SB 241 Creates the Uniform Wireless Communications Infrastructure Deployment Act and modifies provisions relating to utility right-of-way
Sponsor: Lager
LR Number: 0957S.07P Fiscal Note available
Committee: Commerce, Consumer Protection, Energy and the Environment
Last Action: 5/17/2013 - H Calendar S Bills for Third Reading Journal Page:
Title: SS SCS SB 241 Calendar Position:
Effective Date: August 28, 2013
House Handler: Cierpiot

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Current Bill Summary


HCS/SS/SCS/SB 241 - This act modifies provisions relating to infrastructure facilities deployment.

PUBLIC UTILITY RIGHT-OF-WAY (Sections 67.1830-67.1842) Currently, if a public utility is denied a right-of-way permit, they may have their permit application reviewed by the governing body of the political subdivision. This act provides that if a public utility is denied a right-of-way permit, or believes that the political subdivision did not abide by the current law guidelines, they may seek a review of the action in court. The court must act on such request within 45 days or the request shall be deemed as granted. The petition for review shall be deemed granted if the court fails to rule within 45 days. If a political subdivision does not act on an application for a right-of-way permit for a public utility after thirty one days, the application is approved. If a public utility has legally been granted access to a political subdivision's right of way since August 28, 2001, they are not required to obtain a permit for remaining in the right-of-way.

These sections are similar to sections contained in the truly agreed and finally passed SS/HB 331 (2013).

UNIFORM WIRELESS COMMUNICATIONS INFRASTRUCTURE DEPLOYMENT ACT (Sections 67.5090-67.5102) - This act outlines the application approval process for construction, substantial modification, and collocation of wireless facilities and support structures. Certain state, county, and municipal authorities that make decisions relating to the construction of wireless facilities and support structures are prohibited from requiring certain information from applicants, charging an application fee, basing their decisions on certain information, or creating certain regulations, as outlined in this act.

Certain state, county, and municipal authorities may continue to exercise zoning, land use, planning, and permitting authority within their territorial boundaries with regard to the siting of new wireless support structures, subject to the provisions of this act. Any applicant that proposes to construct a new wireless support structure shall submit to the proper territorial authority copies and application attachments. Further, the applicant must abide by local ordinances concerning land use and the appropriate permitting processes. Authorities must review applications for new wireless support structures within 120 calendar days of receiving the application. Applications are deemed complete unless the applicant is notified within 30 days of deficiencies. The applicant is given 30 days to cure the deficiencies. If an applicant requires more than 30 days to cure the deficiencies, the 120 day approval period will be extended by the same extension amount given the applicant. Applications that are not acted on by the authority within 120 days will be deemed approved.

Applications for substantial modifications of wireless support structures must be reviewed within 90 days of submission by the applicant. Applications are deemed complete unless the applicant is notified within 30 days of deficiencies. The applicant is given 30 days to cure the deficiencies. If an applicant requires more than 30 days to cure the deficiencies, the 90 day approval period will be extended by the same extension amount given the applicant. Applications that are not acted on by the authority within 90 days will be deemed approved.

Collocation applications must be reviewed by the appropriate authority within 45 days of submission by the applicant. Applications will be reviewed for conformance with applicable building permit requirements, National Electric Safety Codes, and industry standards. Applications are deemed complete unless the applicant is notified within 15 days of deficiencies. The applicant is given 15 days to cure the deficiencies. If an applicant requires more than 15 days to cure the deficiencies, the 45 day approval period will be extended by the same extension amount given the applicant. Applications that are not acted on by the authority within 45 days will be deemed approved. Authorities are prohibited from regulating the installation of wireless facilities on utility poles.

Parties whose application for new wireless support structures, substantial modification of wireless support structures, or collocation is denied may bring an action in a court of competent jurisdiction.

