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IEN school broadband legislation heads to House

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Posted at 12:36 PM, Mar 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-11 14:36:30-05

BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- The House Education Committee unanimously approved legislation Friday to allow Idaho public school districts to obtain their own broadband contracts.

Republican Rep. Luke Malek, of Coeur d'Alene, says the legislation provides a funding mechanism to install broadband infrastructure statewide. He says it also ensures school districts have local control of their own broadband system.

The previous program, known as the Idaho Education Network, had been providing public schools with high-speed Internet since 2010.

However, lawmakers stripped the previous statewide model after a district judge ruled last year the $60 million contract that created the system was illegal.

The Idaho Supreme Court upheld that ruling earlier this month.

The new legislation must still pass the House floor before heading to Gov. C. L. "Butch" Otter for final approval.