Committee: TourismSponsor: Marsh
Analyst: John FriedenreichDate: 02/10/2021


Senate Bill 215 as introduced and as amended and reported by the Committee on Tourism would establish the "Alabama Digital Expansion Authority" as a new state agency governed by a a nine-member board and executive director to oversee the expansion and availability of high-speed broadband services throughout the state. This bill also provides for the creation of: (1) the 20 member Connect Alabama Advisory Board, which would assist and make recommendations to the Authority and regarding the implementation and administration of the Connect Alabama Program; and (2) the Alabama University Research Alliance (AURA) as a subdivision of the Authority, for the purpose of assisting the state's universities, university health care systems, and research institutional in developing cooperative ventures of innovative technological significance.

Additionally, this bill establishes the Connect Alabama Fund for the deposit of appropriations from the Legislature, and any gifts, grants, and other donations the Authority may receive for the Connect Alabama Program and provides that any funds appropriated to the Authority that are unspent at the end of the fiscal year may be carried over for use by the program in the next fiscal year.

Finally, this bill creates the six-member Alabama Digital Finance Corporation and authorizes the Corporation to issue bonds in an amount not to exceed $250 million in any fiscal which shall not constitute an obligation or debt of this state.

 Del Marsh, Chairperson