WHEREAS, high-speed Internet access in Missouri's rural communities is of great significance to economic development, agriculture, and education; and
WHEREAS, many rural communities in Missouri currently do not possess the information and communication infrastructure that enables its residents access to high-speed Internet; and
WHEREAS, aggressively pursuing high-speed Internet access in rural communities has the potential to markedly increase Missouri's economic growth by creating opportunities in rural areas that have not been available because of a lack of access; and
WHEREAS, it is a priority of the State of Missouri to support and promote widespread access to high-speed networks in Missouri's rural communities; and
WHEREAS, by combining the collective ideas of both the government, citizens and representatives of private industry, the technological needs of Missouri rural communities can be heard and solutions can be reached;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Matt Blunt, Governor of the State of Missouri, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the State of Missouri, do hereby create and establish the Rural High-Speed Internet Access Task Force.
Members of the Task Force shall be appointed by the Governor and shall represent individuals, organizations and industries impacted by availability of High-Speed Internet in Missouri. The Lieutenant Governor shall serve as Chair of the Task Force.
I hereby charge the Task Force with the following duties:
Assess the current level of high-speed Internet access available in Missouri;
Identify barriers to deployment to underserved areas including economic, geographic, regulatory, and market barriers;
Identify potential options to increase the deployment of high-speed Internet access in underserved communities;
Review best practices in other states to increase high-speed Internet access; and
Recommend statutory, regulatory, and policy changes needed to increase the availability of high-speed Internet services across the state.
Members of the Task Force shall receive no compensation for their service to the people of Missouri, but may seek reimbursement of their reasonable and necessary expenses incurred as members of the Task Force, in accordance with the rules and regulations of the Office of Administration.
The Task Force is assigned for administrative purposes to the Department of Economic Development. The Director of the Department of Economic Development or his designee shall be available to assist the Task Force as necessary, and shall provide the Task Force with any staff assistance the Task Force may require from time to time. All departments in the Executive Branch of Missouri state government are directed to cooperate with the Task Force, and shall provide such assistance to the Task Force as it shall request.
The Task Force shall submit to me no later than February 1, 2008, a report detailing the successful completion of its objectives and its recommendations.
The Task Force shall meet at the call of its Chair, and the Chair shall call a meeting as soon as practicable.
The Task Force shall expire on June 30, 2008 unless renewed by Executive Order.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused to be affixed the Great Seal of the State of Missouri, in the City of Jefferson, on this 10th day of October, 2007.
[Matt Blunt's signature]
[Robin Carnahan's signature]
Secretary of State