Rural towns up in arms over broadband service bill

February 13, 2013 

Legislative Notebook: Rural towns in arms over broadband bill

Rural towns in arms over broadband service bill

A bill that would prohibit counties, cities and government authorities from expanding broadband service in some places is going to face a fight.

House Bill 282 by state Rep. Mark Hamilton, R-Cumming, says public broadband subsidized by public money should stick to underserved areas, leaving companies to handle the load everywhere else.

But some rural legislators say companies simply will not bring the highest-speed Internet to their residents because it doesn’t turn a profit.

Fort Valley, Sandersville and a dozen other rural jurisdictions offer broadband inside and outside their city limits.

But bill supporters argue they are closing off an opportunity for government waste.

The bill may have its first hearing as early as today.

‘Georgia Grown’ marketing

“Georgia Grown” fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy would get a team of commissioners to help promote their sale, under a bill by state Rep. Robert Dickey, R-Musella. His House Bill 298 creates the Agricultural Commodity Commission for Georgia Grown Products. Similar commissions on products like peanuts are funded by a fee paid by growers. The new commission would be funded by a levy on products bearing the “Georgia Grown” trademark.

No committee hearing has yet been scheduled.

House panel approves quieter hunting

Hunters should be allowed to use sound suppressors commonly known as silencers, the state Senate Natural Resources and the Environment Committee decided via voice vote on Feb. 13.

The guns won’t be silent,” said bill sponsor state Sen. Bill Heath, R-Bremen.

“People think it’s going to be like in the movies. That don’t happen in the real world,” he said.

It won’t encourage poaching either, he argued, because smart poachers would use silent crossbows.

Senate Bill 93 now moves to the Rules Committee.

-- Maggie Lee

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