Conferees started the process of resolving relatively small differences in the House and Senate versions of the omnibus agriculture and broadband bill, which would appropriate money to fund the Department of Agriculture, Board of Animal Health, Agricultural Utilization Research Institute and broadband services throughout the state.
Only $1.6 million separates the 2022-23 biennial spending requests in the House and Senate versions of the bill, which are $169.5 million and $167.9 million, respectively.
[MORE: View the spreadsheet]
The conference committee is scheduled to continue its work beginning at 9 a.m. Tuesday.
“We have made a commitment to make Minnesota agriculture more profitable and safer, more environmentally responsible, and more inclusive of non-traditional groups seeking to contribute to Minnesota agriculture,” said Rep. Mike Sundin (DFL-Esko), who sponsors the House language. “And I think we’re off to a good start.”
Sen. Torrey Westrom (R-Elbow Lake) sponsors the Senate version.
[MORE: View a side-by-side comparison]
A change sheet outlines major differences between the two versions, which include the following House- and Senate-only provisions.
House-only provisions would:
Senate-only provisions would:
The Senate would appropriate an additional $40.7 million in the 2022-23 biennium, $10.7 million more than the House, but $10 million less than the governor, for the Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program. Each is a one-time transfer.
Managed by the Department of Employment and Economic Development, the program distributes grants to acquire and install middle- and last-mile infrastructure for high-speed broadband internet service in unserved and underserved areas in the state.
The Senate version would require the state, if allowed under federal law, to first spend federal COVID-19-related relief funds for broadband grants before using state-appropriated money.