By Lynne Riley, Georgia State Rep. (R-Dist. 50)
February 1, 2014
Our third week of the 2014 General Assembly was disrupted by a winter storm whose impact on the metro Atlanta area was particularly harsh. The combination of icy roads and high volumes of traffic resulted in gridlock. The Georgia National Guard, Georgia Department of Transportation, and Georgia state troopers helped stranded motorists find shelter and clear the roads of ice, snow and abandoned vehicles. Given the conditions, the House postponed all legislative business on Wednesday, January 29th and Thursday, January 30th.
When we returned to the House on Friday, one of our first orders of business was the passage of House Bill 176, the “Mobile Broadband Infrastructure Leads to Development Act.” This legislation would allow previously approved wireless support structures and wireless facilities to be modified without additional zoning or land use review beyond what is typically required by the local governing authority. House Bill 176 would provide for the streamlining of the permitting process, which would ultimately allow wireless telecommunication companies to increase the cellular bandwidth for Georgians. Increased cellular bandwidth is not only crucial for business and recreational communication, but it is an essential factor in public safety and emergency response. The weather emergency this week was an example of the impacts of extensive demand on the existing wireless communications system, as many customers experienced problems with cellular service. House Bill 176 will now go to the Senate for consideration.
Senate Bill 297 was another piece of legislation that passed the House on Friday. This bill made a technical change to an elections bill that passed in 2013. Also passed on Friday was House Bill 715, which clarifies the acreage of land that is permitted for development on Jekyll Island.
On Monday, January 27th, we celebrated Georgia National Guard Day at the Capitol. Dozens of airmen and soldiers visited, and we recognized their accomplishments on the House floor with House Resolution 1131. We had the great privilege to communicate via Skype with Georgia troops who are currently deployed in Afghanistan. It was an honor to show our appreciation to these outstanding service professionals.
I invite you to visit the Capitol while we are in session to see your legislators at work. You can also stay in touch by visiting our website at www.house.ga.gov to watch the House in action, view live and archived committee meetings, and review legislation that we are considering. I hope to hear from you on your ideas and opinions regarding the issues facing Georgia, and your suggestions on how we can enhance your quality of life. Please call my office at the State Capitol at 404-651-7737.
Editor's note: Georgia State Rep. Lynne Riley (R-Johns Creek) represents District 50 which includes the city of Johns Creek.