Authorities may not institute a moratorium on new wireless support structures, substantial modifications, or collocations if such moratorium exceeds six months and if the legislative act establishing it fails to state reasonable grounds and good cause for such moratorium. No moratorium shall affect an already pending application. Further, authorities may not charge more than the market rate for the rental of public land. If the parties cannot agree on a rate for the lease, three appraisers will be chosen. Each party will choose an appraiser with a third independent appraiser being chosen by the first two appraisers. The mid point of the three appraisals will be used as the rate, unless such amount is more than 10% off from the independent appraiser's valuation. In such a case, the independent appraiser's valuation will be used. Further, authorities may not offer a lease or contract to use public land to locate a wireless support structure than is less than 15 years in duration, unless the applicant agrees to accept an lease of less than 15 years. Nothing in this section shall give the applicant the power of eminent domain or the right to compel any property owner or certain governmental departments to lease or sell property for the construction of a new wireless support structure or to locate or cause the collocation or expansion of a wireless facility on any existing structure.

These sections are similar to sections contained in the truly agreed and finally passed SS/SCS/HCS/HB 345 (2013) and the truly agreed and finally passed SS/HB 331 (2013).

UTILITY RIGHT-OF-WAY ACROSS RAILROADS (389.585-389.591) - This act establishes a procedure for certain utilities to construct facilities over, under, or across a railroad right-of-way. Under this act, if a utility wants a right-of-way, the utility must apply to the land management company. The land management company must then send to the railroad or railroad corporation a copy of that notice within 2 days. The railroad or railroad corporation shall have an additional 30 days to either approve or reject the crossing proposal. If a utility is granted approval for a crossing, they shall provide the railroad or railroad corporation a written notice of the crossing before the crossing begins. No utility may commence a crossing until the railroad or railroad corporation has approved the crossing. If special circumstances do exist, a railroad or railroad corporation may reject a proposed crossing. If a proposed crossing is rejected, the utility may submit an amended proposal for the crossing. The railroad or railroad corporation shall have an additional 30 days to either approve or reject the amendment crossing proposal.

Land management companies and utilities must maintain and repair its own property within the railroad right-of-way and bear responsibility for its own acts and omissions, except that the utility shall be responsible for any bodily injury or property damage causing any bodily injury or property damage from the crossing. The railroad or railroad corporation may require the utility to and land management company to obtain reasonable amounts of comprehensive general liability insurance and railroad protective liability insurance for a crossing. Further, this act specifies that a utility shall have immediate access to a crossing for repair and maintenance of existing facilities in case of emergency provided that the utility first contacts the railroad or railroad corporation's dispatch center.

Under this act, a utility shall be provided a crossing, absent a claim of special circumstances, after payment by the utility of the standard crossing fee, submission of completed engineering specifications to the land management company, and approval to do so from the railroad or railroad corporation. Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, a utility that locates its facilities within the railroad right-of-way for a crossing, shall pay the land management company a one-time standard crossing fee of $1,500 for each crossing plus the costs associated with modifications to existing insurance contracts of the utility and the land management company. The standard crossing fee shall be in lieu of any license, permit, application, or any other fees or charges to reimburse the land management company for the direct expenses incurred by the land management company as a result of the crossing. The utility shall also reimburse the land management company for any actual flagging expenses associated with a crossing in addition to the standard crossing fee. The railroad or railroad corporation may halt work at the crossing if the flagging does not meet the standards of the railroad or railroad corporation. Nothing in this act shall prevent a land management company and a utility from otherwise negotiating the terms and conditions applicable to a crossing or the resolution of any disputes relating to the crossing, or from impairing a utility to secure an easement. No agreement between a land management company and a utility shall affect the rights of a railroad or railroad corporation.

Under the terms of this act, if the parties cannot agree that special circumstances exist to a particular crossing, the dispute shall be submitted to binding arbitration. Special circumstances generally means that there are circumstances associated with a particular crossing that requires additional terms and conditions or additional compensation. Any decision by the board of arbitration shall be final, binding, and conclusive as to the parties. Land management companies and utilities may seek enforcement of this act through the courts, and are entitled to reasonable attorney fees if they prevail. If the dispute over special circumstances concerns only the compensation associated with a crossing, the utility may proceed with installation during the pendency of arbitration.

This act shall apply in all crossings of land management corridors involving a land management company and a utility. The provisions of this act shall apply to a crossing commenced prior August 28, 2013, if an agreement concerning the crossing has expired or is terminated and to a crossing commenced on or after August 28, 2013.

The provisions of this act are similar to SB 418 (2013), the truly agreed and finally passed SS/SCS/HCS/HB 345 (2013), SCS/HCS/HB 345 (2013), and HB 901 (2013).

KAYLA CRIDER