Government Affairs Spotlight: Building Strong Relationships on Capitol Hill

Posted: March 2, 2023

TNBA Government Affairs Director Levoy Knowles

Despite February being the shortest month of the year, there was no shortage of activities to keep the Tennessee Broadband Association Government Affairs team engaged.

As the 113th General Assembly kicked into high gear with bill filing deadlines, the jam-packed February days continued with Governor Bill Lee’s State of the State address, TNBA Day on the Hill and Platinum Member events, and the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce Conference.

The Day on the Hill proved to be a successful event again this year as TNBA members met with 29 legislators on February 7. The grab-and-go breakfast also provided another opportunity to talk with lawmakers and members of their staffs, if a scheduled visit wasn’t possible.

Collage of photos from The Day on the Hill event showcasing attendees

During the breakfast, a special fiber splicing demonstration set up by Twin Lakes and United Communications drew a crowd and was able to educate those that visited our tables.

Additional meetings were with Tennessee Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton, Finance Committee Chairman Clark Boyd and Speaker Pro Tem Pat Marsh. The TNBA was also recognized in the Business and Utilities Subcommittee meeting.

“We tried to stress to legislators the importance of the work TNBA members do each day,” TNBA Government Affairs Director Levoy Knowles says. “We have more than 70 years’ experience building networks, and we’re not headquartered somewhere out of state. We serve the communities where we live and provide broadband service to over 200,000 customers a day. We also shared our appreciation as legislators help with funds for broadband development through the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development.”

The Government Affairs team is also monitoring several bills, including a bill to extend penalties for unsolicited calls and texts if they originate in Tennessee. Other bills being closely monitored by TNBA relate to how companies monitor web traffic and use personal data and clarifying how taxes are assessed on over-the-top cable services.

“We’ll continue to monitor these bills, and many others, as we work to build stronger relationships with Tennessee lawmakers,” Knowles says.