Mobile 5G and Small Cell 2020 Legislation

Heather Morton 1/31/2021

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 introduced mobile 5G and small cell-related legislation in the 2020 legislative session. Michigan, Missouri, New York, South Carolina and West Virginia enacted legislation.

The box allows you to conduct a full text search or type the state name.

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 HB 5818

Amends the Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act. Provides that a wireless provider may be required to provide the following additional information when seeking a permit to collocate small wireless facilities: (i) a written affidavit signed by a radio frequency engineer with specified certifications; (ii) a written report that analyzes acoustic levels for the small wireless facility and all associated equipment; (iii) information showing the small wireless facility has received any required review by the FCC under the National Environmental Policy Act; and (iv) a certified copy of the original easement documents and other supporting documentation demonstrating that the applicant has the right to install, mount, maintain, and remove a small wireless facility and associated equipment in specified circumstances. Provides that an authority may propose that the small wireless facility be collocated on an existing utility pole or existing wireless support structure within 200 feet (rather than 100 feet) of the proposed collocation. In provisions prohibiting an authority from requiring an application, approval, or permit or requiring any fees or other charges from a communications service provider authorized to occupy the rights-of-way for the replacement of wireless facilities with wireless facilities that are substantially similar, clarifies when changes are not "substantially similar". Provides that an authority may adopt reasonable rules requiring providers to place above-ground small wireless facilities and associated equipment and to replace larger, more visually intrusive small wireless facilities with smaller, less visually intrusive facilities. Adds provisions concerning radio frequency compliance. Makes other changes.

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 SB 4009

Amends the Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act. Provides that a wireless provider may be required to provide the following additional information when seeking a permit to collocate small wireless facilities: (i) a written affidavit signed by a radio frequency engineer with specified certifications; (ii) a written report that analyzes acoustic levels for the small wireless facility and all associated equipment; (iii) information showing the small wireless facility has received any required review by the FCC under the National Environmental Policy Act; and (iv) a certified copy of the original easement documents and other supporting documentation demonstrating that the applicant has the right to install, mount, maintain, and remove a small wireless facility and associated equipment in specified circumstances. Provides that an authority may propose that the small wireless facility be collocated on an existing utility pole or existing wireless support structure within 200 feet (rather than 100 feet) of the proposed collocation. In provisions prohibiting an authority from requiring an application, approval, or permit or requiring any fees or other charges from a communications service provider authorized to occupy the rights-of-way for the replacement of wireless facilities with wireless facilities that are substantially similar, clarifies when changes are not "substantially similar". Provides that an authority may adopt reasonable rules requiring providers to place above-ground small wireless facilities and associated equipment and to replace larger, more visually intrusive small wireless facilities with smaller, less visually intrusive facilities. Adds provisions concerning radio frequency compliance. Makes other changes.

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 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 HB 6465

Amends the Small Wireless Communications Facilities Deployment Act to define a county road commission as an “authority” for purposes of that act.

Michigan

SB 1256
Signed by governor 12/30/20, Public Act 360

Amends the Small Wireless Communications Facilities Deployment Act to define a county road commission as an “authority” for purposes of that act.

Minnesota HF 4598
SF 4534

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

Mississippi None  
Missouri

HB 1768
Signed by governor 7/2/20

This bill modifies provisions related to communication services. This bill modifies the powers of neighborhood improvement districts and community improvement districts to include the ability to partner with telecommunications companies or broadband service providers in order to construct or improve telecommunications facilities. A grandfathered political subdivision shall not charge a linear foot fee for use of its right-of-way to a small local exchange telecommunications company as of Dec. 31, 2019, as defined in the bill; provided that the small local exchange telecommunications company is providing Internet access to customers within rural areas of the state. This bill extends the sunset date for the Uniform Small Wireless Facility Deployment Act from Jan. 1, 2021, to Jan. 1, 2025. Under the bill, any corporation formed for the purpose of being a telephone or telegraph company or operating under the General and Business Corporation Law of Missouri, may amend the articles of association to include a statement referencing the corporation's operating designation as an exempt organization as described in the Internal Revenue Code. This bill requires the Department of Economic Development to maintain a record of all federal grants awarded to entities for the purposes of providing, maintaining, and expanding rural broadband in the state. In cases in which federal funds have been awarded but later retained, withheld, or otherwise not distributed to the original grant recipient due to failure to meet performance standards or other criteria, the Department of Economic Development will seek to have the funds awarded to another eligible, qualified Missouri broadband provider. Under this bill, a grant recipient of funds from the Missouri Broadband Grant Program must return such funds if the grant recipient fails to establish retail broadband Internet speeds of at least 25 megabits per-second download and three megabits per-second upload). Currently, the broadband Internet grant program for unserved and underserved areas of the state will expire on Aug. 28, 2021. This bill extends the program until June 30, 2027.

