BILL SUMMARY for SB09-253
SENATE COMMITTEE ON BUSINESS, LABOR AND TECHNOLOGY
|Votes: View--> ||Action Taken: |
|Moved prepared Amendment L.001 (Attachment A). Th|
Moved prepared Amendment L.003 (Attachment B). Th
Moved to refer Senate Bill 09-253, as amended, to
|Pass Without Objection|
Pass Without Objection
01:53 PM -- Senate Bill 09-253
Senator Veiga presented Senate Bill 09-253. The bill requires public entities to use best efforts to provide a relocation payment to the owner of a utility facility that must be relocated as part of a project funded with federal money. It also modifies the types of relocation costs that local telecommunications service may recover through a rate adjustment provided by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), as well as by specifying the means for recovering costs. Senator Veiga explained the bill and distributed prepared Amendment L.001 and prepared Amendment L.003 (Attachments A and B, respectively) to the members of the committee. Senator Veiga summarized her reasons for sponsoring the bill and described the changes the amendments will make to the bill. She noted that Amendment L.001 strikes section one of the introduced bill; section one requires public entities to use best efforts to provide a relocation payment to the owner of a utility facility that must be relocated as part of a project funded with federal money.
The following individuals testified regarding the bill:
01:57 PM -- Cory Skluzak, representing the Office of Consumer Counsel (OCC), Department of Regulatory Agencies, testified in opposition to the bill. He stated that the OCC advocates on behalf of regulated utility consumers. Mr. Skluzak said that the bill will hurt regulated telephone service consumers, particularly Qwest consumers. He indicated that the bill will result in increased surcharges for consumers, incrementally decreasing the affordability of phone service for Coloradoans. Mr. Skluzak summarized the legislative history relevant to the bill and distributed an editorial by Peter Blake to the members of the committee (Attachment C). He described concerns the OCC has with the provisions of the bill and addressed the amendments that had been offered.
02:09 PM -- Neil Langland, representing the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), Department of Regulatory Agencies, testified in opposition to the bill. He addressed Mr. Skluzak's testimony and summarized the PUC's concerns with the bill. Mr. Langland stated that the bill will make regulatory processes more complicated. He discussed the possibility that the bill will put consumers at a disadvantage and described the phenomenon of "rate shock." Mr. Langland stated that the bill may result in undue cost recovery, and indicated that it is in the public's interest to maintain the current formula in existing statutes.
02:18 PM -- Marla Lien, representing the Regional Transportation District (RTD), testified in opposition to the bill as introduced. She noted that Senator Veiga had offered prepared Amendment L.001, striking section one of the introduced bill, and briefly described RTD's reasons for opposing section one.
02:22 PM -- Melissa Nelson, representing the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), testified in opposition to the bill as introduced. She thanked Senator Veiga for proposing an amendment to strike section one of the introduced bill, and discussed federal funding for CDOT projects.
02:24 PM -- John McCormick, representing Qwest, testified in support of the bill as amended by Amendment L.001 and Amendment L.003. Mr. McCormick said that without the abilities provided by the bill, providers such as Qwest will be forced to reduce capital and expense budgets, resulting in service and job losses. He added that Qwest desires to maximize federal funding dollars without taking money meant for other projects. Mr. McCormick described competition in the telecommunications industry and stated that Qwest is heavily regulated and should be allowed to compete effectively.
Senator Foster and Mr. McCormick discussed Qwest's use of the public right-of-way and the consequences of the federal Telecommunications Act.
Senator Veiga addressed Senator Foster's comments. She stated that the bill only pertains to relocations that occur at the behest of the government. Discussion continued between Senator Foster and Senator Veiga.
Senator Veiga provided closing remarks. She stated that Colorado will see less investment from companies like Qwest if such companies are not able to recover costs. She stated that the bill is in the best interests of Colorado.
|TIME: || 02:42:18 PM|
|MOTION:||Moved to refer Senate Bill 09-253, as amended, to the Committee on Appropriations. The motion passed on a 5-1 roll call vote, with one member excused.|
Final YES: 5 NO: 1 EXC: 1 ABS: 0 FINAL ACTION: PASS
The committee adjourned.