Snyder: Component of rural broadband package clears House committee
Measure seeks audit of state Education Technology Fund
HARRISBURG, April 9 – A component of the effort by state Rep. Pam Snyder and her partner in pushing for expansion of rural broadband, state Rep. Kristin Phillips-Hill, was approved today by the House Education Committee.
Snyder, D-Greene/Fayette/Washington, said H.R. 431, which calls for an audit of the state’s Education Technology Fund, has now cleared a critical hurdle on its path to a House vote.
“Our resolution calls for this fund, which is administered by the Education Department, to be audited by state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale’s office,” Snyder said. “The E-Fund, as it is known, is a six-year education technology program financed by non-rural telecommunications carriers. We want to make sure it’s operating as intended.”
Upon completion of the audit, the resolution put forth by Snyder and Phillips-Hill also calls for DePasquale to share his findings with the General Assembly.
Snyder and Phillips-Hill, R-York, who have led the House effort to bring high-speed internet to unserved and underserved rural areas, have introduced a four-bill package to accomplish that goal. The other parts are:
H.R. 429, which establishes a special bipartisan, bicameral legislative commission to recommend improvements to the deployment of high-speed broadband services in unserved and underserved areas;
H.R. 430, which directs the Joint State Government Commission to conduct an in-depth investigation and audit into the compliance of non-rural telecommunication carriers, and report findings and recommendations to the legislature; and
H.B. 1642, which directs the Department of General Services to conduct an inventory of all state department, agency, commission or institution owned communication towers, poles, buildings, and facilities to leverage existing state-owned assets for the provisioning of high speed broad-band internet to unserved and underserved areas.