Budget Writers Approve $8M for Possible Broadband Settlement
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — State budget writers have signed off on a surprise $8 million request from top legislative leaders to pay for a possible settlement in Idaho's losing legal battle over an illegal statewide contract for broadband in public schools.
The Joint Finance Appropriations Committee voted 19-1 on Tuesday to approve the request of House Speaker Scott Bedke and Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill. Earlier this month, the Idaho Supreme Court upheld a lower court's ruling voiding the $60 million statewide contract in a drawn-out legal process.
Idaho officials have been negotiating with the main vendors, Education Networks of America and Qwest, to come up with a fair dollar amount to cover the work the companies performed under the contract but weren't yet paid for. Bedke says the Idaho Legislature will likely adjourn over the next few days and he wants flexibility to settle with the vendors in the interim.