Last week, my fellow senators and I were out of the State Capitol and back in our communities for our legislative spring break. I took this opportunity to meet with constituents and discuss their thoughts and concerns on issues facing our community. It was a restful week, and I feel invigorated and ready to tackle the rest of the legislative session. These meetings reinforced my reasons for wanting to serve our community in the Missouri Senate, and I am humbled by my experience so far as a state senator. For this week’s legislative column, I wanted to highlight two of my bills that are moving through the legislative process.
I am proud to say on Thursday, March 25, my colleagues and I passed Senate Bill 141. This legislation requires the Public Service Commission (PSC) to allow gas utilities to create renewable natural gas programs in our state. We have the ability to capture methane gas from landfills and convert it into a renewable natural gas using anaerobic digesters.
I see this legislation as a win-win. It would promote a Missouri-made energy source, reducing our consumption of crude oil, and promote a cleaner energy alternative to protect our environment. During the severe winter storm we experienced a month ago, we saw the difficulties Texas experienced with their energy supply. In instances of extreme weather, additional capabilities to produce clean energy can help offset times of increased consumption.
This is my first bill that I have passed as a state legislator. It is an incredible feeling, and I want to thank my fellow senators, on both sides of the aisle, for working with me to improve this legislation and help move it through the legislative process. Senate Bill 141 has been sent to the Missouri House of Representatives for their consideration.
On Wednesday, March 24, I presented Senate Bill 184 to the Senate Commerce, Consumer Protection, Energy and the Environment Committee. This legislation creates the Electrical Corporation Broadband Authorization Act, which would allow electrical corporations to operate and use broadband infrastructure. These corporations would not serve as internet service providers (ISPs) directly, but would provide ISPs access to the existing broadband infrastructure needed to provide internet service.
To say this legislation is timely would be an understatement. With the myriad of ways the pandemic has affected all of our lives this past year, it is apparent that internet service is not a luxury, but a necessity. Schools were shut down and children across the state began learning through a computer screen. Many families did not have reliable internet access, and I believe this legislation will address that problem. From where I stand, SB 184 will greatly enhance broadband access to both rural and urban areas, particularly in the eastern part of the state. I am hopeful the committee will approve this legislation and move it to the Senate floor for further discussion and debate.
Senator Jason Bean proudly serves the citizens of Butler, Carter, Dunklin, Mississippi, New Madrid, Pemiscot, Shannon and Stoddard counties in the Missouri Senate.
Please visit Sen. Bean’s official Missouri Senate website at senate.mo.gov/Bean for more legislative and constituent resources.