Today's Law As Amended


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SB-732 Communications: broadband.(2021-2022)



As Amends the Law Today


SECTION 1.

 Article 9.5 (commencing with Section 54765) is added to Chapter 9 of Part 29 of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Education Code, to read:

Article  9.5. Pandemic Distant Learning Assistance Vouchers
54765.
 For purposes of this article, the following terms have the following meanings:
(a) “Department” means the State Department of Education.
(b) “Eligible pupils” means those pupils eligible for free or reduced-price meals, as defined in Section 42238.01.
(c) “Local educational agencies” means county offices of education, school districts, and charter schools.
(d) “No-cash value voucher” means a voucher that has an established dollar value to the household to which it is issued, but has no value other than to the household it is issued to, so as to prevent it from being sold or traded.
54766.
 The department shall develop and implement a program for local educational agencies to issue no-cash value vouchers to be distributed to households with eligible pupils to be used during the 2021–22 fiscal year to assist those households with the impacts of distant or remote learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The vouchers may be used to purchase broadband service or the hardware and software necessary to access broadband service to enable eligible pupils to undertake distant or remote learning. The department shall specify those broadband service providers and those entities or vendors eligible to supply hardware and associated software sufficient to enable eligible pupils to undertake distant or remote learning.
54767.
 This article shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2023, and as of that date is repealed.

SEC. 2.

 Section 281.5 is added to the Public Utilities Code, to read:

281.5.
 (a) For purposes of this section, the following terms have the following meanings:
(1) “Underserved” rural area means a rural area for which no facility-based broadband provider offers broadband service at speeds exceeding 25 megabits per second (mbps) downstream and 3 mbps upstream.
(2) “Unserved” rural area means a rural area for which no facility-based broadband provider offers broadband service at speeds of at least 6 mbps per second downstream and one mbps upstream.
(b) The Rural Broadband Infrastructure Fund is hereby created in the State Treasury. Notwithstanding Section 13340 of the Government Code, moneys deposited in the fund are hereby continuously appropriated to the commission, without regard to fiscal years, for the purposes of the program established pursuant to this section.
(c) The commission shall develop, implement, and administer the Rural Broadband Infrastructure Program to provide high-quality broadband service to rural areas that are unserved and, to the extent moneys remain available, to upgrade broadband service availability in rural areas that are underserved. The program shall do all the following:
(1) Select qualifying projects using a reverse auction process whereby the lowest bid qualified bidder is awarded the project.
(2) Require that qualifying projects provide broadband service at speeds that equal or exceed 100 mbps downstream and 100 mbps upstream.
(3) Ensure that projects do not receive double funding from different sources, including from federal universal service programs and from the Rural Broadband Infrastructure Program, for the same project or level of service. Projects that receive federal or other support are eligible for funding from the Rural Broadband Infrastructure Fund if the other funding will be insufficient to achieve high-quality broadband speeds of 100 mbps downstream and 100 mbps upstream and additional funding through the Rural Broadband Infrastructure Program will enable the project to achieve those high-quality broadband speeds.
SEC. 3.
 In order to better address communications needs arising as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and to prepare the state’s communications network to be better prepared for similar events in the future, the following sums are appropriated to the following entities:
(a) The sum of ____ is hereby appropriated to the State Department of Education for purposes of developing and implementing the program and for allocation to local educational agencies pursuant to Article 9.5 (commencing with Section 54765) of Chapter 9 of Part 29 of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Education Code.
(b) The sum of ten billion dollars ($10,000,000,000) is transferred to the Rural Broadband Infrastructure Fund and hereby appropriated to the Public Utilities Commission to develop, implement, and administer the Rural Broadband Infrastructure Program pursuant to Section 281.5 of the Public Utilities Code, pursuant to the following schedule:
(1) Five billion dollars ($5,000,000,000) immediately.
(2) One billion dollars ($1,000,000,000) in the 2023–24 fiscal year.
(3) One billion dollars ($1,000,000,000) in the 2024–25 fiscal year.
(4) One billion dollars ($1,000,000,000) in the 2025–26 fiscal year.
(5) One billion dollars ($1,000,000,000) in the 2026–27 fiscal year.
(6) One billion dollars ($1,000,000,000) in the 2027–28 fiscal year.
SEC. 4.
 This act is an urgency statute necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety within the meaning of Article IV of the California Constitution and shall go into immediate effect. The facts constituting the necessity are:
In order to ensure that the public school system is able to provide proper educational services for its pupils at the earliest possible time, to address the damaging effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and to prepare for future events similar to the current pandemic, it is necessary that this act take effect immediately.