1-1     relating to the provision of telecommunications services within

 1-2     municipalities.


 1-4           SECTION 1.  Subtitle F, Title III, Public Utility Regulatory

 1-5     Act of 1995 (Article 1446c-0, Vernon's Texas Civil Statutes), is

 1-6     amended by adding Section 3.270 to read as follows:




1-10     (a)  It is the policy of the State of Texas to encourage

1-11     competition among telecommunications utilities providing

1-12     telecommunications services wholly within municipalities in a

1-13     competitively neutral, nondiscriminatory manner; to reduce the

1-14     barriers to entry for such telecommunications utilities by

1-15     eliminating any conditions which prohibit or have the effect of

1-16     prohibiting the ability of any telecommunications utility to

1-17     provide telecommunications services wholly within municipalities;

1-18     to ensure that any compensation to municipalities for the

1-19     telecommunications utilities' use of municipal rights-of-way or

1-20     other public property to provide telecommunications services wholly

1-21     within municipalities is fair and reasonable to telecommunications

1-22     utilities and municipal residents who own the public property or

1-23     right-of-way; to ensure the ability of municipalities to exercise

 2-1     their authority to manage the public rights-of-way; and to ensure

 2-2     that consumers benefit from such competition.

 2-3           (b)  In order to effectuate the policies described in this

 2-4     section, a joint interim committee shall be appointed to

 2-5     investigate, report, and make legislative recommendations regarding

 2-6     the state franchise policy for municipalities with respect to

 2-7     telecommunications services provided wholly within municipalities

 2-8     by telecommunications utilities.

 2-9           (c)  The joint committee shall be made up of:

2-10                 (1)  the chairman of the Senate Committee on Economic

2-11     Development;

2-12                 (2)  the chairman of the Senate Committee on

2-13     Intergovernmental Relations;

2-14                 (3)  the chairman of the House Committee on State

2-15     Affairs;

2-16                 (4)  the chairman of the House Committee on Urban

2-17     Affairs;

2-18                 (5)  one member of the senate appointed by the

2-19     lieutenant governor; and

2-20                 (6)  one member of the house of representatives

2-21     appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives.

2-22           (d)(1)  The joint committee shall investigate:

2-23                       (A)  the need for consistency in terms and

2-24     conditions, including the authorized compensation methodology, to

2-25     be included in municipal franchise agreements across the state;

 3-1                       (B)  the impact of existing municipal fee

 3-2     agreements, ordinances, charters, or other municipal requirements

 3-3     on the provision of competitive telecommunications services wholly

 3-4     within municipalities by telecommunications utilities and the

 3-5     authority of the legislature to establish the basis for and require

 3-6     modification of those agreements, ordinances, charters, or other

 3-7     municipal requirements;

 3-8                       (C)  the type and amount of cost incurred by

 3-9     municipalities by virtue of the use of the municipalities'

3-10     rights-of-way and public property by telecommunications utilities

3-11     providing telecommunications services wholly within the

3-12     municipalities;

3-13                       (D)  the type, basis for, and amount of revenue

3-14     received by municipalities from telecommunications utilities

3-15     providing telecommunications services wholly within the

3-16     municipalities;

3-17                       (E)  the authority of municipalities to impose

3-18     conditions on or require compensation from telecommunications

3-19     utilities providing telecommunications services wholly within the

3-20     municipalities by resale of telecommunications services or the use

3-21     of facilities of other telecommunications utilities; and

3-22                       (F)  such other issues as are necessary to

3-23     promote the public interest and effectuate the policies in support

3-24     of competition by telecommunications utilities in the provision of

3-25     telecommunications services wholly within municipalities as set

 4-1     forth in Subsection (a) of this section.

 4-2                 (2)  Notwithstanding the fact that cable television

 4-3     companies are not "telecommunications utilities" under this Act,

 4-4     the facilities and technologies used by telecommunications

 4-5     utilities and cable television companies are the same or similar,

 4-6     impose the same burdens on municipal rights-of-way, and are or will

 4-7     be used to provide comparable competitive services.  Some of the

 4-8     issues to be investigated by the joint committee are applicable to

 4-9     the cable television companies and are to be included within the

4-10     issues investigated by and reported on by the joint committee.

4-11           (e)  The joint committee shall develop a report that analyzes

4-12     the state's policies with respect to the issues described in

4-13     Subsection (d) of this section and that includes recommended rule

4-14     or statutory changes to implement the policy options.  The joint

4-15     committee may make preliminary reports but shall make a final

4-16     report not later than November 1, 1998.  In this respect, affected

4-17     parties are placed on notice that any terms and conditions,

4-18     including any compensation, of municipal fee agreements,

4-19     ordinances, charters, or other municipal requirements now or

4-20     hereafter in existence may be superseded or subject to amendment,

4-21     to the extent inconsistent with the terms of legislation hereafter

4-22     enacted.

4-23           (f)  On request of the joint committee, the commission, the

4-24     Texas Legislative Council, the governor's office, the senate, and

4-25     the house of representatives shall provide staff as necessary to

 5-1     carry out the duties of the joint committee.  The commission shall

 5-2     conduct such investigations and provide such information and

 5-3     reports as are necessary for the joint committee to make the

 5-4     determinations required by Subsections (d)(1)(C) and (d)(1)(D) of

 5-5     this section.  The commission shall provide the information and

 5-6     final reports to the joint committee no later than June 1, 1998.

 5-7           (g)  The joint committee is given such authority as is

 5-8     necessary to carry out the duties assigned by this section and in

 5-9     connection with those duties may call and hold hearings and compel

5-10     the attendance of witnesses and the production of information and

5-11     documents.

5-12           (h)  If necessary to the discharge of its duties, the joint

5-13     committee may request the assistance of additional state agencies,

5-14     departments, or offices. The agencies, departments, or offices

5-15     shall provide the requested assistance.

5-16           (i)  The joint committee is abolished on the date it issues

5-17     its final report under Subsection (e) of this section.

5-18           SECTION 2.  This Act takes effect September 1, 1997.

5-19           SECTION 3.  This Act expires September 1, 1999.

5-20           SECTION 4.  The importance of this legislation and the

5-21     crowded condition of the calendars in both houses create an

5-22     emergency and an imperative public necessity that the

5-23     constitutional rule requiring bills to be read on three several

5-24     days in each house be suspended, and this rule is hereby suspended.

         _______________________________     _______________________________

             President of the Senate              Speaker of the House

               I hereby certify that S.B. No. 1937 passed the Senate on

         May 5, 1997, by a viva-voce vote; and that the Senate concurred in

         House amendment on May 28, 1997, by a viva-voce vote.


                                                 Secretary of the Senate

               I hereby certify that S.B. No. 1937 passed the House, with

         amendment, on May 26, 1997, by a non-record vote.


                                                 Chief Clerk of the House