Citing “terrible” public feedback, a senator is scrapping a bill that would have further diminished state regulation of major phone carriers and allowed them to end basic land-line phone service in unprofitable areas.
Sen. Paul Hornback, R-Shelbyville, on Thursday said he decided to drop Senate Bill 12, referred to as “the AT&T bill,” after meeting with Senate Democrats and House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, to try to address their concerns.
Hornback said he blamed “misinformation” spread by the news media and the bill’s opponents, including Tom FitzGerald, director of the Kentucky Resources Council.
If you missed the background on this one, the bill Hornback was pushing was written by AT&T:
The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Paul Hornback, sat flanked by two AT&T executives who helped write the measure as he testified to the Senate Committee on Economic Development, Tourism and Labor. AT&T also has been pushing similar measures in other state capitals this year.
….The PSC, which regulates many of the state’s utilities, lost much of its authority over traditional phone carriers after the legislature’s passage of a 2006 deregulation bill. For example, as of last summer, the PSC no longer may rule on prices for any carriers that choose to deregulate.
….Hornback said more regulatory burdens must be lifted so AT&T can afford to invest in a modern communications system throughout Kentucky, including rural areas.