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SB-743 Housing developments: broadband adoption: grant program. (2021-2022)

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Date Published: 04/19/2021 09:00 PM
SB743:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Senate  April 19, 2021
Amended  IN  Senate  April 05, 2021

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Bill
No. 743


Introduced by Senator Bradford

February 19, 2021


An act to add Chapter 8 8.8 (commencing with Section 50240) 1650) to Part 1 of Division 31 1 of the Health and Safety Public Utilities Code, relating to housing. broadband.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SB 743, as amended, Bradford. Housing developments: broadband adoption: grant program.
Under existing law, the Public Utilities Commission has regulatory authority over public utilities, including telephone corporations. Existing law requires the commission to develop, implement, and administer the California Advanced Services Fund program to encourage deployment of high-quality advanced communications services to all Californians that will promote economic growth, job creation, and the substantial social benefits of advanced information and communications technologies.
Existing law establishes various programs intended to promote the development of affordable housing, including the Multifamily Housing Program, under which the Department of Housing and Community Development provides financial assistance in the form of deferred payment loans to pay for the eligible costs of certain housing development activities.
This bill, upon appropriation by the Legislature, would require the Public Utilities Commission to establish a grant program to fund broadband adoption, digital literacy, and computer equipment for eligible publicly supported communities, as defined. The bill would require the commission to award grants to eligible publicly supported communities for the purpose of providing either one-time funding for computer equipment and to establish computer labs or ongoing funding for up to 3 years for broadband service and digital literacy programs.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.Chapter 8 (commencing with Section 50240) is added to Part 1 of Division 31 of the Health and Safety Code, to read:

SECTION 1.

 Chapter 8.8 (commencing with Section 1650) is added to Part 1 of Division 1 of the Public Utilities Code, to read:
CHAPTER  8.8. Broadband Adoption, Digital Literacy, and Computer Equipment Grant Program

50240.1650.
 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) To close the digital divide in California, it is critical for the state to take a leadership role and do all it can to encourage Californians to adopt broadband in order to effectively implement distance learning for K–12 students during the COVID-19 pandemic, assist the unemployed and underemployed Californians to seek employment opportunities, allow employees to work from the home, and use telemedicine to the greatest extent possible.
(b) All state agencies must proactively use the resources available to them to encourage Californians to adopt broadband. The Public Utilities Commission should provide residents in public housing with the ability to participate online for learning and employment opportunities.
(c) The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed California’s vulnerabilities to major social and economic disruptions. Those persons, businesses, and entities that adopted broadband before the pandemic have fared significantly better than those that have not accepted the digital world. It is, therefore, the intent of the Legislature that state government take an active role to close the digital divide by connecting as many Californians as possible with the internet with the resources available.

50241.1651.
 For purposes of this chapter:

(a)“Commission” means the Public Utilities Commission.

(b)

(a) “Program” means the program established by the commission pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 50242. 1652.

(c)

(b) “Publicly subsidized” means either that the housing development receives financial assistance from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development pursuant to an annual contribution contract or is financed with low-income housing tax credits, tax-exempt mortgage revenue bonds, general obligation bonds, or local, state, or federal loans or grants and the rents of the occupants, who are lower income households, do not exceed those prescribed by deed restrictions or regulatory agreements pursuant to the terms of the financing or financial assistance.

(d)

(c) “Publicly supported community” means a publicly subsidized multifamily housing development that is wholly owned by either of the following:
(1) A public housing agency that has been chartered by the state, or by any city or county in the state, and has been determined to be an eligible public housing agency by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.
(2) An incorporated nonprofit organization as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. Sec. 501(c)(3)) that is exempt from taxation under Section 501(a) of that code (26 U.S.C. Sec. 501(a)), and that has received public funding to subsidize the construction or maintenance of housing occupied by residents whose annual income qualifies as “low” or “very low” income according to federal poverty guidelines.

50242.1652.
 (a) The commission shall establish and administer a grant program to fund broadband adoption, digital literacy, and computer equipment for publicly supported communities pursuant to this chapter.
(b) The program shall award grants to eligible publicly supported communities for the purpose of providing either both of the following:
(1) One-time funding for computer equipment and to establish computer labs.
(2) Ongoing funding for up to three years for broadband service and digital literacy programs.

50243.1653.
 Implementation of this chapter shall be subject to an appropriation of funds by the Legislature for purposes of developing and implementing the program.