Two ‘One-Size-Fits-None’ Bills Threaten Local Services
CSAC is working with two different coalitions to continue attacking AB 1250 and SB 649 in the waning days of this legislative session. Both of these bills would seriously impact counties ability to do business and represent the best interests of local constituents.
“In my years of legislative experience, AB 1250 is among the bottom five ‘bad bills’ I’ve ever seen with respect to overall impact to a county board’s discretion,” said DeAnn Baker, CSAC’s Deputy Executive Director for Legislative Services. “Both it and SB 649 would serve the bills’ sponsors to the detriment of the public good, and AB 1250 in particular will do serious damage to county costs and local governing authority.”
AB 1250 (Jones-Sawyer) is a de facto ban on counties contracting for services. It would impose complex and unworkable reporting requirements on county service providers that do nothing except create roadblocks to contracting for those services. The bill would increase county costs, decrease service quality and availability, and provide no tangible benefits. The recent amendments amount to window dressing—but do not change the fundamental flaws in the bill.
“County supervisors are elected by local voters so they can make decisions on a local level that reflect the differences in size, resources, and demographics of our 58 counties,” said Baker. “AB 1250 is a one-size-fits-none ‘solution’ in search of a non-existent problem.”
SB 649 also usurps local decision making authority, but over a much different local issue: cellular antenna siting and installation. The bill would allow big telecom companies to install antennas and other associated equipment on almost any street light or traffic signal. Local governments couldn’t say no to the lease this pole space, and a requirement for over-the-counter permits would eliminate input from the general public. Moreover, it creates an arbitrarily low cap on the leases local governments can charge for use of the publicly owned infrastructure.
“It’s pretty brazen,” said Baker. “The telecom companies want to have practically unlimited access to publicly owned infrastructure and they want to pay far less than market rate to do so. They’re doing this under the guise of improving service and new technology, but nothing in the bill requires them to improve service anywhere, or to offer connectivity to underserved areas.”
CSAC continues working to educate the public and the Legislature about these two bills. The 2017 legislative session ends Friday, September 15.