By:  Lucio                                            S.B. No. 1937

                                A BILL TO BE ENTITLED

                                       AN ACT

 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; and to ensure that consumers benefit from such

 2-1     competition.

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

 2-3     section, a joint interim committee shall be appointed to

 2-4     investigate, report, and make legislative recommendations regarding

 2-5     the state franchise policy for municipalities with respect to

 2-6     telecommunications services provided wholly within municipalities

 2-7     by telecommunications utilities.

 2-8           (c)  The joint committee shall be made up of:

 2-9                 (1)  the chairman of the Senate Committee on Economic

2-10     Development;

2-11                 (2)  the chairman of the Senate Committee on

2-12     Intergovernmental Relations;

2-13                 (3)  the chairman of the House Committee on State

2-14     Affairs;

2-15                 (4)  the chairman of the House Committee on Urban

2-16     Affairs;

2-17                 (5)  one member of the senate appointed by the

2-18     lieutenant governor; and

2-19                 (6)  one member of the house of representatives

2-20     appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives.

2-21           (d)(1)  The joint committee shall investigate:

2-22                       (A)  the need for consistency in terms and

2-23     conditions, including the authorized compensation methodology, to

2-24     be included in municipal franchise agreements across the state;

2-25                       (B)  the impact of existing municipal fee

 3-1     agreements, ordinances, charters, or other municipal requirements

 3-2     on the provision of competitive telecommunications services wholly

 3-3     within municipalities by telecommunications utilities and the

 3-4     authority of the legislature to establish the basis for and require

 3-5     modification of those agreements, ordinances, charters, or other

 3-6     municipal requirements;

 3-7                       (C)  the type and amount of cost incurred by

 3-8     municipalities by virtue of the use of the municipalities'

 3-9     rights-of-way and public property by telecommunications utilities

3-10     providing telecommunications services wholly within the

3-11     municipalities;

3-12                       (D)  the type, basis for, and amount of revenue

3-13     received by municipalities from telecommunications utilities

3-14     providing telecommunications services wholly within the

3-15     municipalities;

3-16                       (E)  the authority of municipalities to impose

3-17     conditions on or require compensation from telecommunications

3-18     utilities providing telecommunications services wholly within the

3-19     municipalities by resale of telecommunications services or the use

3-20     of facilities of other telecommunications utilities; and

3-21                       (F)  such other issues as are necessary to

3-22     promote the public interest and effectuate the policies in support

3-23     of competition by telecommunications utilities in the provision of

3-24     telecommunications services wholly within municipalities as set

3-25     forth in Subsection (a) of this section.

 4-1                 (2)  Notwithstanding the fact that cable television

 4-2     companies are not "telecommunications utilities" under this Act,

 4-3     the facilities and technologies used by telecommunications

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

 4-5     impose the same burdens on municipal rights-of-way, and are or will

 4-6     be used to provide comparable competitive services.  Some of the

 4-7     issues to be investigated by the joint committee are applicable to

 4-8     the cable television companies and are to be included within the

 4-9     issues investigated by and reported on by the joint committee.

4-10           (e)  The joint committee shall develop a report that analyzes

4-11     the state's policies with respect to the issues described in

4-12     Subsection (d) of this section and that includes recommended rule

4-13     or statutory changes to implement the policy options.  The joint

4-14     committee may make preliminary reports but shall make a final

4-15     report not later than November 1, 1998.  In this respect, affected

4-16     parties are placed on notice that any terms and conditions,

4-17     including any compensation, of municipal fee agreements,

4-18     ordinances, charters, or other municipal requirements now or

4-19     hereafter in existence may be superseded or subject to amendment,

4-20     to the extent inconsistent with the terms of legislation hereafter

4-21     enacted.

4-22           (f)  On request of the joint committee, the commission, the

4-23     Texas Legislative Council, the governor's office, the senate, and

4-24     the house of representatives shall provide staff as necessary to

4-25     carry out the duties of the joint committee.  The commission shall

 5-1     conduct such investigations and provide such information and

 5-2     reports as are necessary for the joint committee to make the

 5-3     determinations required by Subsections (d)(1)(C) and (d)(1)(D) of

 5-4     this section.  The commission shall provide the information and

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

 5-6           (g)  The joint committee is given such authority as is

 5-7     necessary to carry out the duties assigned by this section and in

 5-8     connection with those duties may call and hold hearings and compel

 5-9     the attendance of witnesses and the production of information and

5-10     documents.

5-11           (h)  If necessary to the discharge of its duties, the joint

5-12     committee may request the assistance of additional state agencies,

5-13     departments, or offices. The agencies, departments, or offices

5-14     shall provide the requested assistance.

5-15           (i)  The joint committee is abolished on the date it issues

5-16     its final report under Subsection (e) of this section.

5-17           SECTION 2.  This Act takes effect September 1, 1997.

5-18           SECTION 3.  This Act expires September 1, 1999.

5-19           SECTION 4.  The importance of this legislation and the

5-20     crowded condition of the calendars in both houses create an

5-21     emergency and an imperative public necessity that the

5-22     constitutional rule requiring bills to be read on three several

5-23     days in each house be suspended, and this rule is hereby suspended.

 <         By:  Lucio                                            S.B. No. 1937                                  A BILL TO BE