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SF 4494

1st Engrossment - 91st Legislature (2019 - 2020) Posted on 05/05/2020 07:44am

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.
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A bill for an act
relating to telecommunications; establishing a grant 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 GRANT PROGRAM.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Definition. new text end

new text begin For the purposes of this section, "commissioner" means the
commissioner of education.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Establishment. new text end

new text begin A distance learning broadband access grant 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 Eligible expenditures. new text end

new text begin A grant awarded under this section may 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) reimburse a school district or charter school 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) reimburse a school district or charter school 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. 4. new text end

new text begin Eligible applicants. new text end

new text begin A Minnesota school district or charter school may apply
for a grant award under this section.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 5. new text end

new text begin Application review. new text end

new text begin (a) An applicant for a grant under this section must file
an application with the commissioner on a form developed by the commissioner. The
commissioner may consult with the commissioner of employment and economic development
when developing the form.
new text end

new text begin (b) An application for a grant under this subdivision must describe a school district's or
charter school's approach to identify and prioritize access for students unable to access the
Internet for distance learning and may include a description of local or private matching
grants or in-kind contributions.
new text end

new text begin (c) A school district or charter school may develop its application in cooperation with
the school district's or charter school's community education department, the school district's
or charter school's adult basic education program provider, a public library, an Internet
service provider, or other community partner.
new text end

new text begin (d) The commissioner must prioritize applicants based on an evaluation of the following
factors: (1) the location of a school in or near an unserved area of the state, (2) the percent
of students that live in a household without wired or wireless broadband service, and (3)
the percent of students that were provided Internet access by the district or charter school
under subdivision 3, clause (3).
new text end

new text begin (e) The commissioner must develop administrative procedures governing the application
and grant award process.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 6. new text end

new text begin Grant amount. new text end

new text begin The commissioner must establish a minimum and maximum
per-pupil amount for grants awarded under this section based on (1) the number of districts
and charter schools that apply for a grant, (2) the total amount of money requested in the
applications, and (3) the availability of federal money for a similar purpose.
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

Sec. 3. new text beginAPPROPRIATION.
new text end

new text begin (a) $8,000,000 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. No money in this appropriation may be spent
until the commissioner of management and budget determines that the appropriation in this
paragraph is an eligible use of the coronavirus relief account in the federal fund.
new text end

new text begin (d) If the commissioner of management and budget determines that any money spent
from the appropriations made in this section is an eligible expenditure from the coronavirus
relief account in the federal fund, the amount of the expenditure is appropriated from the
coronavirus relief account and the corresponding amount is canceled from 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