GINN: A look at high-speed internet, organ donation, online retail shopping, | Opinion

As we complete the third week under the Gold Dome, the legislature is working full steam ahead to improve the lives of our Georgia citizens. During the third week, the Senate passed a number of bills and held numerous committee meetings. I would also like to update you on a few bills that were passed in the Senate.

Two bills have been heard in the Senate that have the ability to significantly impact citizens across the state in a very beneficial way. Currently, if someone wants to donate an organ, such as a kidney or liver, they risk losing their insurance coverage and potentially losing their income if they have to take time off work. reason for his recovery. Senate Bill 330 is designed to provide protection to living donors as well as to protect such donors against the loss or denial of life insurance coverage. In addition, this bill would grant a tax credit to businesses to help their employees donate organs. Organ donation is vital for those in need and has the potential to save the lives of many Georgians. Hopefully this bill will inspire more people to take the plunge to become an organ donor without fear of losing their life insurance. Legislation should also increase support for the decision to donate an organ to someone in need.

At the height of the pandemic, we saw a massive influx of online shopping. As a result, we have also experienced an increase in sales of stolen or fraudulent products. While it is important for our state to maintain its leadership in e-commerce, it is imperative that we ensure that online sellers and third-party retailers can verify the validity of their products before they reach the hands. of the consumer. SB 332 will crack down on organized retail crime by providing extensive protections for consumers who are at risk of unknowingly purchasing stolen or counterfeit products from various online marketplaces. Specifically, this bill will require these marketplaces to verify the validity of these third-party sellers and provide consumers with an email, phone number or direct electronic communication point to contact the sellers if they have questions or concerns regarding potential assets.

This week, Governor Brian Kemp announced a number of grants, made available with state and federal funds through the American Rescue Plan Act, to expand broadband availability throughout Georgia, particularly in the rural communities of our state. I have worked with my fellow legislators for several years on legislation to connect all areas of Georgia to reliable, high-speed broadband. This week, I was thrilled to participate in the announcement of a new public-private partnership between Jackson EMC and TruVista to further expand broadband in northeast Georgia. As a former Jackson EMC engineer, I’m thrilled to see that they continue to work to bring power to people. Information is as much a priority today as electricity was for people in the dark before the rural electrification program. Jackson EMC is committed to community development and its partnership with TruVista will provide thousands upon thousands of Northeast Georgia residents (primarily Jackson and Madison counties) with high-speed Internet service. All state government entities, local government units, industries and non-profit organizations were eligible to apply for federal funding to help expand broadband in the United States. After reviewing the numerous applications, it has been proven that citizens need better broadband options for work, school and leisure. In total, Governor Kemp announced 49 projects. The majority of the projects represent public-private partnerships. Additionally, the bulk of the grantees were local governments and non-profit organizations, as well as 14 service providers spanning the perimeter of large enterprises, EMCs, and local Georgia-based telecommunications companies. I am also delighted to announce that one of the companies receiving an ARPA grant is Spectrum Southeast in Clarke County, which will receive $1,094,340 to serve 574 customers. I am happy to see this progress for the communities I am fortunate to serve. I look forward to updating you on future developments.

The Senate resumes its work on Monday, February 7. We will meet for five legislative days, in addition to the many committee meetings that are due to take place. The pace is picking up here at the Capitol. We continue to work to pass the budget. Thank you for continuing to trust me to serve the 47th arrondissement. It is truly an honour. If ever I can be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me here in my office at the Capitol. I’m always more than happy to help, and I look forward to continuing to represent your best interests in Georgia.

Senator Frank Ginn is chair of the transportation committee. He represents the 47th Senate District which includes Madison County and parts of Barrow, Clarke and Jackson counties. He can be reached at 404-656-4700 or by email at frank.ginn@senate.ga.gov.


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