) An eligible applicant must submit a grant application
to the commissioner on a form prescribed by the commissioner. The application must
include, at a minimum:
new text end

new text begin (1) the amount of the grant requested and a description of the telemedicine equipment
for which the applicant is seeking reimbursement; and
new text end

new text begin (2) a description of the intended use of the telemedicine equipment.
new text end

new text begin (b) In developing the application, the commissioner shall consult with the commissioner
of health.
new text end

new text begin (c) The commissioner may award grants on a first-come, first-served basis, and, to the
extent practicable, priority must be given to applicants:
new text end

new text begin (1) serving uninsured, underinsured, and medically underserved individuals in either
rural or urban areas; or
new text end

new text begin (2) located in areas of the state where the commissioner of health has determined that
increasing telemedicine service capabilities would improve the quality of care, access,
patient safety, or community health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 6. new text end

new text begin Limitation. new text end

new text begin The commissioner may establish a maximum amount for a grant
awarded under this section based on the number of applications received and the total
reimbursement amount requested.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 7. new text end

new text begin Assistance from other federal coronavirus-related sources. new text end

new text begin If a grantee
receives funds from a federal source related to coronavirus for telemedicine equipment
described in this section, the grantee must notify the commissioner of the amount received
from the federal source. If the commissioner determines that the total amount the grantee
received under this section and from the federal source exceeds the costs of the telemedicine
equipment, the commissioner must reduce the grant amount in this section so that the total
amount received does not exceed the cost of the equipment.
new text end

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective the day following final enactment.
new text end

Sec. 3. new text beginAPPROPRIATION.
new text end

new text begin (a) $15,000,000 in fiscal year 2020 is appropriated from the general fund to the
commissioner of employment and economic development for transfer to the commissioner
of education for emergency distance learning wireless or wire-line broadband access for
student grants for school districts and charter schools under section 1. Up to five percent of
the appropriation under this paragraph may be used to reimburse reasonable costs incurred
by the Department of Education to administer section 1. This is a onetime appropriation.
Any funds that remain unexpended on September 30, 2020, are canceled. By December 1,
2020, the commissioner of education must report to the legislature regarding the districts
and charter schools that received grants under section 1, the per-pupil amount for each grant,
and the number of students that were provided Internet access. The report must also identify
the costs to administer the grant program and the amount canceled.
new text end

new text begin (b) $2,000,000 in fiscal year 2020 is appropriated from the general fund to the
commissioner of employment and economic development to award grants for the purchase
of telemedicine equipment under section 2. Up to five percent of the appropriation under
this paragraph may be used to reimburse the reasonable costs incurred by the Department
of Employment and Economic Development to administer section 2. This is a onetime
appropriation. Any funds that remain unexpended on September 30, 2020, are canceled. By
December 31, 2020, the commissioner of employment and economic development must
report to the legislature regarding the number of applications received under section 2, the
number of grants awarded, the maximum and minimum grant amounts awarded, and the
mean and median grant amounts awarded. The report must also identify the costs to
administer the grant program and the amount canceled.
new text end

new text begin (c) $10,000,000 in fiscal year 2021 is appropriated from the general fund to the
commissioner of employment and economic development for deposit in the border-to-border
broadband fund account established in Minnesota Statutes, section 116J.396. The
appropriation must be used only to provide broadband service in unserved areas, except
that broadband infrastructure, as defined in Minnesota Statutes, section 116J.394, for that
purpose may be placed in underserved areas. Notwithstanding the limitation in Minnesota
Statutes, section 116J.395, subdivision 7, paragraph (a), the grants are available for 55
percent of total project cost if the grant is matched by ten percent or more from a nonstate
entity. The nonstate entity providing the match may include but is not limited to organized
townships, cities, counties, foundations, nonprofits, school districts, or higher education
institutions. This is a onetime appropriation.
new text end

new text begin (d) The commissioner of management and budget must determine whether any of the
expenditures an appropriation is made for under this section is an eligible use of federal
funding received under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act,
Public Law 116-136, title V. If the commissioner of management and budget determines
an expenditure is eligible for funding under title V of the CARES Act, the amount for the
eligible expenditure is appropriated from the account where CARES Act money has been
deposited and the corresponding amount appropriated under this section cancels to the
general fund.
new text end

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective the day following final enactment.
new text end

Sec. 4. new text beginAPPROPRIATIONS GIVEN EFFECT ONCE.
new text end

new text begin If an appropriation in this act is enacted more than once in the 2020 regular legislative
session, the appropriations must be given effect only once.
new text end

new text begin EFFECTIVE DATE. new text end

new text begin This section is effective the day following final enactment.
new text end