Last week, 175 representatives from North Carolina’s electric cooperatives gathered in Raleigh to meet with their legislators in the General Assembly and discuss policy issues important to electric co-ops, their members and their communities. More than 80 state legislators participated in the event.
“Rural issues are top of mind for legislators, but electric co-ops can provide examples of how policy makes a real difference in the communities they serve,” said Jay Rouse, director of government affairs for North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives. “These meetings give co-op representatives an opportunity to look their legislators in the eye and talk about issues important to folks back home. These are relationships built on trust — and legislators trust us when we ask for their support on certain issues.”
During the meetings, co-op leaders advocated on behalf of the newly filed broadband bill in the House and the Senate (House Bill 387 and its companion legislation, Senate Bill 310).
The legislation would allow co-ops to seek U.S. Department of Agriculture funding for broadband projects; would exempt broadband activities from a requirement that co-op business ventures fully compensate the co-op for the use of personnel, services, equipment and property; and it would facilitate broadband services to be provided through existing easements.
Through conversations with legislators about the legislation, electric co-op representatives secured 92 co-sponsors in the House and 42 co-sponsors in the Senate.
See photos of co-op meetings with legislators on Facebook using the hashtag #RallyInRaleigh.