Legislation has been introduced in Missouri that would enforce a less restrictive process of cell site development across the state.
In Missouri, the initiative, known as the Uniform Wireless Communications Infrastructure Deployment Act, House Bill 345 and Senate Bill 241 have been introduced to make sure that a municipality does not place onerous requirements or restrictions on wireless applicants, thus making its service less robust than a neighboring jurisdiction, while allowing them to continue to exercising zoning, land use, planning, and permitting authority.
For example, HB 345 proposes to prohibit municipalities from evaluating a cell site applicant’s business decisions with respect to the design of its service, customer demand for service, or quality of its service in a certain area. A municipality would also not be allowed to evaluate a cell tower application based on the availability of other potential locations for wireless site placement. Additionally, the type of wireless infrastructure, such as DAS, could not be dictated by the local authority.
The measure would also outlaw unnecessary environmental testing requirements, charging extraordinary consultant fees and imposing surety requirements, among other things. Additionally, it would codify the FCC’s 150-day new application, 90-day collocation shot clock.
Mo-Kan Wireless Association supports the legislation. Its Board members participated last week in a conference call with representatives of various Missouri municipalities and other wireless industry members regarding HB 345.
“If some form of either of these bills is passed, it would have a dramatic beneficial impact to our industry,” said Curtis Holland, MoKan president. “We need to have our voices heard on these very important initiatives”
The Missouri House Utilities Committee held a hearing on HB 345 last week, and the Missouri Senate is scheduled to begin considering SB 241 on Feb. 19.
HB 345 co-sponsors are Rep. Mike Cierpiot (R-30th district) and Rep. Doug Funderburk (R-12th district). The SB 241 sponsor is Sen. Brad Lager )(R-12th district). Mo-Kan urges the wireless industry to write letters in favor the legislation and send them to Alexander Blake Reynolds, government affairs counsel, PCIA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pennsylvania was the most recent state to enact wireless infrastructure legislation, according to Jonathan Campbell, PCIA director, government affairs. Other states include: North Carolina, New Jersey, Michigan, Georgia, Florida and Tennessee.
“As states try to remain competitive and try to provide the best services to their constituents, they look to what other states are doing to be proactive to encourage investment and bring in new technology,” he said.
Wireless legislation in the states has many similarities in promoting a streamlined cell site application process.
“It is a smaller community than you think,” Campbell said. “I think these state legislators are talking to one another trying to figure out what the best way to make policy in their states.”