CSAC Bulletin Article

Local Services, Control Threatened in Two Priority Bills

June 8, 2017

Two bills survived the house of origin deadline last week and continue to threaten the CSAC mission and the people counties serve. AB 1250 (Jones-Sawyer) and SB 649 (Hueso) undermine local services and local control and CSAC urges counties to take action on these measures.

AB 1250 would impose strict and onerous requirements on a county seeking to contract for services that help some of the most vulnerable members of our communities. It would restrict contracting for services including mental health, public health, emergency medical services to name a few, but the implications even reach information technology services and legal representation. These and other services would cost more due to extensive audit requirements and data reporting because those new requirements would deter companies and non-profits or community-based organization from bidding on county contracts. Please click the following links to see our letter of opposition and our recent blog with more details.

CSAC is working with a diverse set of stakeholders in addition to our county affiliates and partners in the health and human services, public safety, and the business community. But we also need direct county engagement so your Senators know what this harmful bill will do to your communities. Please contact Dorothy Johnson or Tracy Sullivan if you have any questions.

CSAC is also working with a broad coalition of cities and other local government stakeholders to stop SB 649, which would allow telecommunications companies to attach “small cell” cellular phone equipment to any streetlight or traffic signal pole. The bill requires local government to lease space for small cells on this publicly-owned property at rates far below fair market value, and with limited local government input—and no public input– about siting, aesthetics or public safety. Please click this link for our opposition letter to that bill.

While CSAC supports expanding cellular and broadband access, that expansion should not come at the expense of local input. Counties should not be unreasonably limited in their ability to negotiate fair rates for the use of public property or to publicly consider the aesthetic impacts of small cells. Under this bill, several different telecommunications companies might all want to put bulky equipment—antennas of up to 6 cubic feet and associated equipment on the pole of up to 21 cubic feet in size—in the same location, or on a series of streetlights and traffic signals in close proximity on the same street. Local governments would not be able to preclude the use of these non-utility pole structures for small cells, unless they happen to be located in the coastal zone or a designated historic district.

CSAC is also looking for help to make sure the Legislature understands the impact of this bill. Please contact Kiana Valentine or Chris Lee if you have questions.

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