Maui News

Bills aimed at improving digital access in Hawaiʻi signed into law

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Governor David Ige signed into law a package of bills that advance his effort to improve digital access for communities across the state.

“We are committed to addressing the digital divide for all Hawai‘i residents, and these bills will bring us another step closer towards an inclusive digital community, where all ‘ohana, keiki and kūpuna have the tools needed to thrive in today’s digital world,” said Governor David Ige. “ I am proud that Hawaiʻi continues to lead the charge in this field of digital equity.” 

Senate Bill 2076 establishes the University of Hawai‘i and the Hawai‘i Broadband and Digital Equity Office to convene a Broadband Working Group to determine the appropriate governance structure to operate, maintain, and oversee broadband assets. Gov. Ige has line-item vetoed the federal fund appropriation in this bill because the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 was over appropriated. However, there are other federal funds available for broadband.

Senate Bill 2214 establishes a digital literacy program to be overseen by the Board of Education and implemented by the state librarian to promote digital literacy through programmatic activities, including making digital technology accessible to individuals with disabilities.

Senate Bill 2184 establishes a Digital Learning Center within the Department of Education. It appropriates funds to staff and administer the Digital Learning Center.

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Senate Bill 2479 requires each public housing project and state low-income housing project that is built or reconstructed after Jan. 1, 2023, to include all broadband infrastructure necessary for tenants to have access to broadband service. 

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