VOLUME 9, NUMBER 1                                                                              JANUARY 12, 2001

To: Members

From: David Crothers, Executive Vice President

 

The Fifty-Seventh Legislative Assembly, and first of the new millennium, began this week with Governor John Hoeven’s inaugural address. Governor Hoeven’s speech stressed his vision of a New Economy and his Administration’s plan to enhance economic opportunity for all North Dakotans.

The North Dakota Association of Telephone Cooperatives believes that many of those opportunities will be realized through the commitment already made by members of the independent telephone industry in the State. We will continue to make North Dakota’s policymakers aware of the commitment we have made in information technology, high-speed broadband infrastructure, community development and technical expertise.

In addition to the bills listed in the report, we anticipate Qwest will introduce three pieces of legislation next week that would, if passed, require cable television companies with over 8,000 subscribers to open up their network to competitors, modify existing one call law and ask for a resolution of support from the legislature for Qwest’s 271 petition.

As you will note in this report, the only committee hearing scheduled for next week is the Public Service Commission’s appropriation bill.

If you have questions regarding any legislative issue or other matter of concern, please contact me.

 

HB 1008 The Public Service Commission’s appropriation bill for the biennium beginning July 1, 2001 and ending June 30, 2003. The Commission is requesting an appropriation of $9,732,463 for the two year cycle, but anticipates taking in $5,842,274 in revenue.

Jan. 9    Introduced in House.
Jan. 15  Appropriations Committee Meeting - 2:00 pm.

 

HB 1090 A bill introduced at the request of the Public Service Commission that clarifies the obligation of telecommunications companies to pay a filing fee when a new price schedule or tariff is submitted to the agency. New language is added to the “Exemption-Rate Regulation” section of the State code stating that telcos do not have to pay any fees when updating or introducing a new tariff.

Jan. 9     Introduced in House.  Referred to Industry, Business and Labor Committee.

 

HB 1093 A bill introduced at the request of the Public Service Commission that clarifies the obligation of telecommunications companies to pay a filing fee when a new price schedule or tariff is submitted to the agency. New language is added to the “Exemption-Rate Regulation” section of the State code stating that telcos do not have to pay any fees when updating or introducing a new tariff.

Jan. 9   Introduced  in House.   Referred to Industry, Business and Labor Committee.

 

HB 1182 A bill introduced by the State Board of Higher Education that seeks to have services provided by colleges and universities exempted from telecommunications regulation. The University of North Dakota and North Dakota State currently are the sole telecommunications providers on their properties. They provide all telecommunications within their buildings and to students in the dormitories. Opposition to the bill is forming because the University System is increasingly mandating that private enterprise who have a presence on the campus are required to get their telecommunications service from the university. In addition, NDSU has purchased land off-campus and constructed a retail complex which will be served by the school’s telecommunications company.

Jan. 9  Introduced in House.  Referred to Education Committee.

 

HB 1214 A bill that requires interexchange carriers to notify customers of unusually high long distance usage on that customer’s account. The legislation, sponsored by Representative Byron Clark (R-Fargo) and Senator Tim Flakoll (R-Fargo), requires each interexchange company to develop a policy that defines “high usage” and to notify the customer by written notice if that standard has been met. It would also require the local carrier to provide notice to the customer if the local carrier was notified by the interexchange carrier.

Jan. 11  Introduced in House.  Referred to Finance and Taxation Committee.

 

SB 2022 The Information Technology Department’s appropriation bill. The Department is requesting a budget of $107,021,019, but anticipates income of just over $71 million. The general fund appropriation is $35,835,932.

Jan. 9     Introduced in Senate.  Referred to Appropriations Committee.

 

SB 2043 A bill revising the obligations of the Information Technology Department which clarifies their obligation to approve projects by entities under control of the State board of higher education, slightly alters the membership and renames the Statewide wide area network advisory committee, allows the Department to finance the purchase of equipment and streamlines the agency’s business reports.

Jan. 9     Introduced in Senate.
Jan. 12  Government and Veterans Affairs Committee Hearing.

 

SB 2067 A bill to extend the E 911 tax currently paid by wireline customers to subscribers of wireless devices. Former Governor Ed Schafer vetoed a similar bill at the conclusion of the last legislative session, but during the interim appointed a Task Force to hammer out language to extend the tax to wireless customers. The Task Force used the existing statute for the basis of extending the E 911 surcharge to wireless, but there are distinct sections in the bill for wireless and wireline, including segregated funds for compensating the providers. In the Association’s judgment a better option would be a single, unified fund with the Public Service Answering Points (PSAP’s) and counties as the focal point, but compromise on the issue was difficult to achieve.

Jan. 9   Introduced in Senate. 

 

 

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