Collins urges Windstream to provide increased access to rural broadband

Press Release, State & National
Windstream

GAINESVILLE, Ga. — Reps. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), Austin Scott (R-Ga.), and Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.) today sent a letter to Windstream underscoring the importance of providing increased access to broadband – particularly in rural areas – in the midst of COVID-19.

“As representatives of thousands of Windstream customers, we write today regarding the impact coronavirus has had on broadband access in rural communities throughout Georgia,” they wrote. “In the past, we have written to you regarding the inadequate internet service our constituents are receiving despite your company’s acceptance of federal dollars to expand access. While we know Windstream has upgraded some areas that are more populated and less rural, many of our constituents continue to struggle with poor broadband speeds.”

For years, Windstream customers across Georgia have consistently struggled to gain access to reliable broadband speeds. Congress has taken significant steps toward expanding rural broadband infrastructure in recent years, including securing federal funding to providers in rural areas. However, some carriers – like Windstream – have failed to provide adequate broadband speeds to consumers despite collecting taxpayer dollars. As this pandemic is forcing more and more Georgians to rely on the internet, access to reliable broadband is more critical than ever before.

“Due to the coronavirus outbreak, thousands of Georgians are being forced to work, learn, and recreate from home. This undoubtedly has increased the strain on the networks your consumers depend upon. Over the past several years, we have heard complaints of a network that is overburdened and cannot keep up during peak use. Even though we have been calling for increased internet access in rural areas for years, this moment in time shows that Windstream has yet to meet the mark.”

Read the full letter here.

David Cooper feels he can reach across party lines and defeat Doug Collins

Election 2018, News, Politics

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – David Cooper will face off against Josh McCall for Georgia’s 9th congressional district seat Democratic nomination. The winner of the May General Primary will then run against Republican incumbent Congressman Doug Collins in the November General Election.

Collins has held the Georgia 9th Congressional District seat since 2013.

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David Cooper seeks Democratic nomination in May General Primary.

Cooper stopped by the Fannin County Democratic meeting to share with Fannin County residents why he feels that he is the best man for the job.

“I am soldier. I have served in the forces that have guarded this country and our way of life, and I am prepared to serve again,” Cooper introduced himself.

Holding a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in public administration, Cooper has also had a career working various levels of government and is currently retired from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). During his employment with the EPA, Cooper worked in hazardous waste clean up and also worked in commercializing green options, such as solar, wind, and geothermal.

Because of his background, Cooper feels that he can reach a wide audience: “I speak the language of patriotism and sacrifice. I speak the language of compassion and selfless service. I speak the language of public participation, cost effective regulation and legislation.”

“It is not about giving a speech. It’s not about making a list of here’s my issues, and wouldn’t it be cool if we could do these things. That is what every politician is taught to do,” Cooper said, explaining he wants to see real accomplishments.

“I am an unconventional candidate, and I will be running an unconventional campaign,” Cooper noted, adding that unlike his opponent, McCall, he would in fact seek to sway Republican voters. “I have the skills and experience to have those conversations.”

Cooper is convinced that there is no such thing as a single-issue voter and is confident that he can find common ground and common values among all residents of Georgia’s 9th District.

Cooper summarized his beliefs and his platform into three key elements, with the first being a need to “save democracy”. He feels this can be accomplished by stopping fake news, ensuring clean elections, and implementing term limits.

His second stance is to “protect what we hold dear.” Cooper cited a few areas that deserve our attention and care, with these being social security, medicare, women’s rights, the environment, veterans, and small businesses.

Cooper labeled his final stance as “progress for the future.” He would like to see steps made toward universal health care, common sense gun control, clean energy, fair taxes and affordable education.

“Not free education,” Cooper pointed out, “until we can get healthcare for everybody, don’t talk to me about free education.”

Locally, Cooper would like to work to support small businesses, citing that they are uniquely numerous in our area due to the tourism industry. He feels that one way to promote this would be to “energize the Small Business Administration to do more to support and provide more outreach.”

“That’s how we keep the Georgia 9th vibrant, keep these small businesses going,” Cooper added.

