Dear Readers: Since I first wrote this story with my attempt to analyze this bill, I have revisited my earlier interpretation. If you read this bill analysis before, you will notice some changes.
It is starting to become an annual pilgrimage to Jefferson City. Each year, House and Senate leaders on the telecom industry dole, introduce the same anti-competition bill.
This year the bill we are watching is HB 2078 in the House, yet another AT&T bill. We briefly introduced you to it in January when we requested you call Republican Representative Lyndall Fraker and the other Members of the House Utility Infrastructure Committee. Fraker is Chair of the Committee, often an indication that the committee will hear the bill.
AT&T donated $20,000 to the House Republican Campaign Committee, reports Ars Technica. Even though the check was deposited on February 15, 2016, Ars learned it was actually donated in September 2015, before session began. Regardless of when the money was donated, it is notable that AT&T contributed a total of $62,500 to political committees in Missouri, a place where the incumbent does not shy away from flexing its lobbying influence.
Last year, HB 437 was introduced and, after opposition from a number of private entities and public sector representatives, stalled in the House. Many of HB 437's anti-competitive characteristics are resurrected this year in HB 2078.
There are many things we don't like about this bill because it forces local governments to hold expensive referendums, dictates how they spend local revenue, and decrees cryptic rules that discourage partnerships with private providers.
The bill would allow a municipality to offer "competitive services" as defined by the bill only if less than 50 percent of addresses in town are not being offered services "by any combination of service providers." We are not the only ones to document the overstatement of...Read more