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We congratulate: Sen. Hornback did the right thing

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State Sen. Paul Hornback got it right, and he deserves our applause.

State Sen. Paul Hornback got it right, and he deserves our applause.

Whether or not you think Sen. Hornback’s telecommunications deregulation bill – dubbed the “AT&T bill” in the corridors of his state Senate – was a good thing or a bad thing is not the issue here.

What Sen. Hornback (R-Shelbyville) did that so many don’t do is this: He listened.

He withdrew his bill on Thursday, and his reason for so doing was prime goodness: He said there was a public outcry against the bill.

Now, Sen. Hornback, in his second session in his first public office, had taken criticism about the bill because it sought to allow telephone companies to vacate unprofitable corners of their markets that met sanctioned minimums for telecom coverage.

Such a step toward further deregulation of a government-controlled – read: consumer-protected – utility is de rigueurin politics these days.

One side always wants to regulate, and the other wants to deregulate. Who is on which side varies from issue to issue.

Our concern was not that this bill would be a bad move for the state, but we simply questioned whether it was in the best interest of the many rural and hilly corners of Sen. Hornback’s District 20.

Many saw its value, to be sure, but there also are residents near Mount Eden who shared those concerns about what life might be like if telecom companies were to have that license.

Those residents and others must have let Sen. Hornback know they had the same questions. He withdrew and walked away from a major piece of legislation, albeit one facing a modest reception in the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives, the pro-regulation group in this instance.

And, in so doing, we think Sen. Hornback – listening and responding – served his district quite well.