“Collins should not be making rules for anyone,” Cooper spoke of his Republican opponent. “His loyalties are not with the people.”

In the General Primary, Cooper said the focus should not be about himself running against McCall, but instead he advised the crowd, “You need to pick the person who can beat Doug Collins and who has a plan.”

 

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at [email protected]

Josh McCall prepares to face Doug Collins in upcoming election

Election 2018, News, Politics

BLUE RIDGE, Ga. – Josh McCall hopes to receive the Democratic nomination in the race for Georgia’s 9th congressional district seat.

This seat is currently held by incumbent Congressman Doug Collins. Collins has been Georgia’s 9th District representative since 2013.

Fannin County, Blue Ridge, Georgia, Republican, Democrat, Doug Collins, Josh McCall, David Cooper, 9th Congressional, 9th District, Congressman, Second Amendment, Fannin County Democratic Meeting, Debt Clock, Education, Green Technology, Clean Energy, Environment

Josh McCall seeks Democratic nomination in May General Primary.

McCall has been traveling the district during his campaign, and made a stop at the Fannin County Democratic meeting to discuss with residents why he should represent our district.

Tired of hearing negativity in politics and disagreeing with many of today’s political moves, McCall stated that it had gotten to the point where he dreaded looking at his phone to get the latest news.

“Inevitably, as though it is some kind of force of fate, I do open my phone because I do care about my country and I want to know what’s happening,” McCall added.

Criticizing the Republicans, McCall referred to the party’s Debt Clock: “because everything that goes into feeding the poor people, those Republicans are putting it on the clock.”

“They just passed a bill handing over the fortunes of our children that was supposed to go into green infrastructure and the educational facilities of tomorrow,” McCall spoke of the party’s hypocrisy, “and it went into the pockets of billionaires.”

McCall added, “Let me tell you the red letters of our (Democrats) debt clock. They are written in the blood of students who died at Parkland. They’re written in the blood of the children who died daily from gun violence in this nation, which is breaking out like an epidemic.”

According to McCall Republicans used to care about urgent matters such as the National Debt and what is being left to the nation’s children, but their concerns have since shifted.

McCall wants to see focus put on healthcare and the costs related to this field, stating, “Those are the threats that are really facing us. You deserve life and you deserve health.”

“It is my fundamental belief that nobody should die because they are poor, and that nobody should be poor because they are dying,” McCall reiterated his passion to see meaningful change.

On national matters, McCall would like to see corporations “put on check” for environmental damage, and for lobbyists and organizations to have less of a hold on our government, citing that NRA (National Rifle Association) money is what stops real change to gun control.

“We are in too many nations right,” McCall said stating that we should pull forces out and invest at home,”There is not a single nation with a possible exception of Korea, that is any better off than it was before we invaded it.”

McCall would like to form a Public Service Coalition to serve at home and focus on social needs. The Civil Conservation Corp. could provide services such as taking care of the elderly in their homes and aid in environmental protection and clean up in exchange for scholarships to colleges.

For a two year term, McCall suggests, participants could receive a two-year technical degree scholarship, and for a four-year term, participants could receive a scholarship for a four year Bachelor’s Degree.

McCall switched gears to speak of his stance on the Second Amendment, “I firmly believe in the Second Amendment. The problem is the NRA does not. They only believe in that second part that makes them money.”

Citing that no one is safe in any public space in today’s climate, McCall emphasized that there is need for a well regulated militia.

“If they are law abiding citizens of sound mind, I want them to have that bolt action rifle. Their hunting rifle,” McCall stated, but also explained that there needs to be meaningful change.

One simple solution that he felt could have a lasting impact would be to have a 10 bullet limit on magazines, and outlaw removable clips. Other solutions would be to have gun owners secure weapons in their homes to keep them away from children. McCall stated that Georgia was number one in the nation for toddlers to die of gun related deaths.

“I don’t believe in confiscation,” McCall made very clear if new reform were to pass.

Locally McCall would like to focus on infrastructure in the 9th District, and have improvements to infrastructure done by people trained in our area.
If McCall were to receive the Democratic nomination, he spoke of where he differs from his Republican opponent Doug Collins.

