Fitzwater talks technology’s role in influencing legislation


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – While joining the #MoLeg Podcast crew this week, Representative Travis Fitzwater shared his thoughts on the extraordinary session, while also detailing the important and influential part technology plays in helping create legislation.

Throughout the conversation, Fitzwater talked of the need for deregulation and the removal government interference in regards to improving the economy. This relates to his work as a younger conservative who is more in touch with the wants and needs of those of his generation and the public at large.

Referring back to his work in promoting transportation services such as Uber and Lyft within Missouri legislation, Fitzwater acknowledged that for economic success to thrive, government regulations hindering services to the consumer need to recede.

“In my mind, there’s real opportunity for us to be an innovative state,” Fitzwater said. “But when you have the amount of influence in the Capitol where there are lobbyists on every side of every issue, it’s a lot easier to scare people and to kill a bill than it is to talk about the good and bad points of a bill and let it move forward.”

Fitzwater continued by stating that it’s a lot easier to stop things like the idea of making an environment where new technology could be potentially be tested. Using the example of self-driving cars, he made the point that certain technology such as that could thrive in the state or at least be researched if the legislature would open up to a point to where companies would be allowed to exercise that kind of freedom.

“We have this huge highway system and as long as we can prove safety there’s an opportunity that maybe there ought to be self-driving trucks going across 70. There are all kinds of different ideas and you do this in small pilot projects, you don’t just say let’s open up 70 but you say, ‘Hey, there’s a 20-mile-stretch on I-44 that isn’t trafficked a ton, let’s maybe open that up to some opportunities for companies to come test their technology.”

Those are not the only potential sources of new technology that could influence politics in the future. There are changes in how the state could gain energy with new advancements in solar and nuclear power.

But companies developing new technologies and the legislators working to promote them need to be aware of industry disruptors. And because there are so many new technology companies there is not a statutory framework for their existence.

With such a large conservative majority in the Missouri legislature, it will be interesting to see how they will react to such innovations in the coming future.