Update from the State Capitol from Randy Nix

Published 6:38 pm Tuesday, February 19, 2019

The fifth week of the legislative session was another productive one with much work getting accomplished in committee meetings and bills passed on the House floor.

The House kicked off the week on Monday with the unanimous passage of House Bill 23 to expand internet access in rural Georgia. HB 23 is a product of the House Rural Development Council’s recommendations and would allow electric membership corporations (EMCs) and their affiliates to provide broadband services. HB 23 would prohibit cross-subsidization between an EMC’s broadband service and its electric or natural gas services, and it would also require that yearly audits be conducted to ensure that cross-subsidization does not take place. In addition to passing legislation to improve broadband access in our rural communities, the House also passed a bill this week that would provide a pathway for deployment of small cell and 5G technology in public rights-of-way in Georgia.  We are exploring every possible avenue to make sure every household and business in Georgia has clear access to the internet.

I was pleased that a bill designed to protect Georgia’s school children quickly passed the House after receiving similar overwhelming support in the Senate. Senate Bill 25 passed unanimously and clarifies ambiguous language that was enacted as a result of House Bill 978 that passed last year that allowed drivers to pass a stopped school bus when traveling in the opposite direction when a turn lane is present.

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This caused confusion on the roadways and created safety concerns. This bill, SB 25, requires oncoming vehicles to stop when encountering a school bus loading or unloading children unless there’s a physical barrier dividing the roadway, such as a concrete median or a grass strip. This bill clears up any ambiguity, further protecting Georgia’s students.

Also this week, my colleagues and I overwhelmingly passed House Bill 62, or “Margie’s Law,” to assist in the early detection and treatment of breast cancer. This bipartisan measure passed by a vote of 166-1 and would require mammography examiners to notify patients when dense breast tissue is found. The bill also encourages women to speak with their health care provider about whether other supplemental tests in addition to a mammogram may be appropriate, based on their individual risk. This information may help women with dense breast tissue, about 40 percent of our population, decide on further testing, such as 3-D mammography or an MRI, which could detect “hidden” tumors and save lives through earlier detection.

As the legislative session continues, I will keep you posted on important legislation that we are considering. I appreciate and value your input, so please contact me at (404) 656-5146 or by email at randy.nix@house.ga.gov. It’s an honor to represent you in the State House.