Representative Jim Neely's Capitol Report
Greetings Friends of the 8th Legislative District!
Broadband Internet Expansion Efforts Continue
During the 2020 legislative session, the Missouri House made a commitment to expanding broadband internet to the nearly 1 million Missourians who do not have it. The legislature approved HB 1768 to ensure the state is able to keep and utilize vital funds meant to expand access.
Building on the efforts of the legislature, Gov. Mike Parson recently announced new funding for broadband projects around the state. Parson announced $846,407 in funding from the state’s Emergency Broadband Investment Program for 11 broadband projects. The funds will be utilized to assist with construction costs for new broadband expansion to households with citizens on telework, students or vulnerable populations. These projects will result in 465 Missouri households receiving broadband internet service.
Broadband is critical to the evolving needs of our workforce. With so many Missourians now depending on the internet for health care, education, and work, this initiative is more important than ever. Parson also announced more than $870,000 in funding for Missouri libraries to help resident’s access high-speed internet for telehealth and distance learning in response to COVID-19. The funds from this program will be used to establish hotspot lending programs, Wi-Fi capable laptops for patron checkout, and expanding bandwidth at libraries to accommodate additional network demands.
The efforts to expand broadband access are the result of six programs that were created in July with the goal of improving access across the state. The Emergency Broadband Investment Program previously awarded just over $3 million in funding to sixteen projects in round one.
The list of recipients for the Emergency Broadband Investment Program can be found at the following link: https://ded.mo.gov/sites/default/files/FY21%20CARES%20Emergency%20Broadb...
The list of libraries receiving funding can be viewed at this link: https://ded.mo.gov/sites/default/files/Broadband%20Libraries%20Recipient...
Authorized Electronic Monitoring in Long-Term Care Facilities Act (HB 1387 & 1482)
A new law now in effect is meant to help Missourians monitor the care of their loved ones. The bill establishes the “Authorized Electronic Monitoring in Long-Term Care Facilities Act.” It allows video cameras to be installed in long-term care facilities so that family members can monitor the care of their loved ones. The issue grew out of safety concerns of Missourians with loved ones in long-term care facilities and became even more important when COVID-19 caused facilities to close their doors to visitors. With this legislative fix, families can request installation of monitoring equipment so they can closely monitor the care received by their loved ones.
Missouri State Capitol Building Goes Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Recent visitors to Jefferson City were greeted with the sight of the Missouri State Capitol Building bathed in pink light. The Capitol dome, as well as the Governor’s Mansion, were illuminated in pink in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The dome and the mansion were lit in pink from Friday, October 9 through Sunday, October 11 as part of the awareness effort. The color pink is meant to commemorate those lost to breast cancer, and to raise awareness of breast cancer survivors, those battling the disease, and medical professionals and researchers working to find a cure.
Each October is recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness Month by the National Breast Cancer Foundation in an effort to increase awareness of the disease and promote early detection through breast cancer screening. In Missouri, women who meet age, income, and insurance guidelines are able to access free breast and cervical cancer screenings through the Show Me Healthy Women program.
Awareness is critical because breast cancer accounts for one-third of all cancers diagnosed among women in Missouri and is the leading cause of cancer deaths in women behind lung cancer. Approximately one in eight women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of their lifetime. On average, nearly 6,000 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed each year in Missouri.
Gov. Parson said, "Breast cancer takes the lives of many of our loved ones, and often far too soon. We light the Capitol and People’s Mansion pink as a show of support for those currently battling breast cancer, those lost to breast cancer, and survivors of breast cancer. We are also extremely thankful for the many researchers and medical professionals who continue working to find a cure for this devastating disease.”
I hope you have a wonderful week! As always, please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions, concerns, or suggestions you might have. If you have an event you would like me to attend please let me know. As your Representative, I am here to assist you however, I can. I can be reached by email at Jim.Neely@house.mo.gov or by phone at 573-751-0246.