“I believe that Doug Collins is most vulnerable in his complacency,” McCall stated and added that this election year Collins cannot ignore the Democratic party.

“Compassion and cooperation are the center pieces of my campaign,” McCall said and then added, “That is where he is vulnerable, he has not a compassionate or cooperative bone in his body, and that is our strength.”

McCall concluded by saying, “Am I my brother’s keeper? My answer to that is a resounding yes. This race is truly not about me. I have faith in the people of the 9th District.”

 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that attracts more than 300,000 page views and 3.5 million impressions per month in Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. FYNTV attracts approximately 15,000 viewers per week and reaches between 15,000 to 60,000 per week on our Facebook page. For the most effective, least expensive local advertising, call 706-276-6397 or email us at [email protected]

FYN Interviews Rebbeca Yardley on Georgia’s 2018 Sine Die – Last Day of Legislative Session

Politics, State & National

It’s Sine Die day, that means it’s the last day of the 2018 Legislative Session! Interviews First Vice Chairman of Georgia Congress 9th District GOP Rebecca Yardley on the experience and what to expect from the Georgia Capitol today!

 

Congressman Doug Collins and Blue Ridge Business Owners Talk Pro-Growth Policies

Politics, State & National

Collins and Blue Ridge Business Owners Talk Pro-Growth Policies

BLUE RIDGE, Ga.—Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) joined the Blue Ridge Business Association recently to hear from business leaders about the local economy and related policy issues.

Collins asked the Fannin County group to share the economic outlook for their operations and invited questions on policy issues affecting the local economic landscape.

“This roundtable brought together a lot of business experience and deep commitment to the economic success of the Fannin community. As I remain committed to supporting pro-growth policies, it’s invaluable to receive feedback from the Blue Ridge Business Association and other job creators on a number of policy issues that my colleagues and I are working on in Congress,” said Collins.

One of the strongest themes at the roundtable was the increasing need for workers to fill job openings being fueled by the expanding economy. Collins explained how the House of Representatives is turning its attention toward workforce development aimed at bringing unemployed Americans into the labor market. Participants seemed to agree that elevating vocational training in community schools would also help equip workers for local job opportunities.

The group also asked Collins about the president’s infrastructure plan and its potential impact on Fannin County and considered how communities should approach potential infrastructure investments.

The White House’s recently released approach to infrastructure emphasizes the needs of rural America, including affordable broadband access. Collins has championed this issue in his work with the Trump Administration and through his introduction of the Gigabit Opportunity (GO) Act, which would incentivize greater investment in broadband infrastructure.

Northeast Georgia Worker to Attend State of the Union with Collins

Politics, Press Release
January 27, 2018
Jessica Andrews
(202) 225 9893

Northeast Georgia Worker to Attend State of the Union with Collins

WASHINGTON—January 30 marks President Trump’s first State of the Union address, where he will speak to a joint session of Congress. Mr. William Robert “Robbie” Salemi, Jr. will join Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) for the event.

Last December, President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law. The tax reform package focuses on delivering relief to Middle America by lowering tax rates at every bracket level and roughly doubling the standard deductions for both families and individuals.

“I believe the American Dream is most achievable when big government gets out of the way and allows my hardworking neighbors to keep more of their own money to invest in their own priorities. Robbie’s story illustrates the opportunities that we want to promote for every American by cutting taxes across the board.

“While he was still a student, Robbie joined Home Depot’s team part-time as a flooring associate and eventually worked his way into a management role that allows him to help others build their careers with the company. As our country considers the progress it has made in the last year, I’m proud to share stories of the hard work and big dreams that run throughout northeast Georgia,” said Collins.

Salemi is married to Mallory and a father to two-year-old Wesley. He’s been with Home Depot since 2001, and his company area covers much of north Georgia.

Last week, Home Depot announced that it is providing a one-time bonus of up to $1,000 to its hourly employees.

“I look at tax reform as a win not only for my family but for business as well,” said Salemi.

