List of US State Bills Streamlining Wireless Small Cells/DAS/Nodes on Rights Of Way
United States Statewide Bills that Preempt Local Authority For Wireless Facilities
Allowing Wireless Small Cells/DAS/Nodes Microwave Antennas on Rights Of Way Streetlights and Power poles in Neighborhoods
5G requires millions of mini cell towers to be built nationwide. From coast to coast, states are moving forward with Bills to preempt local authority and allow companies to place wireless antennae in neighborhoods in front of homes with zero to minimal community input. In some states, fierce community opposition has lead to blocking these streamlining Bills. In other states, these Bills have passed. Please see this running list of states and their Bills with useful links to news stories and videos about the new legislation.
Please contact us with information we are missing and/or new letters to include.
EHT will try to regularly update this list. If you see information that needs to be added or corrected please contact us at [email protected]
States with Bills to Support Local Control and Halt Preemption
The bill proposes to require the council to establish a statewide plan for siting small cells and DAS in the public rights of way. In addition, it would require that any process established include the participation of the municipality where this equipment will be sited. Technology is changing drastically, and there is a need for the added capacity antenna systems provide. There is currently no statutory framework in place that keeps up with changing technology, and wireless companies are able to install antenna systems without the meaningful input from towns where these antenna systems are located. This bill proposes a moratorium on all jurisdictional matters relating to small cells and DAS until the plan and process are approved by the legislature.
Verizon wireless and Industry trade groups were opposed to this bill.
Sen. Slossberg Announces Passage of Senate Bill 536 “Slossberg’s bill would establish a state-wide plan and process for siting these small cell canister antennas, similar to the process that currently exists for cell phone towers. Critical to this process would be participation by the municipality where an antenna may be placed, along with members of the community. This process would give community members and elected officials a voice in the siting of these small canister antennas.”
New York Senate Bill 6687 2017 Bill Directs the public service commission to prohibit the attachment of wireless equipment or any other like attachments to existing utility poles in certain circumstances.
Draft Ordinance for Oyster Bay on Wireless Facilities which would be among the most stringent if passed.
“The Town of Oyster Bay finds that wireless telecommunications facilities may pose significant concerns to its residents, and the character and environment of its neighborhoods..The process will establish a fair and efficient process for review and approval of applications; assure an integrated, comprehensive review of environmental impacts; and protect the rights of the Town and its residents, to the maximum extent allowed under the law.”
“…no person shall be permitted to site, place, build, construct, modify or prepare any site for the placement or use of wireless telecommunications facilities without having first obtained a building-permit from the Department of Planning and Development and any and all other approvals as required herein or under other applicable law. A new wireless facility must, in addition to a building permit, obtain a special use permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals.”
Several Districts, communities and elected officials have organized to halt preemption. Montgomery County is redoing zong and Cities in Prince George’s County have joined to prepare and plan a way to maintain local control. A 2016 Bill to streamline small cells resulted in community outrage.
2017 Update: Montgomery County and Prince George’s County have drafted new zoning that would remove public notoce and public hearings for cell antennas in neighborhoods in front yards on rights of ways.
Prince George’s County
This video is testimony given in a Prince George’s County Greenbelt City Council meeting before the draft zoning was introduced but shows that the local towns want to stop small cells from being placed on their front yards.
SB 331 streamlining Bill that passed was heavily opposed and later was ruled unconstitutiona after lawsuits by over 70 citiesl. See News Stories:
States with Bills to Preempt Local Control
October 2017 Update: SB649 was vetoed by Governor Brown. See all the details on our dedicated SB649 page.
Click Here To Download A PDF Of Over 60 Pages Of Letters On 5G By Scientists And Organizations Such As The Sierra Club, The AARP And Environmental Working Group Opposed to SB649 .
Heavy Opposition to SB 649 to preempt local authority in small cell wireless facility siting:
Nearly 150 cities, and the League of California Cities®, remain opposed to SB 649 (as amended June 20).
Law Office Of Harry Lehmann, Second Letter To The State Of California Liability for Damage From Microwave Radiation Exposure Sustained by Senate Bill 649 Will Be Shifted to California State , July 19, 2017
Letter from the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), July 19, 2017 “This bill undermines the authority of local government..”
Examples of letters from California Cities
The Editorial Boards of Four Major California newspapers Oppose SB 649
Bucolic Lancaster Shuns Tower Development, Inside Towers, January 16, 2017
“Lancaster Pennsylvania passed a cell tower ordinance in September. It prohibits wireless transmission equipment on any property deemed historically significant, gives the city control over “time place and manner” of construction and repair work and requires equipment to “blend with the existing surroundings … to the greatest extent possible.”
“About 60 Pennsylvania cities and towns — among them Philadelphia and many of its suburbs — opposed the utility designation in comments to the commission, saying the status granted those firms overly broad powers with little regulatory oversight.”
