CalCom had a very successful Legislative Day on March 12, 2014. There was great participation from CalCom member companies. The day started at 9:00 a.m. at the offices of Yolanda Benson at Government Strategies after which we started our day with a 10:00 a.m. meeting with Assemblyman Steven Bradford. This began a full day of meetings with Legislators. In one day, we met with over 22 legislative offices and had two, and sometimes three, teams of CalCom members meeting with the various offices.
The targeted legislators were members who are chairs and members of the Assembly and Senate Committees that will be hearing our issues, including the bills listed below. This was a great opportunity to work on passage of AB 1693 (see below) which at the time of our Legislative Day had not yet been heard. CalCom also highlighted the CHCF-A Fund Extension bill, SB 1364 (see below) as well as issues like VOIP, ASF and other broader issues impacting our companies.
Our priority during these meetings was to tell the story of who and what CalCom is and to provide a glimpse into our member companies and the communities we serve. The legislative discussions included:
- AB 1693 (Perea) – the bill that would require the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to issue a decision on the General Rate Case of a small telephone corporation within 330 days of the application filing. If no decision is made by CPUC by the 330th day, the rate case application would be deemed approved.
- Update: This bill was heard on March 24 in the Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee. It passed out of committee on a 15-0 vote.
- SB 1364 (Fuller) – the bill that would extend the California High Cost Fund (CHCF) A and B program for four years until January 1, 2019.
- This bill will be heard on April 1, 2014 in Senate Energy, Utilities and Commerce Committee. As of today, we have not identified any opposition.
- AB 1601 (Stone) – this bill deals with the protection of confidential information depending on the CPUC’s interpretation of the current exemptions listed under the Public Records Act or an order by the CPUC designating specific categories of info as confidential.
- Update: This bill was opposed by CalCom and other telecommunications and utilities- the bill was pulled from hearing by the author.
The reception held later in the evening from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Mayahuel was extremely well attended and many of our industry partners, like the Cable Association, Technology groups like the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, TechNet, TechAmerica, AT&T, Verizon, joined us as well as numerous Legislators.
To describe the Legislative Day as success is not a sufficient description to illustrate the impact we made at the State Capitol. Thank you again for everyone who attended. We hope to have all companies involved again next year.
Written by: Yolanda Benson, Government Strategies (CalCom Lobbyist)