An Act To Encourage Broadband Coverage in Rural Maine
Sec. 1. 5 MRSA §12004-G, sub-§33-F, as enacted by PL 2005, c. 665, §1, is repealed.
Sec. 2. 5 MRSA §12004-G, sub-§33-G is enacted to read:
|Technology||Board of Directors of the Maine Broadband Initiative||Expenses Only||35-A MRSA §9303|
Sec. 3. 5 MRSA §12021, sub-§6, ¶B, as enacted by PL 2011, c. 616, Pt. A, §1, is repealed.
Sec. 4. 5 MRSA §12021, sub-§6, ¶E-1 is enacted to read:
Sec. 5. 5 MRSA §13056-H is enacted to read:
§ 13056-H. Maine Broadband Initiative Director
Sec. 6. 5 MRSA §17001, sub-§40, as amended by PL 2009, c. 372, Pt. C, §1, is further amended to read:
Sec. 7. 10 MRSA §9902, sub-§3, ¶A, as enacted by PL 2011, c. 622, §1, is amended to read:
Sec. 8. 35-A MRSA c. 93, as amended, is repealed.
Sec. 9. 35-A MRSA c. 93-A is enacted to read:
ADVANCED COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY INFRASTRUCTURE
§ 9301. Definitions
As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise indicates, the following terms have the following meanings.
§ 9302. State broadband policy
§ 9303. Maine Broadband Initiative
§ 9304. Duties of the initiative
§ 9305. Powers of the initiative
The initiative may:
§ 9306. Limitations on activities of the initiative
Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, the initiative may not provide any wireline, wireless, satellite, voice, data or video service at retail or wholesale.
§ 9307. Conflicts
A member of the board may not participate in any decision on any contract entered into by the initiative under this chapter if that member has any interest, direct or indirect, in any firm, partnership, corporation or association that is party to the contract. The member shall disclose such an interest to the initiative in writing, and the disclosure of the interest must be set forth in the minutes of the applicable meeting of the initiative.
§ 9308. Actions against the initiative
A member of the board, while acting within the scope of this chapter, is not subject to any personal liability resulting from the exercise or carrying out of any of the initiative's purposes or powers.
§ 9309. Collection of data
Subject to the provisions in this section, the initiative shall collect data from communications service providers and wireless providers that own or operate advanced communications technology infrastructure in the State concerning infrastructure deployment and costs, revenues and subscribership.
Information designated as confidential under this subsection is not a public record under Title 1, section 402, subsection 3.
§ 9310. Bonds
§ 9311. Maine Broadband Initiative Fund
Sec. 10. 36 MRSA §457, sub-§5-B, ¶E is enacted to read:
Sec. 11. Transition. The following provisions apply to the establishment of the Maine Broadband Initiative pursuant to the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 35-A, chapter 93-A.
1. Successor. The Maine Broadband Initiative is the successor to the ConnectME Authority.
2. Board appointed. Within 30 days of the effective date of this Act, the Governor, Speaker of the House of Representatives and President of the Senate shall appoint members of the Board of Directors of the Maine Broadband Initiative in accordance with subsection 3.
3. Staggered terms. Notwithstanding Title 35-A, section 9303, subsection 4, in making the initial appointments of members to the Board of Directors of the Maine Broadband Initiative:
4. Employees of the ConnectME Authority. Employees of the ConnectME Authority on December 31, 2017 who accept employment with the Maine Broadband Initiative may, at the employees' option, elect whether to continue as state employees or to work under new agreements. Other persons who accept employment with the Maine Broadband Initiative prior to January 1, 2018 who were state employees immediately prior to accepting such employment may, at the employees' option, elect whether to continue as state employees or to work under new agreements. Persons who accept employment with the Maine Broadband Initiative and who elect to remain state employees under this subsection retain their employee rights, privileges and benefits, including sick leave, vacation and seniority, provided under the Civil Service Law or collective bargaining agreements. Persons who accept employment with the Maine Broadband Initiative and who elect to remain state employees under this subsection remain members of the Maine Public Employees Retirement System as long as they continue as state employees, and the Maine Broadband Initiative shall reimburse the State for all costs related to employees who elect to remain state employees, including the employer's share of contributions to the Maine Public Employees Retirement System. Positions of employees who remain state employees under this subsection are terminated when vacated by those employees, unless filled by other persons eligible to remain state employees under this subsection who elect to remain state employees. Positions similar to those terminated may be established by the Maine Broadband Initiative. For employees who are not offered or who do not accept employment at the Maine Broadband Initiative, the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, Bureau of Human Resources shall provide employment assistance. Nothing in this section may be construed to interfere with the rights of employees of the Maine Broadband Initiative to organize for collective bargaining purposes in accordance with applicable law.
5. Contracts. All existing contracts, agreements and compacts currently in effect in the ConnectME Authority remain in effect, and the Maine Broadband Initiative is the successor to those contracts.
6. Records, property and equipment. All records, property and equipment of the ConnectME Authority must be transferred to the Maine Broadband Initiative by January 1, 2018.
Sec. 12. Effective date. This Act takes effect January 1, 2018.
This bill repeals the provisions of law establishing and governing the ConnectME Authority and establishes the Maine Broadband Initiative as a nonprofit corporation with public and charitable purposes to encourage, promote, stimulate, invest in and support universal high-speed broadband to unserved and underserved areas of the State. The initiative is governed by a board of directors. The bill establishes the Maine Broadband Initiative Fund, which is funded by assessments on communications service providers and tax assessments on qualified telecommunications equipment of telecommunications businesses. The bill provides for a transition from the ConnectME Authority to the new Maine Broadband Initiative.