California’s SB 649 Vetoed by Governor Brown

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UPDATE Earlier this month, Inside Towers reported on California’s Senate Bill 649 proposed by Sen. Ben Hueso (D-San Diego), aiming to lower the build-out cost for wireless infrastructure, allowing more telecoms to enter the market and compete, specifically regarding small cells. The decision came down to Gov. Jerry Brown, who vetoed the bill late Sunday, reported The Mercury News.

In a signing statement, Brown wrote that while he saw the value in “extending this innovative technology rapidly and efficiently,” the bill took too much control away from cities and counties.

Industry trade groups were quick to react.  “WIA is disappointed that Gov. Brown decided to veto this important piece of legislation,” said Jonathan Adelstein, President and CEO of WIA, “which would have spurred the widespread deployment of the wireless infrastructure that is needed to improve network capacity in the near term and provide a foundation for the deployment of 5G networks going forward. California needs to enact laws that streamline the permitting process and grant greater access to public rights-of-way or its residents will be left behind.”

According to The Mercury News, the bill was primarily supported by the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association. Conversely, the bill alarmed many local government officials, citing leasing caps and health concerns. Many grassroots activists opposed the bill, projecting that if it passed, 50,000 new cellular antennas would be installed on public buildings and utility poles in California neighborhoods.   

In an email, Ellen Marks, a San Francisco-based leader of the California Alliance for Safer Technology wrote, “I am thrilled that Governor Brown showed strength and stood up to this powerful wireless industry and said no — you are not going to do this in my state!”

Those in opposition to the bill are elated at the governor’s decision, especially as it relates to health concerns from radiation. Joel Moskowitz, director of the Center for Family and Community Health at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health commented via email that more than 180 scientists and doctors have signed a declaration calling for a moratorium on the increase of cell antennas required for 5G deployment, “as we are concerned about the health effects including neurological impacts, infertility, and cancer.”

October 18, 2017

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