The cities of Austin and Brownsville filed lawsuits against the Lone Star state over SB 1004, a new state telecommunications bill that limits cities’ ability to regulate the installation of wireless service. The bill, which is one of many of its kind being pushed by the wireless industry, limits the municipality fees for facility applications and installations, preempting local rules and practices.
Texas is “effectively forcing the City of Austin to subsidize the private cellular industry by several million dollars a year,” said Andy Tate, senior public information specialist for the state. “At the same time, the State is interfering without ability to govern the use of antennae and equipment on public land.” The Texas Municipal League estimated its cities would lose more than $700 million per year as a result of the legislation.
Similar legislation passed in Ohio, and municipalities in that state are fighting back as well. Wireless siting legislation is also under consideration in California.
City of Austin sues Texas over massive new telecom bill (KXAN, Aug. 24, 2017)
Cleveland & 79 Ohio cities sue state, claiming wireless equipment law violates home rule (Cleveland.com, Mar. 20, 2017)