“The most rewarding part of my job is working with people to help them realize their potential, to help them develop within our company and serve our community. Now, the company that helped me—as an hourly worker—build a seventeen-year career is offering roughly 1,800 hourly associates in my region up to $1,000 in bonuses as a direct result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. I’m excited to see the opportunities these bonuses bring to my colleagues.”

Many of the more than 1,800 Home Depot employees in Salemi’s region are service members and veterans. Last year, this team of associates participated in 38 distinct projects that focused on improving veterans’ homes and schools’ community gardens. They also offered Kids’ Workshop initiatives that enabled over 1,500 youths to complete hands-on projects.

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www.dougcollins.house.gov

WASHINGTON OFFICE
1504 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Phone: (202) 225 9893
Fax: (202) 226 1224

“Conservative” Republican Congressman Tom Graves refuses to support English as the official language of the United States.

Opinion

Submitted By: D.A. King

While the political world is focused on the lunacy in Washington DC, conservative, pro-English voters in Georgia’s 14th congressional district may have an interest in Republican Congressman Tom Graves’ very curious and un-conservative anti-English stance.

HR 997 – the English Unity Act – was introduced last year in the U.S. House by conservative Steve King. The legislation establishes English as the official language of the United States. The bill is often falsely  described as “English only” when in fact it is “English as official” – not “only.” Comprende?

Readers can learn more about the official English movement bt visiting the non-profit website, Pro-English.org

Also in the legislation:

*Naturalization ceremonies and official functions of the U.S. government, subject to exceptions, must be conducted in English.

*The bill declares that all citizens should be able to read and understand generally the English language text of U.S. laws.

*A person injured by a violation of this bill may obtain relief, including a declaratory judgment, in a civil action.

*English language requirements and workplace policies, whether in the public or private sector, shall be presumptively consistent with U.S. laws. Any ambiguity in U.S. laws shall be resolved in accordance with the rights retained by the people and the powers reserved to states under the Bill of Rights.

*The Department of Homeland Security shall issue a proposed rule for uniform testing of the English language ability of candidates for naturalization based upon the principles that: (1) all citizens should be able to read and understand generally the English language text of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the laws of the United States; and (2) any exceptions to this standard should be limited to extraordinary circumstances, such as asylum.

The little known fact is that the United States has no official language, despite huge public support for official English. It is worth noting that the U.S. and Georgia Chambers of Commerce are stridently opposed to this nationally unifying concept.

Maybe that is why Graves has repeatedly refused to help with passage of this commonsense and voter-popular bill by co-sponsoring and is on record as telling political pundit Phil Kent that “this is not one of my top priorities right now.”

It wasn’t a priority last year or the year before either.

As readers no doubt are aware, all congressmen enjoy feedback and contact from constituents. Maybe readers can move support for official English up Congressman Tom Graves priority list with a respectful but firm phone call to his Washington DC office. The phone number there is 202) 225-5211.

It could very well be that Mr. Graves doesn’t think you know anything about this issue.

D.A. King of Marietta is president of the pro-English Dustin Inman Society. www.TheDustinInmanSociety.org

 

Collins Discusses Abedin Email Revelation with Fox News

State & National

ICYMI: Collins Discusses Abedin Email Revelation with Fox News

WASHINGTON—Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) joined Fox News today to unpack the latest developments surrounding the Russia investigation and the revelation that Secretary Clinton’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Huma Abedin, shared classified information over a private email account.

On whether any evidence shows collusion in the Russia investigation:

“I think what we’ve seen is none at this point. . . . Let the investigation go. If somebody did something wrong, we’ve always said those should be held accountable.”

“The frustration here is ‘What are we actually going for?’ The president has got an agenda to move American forward . . . we need to focus on what really matters, and, look, Democrats are just simply playing politics with this issue again.”

“Let’s see where the facts lead. This is something that’s been investigated. It’s being investigated—not only through the Mueller investigation, if there’s a Russian connection—but it’s also being investigated on Capitol Hill, both in the Senate and in the House.”

