Expanding broadband through SB 25

By State Rep. Bruce Sassmann, Missouri’s 61st District
Posted 9/13/23

More than 60 bills passed through the Missouri General Assembly this year, and after receiving the signature from Missouri Governor Mike Parson, those bills have now become law, effective Aug. 28.

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Expanding broadband through SB 25


More than 60 bills passed through the Missouri General Assembly this year, and after receiving the signature from Missouri Governor Mike Parson, those bills have now become law, effective Aug. 28.

These new laws range across a wide variety of areas, from extending healthcare coverage, covering life-saving exams for Missourians, tax relief for senior citizens, removing financial barriers in the adoption process, simplifying the state’s vehicle sales tax, increasing public safety, and preparing Missouri’s workforce for the future.

Here is a look at some of the new laws:

Expanding Broadband Access

Senate Bill 25 provides federal broadband grants and income tax deductions for broadband grants to Missourians. This is part of the ongoing effort to expand broadband across the state, as the need for high-speed internet access has only continued to grow. We recognize the need for access to high-speed, quality internet these days, as the coronavirus pandemic proved to the world that technology is becoming more and more important in the fields of education, healthcare, and across the business industry. Missouri remains committed to expanding this vital tool to all corners of the state, and with the $1.7 billion in funds from the federal government, we are making the steps to address the lack of high-speed internet and take advantage of this unprecedented opportunity for growth.

Missouri NIL expanded
to high school athletes 

This year, the Missouri Legislature passed updates to the state’s name, image and likeness (NIL) regulations regarding payments for using student athletes in endorsement deals. The major change to the NIL will allow high school students who have signed their letter of intent to attend a public university in Missouri to begin profiting from their endorsement deals while still in high school. This will incentivize some of Missouri’s top-tier talent to stay in the Show-Me State and make Missouri one of the least restrictive NIL environments in the U.S.

Mizzou’s football coach, Eli Drinkwitz, said he believes this change will allow the University of Missouri to lead from the front when it comes to the NIL regulations, and keep the state competitive.

Some Missouri athletes have already taken advantage of the NIL. The Imo’s Pizza chain formalized NIL sponsorships with Missouri quarterback Brady Cook and wide receiver Luther Burden, while running back Cody Schrader signed NIL deals with Smoothie King and CrossFit Verus.

New state designations from UFO’s, peaches, to Albert Pujols Day

SB 139 implements a number of state designations, including several new days of recognition in the Show-Me State. As part of this legislative package, the first week of March each year will be recognized with an annual proclamation from the Governor as “Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Week.” Some of the other new dates of recognition:

• January: State Legislator Remembrance Month in memory of all state legislators who died while in office;

• June 12: Women Veterans Appreciation Day;

• First Saturday of October: Breast Cancer Awareness Day;

• Third Saturday of October: Domestic Violence Awareness Day;

• January 16: Albert Pujols Day;

• May 3: Shelley v. Kraemer Day;

• November 23: K.C. Wolf Day:

• March 19: Lloyd Gaines Day’

• May: Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month; and,

• April 16: Baker Service Appreciation Day.

SB 139 also created new designations for Missouri, such as new titles for roads and bridges. It designates “Major Lee Berra Memorial Highway” in St. Louis County, and also names the portion of a new bridge over the Mississippi River in Perry County as the “Don Welge Memorial Bridge.”

It also lists the Hawken rifle as the official state rifle, adds Perry County to the region designated as the “German Heritage Corridor of Missouri,” and labels city of Piedmont and Wayne County as the “UFO Capitals of Missouri.” In addition, the Missouri Legislature also passed SCR 8, which designates Campbell, Mo.,, as the peach capital of the state.

Stars and Stripes showcasing
Missouri’s monuments

SB 139 also establishes the “Stars and Stripes Historic Region of Missouri.” Under this bill, the Missouri Department of Transportation will be able to place markings and informational signs within the region along the I-55 corridor in eastern and southeastern Missouri to honor the military newspaper with the costs to be paid by private donation. This is designed to increase tourism in communities across the I-55 corridor while honoring the Stars and Stripes military newspaper that has been in publication since the Civil War. The Stars and Stripes first printing was in southeast Missouri’s Bloomfield on Nov. 9, 1861, when Union soldiers in Stoddard County started the newspaper for soldiers, by soldiers. A prime example of one sign to be established is a visual reminder along I-55 to remind people of the Vietnam Memorial in Perryville just off I-55.

Honoring Missouri’s fallen heroes

SB 139 also carries language creating the “FA Paul Akers Jr and LCPL Jared Schmitz Memorial Sign Funding Act.” Under this act, all of the costs associated with the designation of bridges or highways to honor our deceased veterans, servicemen and women, law enforcement officers or first responders who died in the line of duty, shall be paid by the Missouri Department of Transportation, as of Aug. 28, 2023.

When Missouri’s legislators found out that the families of these heroic men and women were asked to pay for the memorial signs to honor their loved ones, sometimes to the tune of $3,000, the Missouri General Assembly rose to the task. We fought to ensure that we are not only giving these heroes the honor they deserve, but also making sure that their families are not left holding the bill as they grieve the loss of their loved ones. We, as a state, should be proud to offer to cover these costs in remembrance of their sacrifice. It is the least we can do for these families.

Combating the opioid epidemic

SB 186, SB 24, and HB 402 would allow Missourians to have an easily accessible means to ensure their medications are not contaminated with the highly dangerous opioid, fentanyl. The Missouri General Assembly continues to look for ways to fight this war on drugs in Missouri, and this year, we added yet another tool in the toolbox.

Legislation signed into law this summer will now allow people to obtain and use fentanyl testing strips, which could help curb overdose deaths linked to the powerful painkiller. The strips are one way of helping prevent drug overdoses by detecting if there is fentanyl present in medications and other drugs.

Previously, the strips were classified as drug paraphernalia, which made it a crime to possess or distribute them. Missouri now joins at least 20 other states by changing this in an effort to combat the ongoing abuse of opioids.

In Missouri, the Department of Health and Senior Services reported that about 70 percent of the 2,000 drug-related deaths in 2021 involved a synthetic opioid. By legalizing the use of these strips, we can drive that number down and help keep people alive long enough to get them the help they need in fighting their addictions.

Please email me with any questions or concerns bruce.sassmann@house.mo.gov or call Jill @ 573-751-6668.