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Lobbyist Money Help  

Wireless Internet for sale in Capitol

March 9, 2005
By: Andrea Ramey
State Capital Bureau

The World Wide Web is now open to the public at the state Capitol... but it comes at a cost to the consumer. Andrea Ramey has more from Jefferson City.

Story:
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OutCue: SOC

For $300 a year, anyone who wants to access the Internet can now do just that.

Springfield Representative Mark Wright organized the effort to bring wireless access to the Capitol... and thinks the user fee is a fair price.

But some lobbyists like Jim Tuscher think $300 is not a reasonable amount.

Actuality: Tucher
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OutCue:
Contents: "It's unfortunate that's it's $300."

Others like John Crawford, an advocate for Urban Reinvestment, wouldn't mind paying for the subscription.

Actuality:Crawford
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OutCue:
Contents: "Even if there's a cost associated with it, additional access is a good thing."

Wright says the Internet service wouldn't be possible without charging consumers. He says the fee will pay for the staff hired and the equipment purchased to run the service.

Actuality:
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OutCue:
Contents: "Especially during these tough budgets times, we can't do it for free. We got to make our money back."

For lobbyists who have enough funding, the cost is not the issue.

In fact, they say having the Internet now makes their job much more efficient.

Actuality:MORGAN, BARDGETT, GALLOWAY
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OutCue:
Contents: "I think it will make it a lot easier to communicate with our clients and easier to do our job over here."

"Oh certainly, all the time we have our staff here and in St.Louis that are accessing the Internet for bill tracking and a whole host of things."

"One of the things it will enable you to do is in an office or in the hallway is to access the Internet or access your e-mail systems without having to plug into a telephone outlet jack and that will be very beneficial for people to get a quick time reaction."

But for non-profit lobbyists like Lynne Schlosser of the American Cancer Society, the news of being able to access the Internet has no effect on them.

For many non-profit organizations, there is no funding for extra expenses like the Internet.

Regardless of who will use the new service, Wright says it is still necessary.

Actuality:MWRIGHT5
RunTime:
OutCue:
Contents: "Dirty little secret that I don't know if the public knows, I've come in my office before and had lobbyists on my computer accessing the Internet and I'm like 'no,no,no' we're not going to do that. If nobody's in, they'll come in the office and jump on the Internet, and we've had House employees do that, we've had various members of the public do that. And it's just a security concern.

Wright says the money will go to the House and after the equipment is paid for, the price will go down.

From the state Captiol, I'm Andrea Ramey.