Despite a Republican-controlled House, Senate, and governor’s office, the Mississippi legislature’s first major bill signed this year was a Democrat-led initiative. Blessed with overwhelming support, the bill makes it possible for the state’s 25 electric co-ops to now get into the business of providing broadband to their rural members. The bill passed unanimously in the state senate a week after it passed the House on a 115–3 vote. Governor Phil Bryant has pledged to sign the bill into law.
This rare bipartisan action was the result of an astute outreach campaign by Democratic Public Service Commissioner Brandon Presley to turn the paucity of internet service in rural Mississippi (the state ranks 49 out of 50 in connectivity, with an estimated 30 percent lacking access) into a populist wave that silenced the usual opponents, the cable industry and the big telecoms.Read Debby’s Full Article at Nonprofit Quarterly