Senate Bill 213 bars cities and counties from denying permits to companies building cell towers less than 50 feet high on public right-of-ways, as well as installing antennas on utility poles and traffic lights. Several cities including West Lafayette, Crawfordsville and Lafayette are among those in Indiana which have begun legislating to head off the effects of a bill giving sweeping new rights to cell phone companies. Crawfordsville Mayor Todd Barton, speaking on WBAA’s “Ask The Mayor,” calls the bill “atrocious.”
City fights law on cell structure locations, Saturday, April 29, 2017 , Indiana Journal Gazette “Fort Wayne joined cities and councils throughout Indiana in pushing back against a law that would limit municipalities’ ability to regulate the location of cellular equipment in the public right of way.”
Senate Bill 1004: Takes away the ability of cities to control how public rights-of-way are used. • Mandates the use of street signs, traffic structures, and street lights for antennas for cell phone companies. • Subsidizes the cell phone industry with below market rental rates and capped application fees
“It’s an issue of private companies using taxpayer property for their own gain,” Bennet Sandlin, executive director of the Texas Municipal League, told The Dallas Morning News. “This bill is completely off the charts in terms of fairness.”
The Cities of Austin and Brownsville have sued.
Opposition to Small Cell Streamlining Bill resulted in several changes
The measure was passed as a stand-alone bill (HF 739) on the House floor on May 20. The following day, it was included in the omnibus jobs bill, SF 1456, which will now go to Gov. Dayton for approval. View the final omnibus jobs bill (pdf) The League of Minnesota Cities had issues with the permitting process, the space between the cells and whether municipalities had the ability to reject permits. The organization ended up making 34 changes to the bill before it became neutral to its passage.
SB 1451, known as the Small Cell Facilities Deployment Act, would limit municipal authority to regulate, site or charge permit fees for small wireless facilities.
2017 — S 0342: Small Cell Siting Act: Following the House’s passage of the bill, the legislation was referred to the R.I. Senate, where Sen. Louis P. DiPalma, D-Middletown, has sponsored companion bill S0342.
No Bills at this time but this is a report of the Advisory Council.
No State Bills at this time. The article below describes how “ South Dakota’s senior U.S. senator is the chair of the powerful Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, with oversight of the national telecommunications laws and regulations. In March, Thune introduced the Mobile NOW Act, a bill to open up spectrum to telecommunications companies and smooth the path for 5G technology, and moved it through his committee to the Senate floor.”
House Bill 189 “Advanced Wireless Infrastructure Investment Act” passed June 2017
Delaware becomes latest state to streamline rules for small cell deployments, Fierce Wireless September 1, 2017
HB 2365: HB 2365 was signed by Gov. Doug Ducey on March 31 allowing wireless carriers such as Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint to install, operate and maintain small-cell equipment in city and town rights-of-way, according to the League of Arizona Cities and Towns.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey wrote a letter published saying that his signature on House Bill 2365 makes his state the first to “streamline” the deployment of 5G wireless communication.
The telecommunications industry won passage of legislation, SB 1282 (McDougle), in 2017 that speeds deployment of wireless infrastructure in Virginia including small cells and micro-wireless facilities, imposing limits on local zoning authority.
UPDATE: New bills pushed forward in the 2018 session of the Virginia General Assembly would further erode local control, and concern structures up to 50 feet above ground level and co-locations on structures that are not small cell facilities. The primary 2018 bills are HB 1258 (Kilgore) and SB 405 (McDougle).
A 2018 session bill, HB 1131 (Gooditis), to repeal articles of the Code of Virginia that were set by the SB 1282 wireless infrastructure bill in 2017, was recommended to be stricken from the docket by a House subcommittee.
Scenic Virginia, Your Help Needed: Call Your Representatives to Oppose HB 1258 and SB 405
Virginia Association of Counties, Capitol Contact Alert, Feb. 2, 2018: House Panel Guts Local Control Over Zoning
“…allows wireless companies to place cell towers up to 50 feet tall within rights-of-way without local control. Additionally, for towers of greater height, the bill hamstrings localities’ ability to obtain information and address citizen concerns through the public hearing process.”
Virginia Association of Counties, Capitol Contact Alert, Feb. 1, 2018, Oppose Bad Wireless Bill Now
Virginia Municipal League, eNews Action Alert, Feb. 8, 2018: HB1258 Strips Local Control Over the Installation and Operation of Wireless Infrastructure
Virginia Municipal League, eNews, Feb. 2, 2018, Act Now: Wireless Infrastructure Will Be on the House Floor…
Excerpt from a 2018 City of Newport News resolution: “…the wireless equipment installations can have significant impacts on the health, safety, welfare and aesthetics of localities but those companies have little, if any, interest in taking into account those concerns that potentially conflict with their profit margins.”
