Senator Jason Bean’s Legislative Column for the Week of Jan. 30, 2023

Friday, February 3, 2023


The past month has seen a flurry of legislative activity, and I wanted to take time to catch you up on our accomplishments in Jefferson City so far this session.

Earlier in January, Senate leadership announced committee membership for the 102nd General Assembly. I was chosen to chair the Senate Agriculture, Food Production and Outdoor Resources Committee. Additionally, I am now a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. As you may know, this committee is responsible for writing the Senate’s version of the state’s operating budget for each fiscal year. I am looking forward to working more closely with my fellow lawmakers to craft a budget that addresses the funding needs of our state.

I have filed a few bills I’m hoping will receive committee hearings soon. Senate Bill 56 prohibits the use of cell phones while driving, unless the individual is utilizing a hands-free, voice-activated function or following navigation directions. Current law prohibits texting and driving for any driver under 21 years old, but there are no restrictions for older drivers. The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) created the Buckle Up Phone Down safety program to promote drivers wearing seatbelts and putting their phone down while driving.

Two bills I filed this session relate to hemp. Senate Bill 546 repeals current law regulating the cultivation, possession and use of hemp extract for the treatment of intractable epilepsy. Eliminating these regulations will allow individuals with this condition to receive the treatment they need. A related measure, Senate Bill 209, repeals provisions regulating industrial hemp and hemp cultivation. This legislation is intended to remove redundant language from Missouri statutes.

I have filed a couple of infrastructure bills as well. Senate Bill 385 authorizes a tax credit for qualified railroad construction expenses. This legislation is intended to support the transportation of Missouri-made goods across our state and the nation. Senate Bill 265 establishes the “Waterways and Ports Trust Fund” to ensure local and regional port authorities are able to carry out public capital improvements.

Earlier this month, the Missouri Department of Economic Development awarded a total of $261 million through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Broadband Grant Program to create more than 55,000 connections in locations that previously didn’t have adequate internet access. A total of $37 million in grants were awarded to these utilities in our district:

  • Conexon Connect, LLC;
  • Current Electric, Heating and Air, Inc.;
  • PD Fiber, LLC; and
  • SEMO Electric Cooperative.

Ensuring access to internet service is no longer a luxury in today’s world; it’s a necessity. Working to expand broadband internet access is one of the governor’s priorities he mentioned during his State of the State address, and I am thrilled more Missourians will have access to broadband internet.

Finally, I’d like to invite you to “Taste of the South,” an event celebrating the very best Southeast Missouri has to offer. Join me on Wednesday, Feb. 15, from 6 to 8 p.m. at The Millbottom, 400 W. Main St., in Jefferson City for delicious barbecue and other great food from our region. This event is a great opportunity for lawmakers to meet with residents of the 25th Senatorial District and learn about the issues that are important to them. I hope you’ll join us!

Senator Jason Bean proudly serves the citizens of Butler, Carter, Dunklin, Mississippi, New Madrid, Oregon, Pemiscot, Ripley, Stoddard and Wayne counties in the Missouri Senate.

Please visit Sen. Bean’s official Missouri Senate website at for more legislative and constituent resources.