VOLUME 9, NUMBER 2                                                                    JANUARY 19, 2001

To: Members

From: David Crothers, Executive Vice President

 

The Association thanks the many directors, managers and other members of the independent telephone industry family in North Dakota for hosting members of the 57th Legislative Assembly last night in Bismarck. I was approached by many legislators this morning at the Capitol and told how much they appreciated the evening, the opportunity to spend time together and learn more about the telecommunications issues of the day. Over 200 of our 300 guests last evening were legislators, their spouses and staff members.

Please note in this report that four separate committee hearings are scheduled on telecom-munications-related issues at the Capitol next week, including a bill (HB 1214) requiring interexchange carriers to develop policies on high-usage for customer accounts and burdensome notification requirements.

Also scheduled for hearing next week is Qwest’s Senate Concurrent Resolution expressing support for the RBOC’s Section 271 petition (SCR 4008) allowing them to provide interLATA and interstate services.

Hearings are also scheduled for SB 2067 and SB 2227, which extend the E911 surcharge to wireless devices and amending the call before you dig statute, respectively, for next week.

The Association intends on testifying on all four pieces of legislation during committee hearings next week.

Finally, there are two prospective pieces of legislation that have not been introduced, but are being contemplated by legislators that will require telcos to offer payphones and a separate bill mandating long distance companies to notify their customers of any price increases.

The Association anticipates the latter will be introduced next week and is uncertain about the payphone 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.

 

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.
Jan. 17   Industry, Business and Labor Committee Recommended "Do Pass" 14-0.
Jan. 19   House Passed 90-0.

 

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.  
Jan. 17 Industry, Business and Labor Committee Recommended "Do Pass" 14-0.
Jan 19  House Passed 89-0.

 

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. 
Jan. 22  Finance and Taxation Committee Hearing - 10:30 a.m.

 

HB 1253 A bill requiring cable operators offering internet service to open their networks to competitors for transport. The legislation requires those cable television providers to open their networks for resellers. The bill also makes those companies, including cable operators, who transport information to and from the Internet subject to the interconnection requirements found in Section 251 of the Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996. Of particular concern to the Association is the sponsor’s proposal to strike "private line transport service" from a list of "nonessential telecommunications services" currently in North Dakota law.

Jan. 15 Introduced in House. Referred to Industry, Business and Labor 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.
Jan. 15   Appropriations Committee Hearing.

 

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. 
Jan. 24 Finance and Taxation Committee Hearing - 10:30 a.m.

 

SB 2227 A bill to amend the existing North Dakota One Call statute by clarifying the liability of excavators who damage facilities. It has been described by proponents as restoring the liability language that existed prior to the adoption of the one call statute. The new language more closely resembles “strict liability” for those who fail to follow the law and, subsequently, damage facilities.

Jan. 16 Introduced in House.
Jan. 26 Political Subdivisions Committee Hearing - 9:20 a.m.

 

SCR 4008 A resolution introduced at the urging of Qwest that expresses the Legislature’s support for Qwest to be allowed Section 271 relief, which would allow them to provide interLATA and interstate services. Currently, they are prohibited from carrying calls across the LATA line dividing North Dakota and from carrying calls out-of-State. Qwest says that consumer choice and the number of voice and data providers are limited in the State as evidence the resolution should be supported. The resolution further urges Qwest to submit an application for approval to the FCC by December 31, 2001.

Jan. 12 Introduced in Senate.
Jan. 24 Industry, Business and Labor Committee Hearing - 11:00 a.m.

 

 

CALL YOUR LEGISLATOR TOLL-FREE: 1-888-635-3447

LOCAL TELEPHONE NUMBER: 328-3373

WEB PAGE ADDRESS: www.state.nd.us/lr/

 

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North Dakota
Association of Telephone Cooperatives

3201 Nygren Drive NW, P.O. Box 1144, Mandan, ND 58554

Telephone: 701-663-1099  *    Fax:  701-663-0707

 

 

LEGISLATIVE REPORT

 

Archives VOLUME 9, NUMBER 2                                                                    JANUARY 19, 2001

To: Members

From: David Crothers, Executive Vice President

 

The Association thanks the many directors, managers and other members of the independent telephone industry family in North Dakota for hosting members of the 57th Legislative Assembly last night in Bismarck. I was approached by many legislators this morning at the Capitol and told how much they appreciated the evening, the opportunity to spend time together and learn more about the telecommunications issues of the day. Over 200 of our 300 guests last evening were legislators, their spouses and staff members.

Please note in this report that four separate committee hearings are scheduled on telecom-munications-related issues at the Capitol next week, including a bill (HB 1214) requiring interexchange carriers to develop policies on high-usage for customer accounts and burdensome notification requirements.

Also scheduled for hearing next week is Qwest’s Senate Concurrent Resolution expressing support for the RBOC’s Section 271 petition (SCR 4008) allowing them to provide interLATA and interstate services.

Hearings are also scheduled for SB 2067 and SB 2227, which extend the E911 surcharge to wireless devices and amending the call before you dig statute, respectively, for next week.

The Association intends on testifying on all four pieces of legislation during committee hearings next week.

Finally, there are two prospective pieces of legislation that have not been introduced, but are being contemplated by legislators that will require telcos to offer payphones and a separate bill mandating long distance companies to notify their customers of any price increases.

The Association anticipates the latter will be introduced next week and is uncertain about the payphone 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.

 

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.
Jan. 17   Industry, Business and Labor Committee Recommended "Do Pass" 14-0.
Jan. 19   House Passed 90-0.

 

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.  
Jan. 17 Industry, Business and Labor Committee Recommended "Do Pass" 14-0.
Jan 19  House Passed 89-0.

 

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. 
Jan. 22  Finance and Taxation Committee Hearing - 10:30 a.m.

 

HB 1253 A bill requiring cable operators offering internet service to open their networks to competitors for transport. The legislation requires those cable television providers to open their networks for resellers. The bill also makes those companies, including cable operators, who transport information to and from the Internet subject to the interconnection requirements found in Section 251 of the Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996. Of particular concern to the Association is the sponsor’s proposal to strike "private line transport service" from a list of "nonessential telecommunications services" currently in North Dakota law.

Jan. 15 Introduced in House. Referred to Industry, Business and Labor 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.
Jan. 15   Appropriations Committee Hearing.

 

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. 
Jan. 24 Finance and Taxation Committee Hearing - 10:30 a.m.

 

SB 2227 A bill to amend the existing North Dakota One Call statute by clarifying the liability of excavators who damage facilities. It has been described by proponents as restoring the liability language that existed prior to the adoption of the one call statute. The new language more closely resembles “strict liability” for those who fail to follow the law and, subsequently, damage facilities.

Jan. 16 Introduced in House.
Jan. 26 Political Subdivisions Committee Hearing - 9:20 a.m.

 

SCR 4008 A resolution introduced at the urging of Qwest that expresses the Legislature’s support for Qwest to be allowed Section 271 relief, which would allow them to provide interLATA and interstate services. Currently, they are prohibited from carrying calls across the LATA line dividing North Dakota and from carrying calls out-of-State. Qwest says that consumer choice and the number of voice and data providers are limited in the State as evidence the resolution should be supported. The resolution further urges Qwest to submit an application for approval to the FCC by December 31, 2001.

Jan. 12 Introduced in Senate.
Jan. 24 Industry, Business and Labor Committee Hearing - 11:00 a.m.

 

 

CALL YOUR LEGISLATOR TOLL-FREE: 1-888-635-3447

LOCAL TELEPHONE NUMBER: 328-3373

WEB PAGE ADDRESS: www.state.nd.us/lr/