Capitol Report Patricia Pike

Improving Broadband Access

JEFFERSON CITY, MO:   Improving broadband access is a priority for our area as we continue to pursue opportunities for better coverage.  Funding is now in place for a program option created by the Missouri General Assembly.  The goal of the program is to ensure communities all across Missouri have access to affordable, reliable high-speed internet.

Passed into law in 2018, HB 1872 established a grant program within the Department of Economic Development to expand broadband internet access to unserved and underserved parts of Missouri. During the 2019 session, the legislature approved funding for the program in the state budget. As a result, the program is now able to provide $5 million in grants that match up to 50 percent of the construction costs to expand broadband to areas that don’t have it.

With the launch of the program, Gov. Mike Parson said, “It’s a huge problem that nearly 20% of Missourians lack access to high speed internet. That’s the kind of problem that if you work toward solving it, it’s going to help with other problems, like retaining good talent or offering better health care and education for our communities. Broadband is exactly the kind of infrastructure that Missouri needs to grow and thrive in the future.”

The broadband grant program guidelines, selection criteria, application, and frequently asked questions are available on the Department of Economic Development’s website at this link: https://ded.mo.gov/content/missouri-broadband-grant-program.

Guidelines and scoring criteria are now posted on the department’s website. The grant application period will be open on December 4, 2019. Applications may be submitted through January 6, 2020. Projects will be selected based on the need for servicing unserved areas of the state, meeting or exceeding the state’s minimum definition of high-speed internet, the applicant’s share of total project costs, economic and community benefit, and adoption strategies. 

State Treasurer Encourages Missourians to Help Return Unclaimed Military Medals:  State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick is asking communities to help ensure unclaimed military medals and insignia in the state’s possession are returned to their rightful owners.  Beginning in November, locations across Missouri will display banners in welcome centers and lobbies encouraging visitors to search the Unclaimed Property database. Books with pictures of the medals and details about owners will also be located in these venues. Participating locations include the National WWI Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, the Missouri State Museum as well as the Museum of Missouri Military History in Jefferson City, and all seven Missouri veterans homes.

Fitzpatrick said, “I want to remind Missourians of the over 200 military medals and insignia currently being held by the Unclaimed Property Division. My Office will never sell or destroy these medals–but we do want to return them. Our effort to raise awareness this month about these medals reflects our commitment to returning them to the heroes who earned them. As always, we thank America’s military veterans for their service to this great country.”

A full list of medals, names, and last known addresses of the safe deposit box owners can be found at ShowMeMoney.com/medals

Contact Representative Pike at Patricia.Pike@house.mo.gov or call 573-751-5388 with your comments and for assistance on state issues, resolutions, flags, and visits in District and at the Capitol.  Contact Legislative Assistant, Matt Glover, at Matthew.Glover@house.mo.gov.  Our 126th District Office is open year-round at the Missouri Capitol Monday through Thursday – 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. in Room 404A.

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