Senate President Pro Tem Cal Hobson has announced his appointments to a task force charged with studying the issue of telecommunications deregulation.
Legislation creating the task force was approved during the 2004 legislative session in response to questions surrounding deregulation.
“I have asked Sen. Jay Paul Gumm and Sen. Richard Lerblance to serve on this panel. They both have an excellent understanding of the complexity of this issue and its importance to virtually everyone in Oklahoma,” said Hobson, D-Lexington.
Sen. Lerblance, a member of the Senate Business and Labor Committee, said he was pleased to be appointed to the task force.
“It is an honor for Sen. Hobson to appoint me. Telecommunications is an area that impacts all of our citizens. The industry is vital to our state and to the thousands of families and businesses that depend on it. We’ve got to provide adequate phone service at affordable rates. I look forward to beginning work on this task force,” said Lerblance, D-Hartshorne.
Sen. Gumm, a Democrat from Durant and Vice Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, was the principal author of SB 1119 which raised the issue of deregulation.
Gumm said he was grateful to Sen. Hobson for the appointment and looks forward to participating in the study. “The telecommunications industry is changing daily as technology advances and people put that new technology to use,” he said.
“This task force is important because we must make certain the regulation of telecommunications is as advanced as the technology being used. When that happens, business and residential customers should be able to get the full benefit of what the future has to offer in telecommunications.”
In addition to Gumm and Lerblance, Sen. Hobson also made the following appointments to the task force:
Jeff Cloud, Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner
Tom Riley, COO of Chickasaw Telephone Company
Dave Bialis, Vice President and General Manager of Cox Communications
Under the provisions of SCR 74, the legislation creating the “Task Force on Deregulation of Oklahoma Telecommunications Service Provider Industry,” the group must complete its study and issue a report to the Governor, the President Pro Tempore and the Speaker of the House no later than November 30, 2004.