Capitol Comments Articles
Legislative Budget Committee Meets to Discuss Broadband Funding

Budget Plan (Aug. 3, 2020) – The Legislative Budget Committee, a joint committee of House and Senate members chaired by Senator Carolyn McGinn (R-Sedgwick) met today. The meeting began with updates on statehouse technology, the unemployment insurance system, and the state's tax receipts. The afternoon was dedicated to an overview of the broadband proposal from the Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas steering committee using the COVID-19 relief funds allocated to the state by the federal government. The plan includes $60 million to fund connectivity across the state. The Kansas Hospital Association provided testimony in support of additional funding to expand telemedicine resources across the state. In addition to KHA's testimony, the University of Kansas Health System and a variety of organizations representing cities, counties, and broadband providers, provided testimony for the committee to consider. The committee decided to submit a report to both the State Finance Council and the SPARK steering committee. Committee recommendations include $50 million for broadband connectivity, with telemedicine as a high priority. They stressed the need to support expenditures of for both connectivity and equipment. The committee also noted the importance of public/private partnerships. The committee meets again on Monday, Aug. 11.