Mobile 5G and Small Cell 2020 Legislation

Heather Morton 5/4/2020

Mobile Phone with 5G on the screen and App Symbols Floating Above the Screen

Mobile fifth-generation (5G) wireless systems are the next upgrade of wireless technology, offering faster speeds, greater capacity and better reliability.

To deploy this technology, new infrastructure, called small cells, must be used. Small cells generate less power, collect and transmit signals in a short range from one another and require collocating the cells on other infrastructure. Small cell wireless facility deployment requires streamlined federal, state and local permitting, rights of way, application timelines and other siting and application fees, and application review timelines and appeals processes to make it economically feasible for wireless companies to deploy the technology across communities.

More than 25 state legislatures have enacted small cell legislation that streamlines regulations to facilitate the deployment of 5G small cells.

These laws take into consideration the unique circumstances of their state and local environment, but baseline principles can be established and are consistent with wireless industry standards, including:

  • Streamlined applications to access public rights of way.
  • Caps on costs and fees.
  • Streamlined timelines for the consideration and processing of cell siting applications.

Sixteen states have introduced mobile 5G and small cell-related legislation in the 2020 legislative session.

Mobile 5G and Small Cell 2020 Legislation
State Bill Number Bill Summary
Alabama

SB 172
Passed Senate 3/5/20

Relates to wireless telecommunications; establishes a procedure to authorize wireless providers to collocate, mount, or install small wireless facilities on existing poles, or install new poles on the right-of-way of the state or any agency, county, or municipality thereof; exempts small wireless facilities from certain zoning review and approval procedures; to establish a procedure for the permitting of the development of small wireless facilities and poles in the rights-of-way of the state; and establishes rates and fees for all permits for small wireless facilities.

Alaska None  
Arizona None  
Arkansas None  
California None  
Colorado None  
Connecticut None  
Delaware None  
District of Columbia None  
Florida

HB 6075
Died in committee 3/14/20

Deletes provisions limiting authority of and prohibiting municipalities and counties from functions related to communications service providers; deletes references to, and administration and provisions of Advanced Wireless Infrastructure Deployment Act.

Florida

SB 1848
Died in committee 3/14/20

Removes certain communications services lines as items over which certain governmental entities are authorized to prescribe and enforce reasonable rules and regulations; removes limitations on municipal and county authority to regulate and manage municipal and county roads or rights-of-way; removes provisions that specify activities for which permit fees may not be imposed; removes provisions that require that work in a certain authority’s rights-of-way must comply with a specified document, etc.

Georgia

HB 184
Passed House 2/14/19

Enacts the "Streamlining Wireless Facilities and Antennas Act"; streamlines the deployment of wireless broadband in the public rights of way; addresses any perceived conflicts between this Act and Chapter 66B of Title 36; provides that nothing in this Act relieves any person of any duties provided for in Chapter 9 of Title 25.

Georgia HB 556

Amends Title 46 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to public utilities and public transportation, so as to provide limitations on fees that may be charged for installation of telephone facilities; to provide for the due compensation to be paid to municipal authorities by telephone companies; to revise terminology for purposes of conformity.

Guam None  
Hawaii HCR 80
HR 63

Requests a study of the environmental and health effects of fifth-generation technology.

Hawaii HCR 148
HR 128

Requests the department of health to conduct a study on the potential health risks of 5G wireless technology, including peer-reviewed scientific data on 5G, and a moratorium be implemented on current and future deployment of 5G and related technology until the study is completed.

Hawaii SB 2460

Prohibits the deployment of 5G in the state until a definitive research base exists finding that 5G poses no significant public health hazard.

Hawaii SCR 64

Requests the department of health to conduct a study of the environmental and health effects of fifth-generation wireless technology.

Hawaii SR 31

Requests the department of health to conduct a study of the environmental and health effects of fifth-generation wireless technology.

Idaho None  
Illinois HB 4596

Amends the Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act. Makes a technical change in a section concerning the short title.

Illinois HB 4653

Creates the Local Control, Protection, and Empowering Law in the Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act. Provides that property owners may, by petition, require a hearing prior to an authority's approval or denial of the installation of a small wireless facility in an area zoned exclusively for residential purposes. Requires the petition to include 250 signatures of the property owners or 40% of the property owners, whichever is less, within 1,000 feet of where the small wireless facility would be installed. Includes other petition and hearing requirements. Provides that all findings and written comments of the authority as a result of the hearing must be forwarded to the Office of the Secretary of the Federal Communications Commission by the authority. Provides that a hearing shall not interfere with the requirement that an authority approve or deny an application within specified timeframes.

