Despite a shortened week due to the prediction of inclement weather, things are moving right along here at the Capitol. Jan. 28 marked the beginning of committee meetings, where bills are first heard, amended and voted on. Once the “snow” day had come and gone, we returned to the Senate chamber to get back to business.
Over the next few weeks, we will continue to meet in committees and start to hear bills on the Senate floor.
Along with attending committee meetings, I continued my work on two pieces of legislation I introduced at the beginning of session addressing the deployment of broadband and 5G technology.
Senate Bill 2 would allow EMCs to provide internet services and broadband to their customers, in addition to supplying electrical energy. The corporations would be able to provide these additional services either directly or indirectly through a broadband affiliate.
Senate Bill 17, the “Rural Telephone Cooperative Act,” mirrors the language in Senate Bill 2 and would allow telephone cooperatives to provide internet services and broadband to their customers.
By enabling EMCs and telephone cooperatives to deploy these services, we can create a competitive marketplace and expand broadband access to all Georgians. These two bills are just the beginning of my efforts to achieve my number one priority for the session – bringing broadband access to those who do not have it and expanding access for those in areas where quality is limited.
Both of these bills have been assigned to the Senate Regulated Industries and Utilities Committee. I look forward to working with my colleagues on the committee, our members and all interested parties on moving these bills through the legislative process. It is my goal to have both of these bills signed into law this year. I am confident that this goal can be achieved as Gov. Brian Kemp echoed the priority to expand broadband access in his State of the State address.
I was honored last week to have been appointed by Gov. Kemp to serve on the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Overview Committee. This committee is charged with ensuring Georgians’ safety while moving across and around the metro area, and I do not take this responsibility lightly. In this role, and in my role as vice chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, I look forward to achieving great things for Atlanta’s, and Georgia’s, transportation systems this session.
As always, it is an honor to serve the 51st Senate District of Georgia, thank you for your continued trust in me. Please call or email me with any questions, comments or concerns you have as we move through the next 33 legislative days. I look forward to hearing from you.
Sen. Steve Gooch serves as the Senate Majority Whip. He represents the 51st Senate District which includes Dawson, Fannin, Gilmer, Lumpkin, Union and White counties and portions of Forsyth and Pickens counties.
He may be reached at (404)656-9221 or via email at email@example.com.