Legislation watch
Mackinac Center for Public Policy
Capitol Building

2005 House Bill 5237: Establish limited telecom regulation

Public Act 235 of 2005

  1. Introduced by Rep. Mike Nofs (R) on September 27, 2005, to replace the expiring Michigan Telecommunications Act with a new law that only gives the Public Service Commission the authority to regulate rates basic residential phone service plans that include less than 100 call per month, and deregulates all other telecommunications services. This would still include basic consumer protection provisions of the old law, such as bans on “slamming,” “cramming,” and similar practices not specifically authorized by a customer. The bill would also restrict the authority of local governments and universities and public entities from providing telecommunications services generally provided by the private sector, such as internet service.
    • Referred to the House Energy and Technology Committee on September 27, 2005.
      • Reported in the House on October 20, 2005, with the recommendation that the substitute (H-3) be adopted and that the bill then pass.
    • Substitute offered in the House on October 20, 2005, to adopt a new version of the bill that still allows local governments to get into the internet service provider business if they cannot find three private firms willing to bid on providing service; “grandfathers” local governments that currently do this if at least 10 percent of residents use the service; lets schools and colleges offer such service with no new restrictions; retains regulation of wholesale rates charged to competitors by “incumbent” phone companies only through 2007; eliminates the separate "end user line charge" (EUCL) but allows providers to roll it into their rates if they demonstrate it is justified; requires providers that offer new technology services (like VOIP) to register with the state; prohibits charges for unlisted numbers; requires full disclosure of all fees and costs in a service plan; and more. The substitute failed by voice vote in the House on October 20, 2005.
    • Amendment offered by Rep. Leon Drolet (R) and Rep. Joe Hune (R) on October 20, 2005, to strip out the requirement that a phone company provide unlisted number service at no charge. The amendment passed by voice vote in the House on October 20, 2005.
    • Amendment offered by Rep. Jeff Mayes (D) and Rep. Tim Moore (R) on October 20, 2005, to revise details of the requirement that phone companies offer the "essential basic" phone service to certain low income people at discounted rates, and to also require the discounts be given to anyone receiving various forms of welfare assistance, including Medicaid, food stamps, etc. The amendment passed by voice vote in the House on October 20, 2005.
    • Amendment offered by Rep. Mike Nofs (R) on October 20, 2005, to strip out the requirement that internet service provided by a local government must be used by at least 10 percent of residents for it to be "grandfathered" and allowed to continue. This has the effect of "grandfathering" essentially any existing governmentally-provided internet service. The amendment passed by voice vote in the House on October 20, 2005.
    • Amendment offered by Rep. Shelley Goodman Taub (R) on October 20, 2005, to allow local governments to offer internet service without seeking competitive bids if the purpose is to "promote the public health, safety, and the provision of 'e-government' services". The amendment passed by voice vote in the House on October 20, 2005.
  2. Passed 100 to 6 in the House on October 20, 2005, to replace the expiring Michigan Telecommunications Act with a new law that limits the regulation of retail telephone rates to an "essential basic" residential plan of 100 calls per month that every phone company would be required to provide, and eliminates most other regulations after 2007. The new law would still include consumer protections such as bans on “slamming” and “cramming,” etc. It would restrict but not prohibit local governments from getting into the internet service provider business.
    Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

  3. Received in the Senate on October 25, 2005.
    • Referred to the Senate on October 25, 2005.
    • Amendment offered in the Senate on November 3, 2005, to add additional restrictions and requirements for phone company actions involving certain customers who have the "essential basic" phone service, and require phone companies to disclose more information to these customers regarding what happens if they exceed the 100-outgoing calls limit. The amendment passed by voice vote in the Senate on November 3, 2005.
    • Amendment offered by Sen. Mark Schauer (D) on November 3, 2005, to extend until Nov. 30, 2005 the deadline on local governments for initiating the process to enter the internet service provider business. This would allow a consortium of governments in the Grand Rapids area and elsewhere to enter the business. The bill restricts their ability to do so. The amendment failed by voice vote in the Senate on November 3, 2005.
  4. Passed 38 to 0 in the Senate on November 3, 2005, to replace the expiring Michigan Telecommunications Act with a new law that limits the regulation of retail telephone rates to an "essential basic" residential plan of 100 calls per month that every phone company would be required to provide, and eliminates most other regulations after 2007. The new law would still include consumer protections such as bans on “slamming” and “cramming,” etc. It would restrict but not prohibit local governments from getting into the internet service provider business.
    Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

  5. Received in the House on November 3, 2005, to concur with the Senate-passed version of the bill, which made only minor changes. Passed 96 to 6 in the House on November 3, 2005.
    Who Voted "Yes" and Who Voted "No"

  6. Signed by Gov. Jennifer Granholm on November 21, 2005.

Comments

Re: 2005 House Bill 5237 (Establish limited telecom regulation )  by EricWatson on June 25, 2012 
As for any other important service providers, the telecom services must be regulated to ensure the clients are being treated fair. |For example, I shouldn't receive text marketing messages from my telecom provider unless I expressly require to. Also, the cost of the services should be regulated in order to keep it at a decent, realistic value. The new law covers these aspects better than the previous one.

yooper  by Anonymous Citizen on March 13, 2006 
Our Michigan legislators sure do bear some watching. My feeling, regarding HR 5237, is that they are in the pockets of telecommunications business owners. Why else would they vote against a bill that would allow local governments to offer internet service at lower prices than commercial ISPs will do? & why else would they vote against regulation of communications companies, phone companies, when there are so many problems with them?

citizen  by Anonymous Citizen on March 7, 2006 
well-intentioned but could be a problem to low income seniors who have learned to email family members and also develop online friends to communicate with by inadvertently encouraging frequently being knocked offline on dialup service to cause more calls than intended. I don't like this bill at all

View pre-2013 Comments.
Your new comments should be made in the box below.