HARTZLER REPORT: Improving Internet Access for Rural Missouri
Honoring Officer Christopher Ryan Morton
We mourn the loss of Officer Christopher Ryan Morton, but we also celebrate the life he lived.
On Monday, I had the heartfelt honor of attending the funeral of Clinton Police Officer Ryan Morton and sitting with the Police Department during the service. This department has experienced so much, but is facing this tragedy with strength, brotherhood, courage, and resolve. They are a special group of individuals — called to do what others cannot — protect and defend neighbors, families, people they don’t even know. They go where others wouldn’t go and do it with bravery, courage, and sacrifice. The Clinton community and I recognize and appreciate their unsung service and stand with the Police Department and with the Morton family. My thoughts and prayers will remain with them. To hear my remarks on the House floor honoring Officer Morton’s life, click here or on the image below.
Improving Internet Access for Rural Missouri
Over fifty percent of rural Missourians do not have access to broadband internet.
Last week I introduced a bill to expand access to quality broadband to rural communities. My bill, the Expanding Rural Access to Broadband Act, would allow internet providers to access loans from the Rural Utilities Service (RUS, a component of the U.S. Department of Agriculture) and local banks or other financial institutions with the backing of the RUS. We need to give internet providers as many financing options as possible to encourage them to bring the internet to rural America. The bill also sets minimum speeds for broadband to ensure students, businesses, and others in rural America have an internet that works with today’s technology.
These changes would help rural Missourians by providing more loans to companies that want to provide high speed internet while requiring them to provide that internet at a higher speed to less populated areas of Missouri. While broadband deployment to larger cities across the country continues, more than half of rural Missourians still lack access to this vital resource. Many are left with antiquated, incredibly slow, or non-existent internet access. The absence of this technology hurts our local economy and puts our children and schools at a disadvantage. I plan to work with Agriculture Chairman Conaway to include my provisions to expand rural broadband in the Farm Bill, which is expected to be released in the coming weeks.
Discussing School Safety with the President
Last week I met with the President to discuss violent video-games and a possible correlation to aggression and desensitization in children. I appreciate the President’s “leave no stone unturned” approach to school violence. He started off the meeting showing a video montage of violent games.
Late last week I had a meeting with the President, who called for an across the board review of possible causes of school violence. In the meeting we discussed violent video games and the possible connection to school violence. The gathering provided an opportunity to learn and hear from different sides about concerns and possible solutions to violence in our schools. It was a good beginning. My hope is we can build on this progress in the future. I appreciate the President’s desire to leave no stone unturned when it comes to getting to the bottom of this problem. Our kids’ lives depend on it.
On Wednesday, I also voted for a bill that would enhance safety training for teachers and students in our schools and fund additional safety measures to stop school attacks before they happen. As a teacher who taught junior and senior high school in Missouri for over ten years, this bill is particularly important to me.
The STOP School Violence Act (H.R. 4909) is a first step to ensuring that schools identify students prone to violent behavior and do something about it before it’s too late. It creates a coordinated system for reporting the signs of such behavior and implementing school threat assessment protocols to prevent shootings. The bill also funds technology to improve school security and supports increased law enforcement coordination, particularly for officers who already staff schools. It is part of an all-encompassing approach that we must take to identify and implement measures that combat violence in our schools. Parents need to know that their children are safe in school, and more importantly, students must feel safe in their learning environment.
In an effort to assist law enforcement and enhance school safety in rural communities, the House also recently passed my provision that would allow off duty and retired police officers to carry a firearm to protect children at school. My bill, H.R. 2513, the Police Officers Protecting Children Act, was endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police, local county sheriffs, and was included in H.R. 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, which passed in December of 2017.
I am committed to furthering this bill and other efforts to make our children safer in our schools.
Pregnancy Care Centers Recognized
On Wednesday I spoke on the House floor about the myriad of benefits and services crisis pregnancy centers offer. Click here or on the image above to see my speech.
Pregnancy Care Centers provide help to over 2.3 million women a year, providing counseling, prenatal care pregnancy tests, diapers, and formulas for loved ones. In Missouri’s Fourth District there are centers in:
- Lake of the Ozarks in Camdenton
I appreciate the heroic work these centers do everyday to support women and support life.
Photos of the Week
It was great seeing Kyleigh Tuesday and hearing about her advocacy for those with arthritis.
On Tuesday I met with the Community Alliance of Saint Joseph to discuss C-130s and the 139th Airlift Wing at Rosecrans Air National Guard Base.
On Wednesday morning, in a House Armed Services hearing, we explored U.S. readiness for conflict in the space domain. Our warfighting readiness there must start with consideration of current policies and authorities, whether they enable U.S. forces to operate successfully, and our future capabilities. “Space Wars” is no longer a potential movie—it’s a reality we need to guard against.
I enjoyed speaking with the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition on Wednesday about the best ways to use diplomacy and development alongside a strong defense to advance our national security interests. The U.S. Global Leadership Coalition is comprised of over 200 retired general lending their expertise to the cause of freedom.
It was wonderful to meet Obianuju Ekeocha Wednesday afternoon and talk about the work she is doing to bring needed attention to the undo influence that ideologically driven donor groups have on the African continent. As the founder and president of Culture of Life Africa, Obianuju is committed to defending African values celebrating the sanctity of life, marriage, motherhood, and family life.
What a blessing to speak to pastors and leaders at Capitol Connection Wednesday about my journey to Congress.
I had a productive meeting with the National Apartment Association Wednesday to discuss affordable housing and military off-base housing. Thanks for coming by!
Wednesday afternoon, I sat in on the Seapower & Projection Forces Armed Services Subcommittee hearing regarding U.S. Air Force posture. I learned that our bombers flew 580 missions in the Indo-Pacific last year, reassuring our partners, deterring our adversaries, and strengthening security/stability in the region.
Thursday morning I had breakfast with Missouri Farm Bureau members here at the Capitol and gave them an update on issues I’m working on to advance rural America such as the Farm Bill, rural broadband, and trade. It was a great way to start the day!
I discussed agriculture issues and the 2018 Farm Bill with some of my Missouri Farm Bureau constituents in my office later Thursday morning.
We held an important House Armed Services Committee hearing Thursday morning on the security challenges we face in Europe, particularly Russian activity that challenges our national interests.
I was glad to sit down on Thursday with student leaders from Missouri University of Science & Technology to discuss my support of STEM education.
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