News Press Now (of Missouri) reports…
Two St. Joseph area lawmakers can’t take credit for inventing the internet, but they hope recently passed legislation will speed up broadband usage in Northwest Missouri.
A bill, authored by Rep. Delus Johnson, R-St. Joseph, creates a broadband grants fund for rural areas. The bill was passed on the final day of the legislative session.
They used Minnesota’s grant programs as a model. (Minnesota’s grant model was unfortunately not funded after the last legislative session.)
State Sen. Dan Hegeman, R-Cosby, said telephone companies, rural electric cooperatives, the Missouri Farm Bureau, and other groups offered support and advice for the grants. Minnesota’s broadband model also served as inspiration.
Constituents often speak with him on the need for broadband improvements throughout his Senate 12th District. He promoted Johnson’s bill in the chamber and also supplied a companion bill.
“It’s a big issue,” Hegeman said. “Our small communities know they need broadband to retain the young folks. Otherwise, we’ll continue to see a loss of population.”