Illinois SB 3298

Amends the Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act. Modifies the definition of "collocate" or "collocation" and adds a definition of "structure." Changes various references of "collocate" or "collocation" to "install" or "installation." Provides that an authority may require in a residential historic district that a small wireless facility be collocated on an existing utility pole or existing wireless support structure within 850 feet of the proposed installation or, if no such existing wireless support structure, the authority may reject the application.

Illinois SB 3559

Amends the Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act. Makes a technical change in a section concerning the short title.

Illinois SJR 55

Creates the 5G Task Force to identify any major health risks associated with the proliferation of 5G infrastructure in the state of Illinois.

Illinois SJR 63

Creates the 5G Task Force to identify any major health risks associated with the proliferation of 5G infrastructure in the state of Illinois.

Indiana None  
Iowa HF 111

Code chapter 8C, the “Iowa Cell Siting Act”, provides uniform rules and limitations for the installation or siting of wireless facilities, including uniform rules and limitations related to applications, certain changes, the use of public lands for towers and transmission equipment, the location of utility poles, permits for small wireless facilities, the removal of small wireless facilities, and certain height limitations. This bill repeals the “Iowa Cell Siting Act” and allows counties and cities to establish standards and requirements regarding the installation or siting of wireless facilities. The bill defines “wireless facility” to mean equipment at a fixed location that enables the provision of wireless telecommunications services or the infrastructure required for such services.

Iowa HR 101

Requests the establishment of an interim committee to evaluate the safety of fifth-generation wireless network technology.

Kansas None  
Kentucky None  
Louisiana HB 666

Enacts Chapter 50 of Title 33 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes of 1950, to be comprised of R.S. 33:9721, relative to small wireless facilities; authorizes parishes and municipalities to enact ordinances relative to the installation of such facilities within their jurisdiction; provides requirements for such ordinances; provides for such parishes and municipalities to become connected ready communities; requires the Public Service Commission to provide certain services to connected ready communities.

Maine None  
Maryland None  
Massachusetts HB 383

Requests formation of a task force (including members of the General Court) relative to the economic and regulatory impacts of fifth-generation (5G) cellular mobile communications.

Massachusetts HB 2885

Establishes a special commission to study the environmental and health effects of evolving 5G technology.

Massachusetts SB 1272

Registers wireless facilities to allow for monitoring and to ease access to contact information.

Massachusetts SB 1273

Bans especially dangerous wireless facilities, emissions, and products.

Michigan None  
Minnesota HF 4598
SF 4534

Modifies requirements for small wireless facilities; requires a study; appropriates money.

Mississippi None  
Missouri HF 2182

Currently, the uniform small wireless facility deployment act expires on Jan. 1, 2021. This bill repeals the expiration date.

Montana No regular session  
Nebraska None  
Nevada No regular session  
New Hampshire None  
New Jersey AB 1114

Establishes “5G Network and Development Task Force.”

New Jersey AB 1116

Provides for uniform regulation of small wireless facility deployment in this state.

New Jersey SB 860

This bill, to be known and cited as the “Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act”; provides for uniform regulation of small wireless facility deployment in New Jersey.

New Mexico None  
New York AB 1459
SB 1949

Enacts the "wireless broadband eligible facility permitting act" to provide for uniform regulation of certain wireless facilities.

New York AB 4066
SB 3046

Relates to notice requirements and municipal cooperation in wireless facility siting; requires notification be provided to municipalities in which wireless facilities are to be sited and to residents within 2,500 feet of proposed wireless facilities.

New York AB 8637

Establishes a temporary commission to study the environmental and health effects of evolving 5G technology.

New York

AB 8988
Signed by governor 4/17/20, Chapter 32
SB 7179
Substituted 2/5/20

Directs the study of the future implementation of fifth and future generation wireless network system technology in the state and specifies which agencies shall conduct such study.

New York AB 10157
SB 7922

Directs the study of the health and environmental impact of the implementation of 5G and future generation wireless network system technology and small cell distributed antenna systems in the state.

New York SB 6071

Relates to small wireless facility development.