On the revelation that Huma Abedin shared State Department information over a private e-mail account:

“Democrats can say it’s partisan, but I’m just simply saying, ‘What is the law?’ and you can’t be in a position that Hillary Clinton was in or Huma Abedin was in and actually be in a position to say, ‘Oops, I just didn’t know—Oops, it was careless.’ No, it was gross negligence.”

Media Update: Collins Praises House Passage of Pro-life Survivor Protection Act

State & National

Collins Praises House Passage of Pro-life Survivor Protection Act

WASHINGTON—Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) helped the House of Representatives pass H.R. 4712, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivor Protection Act today. Collins is an original cosponsor of this legislation.

“The crowds of people joining the March for Life today remind us that support for pro-life policies remains deep across America. I share those convictions and am pleased to see the Born-Alive Survivor Protection Act pass out of the House. Children born alive during an abortion attempt are particularly vulnerable, and they should be guaranteed the medical treatment due to any other newborn. In passing this legislation, we’ve taken action to ensure that doctors deliver such medical care to these children,” said Collins.

H.R. 4712 would also prohibit medical providers from continuing the abortion procedure post-birth and hold doctors criminally accountable for failing to offer care to infants born alive during an abortion.

The Born-Alive Abortion Survivor Protection Act will proceed to the Senate for consideration.

Our Revolution Georgia Endorses Joshua McCall in Bid to Unseat Congressman Doug Collins

State & National

(Martin, Georgia) – Monday, January 22nd, the statewide Georgia affiliate of Our Revolution, the organization created to continue pushing the policy goals of the Bernie Sanders Presidential Campaign, endorsed Joshua McCall in his bid to unseat Congressman Doug Collins in the Georgia 9th Congressional District. His candidacy will now be passed up to the national organization for consideration.

 

“I’m running for congress for two reasons. First, Bernie Sanders’ grassroots organization inspired me to examine what forces were limiting political possibilities in our country. I realized, unfortunately, that many of those forces were in the party that I belonged to,” said Candidate Joshua McCall.

 

He continued, “I’m also running because parts of our government are dangerously close to fascism. Branches of it prey on racial fears and offer simple solutions through state violence. I am running not only to unseat Doug Collins, but in the process speak to the people of this district and unite them behind a Christian and humanist ethic.”

 

McCall joins Savannah based candidate Lisa Ring as the only currently endorsed congressional candidates in the state. The endorsement includes volunteer coordination and the possibility of national endorsement and fundraising.

 

Our Revolution Georgia State Committee Member, Vice President of the Young Democrats of Georgia, Hall County Board of Elections Member, and former candidate for State House Michelle Sanchez Jones said of the endorsement, “the Republican Party has purported to represent North Georgia for a generation now, and, outside of the Governor’s backyard, we deserve more from our government. Our hospitals need more money. Our classrooms need more teachers. We need the tools to help those struggling with opioid addiction. The burden of supporting our communities falls disproportionately on our churches and faith institutions. It’s time we got our money’s worth from Washington, and Joshua McCall is exactly the man to help make that happen.”

 

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Background: Consideration of endorsement by the national organization requires prior endorsement from a local affiliate. Our Revolution has numerous affiliates throughout the state whose leadership jointly approve endorsements – with deference given to the chapter closest to the district in question. McCall’s endorsement represents the agreement of affiliates and leadership from Savannah to Atlanta, Athens to Henry County.

 

Media Update: Collins Hosts Veterans Benefits Fair

State & National

Collins Hosts Veterans Benefits Fair

WASHINGTON—Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) is hosting a benefits fair for veterans residing in Georgia’s Ninth Congressional District on January 24. United States military veterans are invited to attend the event at the University of North Georgia, where they can ask questions and meet caseworkers from Collins’s office.

Representatives from the Atlanta Regional Veterans Affairs Office, Atlanta Veterans Affairs Health Care System, Georgia National Cemetery, Georgia Department of Veterans Service, Emory Healthcare Veterans Program, and Hire Heroes USA will also participate in the event. 

Additional details are available below. 

Collins Answers Questions at Tax Reform Final Passage

State & National

Collins Answers Questions at Tax Reform Final Passage

WASHINGTON—Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) joined Fox News today to address questions as the House voted in favor of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act’s final passage.

