March 9, 2018
Senator Jay Wasson’s Column for the Week of March 5, 2018
We are almost halfway through the 2018 legislative session and the Missouri Senate is making great progress. This week, the Senate’s Commerce, Consumer Protection, Energy and the Environment Committee held a hearing on Senate Bill 820 . This legislation allows the General Assembly to declare that expanding and accelerating access to high-speed broadband communications services is in the best interests of all Missourians. Senate Bill 820 also encourages rural electric cooperatives to work with telecommunications companies in order to help bring high-speed internet to every corner of Missouri. Expanding broadband access is vital in helping our rural communities prosper in a technology-driven age.
Businesses in rural parts of our state need reliable, fast internet to conduct business in a competitive manner. Our society runs off of the internet and we must keep up with technology or risk getting left behind. Even a small business, like your local insurance agent or the bank down the street, needs access to the internet to conduct business and provide services to its customers. If we want to continue encouraging economic activity and job growth in our rural areas, we must encourage the expansion of high speed internet throughout Missouri.
Improving broadband access presents benefits beyond businesses and economic development. Many schools have begun to create online class-sharing programs to provide students with expanded course offerings. Online courses are a great solution for the course-access issues facing districts and families in need of flexible and personalized learning plans. Several of the larger schools in our area have started offering virtual classes to smaller schools in rural areas, but reliable internet is needed to turn these ideas into feasible solutions.
All students in Missouri, regardless of where they live, should have access to a wide variety of challenging course offerings and the opportunity to take advanced placement classes. In small, rural districts, it is often difficult to provide these options; however, online courses facilitate a cost-effective solution. Broadband access is becoming increasingly important for education, business and our society as a whole. Expanding access to the more remote areas of Missouri will open a wide realm of possibilities.
In other legislative news, I was pleased that two of my bills were passed out of the Missouri Senate this week. Senate Bill 683 allows the owner of an industrial crane to purchase annual transportation permits instead of having to acquire a permit for each use. This saves business owners time and money, and it streamlines the process for the Missouri Department of Transportation.
Additionally, Senate Bill 631 was approved by the Senate. This proposal incentivizes donations to great organizations like Care to Learn, which provides for the unmet health, hunger and hygiene needs of children. This bill is a win-win for everybody because it does not cost the state any money and it has the potential to benefit thousands of children throughout the state. Senate Bill 683 and SB 631 move to the House of Representatives for consideration. Both of these policies are common sense solutions that will have real impacts on the people of Missouri.
If you have any questions or comments about this or any other matter regarding your state government, please feel free to contact me at (573) 751-1503; you are also welcome to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Senator Denny Hoskins Legislative Column for the Week of March 5, 2018
- Sen. Mike Cunningham’s Legislative Column for March 9, 2018