Rural broadband and healthcare legislation supported by state Rep. Ed Brooks, R-Reedsburg moved forward last week in the state assembly.

A rural broadband expansion bill was passed by the Assembly by a vote of 98-0. The bill appropriates $15.5 million more into broadband expansion.

“This is a big step forward for rural broadband expansion,” Brooks said. “We can’t have areas of our state in the dark ages; our rural areas need strong internet connections in order to have the necessary infrastructure for education, workforce and healthcare.”

The legislation also expands technology grants for schools in rural areas through a program called TEACH − Technology Educational Achievement program. The bill continues the program for another two years, which allows for more small school districts to be eligible. It allocates $7.5 million for the grants for a total of $23 million over two years for broadband expansion.

The Rural Wisconsin Initiative healthcare package of four bills received a hearing in the Assembly Committee on Rural Development and Mining this week. Brooks said the bills focus on improving access to high-quality health care in rural areas.

“A quality healthcare system is important to all of us. That’s why I’m working with my colleagues across rural Wisconsin to ensure we can continue to enjoy the best healthcare provided by the best trained professionals,” Brooks said. “I will now work with my legislative colleagues to advance these bills through the budget process.”


Tomah Journal editor

Steve Rundio is editor of the Tomah Journal. Contact him at 608-374-7785.

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