Closing Colorado’s Digital Divide

This week, NewDEAL Leader Colorado Senator Jeff Bridges’ bill to invest in internet access was signed into law. With the pandemic adding urgency to the necessity for access to high-speed reliable internet to participate in economic activities, education, telehealth, and more, Bridges’ bill provides $75 million to connect unserved and underserved communities, including $20 million specifically set aside for the Ute Mountain and Southern Ute Tribes. Learn more about how this funding increases equity, and keep an eye out for information on similar topics from the NewDEAL Forum Broadband Task Force.

Incentivizing Cybersecurity Measures

This week, the Connecticut House of Representatives unanimously passed NewDEAL Leader Representative Caroline Simmons’s cybersecurity bill that will incentivize businesses throughout the state to voluntarily adopt programs and practices that have been proven to increase protection from cyber threats. Representative Simmons highlighted that the bill “works to protect Connecticut’s infrastructure, utilities, businesses, hospitals, schools, and consumers.”  Read more about Rep. Simmons’ bill and its next steps here.

Expanding Broadband Access in Florida

This week, the Florida Legislature passed the bipartisan 2021 Broadband Internet Infrastructure bill to expand high-speed internet access in rural areas of the state, including NewDEAL Leader Florida Senator Loranne Ausley’s measure to use $1.5 million to develop maps of broadband availability by June 2022. This builds on rural broadband work Ausley started last year while serving in the Florida House, where she co-sponsored a bipartisan bill that created a new Office of Broadband, signed into law in June 2020. Read more about the latest bill here. And keep your eyes open for more from Senator Ausley on broadband, as she co-chairs the forthcoming NewDEAL Forum Broadband Task Force.

Implementing Broadband Connectivity in Maryland

This week, NewDEAL Leader Maryland Delegate Brooke Lierman’s Digital Connectivity Act of 2021 was signed into law after the Maryland General Assembly approved the bill. As a result, the Office of Statewide Broadband will soon be established and work towards ensuring state residents, including 520,000 households that lack wireless internet access, have access to high-speed, affordable-broadband internet by 2026. Read more about Delegate Lierman’s bill here, and for more from the NewDEAL Forum on policies to help lay the foundation for the effective expansion of broadband access and adoption, check out the NewDEAL Forum Education Policy Group’s report Aligning the Future of Education with Workforce Opportunities.