Report — February 7

CALIFORNIA STATE LEGISLATURE

California Law Revision Commission Study. Last year, the Legislature overwhelmingly approved Senate Concurrent Resolution 54 (Padilla), directing the California Law Revision Commission to “make recommendations to revise statutes governing access by state and local government agencies to customer information from communication service providers.” Many of California’s laws authorizing government access to customer information from communication service providers were enacted prior to existence of wireless mobile services and the Internet.

The Law Revision Commission met this week to formally begin its’ proceeding, encouraging public participation from all interested parties. The Commission clarified that this proceeding will be limited to state and local government access to customer information and will not include federal government customer access issues. Nor will the Commission review examine communication service providers uses of customer information. The Commission strongly encourages communication service providers to participate in this process. The process itself will be fairly lengthy with final recommendations not expected for at least a year or two from today. Attending the meeting were law enforcement, the ACLU, and a few communication service providers. AT&T testified that it is neutral on the issue of government access to customer information but will participate to ensure that whatever recommendations are made will be workable for the communications industry. CCTA did not testify but has been identified as an interested party.

CALIFORNIA REGULATORY UPDATE

GO 95 Infrastructure Safety-Related Developments. This week brought two significant GO 95 infrastructure safety-related developments: First, the Commission withdrew Draft Resolution ESBR-4 from its calendar. That resolution would have established a citation program where Safety Enforcement Division (SED) staff would have been authorized to impose fines upon communications providers of up to $50,000 per violation, per day, regardless of type of violation, and with the provider burdened to show that a violation had not occurred. CCTA and its members joined others in fighting the proposal. The draft resolution seemed to have considerable momentum from SED, who later revised the resolution to RETROACTIVELY apply to violations that have occurred both before and after the date of the resolution. CCTA and its members continued to press Commission offices for a postponement and the Commission withdrew the matter a day before it was to be voted on. The Commission will likely revisit whether to establish a CIP citation program using its rulemaking process.

Second, on Wednesday the Commission voted out its Fire Safety OIR Phase 3 (Tracks 1 and 2) decision. The vote was 4-0-1, with newly appointed Commissioner Mike Picker, attending his first CPUC meeting, abstaining because of his previous service as a member of SMUD’s Board of Director. The Commission Decision reflects CCTA’s and its members success in pressing the Commission to correct one of the technical errors contained in the proposed decision that would have required those on joint use poles to use exceedingly high safety factor-related requirements for the entire state. Those standards would have resulted in costly and otherwise unnecessary pole replacements. CCTA filed separate opening comments in this proceeding, arguing that the PD would result in unduly burdening Cable with those pole replacement costs if the technical error, that effectively imposes safety factors upon safety factors, is not corrected. The Commission’s final decision removes the ordering paragraph that would have mandated the erroneous requirements and defers the issue until the next phase of the proceeding.

FEDERAL UPDATE

Congressional Democrats Introduce H.R. 3982, The Open Internet Preservation Act. Representatives Henry Waxman(D-LA) ranking member of the House Commerce Committee and Anna Eshoo(D-Palo) introduced legislation H.R. 3982 to restore the FCC’s 2010 Open Internet Order which was recently struck down by the D.C. Circuit Court.

The brief two page legislation would restore the rules until the FCC takes final action in the Open Internet Proceeding. In their statement introducing the bill the two Californians stated “Our 2 page bill would simply restore the rules that prevent broadband providers from engaging in discriminatory behavior or blocking content altogether until the FCC adopts replacement rules. ”

Original co-sponsors include California Representatives Matusi, Lofgren, Davis, Swalwell, Takano, and Honda.

Companion legislation (S.1981) was introduced in the Senate by Ed Markey(D-Mass.) with 5 co-sponsors.

Eshoo to seek top spot on Energy and Commerce Committee. Representative Anna Eshoo(D-Palo) announced Monday that she will seek to replace the retiring Henry Waxman(D-LA) as the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

In her announcement Eshoo stated that the Energy and Commerce Committee is “the Committee of the Future and the most dynamic by its jurisdiction. It is key to shaping America’s future, just as my Silicon Valley congressional district is.”

Congressman Frank Pallone (D-New Jersey) also announced he will seek the position. In addition other Democrats including former Committee Chairman John Dingell(D-Michigan) could announce their candidacy.

Decisions on ranking members and chairman of panels will be made by each party after the November elections.

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