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LETTER: Georgians do not effectively support science policy
Letters - OPINION

Dear Editor:

One of the bills Rep. Henry “Hank” Johnson Jr. [D-GA4] sponsors is H.R. 6677 (116th): Application Privacy, Protection, and Security (APPS) Act of 2020, which was reintroduced in the House, on May 1, 2020. I am for this bill because it has the potential to protect mobile users’ personal information from being collected, or shared by application developers, without consent. However, Rep. Hank Johnson is not the best sponsor for this bill, so it will not likely move past the committee stage. It is important that Georgians vote for representatives that support and sponsor good science policy. We must also do our part to advocate for science.

Henry “Hank” Johnson Jr. is the Democratic representative for Georgia’s 4th Congressional District, which includes my hometown — Oxford, Ga. He has been a Georgia legislator since January 4, 2007, and is up for reelection this November.

This is not the first time this bill was reintroduced. The original introduction of this bill to the House was on May 9, 2013, as H.R. 1913 (113th): APPS Act of 2013. It was re-introduced in 2016 and in 2018. On May 4, 2020, Johnson told the press in Washington, D.C., “Consumers should have access to the volumes of personal data collected about them…This is particularly important for minority populations, who are disproportionately affected by discrimination in these areas.” This bill has potential to move past the committee stage, but Johnson only has one cosponsor still, Rep. Steve Chabot [R-OH1], who is also up for re-election this November. Is Johnson being effective in finding support? Will this be enough to win over the committee chairs? Do Georgians support good science policies and advocate for science?

During the 116th Congress so far, Johnson has cosponsored: 73 bills related to crime and law enforcement, 60 bills related to international affairs, 50 bills related to immigration, 53 bills related to government operations and politics, 38 bills related to education. For science and technology policies, Johnson has only cosponsored nine bills.

Although Johnson has served Georgia for 13 years, he seems to be having a difficult time passing science policies. It is imperative that Georgians vote for representatives who will sponsor, support, and vote for good science policies that will improve the American way of life. As Georgians, we also have a duty to advocate for good policies, especially for science.

Sydni Morgan