North Carolina None  
North Dakota No regular session  
N. Mariana Islands Not available  
Ohio None  
Oklahoma None  
Oregon None  
Pennsylvania HB 1400

Provides for small wireless facilities deployment.

Puerto Rico None  
Rhode Island None  
South Carolina

HB 4262
Passed House 4/4/19

Adds article 5 to chapter 11, title 58 so as to enact the "South Carolina Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act"; makes legislative findings; defines relevant terms; provides, among other things, that certain agreements or enactments pertaining to the deployment of small wireless facilities that do not comply with certain provisions of this act must be deemed invalid and unenforceable beginning Oct. 1, 2019; provides that certain units of local government "authorities" with control over rights of way may not prohibit, regulate, or charge for the collocation of certain small wireless facilities; provides that small wireless facilities must be classified as permitted uses and not subject to zoning review and approval under specified circumstances; provides requirements for applications, fees, application review, and issuance of permits for collocation of small wireless facilities; requires authorities to allow the collocation of small wireless facilities on authority utility poles under specified circumstances; prohibits authorities from regulating the design, engineering, construction, installation, or operation of any small wireless facility in specified circumstances; provides that the administrative law court has jurisdiction to resolve all disputes arising under the act; and prohibits an authority from requiring a wireless provider to indemnify the authority or its officers or employees and from naming the authority as an additional insured on a wireless provider's insurance policy.

South Carolina SB 638

Adds article 5 to chapter 11, title 58 so as to enact the "South Carolina Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act"; makes legislative findings; defines relevant terms; provides, among other things, that units of state or local government "authorities" with control over rights of way may not prohibit, regulate, or charge for the collocation of certain small wireless facilities; provides that small wireless facilities must be classified as permitted uses and not subject to zoning review and approval under specified circumstances; provides requirements for applications, fees, application review, and issuance of permits for collocation of small wireless facilities; requires authorities to allow the collocation of small wireless facilities on authority utility poles under specified circumstances; prohibits authorities from regulating the design, engineering, construction, installation, or operation of any small wireless facility in specified circumstances; provides that the administrative law court has jurisdiction to resolve all disputes arising under the act; and prohibits an authority from requiring a wireless provider to indemnify the authority or its officers or employees and from naming the authority as an additional insured on a wireless provider's insurance policy.

South Dakota None  
A. Samoa None  
Tennessee None  
Texas None  
Utah None  
Vermont None  
Virginia None  
US Virgin Islands None  
Washington None  
West Virginia HB 4296

Amends and reenacts §64-8-1 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to authorizing the Division of Highways to promulgate a legislative rule relating to small wireless facilities on Division of Highways rights-of-way.

West Virginia

SB 364
Signed by governor 2/24/20, Act 208

Amends and reenacts §64-8-1 et seq. of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating generally to authorizing certain agencies of the Department of Transportation to promulgate legislative rules; authorizes the rules as filed and as modified by the Legislative Rule-Making Review Committee and as amended by the Legislature; authorizes the Division of Highways to promulgate a legislative rule relating to use of state road rights-of-way and adjacent areas; authorizes the Division of Highways to promulgate a legislative rule relating to transportation of hazardous wastes upon the roads and highways; authorizes the Division of Highways to promulgate a legislative rule relating to small wireless facilities on Division of Highways rights-of-way; authorizes the Division of Motor Vehicles to promulgate a legislative rule relating to a safety and treatment program; and authorizes the Division of Motor Vehicles to promulgate a legislative rule relating to State Vehicle Title, Registration, and Relicensing Project of 2018.

West Virginia SB 366

Amends and reenacts §64-8-1 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to authorizing the Division of Highways to promulgate a legislative rule relating to small wireless facilities on Division of Highways rights-of-way.

Wisconsin

AB 234
Failed to pass pursuant to Senate Joint Resolution 1 4/1/20

This bill creates a regulatory framework for the state and political subdivisions (cities, villages, towns, and counties) for the following: 1) the deployment by wireless services and infrastructure providers (wireless providers) of wireless equipment and facilities, including the placement of such items in rights-of-way (ROW); 2) the permitting process for certain activities by wireless providers; 3) the regulation of access to certain governmental structures by wireless providers; and 4) the resolution of disputes. The bill also authorizes political subdivisions to impose setback requirements for certain mobile service support structures.

Wyoming None  

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Heather Morton is a program principal in Fiscal Affairs. She covers financial services, alcohol production and sales and telecommunications issues for NCSL.

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