Collins also said of today’s vote, “The House just took the final, confident step to send pro-family, pro-growth, pro-hope tax reform to President Trump’s desk. This process started in the House, and I’m excited to have voted to keep our promise to the American people—again.”

 

On who will see the benefit of tax reform:

“The majority of Americans are going to see money in their pockets. . . . That’s the kind of growth we’re looking for, that’s the kind of thing that, come Februarywhen they see their paychecksthey’re going to know that what we’re talking about here actually matters to the American public.”

On Democrats’ claims that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is a bad bill:

“The problem here is not the tax code. The problem here is that [Democrats] want to politicize the tax code because they believe that the government is a much better way to spend people’s money. . . . Come February, let them look some of their constituents in the eyes and say, ‘You know, I really didn’t want you to get that money back in your paycheck. We could spend it better.’ That will be an interesting argument.”

Collins Praises House Passage of Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Conference Report

State & National

Collins Praises House Passage of Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Conference Report

WASHINGTON—The House of Representatives passed the conference report to H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. This move sends the bill to the Senate for a final vote that would land the bill on the president’s desk. Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), Vice Chair of the House Republican Conference, issued the following statement in response:

“Today’s vote in the People’s House helps turn promise and potential into reality. Republicans have confidence in the potential of the American worker to make our country grow again—that’s why they are the foundation of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. We’re giving job creators more reasons to invest in America’s workforce, strengthening our economy and our communities. We’re making the IRS less ravenous and putting more money back in the hands of American families so that they can pursue more of their ambitions on their own terms. A decade of the status quo has guaranteed us only a stagnant economy. Republicans promised to reform a broken, bloated tax system so that Americans can chart a path out of economic anxiety and into economic empowerment. We’re keeping that promise today.”

The Music Modernization Act Will Provide a Needed Update to Copyright Laws

State & National

ICYMI: The Music Modernization Act Will Provide a Needed Update to Copyright Laws

WASHINGTON—This op ed by Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) first appeared in The Hill on January 11, 2018.

I spent my northeast Georgia youth replaying tracks from “Bat Out of Hell” and “Hotel California.” And, of course, staples from Steely Dan. I welcomed the evolution from the 8-track to cassette to CD, but the LP and 45 vinyl predate even me. So, I was stunned to learn, as a member of the House Judiciary Committee—which has jurisdiction over intellectual property rights—that some of the copyright law governing music licensing was actually designed to regulate the player piano and has endured more than a century without meaningful update.

An overview of the music licensing landscape reveals that the status quo isn’t serving industry stakeholders, so the question becomes one of sustainability. Can music lovers count on a robust pipeline of tunes to carry them into the future? Absent substantive changes to the system that has disenfranchised creators, songwriters, publishers and even digital providers have their doubts. But efforts to unify these creators, digital streaming services and other key players around a path forward have faltered until recently. Very recently.

This December, countless hours of collaboration and cooperation came to fruition in a compromise that would be the most substantial update to copyright law since 1998. Today, our jeans pockets are more likely to be lined with iPhones than lint balls, yet the laws that currently regulate how tech giants like Spotify pay songwriters were cemented before the concept of digital streaming was born. The Music Modernization Act (MMA) would literally usher copyright laws into the 21st century.

The bill tackles four dimensions of music licensing. First, the bill addresses the fact that digital music companies regularly fail to pay songwriters and copyright owners properly for interactive streaming services. The trouble often arises from inefficiencies and information gaps.

Tech companies like Amazon Music, Spotify, and Google Play frequently file bulk Notice of Intentions (NOIs) with the Copyright Office that allow them to obtain a license for music for which they can’t locate ownership information. Since this process became available in 2016, some estimated 45 million NOIs have been filed with the Copyright Office.

This “bulk NOI” shortcut has taken millions of dollars in income out of the pockets of songwriters who rely on streaming services to find the proper owners of music and issue those owners prompt and appropriate payment. It’s also left tech companies legally exposed when they use music without knowing or paying its owners.

