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August 06, 2020

Senator Beth Mizell's Session News & Summer Update

Let's Move Louisiana Forward
From Beth's Desk
When regular session began in early March, we had not seen a positive COVID-19 case in most of the nation, certainly not in Louisiana. Little did we expect in mid-March when we shut down our state that we would still be in this situation at this point in August. But here we are.
Rural Broadband
The Rural Broadband bill I filed in January took on much greater importance and interest because of the COVID shutdown sending everyone to work or attend school from home. Those of us in rural Louisiana do not have the benefit of connecting to the internet like our urban citizens and it’s a terrific hardship, especially now.

My bill passed in regular session was vetoed by Gov. Edwards. After consultation and adjustments, the bill was passed in Special Session and signed by the Governor. The bill allows broadband providers to use the right of ways used by our Electric Cooperatives to install internet to our rural citizens. It also requires telecommunications companies and Co-ops to come to the Capital next January to testify on what has prevented them from installing rural broadband so that we can bring legislation to fix whatever problems has caused that obstacle.
Bogue Chitto State Park
Last year I had a bill that shut down the Washington Parish Reservoir Commission and had its remaining funds allocated to enhancement of Bogue Chitto State Park. A Town Hall with Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser, myself and park staff was held to discuss what those enhancements may be. Some great ideas that were heartfelt were shared by citizens in attendance. 

Since then the Children’s Trail has been added, a wonderful shade cover was placed over the Children’s Playground, the Equestrian Area has a bathroom facility and the Mountain Bike Trail area is in the midst of a major expansion. 

There’s much more to come and this park will be the "shining star of our State Park system." That’s the term used by the Park Manager Tony Fricke, I love that prediction!
Veterans Memorial Park
Recently a sign was erected on Hwy 10 at Million Dollar Road (between Bogalusa and Franklinton) publicly announcing the Veterans Memorial Park would be on that site. It’s a beautiful property that was leased to the Veterans Memorial Park Committee from LSU for this specific purpose. 

The idea came from Matt Parker when we discussed how best to use the funds left from the Vietnam Wall visit in Franklinton. We wanted to make this a permanent dedication for Washington Parish to honor our veterans. 

There will be efforts coming to make the Park worthy of its name and I will keep you all informed.
In Conclusion
We have so much work to do here. We want our children to stay in Louisiana and raise their families here. We want our children and grandchildren to have schools that will offer quality education. We want roads and bridges that will attract new industries to come and allow us to move freely throughout our state. We want quality health care and an environment safe from crime in our communities. Those are hurdles we must climb together.

But–I will begin and end with broadband because that’s what it means to our citizens and the prosperity we want to see. Education, health care, economic prosperity–all depend on getting connectivity to our rural areas. It’s that simple. I plan to bring new legislation to push this forward when we meet again, which may be as soon as October. 

Mississippi is doing big things and we cannot be tolerant of being left in the dark in Louisiana. Please reach out if I can help in any way, and let’s move Louisiana forward together!

Please let’s all stay safe and follow guidelines so we can beat this COVID-19 as soon as possible!

~ Beth

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