A Cell Tower Next Door? New Bill Would Take Away Local Control, Martinsville Bulletin, Jan. 31, 2018
Control Over Cell Towers: Whose Call? Daily Press, Jan. 25, 2018
Virginia Wireless Communications Infrastructure Work Group The General Assembly convened this work group after the 2017 legislative session ended.
States Try to Speed Up Deployment of 5G Wireless Networks, Axios, June 8, 2017
Bill Would Restrict Local Control Over Some Wireless Equipment, Charlottesville Tomorrow, Jan. 27, 2017
Senate File 431 AN ACT RELATING TO THE SITING OF SMALL WIRELESS FACILITIES signed by Governor on 5/8/2017
CS/SB 596 (Hutson) and HB 687 (La Rosa) preempt local government control of city-owned rights-of-way for installation of wireless antennas and equipment. Among their various other provisions, the bills bar local governments from prohibiting or regulating the installation of wireless facilities on or next to existing cellular phone towers and utility poles within municipally owned rights of-way.
CS/CS/HB 687: Utilities Signed into law by governor.
FactSheet by Florida League of Cities AGAINST 687 “CS/HB 687 currently imposes a ridiculous price cap of $15 for these assets, lower than anywhere else in the country”
Memo on Temporary Moratorium on Placement of Wireless Communication Towers and Facilities in Public Rights-of-Way To: Cell Tower Right-of-Way Task Force Members Florida Association of County Attorneys (FACA) From: Jessica M. Icerman, Esq., Member, Cell Tower Right-of-Way Task Force, October 18, 2016
HB17-1193: Small Cell Facilities Permitting And Installation Clarifies that expedited permitting process established for broadband facilities applies to small cell facilities and small cell networks. Clarifes that rights-of-way access afforded to telecommunications providers for construction, maintenance, and operation of telecommunications and broadband facilities extends to broadband providers, small cell facilities, and small cell networks. Provides that telecommunications provider has right to locate or collocate small cell facilities and small cell networks on local government entity’s light poles, light standards, traf c signals, or utility poles in rights- of-way owned by local government, subject applicable law. Effective: July 1, 2017.
Companion Bill: HB 1921
The Mobile Broadband Infrastructure Leads to Development Act, HB 176 Passed in 2014 HB 176 would limit cities and counties to charging no more than $500 for review of an application for a new cell tower and limit rental and lease fees.
In 2017 a streamlining Bill FAILED HB 656 – Small Cell Deployment Act
The Missouri Municipal League was opposed to the 2017 HB 656 – Small Cell Deployment Act that would add small wireless facilities to the “Uniform Wireless Communication Infrastructure Deployment Act “passed into law in 2013 and grant wireless companies the right to use the public right of way to deploy wireless antennas. These bills limit a municipality’s ability to control the placement of antennas and “adjacent” equipment.
In 2013 House Bill 331 passed.
HB 331 proposes to prohibit municipalities from evaluating a cell site applicant’s business decisions with respect to the design of its service, customer demand for service, or quality of its service in a certain area. A municipality would also not be allowed to evaluate a cell tower application based on the availability of other potential locations for wireless site placement. Additionally, the type of wireless infrastructure, such as DAS, could not be dictated by the local authority.
The Municipal League and the Missouri Association of Counties opposed the passing of this bill.
LB 389, the Small Wireless Facilities Act, would cap application and permit fees at $250 and eliminate other lease, fee or tax payments, However, local governments would keep control over permitting.
As part of 2013 Act 20, the “Budget Bill”, this law preempts local regulation of cell phone towers. Although the new law allows local regulation under a number of circumstances, it also limits local regulation in some critical areas such as height limits, setbacks, and location of towers.
AB 130: In response to the 2013 Regulations legislators presented AB130 in 2017.
AB 130 authorizes a political subdivision to restrict the placement of certain mobile
AB 348, regulating the location of mobile cell tower sites. The bill initially created a loophole for small cell towers to be erected without setbacks.
Two press releases are indicative of the response to this bill. First a representative was in opposition to this bill. Read the June 6, 2017 “Press Release: Rep. Allen critical of cell tower bill; No setback requirement on “small wireless” towers up to 50 feet” Then, when setbacks were added, he supported the bill. See his June 21, 2017 Press Release “Rep. Allen supports amended cell tower bill Setbacks could be required on cell towers, small wireless facilities under current version”.
Fierce Opposition to Wi-Fi Poles Along Commuter Rail.
MBTA signed a contract that would allow InMotion Wireless to place wireless radiation-emitting monopoles along the commuter rail route. Citizens and municipal leaders across the Commonwealth have voiced strong opposition to the MBTA Plan in news reports:
Massachusetts has seven bills dealing with wireless radiation.