The MMA renovates the NOI process so that music creators get paid and digital companies reduce their liability and increase operational efficiencies. The legislation would establish a Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC) that would accurately compensate songwriters for the mechanical royalties they earn through interactive streaming. In exchange, the collective would afford digital providers—which would fund the collective—with blanket usage licenses for songs.

The MLC would accomplish this by providing the digital services with efficient access to the information they need in order to know which songwriters to pay for which songs. Though songwriters have never had a seat at the music licensing table, both publishers and songwriters would sit on the board of the MLC to ensure it operates transparently.

The MMA also provides songwriters a chance to get fair-market mechanical royalty rates (the rate paid for the reproduction and distribution of a song) in the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) proceedings that set those rates every five years. As it stands, songwriters can’t set prices for their own work. Instead, CRB judges determine royalty rates based on an outdated test that has depressed rates for decades. The MMA changes the standard the board uses to a “willing buyer/willing seller” consideration. In other words, the CRB would set the rates to reflect the market value of the corresponding use of a song.

Finally, the bill improves the process through which performance royalty rates (the rate paid to song writers when their music is played for an audience) are set for BMI and ASCAP, the two largest performance rights organizations. Currently, ASCAP and BMI cases are each assigned to a respective judge. The MMA would implement a rotation of the judges who decide ASCAP and BMI cases and would enable the rate court judges to consider relevant market-based evidence when determining performance rates for songwriters. Again, this change moves the industry toward a fairer, freer market for music licensing, and that benefits music creators, music providers and music lovers alike.

The MMA is unprecedented not only for what it sets out to do, but for who has signed on. The Digital Media Association (DiMA)—representing Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Pandora, Rhapsody, Spotify and YouTube—and the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA)—representing U.S. music publishers and songwriters—both support the bill.

Songwriters groups including ASCAP, BMI, the Nashville Songwriters Association International, Songwriters of North America and others have also welcomed this legislation as a compromise that benefits a cross-spectrum of stakeholders.

So, too, have labels and artists, as reflected in the support of the Recording Industry Association of America, American Association of Independent Music, American Federation of Musicians, Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, SoundExchange and the Grammys.

Knowing that today’s music ecosystem suffers under heavy-handed government intervention and defunct copyright policy, I’m grateful that my colleagues Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) and Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) look past partisanship toward solutions that will take music licensing from the dark ages into the digital age.

The agreement that creators and digital providers have struck also testifies to the leadership of Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), who made copyright reform a priority for the House Judiciary Committee. As we look forward to a markup of the Music Modernization Act in the coming weeks, the question is not whether we have a viable resolution to an industry stalemate but whether we have the resolve to see that agreement through. I believe we do.

Rep. Doug Collins has represented Georgia’s 9th District since 2013. He is the Vice Chair of the House Republican Conference and a member of the Judiciary and Rules Committees.

Collins Praises Rural Broadband Executive Order

State & National

Collins Praises Rural Broadband Executive Order

WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump today signed an executive order focused on improving high-speed internet access in rural America. Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) introduced the Gigabit Opportunity (GO) Act to support this priority last June and issued the following statement in response to the president’s order:

“Once again, President Trump is making a smart, strong investment in rural America with his executive order directing resources to develop broadband infrastructure in underserved areas. For too long, communities on the wrong end of the digital divide have had to pursue educational attainment and business development with their hands tied behind their backs by copper DSL cables.

“I’m grateful that our president understands that innovation fuels our economy and that high-speed internet access has become a prerequisite to sustainable economic growth. I introduced the Gigabit Opportunity Act because northeast Georgians have been waiting for meaningful infrastructure investments to bring high-speed internet to rural areas, and today’s executive order helps move us closer to that goal.”

Collins Discusses Obamacare Skinny Repeal and Tax Reform on Fox Business

Politics

WASHINGTON—Today, Congressman Doug Collins (R-Ga.), Vice Chair of the House Republican Conference, spoke with Fox Business Network’s Neil Cavuto about the mechanics of an effective repeal of the Affordable Care Act and the need for comprehensive tax reform.

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