Report — April 25

CALIFORNIA STATE LEGISLATURE

Alarm Companies; License. Assembly Bill 759 (Daly) would exempt any company or person licensed, certified, or registered with the Bureau of Security and Investigative Services (BSIS) pursuant to the Alarm Company Act from the duplicative licensing requirements for a locksmith if the locksmithing duties of that person are performed in combination with the installing, repairing or servicing an alarm system. With the emergence of Internet Protocol (IP) based networks, broadband service providers have begun to offer innovative security and home monitoring services to their customers over the top of their existing broadband infrastructure. As such, the California Cable & Telecommunications Association supports the proposal.

AB 759 was heard and unanimously approved (14-0) this week in the Assembly Business & Professions Committee. The measure now moves to the Assembly Floor for approval.

Recycling; Household Batteries. Assembly Bill 2284 (Williams) would require a producer of a household battery and other entities involved in the distribution chain to develop and implement a plan to collect and recycle household batteries. This requirement would apply to many businesses, including those that provide electronic devices to control network equipment, such as set top box remote controls, who do not produce batteries and who have no control over how these batteries are disposed.

CCTA is opposed to the measure. The bill is Co-Sponsored by the California Product Stewardship Council and the Natural Electric Manufacturers Association (aka, battery producers association), two entities that stand to benefit from the legislative proposal.

AB 2284 will be heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee on April 30th.

California Energy Commission; Energy Efficiency Standards. Assembly Bill 2581(Bradford) would improve the regulatory processes of the California Energy Commission (CEC) by requiring the use of current data in energy efficiency proceedings and allowing the elimination of regulations that are duplicative or inconsistent with federal or state law. The bill also instructs the CEC to adopt by regulation or standards voluntary agreements that promote energy efficiency.

The California Cable & Telecommunications Association (CCTA) is supportive of the measure, but is seeking an amendment that would result in the CEC recognizing the value and the energy efficiency savings from a voluntary agreement, but eliminate the requirement that the CEC adopt them as regulations or operating standards. Voluntary agreements allow industries to recognize and develop opportunities for reducing energy while protecting product development and innovation and should not be locked into a regulatory framework. CCTA is working with the author and sponsors on this proposed amendment.

AB 2581 was heard and approved this week in the Assembly Utilities & Commerce Committee. The measure now moves to the Assembly Appropriations Committee for approval.

Property Crimes; Disconnecting Communications Services. Assembly Bill 1782 (Chesbro), as amended in the Assembly Public Safety Committee, would increase the criminal fine up to $10,000 for any person who “willfully and maliciously” disconnects or obstructs any communications infrastructure or electrical lines. Pursuant to current law, the penalty is $500 or up to one-year in the county jail. AB 1782 includes technical amendments to clarify that disconnecting communication lines includes eliminating the backup power supply, such as deep cycle batteries.

The cable industry has seen a dramatic increase in the number of incidents of willful damage to its broadband networks. Historically, cable networks primarily provided multichannel video service, but today provide advanced residential and business communications services and broadband bandwidth for large data centers and cellular towers (backhaul). Cable networks also support critical services like E-911, and are the basis for enabling telemedicine, emergency alerts, energy efficiency monitoring and home security services and other innovative technologies.

The California Cable & Telecommunications Association supports AB 1782. Dependable communication services are critical for public safety, national security and California’s economic sustainability. The measure is also supported by a number of communications service providers, electrical utilities and law enforcement agencies. Support comes from Suddenlink, Cox Communications, Verizon, Frontier Communications, Southern California Edison, Pacific Power, the California Municipal Utilities Association, the Southern California Public Power Authority, the Trinity Public Utility District, California State Sheriffs Association, California Police Chiefs Association, the Taxpayers for Improving Public Safety and the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors.

AB 1782 will be heard by the Assembly Appropriations Committee on Wednesday, April 30th.

Labor Contracting; client liability. Assembly Bill 1897(Hernandez) would hold a contracting business liable for any wage, workers’ compensation coverage and work safety violations committed by a contractor for any contract work performed for the contracting business, even though the contracting business did not have direct control over the working conditions of the contractor’s employees.

The bill is Co-Sponsored by the California Labor Federation (Labor FED) and the Teamsters and is labor’s latest attempt at limiting or restricting businesses’ ability to use contract labor. This proposal is heavily supported by labor but is equally opposed to by the business community, including the California Cable & Telecommunications Association.

AB 1897 was heard this week in the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee which is chaired by the Author, Assembly Member Roger Hernandez. After significant discussion by the proponents and opposition, most of the Committee members expressed concerns and mentioned prior private discussions with the Author related to the bill. The Author has repeatedly stated he is not opposed to contracting labor but is concerned with labor abuses by temporary hiring agencies. The members ended up voting in support of the measure but with the understanding that they expect their concerns to be addressed.

AB 1897 was approved by the committee along party lines (5-2) and now goes to the Assembly Appropriations Committee for review.

Privacy; Personal Information; Use of Credit Cards and Debit Cards. Assembly Bill 1710 (Dickinson) AB 1710 which dictates how businesses manage all customer personal information was amended to remove some if it more onerous provision, including eliminating the applicability to paper records, reinstating provisions that exempt encrypted data from the breech notice requirements, eliminating the requirement that breech notifications be provided to customers within 15 days of the security breech and to eliminate the mandate that businesses provide customers with two years of identity theft mitigation services when a breech has occurred under all circumstances. CCTA is in the process of further analyzing the amendments.

AB 1710 is scheduled to be heard on Tuesday, April 29th in the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

CALIFORNIA REGULATORY UPDATE

California High Cost Fund A Proceeding at the California Public Utilities Commission. CCTA, in joint comments with Big River Telephone Company, filed Reply Comments in the CPUC proceeding investigating changes to the California High Cost Fund A. The A Fund is designed to ensure that rural telephone companies provide affordable telephone service are capable of achieving their regulated rate of return. CCTA’s Reply Comments are largely procedural, arguing that issues set for hearing may also be discussed in workshops and in final Briefs. CCTA and Big River also noted that the Communications Division (CD) Report, which is largely critical of the A-Fund recipients, was introduced into the proceeding in the Commission’s Rulemaking, and that parties have a right to comment on the CD Report. The Independent Small LECs who receive the A Funds have argued that the CD Report should be eliminated from the proceeding. Currently, workshops in this proceeding are scheduled for May 28 and 29, with a possible third day on the 30th. Hearings are scheduled for early September.

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