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Published on Friday, February 10, 2017

Cities testify against small cell pre-emption bills but the work continues

As reported last week, identical bills were heard in the House and Senate that would preempt city authority to manage their rights of way, impose new permit timelines and mandate a cost formula for charging for pole attachments.

In a rare set of circumstances, each bill was given a hearing at the same time slot on the same day. City panelists moved quickly between each hearing room and managed to provide testimony in opposition to the bills as planned. HB 1921, sponsored by Rep. Jeff Morris (D-Mount Vernon), remains in committee and is not yet scheduled for a vote. If it does not pass out of the committee by Friday, February 17 it will be considered dead for this session.

SB 5711 is sponsored by Sen. Doug Ericksen (R-Ferndale) who is the Chair of the Energy, Environment & Technology Committee where the bill was heard. Shortly after testimony, the senate bill was brought up for executive action and passed out of the committee on a 5-3 vote. Sen. Ericksen has stated that it is his intention to address concerns raised in the hearing and wants to continue to move the bill.

For many reasons, cities have concerns about these sweeping preemption bills. However, in an effort to determine if there is common ground, stakeholders and the telecommunications industry will participate in a series of discussions over the next two weeks. City representatives include folks representing planning and permitting, legal, and utility interests. Watch the Legislative Bulletin for updates or contact Victoria Lincoln or Dave Catterson at AWC.

Categories: Telecommunications