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
SB 2674

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

New Jersey AB 4065

This bill clarifies the application of the business personal property tax on local exchange telephone companies that were subject to the tax as of April 1, 1997.  This bill clarifies the changes made in 1997 to the business personal property tax that defined local exchange telephone companies that were subject to that tax as of April 1, 1997. The Tax Court in Verizon New Jersey Inc. v. Hopewell Borough, which was decided on June 26, 2012, has incorrectly construed the plain meaning of the language of the statutory change made in 1997. That statutory change was intended to grandfather into the local property tax base the business personal property of all incumbent local exchange companies that were then subject to that tax and were a telecommunications carrier then meeting the one-time definition, not an annual redefinition, of providing dial tone and access to 51% of a local telephone exchange.  Local exchange telephone companies have taken advantage of the incorrect interpretation of the statute and has informed 65 municipalities that it will no longer pay tax on its business personal property, such as equipment, utility poles, cables and more in any given municipality where it claims on an annual basis that it does not provide 51% or more of landline service to its residents. This unintended erosion of the local property tax base will impact all other local property taxpayers in these and possibly more municipalities. This bill restores the intended local property tax status quo intended to be determined in 1997. This bill also imposes the business personal property tax on the business personal property of wireless telephone companies. That business personal property would include small cell network nodes, which are low—powered radio access nodes that generally consist of small radios and antennas that are two or three feet long and placed on existing and new utility poles, street lights, signs, and signal light poles with the purpose of increasing the capacity of wireless network service.

New Jersey AJR 170

Establishes the “New Jersey Commission on 5G Health Effects” to study the environmental and health effects of 5G wireless technologies.

New Jersey SB 860

Withdrawn from further consideration 7/2/20

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 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.

North Carolina None  
North Dakota No regular session  
N. Mariana Islands Not available  
Ohio None  
Oklahoma None  
Oregon None  
Pennsylvania None  
Puerto Rico None  
Rhode Island None  
South Carolina

HB 4262
Signed by governor 9/29/20, Act 179

Adds article 5 to chapter 11, title 58 so as to, among other things, enact the "South Carolina Small Wireless Facilities Deployment Act"; makes legislative findings; defines relevant terms; makes provisions for certain agreements or enactments addressing the deployment of small wireless facilities entered into prior to the effective date of this act; provides, among other things, guidelines and procedures to units of local government regarding enactments addressing decorative poles, underground districts, design districts, and historic districts; affirms the powers of units of local government with respect to wireless facilities that are not small wireless facilities located within rights of way; provides, among other things, guidelines and procedures to wireless providers and units of local government with control over rights of way regarding the collocation of certain small wireless facilities within rights of way; makes provisions for applications, fees, application review, and the issuance of permits for the collocation of small wireless facilities; requires that applications to collocate small wireless facilities pursuant to this article must be processed on a nondiscriminatory basis; enumerates the conditions under which a unit of local government may deny an applicant's proposed collocation of a small wireless facility, and provides that subject to the ability of a unit of local government to deny an application, the collocation of small wireless facilities must be allowed on nondiscriminatory terms and conditions; provides that the administrative law court has contested case jurisdiction to determine all disputes arising under this act; and prohibits a unit of local government from requiring a wireless provider to indemnify and hold the authority and its officers and employees harmless against any claims, lawsuits, judgments, costs, liens, losses, expenses, or fees, except when a court of competent jurisdiction has found that the negligence of the wireless provider while installing, repairing, or maintaining facilities, poles, or support structures pursuant to this act caused the harm that created such claims, lawsuits, judgments, costs, liens, losses, expenses, or fees.

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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