STAND. COM. REP. NO. 1456

 

Honolulu, Hawaii

, 2023

 

RE: S.B. No. 1317

S.D. 3

H.D. 1

 

 

 

 

Honorable Scott K. Saiki

Speaker, House of Representatives

Thirty-Second State Legislature

Regular Session of 2023

State of Hawaii

 

Sir:

 

Your Committee on Higher Education & Technology, to which was referred S.B. No. 1317, S.D. 3, entitled:

 

"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO BROADBAND,"

 

begs leave to report as follows:

 

The purpose of this measure is to:

 

(1) Transfer the Hawaii Broadband and Digital Equity Office from the Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism to the Office of the Lieutenant Governor on a temporary, four-year basis;

 

(2) Provide the matching funds required to receive federal funds for state broadband initiatives; and

 

(3) Require the Office of the Lieutenant Governor to convene and chair the working group established pursuant to Act 231, Session Laws of Hawaii 2022.

 

Your Committee received testimony in support of this measure from the Office of the Lieutenant Governor; Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism; University of Hawaii System; Department of Budget and Finance; AARP Hawaii; Broadband Hui; Hawaiian Telcom; AlohaCare; and Maui Chamber of Commerce.

 

Your Committee finds that the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic revealed how important reliable, high-speed internet access is for remote learning, remote work, telehealth services, commerce, and an ability to stay connected to the world. The Office of the Lieutenant Governor has been tasked by the Governor with overseeing initiatives to modernize the State's broadband infrastructure and ensure access to high quality connectivity, particularly in rural areas. Accordingly, placement of the Hawaii Broadband and Digital Equity Office in the Office of the Lieutenant Governor on a temporary basis will ensure the appropriate implementation, operation, and maintenance of broadband infrastructure development in the State.

 

Your Committee further finds that equitable access to high-speed broadband internet is a pressing challenge for the State. Because there is a significant amount of federal funds available to support state broadband initiatives that require matching funds from the State, this measure provides additional support for those initiatives to ensure greater access to broadband for the State's residents.

 

Your Committee has amended this measure by:

 

(1) Changing the effective date to June 30, 3000, to encourage further discussion; and

 

(2) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity, consistency, and style.

 

As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Higher Education & Technology that is attached to this report, your Committee is in accord with the intent and purpose of S.B. No. 1317, S.D. 3, as amended herein, and recommends that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as S.B. No. 1317, S.D. 3, H.D. 1, and be referred to your Committee on Finance.

 

 


 

Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Higher Education & Technology,

 

 

 

 

____________________________

AMY A. PERRUSO, Chair