COLUMBUS – State Representatives Rick Carfagna (R-Genoa Township) and Brian Stewart (R-Ashville) today issued the following statement regarding the Ohio Senate’s proposal to remove broadband funding from the state budget bill. Carfagna and Stewart were the lead sponsors of House Bill 2, Ohio’s new law designed to expand residential broadband across Ohio.
“The Ohio General Assembly and the DeWine/Husted Administration have collectively stated, through the bipartisan enactment of House Bill 2, that the lack of broadband availability throughout much of Ohio remains a critical problem. Ohio now has a bipartisan strategy in state law to address this issue. It’s imperative we fund it in a meaningful way to achieve real results. Both the Ohio House and the DeWine/Husted Administration made robust financial commitments in the proposed state budget to expand broadband infrastructure to unserved households, and we call upon the Ohio Senate to do the same.
“Lack of broadband access presently denies employment, education, healthcare, and commerce opportunities to at least one million Ohioans, and the broadband expansion grants proposed by the House and Governor’s Office are designed to free up hundreds of millions in private investment to aggressively combat these disparities. Based on the numerous public and private statements of our colleagues in the Senate, I know that there is a strong desire on their end to bring this life-changing infrastructure to those currently deprived. Given today’s Senate announcement to remove these funds in totality, I look forward to hearing how they intend to accomplish House Bill 2’s vision of facilitating the expansion of high-speed internet to unserved households across Ohio.”