AB 57

It doesn't solve a problem that doesn't exist.

Wireless Reps Misunderstand AB 57

To the surprise of no one on the government side, various wireless reps are telling planners that AB 57 allows them to put shovel to earth on the 91st or 151st day after the application was submitted.  No so.  While the project may…and that’s a big may…be approved by operation of law, it does not mean that the contractors can break ground without the actual building permits that follow the planning approval process.

My warning to carrier reps that think they know how the law can be applied is to check with a lawyer…don’t just read the law and presume you know what you’re talking about.  In some cases, it’s unlikely you will know.

Jonathan

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AB 57 is live today

AB 57 became effective on January 1, 2016.  Today, January 4, 2016 is the first day that most California jurisdictions began accepting wireless site applications that are subject to the new law.  It remains to be seen if–and how–AB 57 will impact the local government siting process in California.

We have a series of recommendations for local governments to adapt to the new reality of AB57.  If you’re interested contact me, or visit my firm’s web site (CLICK HERE).

Jonathan

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AB 57 Likely to be Signed Into Law Today

I have learned that Gov. Brown is expected to sign AB 57 into law later today. The provisions of the new law will become effective on January 1, 2016. AB 57 says that if a local government does not approve or disapprove a wireless project within 150 days for a new site, or 90 days for a collocation NOT subject to Section 6409(a), then the project is deemed approved by operation of law.

This is a major lobbying victory for the wireless industry, and firefighters who received a special carve-out in the law in trade for their support of the bill. It’s also likely a major campaign funding victory for the Bill’s author, Assembly Member Bill Quirk (but that remains to be disclosed).

For the firefighters, their carve-out is skin deep since nothing in the law accomplishes their apparent goal of barring cell sites from being located on fire department properties.

What’s next? I’m sure that some local governments here in California will start the process of modifying their local wireless ordinances to reflect this new–if unsettled–reality.

Here is the text of AB 57 as expected to be signed by Gov. Brown later today:

SECTION 1. Section 65964.1 is added to the Government Code, to read:

65964.1.
(a) A collocation or siting application for a wireless telecommunications facility, as defined in Section 65850.6, shall be deemed approved if all of the following occur:

(1) The city or county fails to approve or disapprove the application within a reasonable period of time in accordance with the time periods and procedures established by applicable FCC decisions. The reasonable period of time may be tolled to accommodate timely requests for information required to complete the application or may be extended by mutual agreement between the applicant and the local government, consistent with applicable FCC decisions.

(2) The applicant has provided all public notices regarding the application that the applicant is required to provide under applicable laws consistent with the public notice requirements for the application.

(3)
(A) The applicant has provided notice to the city or county that the reasonable time period has lapsed and that the application is deemed approved pursuant to this section.

(B) Within 30 days of the notice provided pursuant to subparagraph (A), the city or county may seek judicial review of the operation of this section on the application.

(b) This section does not apply to eligible facilities requests.

(c) The Legislature finds and declares that a wireless telecommunications facility has a significant economic impact in California and is not a municipal affair as that term is used in Section 5 of Article XI of the California Constitution, but is a matter of statewide concern.

(d) As used in this section, the following terms have the following meanings:

(1) “Applicable FCC decisions” means In re Petition for Declaratory Ruling, 24 FCC Rcd. 13994 (2009) and In the Matter of Acceleration of Broadband Deployment by Improving Wireless Facilities Siting Policies, Report and Order, 29 FCC Rcd. 12865 (2014).

(2) “Eligible facilities request” has the same meaning as in Section 1455 of Title 47 of the United States Code.

(e) Except as provided in subdivision (a), nothing in this section limits or affects the authority of a city or county over decisions regarding the placement, construction, and modification of a wireless telecommunications facility.

(f) Due to the unique duties and infrastructure requirements for the swift and effective deployment of firefighters, this section does not apply to a collocation or siting application for a wireless telecommunications facility where the project is proposed for placement on fire department facilities.

-Jonathan

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Looks Like AB 57 Will Become Law, Then A Law Suit

AB 57 was referred back from the State Senate to the Assembly for a concurrence vote. The Assembly wasted no time and approved the amended language today. The Bill in on the way to Gov. Brown for his signature, which is expected.

Once enrolled, we’ll wait for the first law suit to test the (un)constitutionality of the legislation.

The pendulum swings one way, then back.

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AB 57 Amended in the Senate to Carve Out Fire Stations

AB 57 was amended yesterday, August 18th by the authors, Verizon and AT&T Assembly Member Quirk in three ways.

First, language that tied this bill to the FCC Report and Order was amended so that if the FCC changes it shot clock time frames in the future, those changes will NOT be automatically imported into the California law.

Second, relying on some magic bean language, the author(s) added the following:

Due to the unique duties and infrastructure requirements for the swift and effective deployment of firefighters, this section does not apply to a collocation or siting application for a wireless telecommunications facility where the project is proposed for placement on fire department facilities.

Unique duties and infrastructure requirements? Please. If I’m a hospital administrator, are my hospital’s “unique duties and infrastructure requirements” more important than just where firefighters hang out between calls? How about nursing homes? What about schools? In reality, this section was injected to pander to firefighters’ clearly stated fears of RF emissions from towers, which an issue federally preempted in the Telecom Act.

Third, throwing a two-dimensional bone to local governments, the authors added:

Except as provided in subdivision (a), nothing in this section limits or affects the authority of a city or county over decisions regarding the placement, construction, and modification of a wireless telecommunications facility.

This language is simply fluff.

As I’ve said before, and repeat here, AB 57 doesn’t solve a problem that doesn’t exist.

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AB57 Headed to the Senate Floor

It looks like the wireless industry will succeed in getting AB57 passed through the California Legislature. Whether Governor Brown will sign the bill is unknown, but the odds are greater that he will.

If AB57 does become law, some of the basic errors the industry wrote into the bill will remain to haunt them.

jlk

AB57 as Amended Passes Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee

Just a few minutes ago (about 10:45 a.m. on June 16, 2015), Assembly Bill 57 (AB57) as amended passed the California Senate’s Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee. All members save for Sen. Connie Layva voted AYE.

To listen to the 46 minute hearing on AB57, press the right arrow button in the audio panel just . . . → Read More: AB57 as Amended Passes Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee

AB57 Panned on NBC TV in San Francisco

NBC in San Francisco has picked up the AB57 story. We need to get other major outlets in the state on board with this gross mistake of proposed law.

Who Loves AB 57? You Can Hear Them Now.

As of today, here is the list of those organizations formally supporting AB 57:

AT&T CalChamber CALWA – The California Wireless Association CTIA – The Wireless Association California Manufacturers & Technology Association PCIA – The Wireless Infrastructure Association Silicon Valley Leadership Group Sprint Tech America TechNet T-Mobile Valley Industry & Commerce Association Verizon

Really, you . . . → Read More: Who Loves AB 57? You Can Hear Them Now.

The AB 57 Gospel According to Mr. Quirk

In advance of tomorrow’s hearing on AB 57 in the Assembly’s Local Government Committee, here’s what Assembly Member Quirk says about his bill:

In order to encourage the expansion of wireless networks, Congress passed the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which requires a local jurisdiction to act on a wireless facility colocation or siting application within . . . → Read More: The AB 57 Gospel According to Mr. Quirk