Torpedo legislation aimed at municipal network initiatives don’t usually appear in October, but Michigan’s year-round legislature is making 2017 atypical. Last week, Freshman Representative Michele Hoitenga from the rural village of Manton in Wexford County introduced a bill banning investment in municipal networks. HB 5099 is short; it decrees that local communities cannot use federal, state,… Continue reading
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California Legislators have turned on their constituents living in rural areas who want to participate in the 21st century online economy. What began as a move in the right direction – allocating substantial resources to funding high-speed Internet infrastructure – has become another opportunity to protect big incumbents. It’s twice as nice for Frontier and AT&T,… Continue reading
The State Legislature in Indiana sent SB 478 to Governor Eric Holcomb earlier this session; he recently signed the bill into law. Also known as the Facilitating Internet Broadband Rural Expansion (FIBRE) Act, the new law allows electric cooperatives with easements for electric lines to use those same easement for fiber infrastructure. The change in… Continue reading
Maine is the latest battleground for local telecommunications authority. A bill in the state’s House of Representatives threatens to halt investment in “The Pine Tree State” at a time when local communities are taking steps to improve their own connectivity. “I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means” Rep. Nathan Wadsworth (R-Hiram)… Continue reading
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Maine State Representative Nathan Wadsworth (R-Hiram) introduced a bill to revoke local authority over building Internet networks needed by local businesses and residents. The one-time Maine state ALEC chair introduced HP 1040 (also cross filed as LD 1516) to advantage the big cable and telephone monopolies.
This bill will introduce procedural hurdles to discourage local governments from investing in modern broadband networks, including public-private partnerships with companies rooted in Maine – like GWI. Little has changed since 2014, when Gizmodo rated Maine 49th in terms of broadband Internet service. Rather than finding ways to encourage investment, this bill would have the state actually slow it. Continue reading
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Late yesterday, the Tennessee Legislature officially sent Governor Bill Haslam’s signature legislation, the Broadband Accessibility Act of 2017, to his desk. Unfortunately, this bill is more about making taxpayer dollars accessible to AT&T than ensuring rural regions get modern Internet access.
“What we have on one side is a taxpayer-funded subsidy program, and on the other we have a subscriber-based model,” says Christopher Mitchell, director of the Community Broadband Networks initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. “The tragic thing is, AT&T is a taxpayer subsidized monopoly in rural Tennessee that only has to provide a service far slower than the definition of broadband. Locally-rooted networks like Chattanooga’s EPB not only offer nation-leading services but have tremendous community support.” Continue reading
Since we wrote about Maryland House Bill 1349, “Compostable, Degradable, and Biodegradable Plastic Products – Labeling,” in late February, it has made significant progress in the Maryland state legislature. As of March 23rd, the bill passed its third reading in the House and moved on to the Senate. Since the bill was not cross-filed with… Continue reading
Mayor Gary Fuller won’t tolerate lies about his city. In a recent Opelika City News release titled, Setting the Record Straight – Response to Yellowhammer article, Mayor Fuller corrected the numerous misleading errors in a piece written by Jordan LaPorta. The Yellowhammer article covered a Taxpayer’s Protection Alliance Foundation (TPA) report, filled with errors and… Continue reading
Earlier this legislative session, we followed legislation in Virginia, which would have negatively impacted municipalities’ ability to use their publicly owned infrastructure to improve connectivity. We’re now watching a bill in Missouri that’s been resurrected from legislation that died last year. Another state bill just appeared on our radar in Georgia that interferes with local community authority by prescribing stringent rules on permitting and applications. Continue reading
On Wednesday, March 1st, the Maryland House of Delegates’ Committee on Environment and Transportation will conduct a hearing on House Bill 1349: “Compostable, Degradable, and Biodegradable Plastic Products – Labeling.” The legislation, introduced by Maryland Delegate Shane Robinson (District 39), is a result of close work between Delegate Robinson and the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR). ILSR, and a number of allies, will be testifying on the merits of the bill in front of the House Committee. Continue reading