STAND. COM. REP. NO.396-02
RE: H.B. No. 1943
Honorable Calvin K.Y. Say
Speaker, House of Representatives
Twenty-First State Legislature
Regular Session of 2002
State of Hawaii
Your Committees on Consumer Protection and Commerce and Judiciary and Hawaiian Affairs, to which was referred H.B. No. 1943 entitled:
"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO PUBLIC UTILITIES,"
beg leave to report as follows:
The purpose of this bill is to exempt from the definition of "public utility", persons with an exclusive wireless telecommunications license from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Testimony in support of this measure was submitted by Verizon Wireless and VoiceStream Wireless. Testimony in opposition was provided by the Consumer Advocate and the Public Utilities Commission (PUC).
Your Committees find that the FCC has maintained regulatory authority over the wireless telecommunications industry since 1993, preempting the PUC in this matter for the past nine years. Yet, because wireless telecommunications companies doing business in our state are still classified as "public utilities," they are assessed a tax and PUC fee. These funds are entered into the PUC's operating budget, which among other things, is used to regulate the public utilities. Your Committees conclude that it is unfair to the wireless telecommunications industry to have to contribute funds to a state government agency that does not directly regulate its field of business.
Your Committees are cognizant of the concerns expressed by the PUC, but feel that unlike other monopolistic public utilities in Hawaii that require direct oversight by the government, the wireless telecommunications market is quite competitive. There are currently at least four major players in this industry in our state, and it is the intent of your Committees to try to create a more business-friendly atmosphere to entice more prospective wireless telecommunications providers into this growing market.
Your Committees have amended this bill by making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for purposes of consistency, clarity, and style.
As affirmed by the records of votes of the members of your Committees on Consumer Protection and Commerce and Judiciary and Hawaiian Affairs that are attached to this report, your Committees are in accord with the intent and purpose of H.B. No. 1943, as amended herein, and recommend that it pass Second Reading in the form attached hereto as H.B. No. 1943, H.D. 1, and be referred to the Committee on Finance.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committees on Consumer Protection and Commerce and Judiciary and Hawaiian Affairs,
ERIC G. HAMAKAWA, Chair
KENNETH T. HIRAKI, Chair