If you think this bill is bad now…. wait for it, wait for it…. until Virginia Beach gets their hands on it.
Delegate Kathy J. Byron (R-22nd) has introduced HB2108 to the Commerce and Labor Committee. This bill allows localities to enter into the private sector and engage in selling internet services. If you claim to be a Republican and believe in our creed: HERE then why would you allow the government to do business that the entrepreneur, free market, and true capitalism should be doing?
A quote from the Republican creed:
“That fiscal responsibility and budgetary restraints must be exercised at all levels of government”
While in committee yesterday January 26, 2017, Delegate Byron stated she was working with Virginia Beach on this bill. Does anyone trust the powers that be in Virginia Beach on any size and scope of government? This should be a huge red flag to everyone. Virginia Beach is already doing their best to keep the 25 million of statewide funds that would pay for a train you’ll never ride. HB2021
Virginia Freedom Caucus reported on the statewide funds that should be returned to the taxpayers earlier HERE and HERE.
If you think this bill is bad now…. wait for it, wait for it…. until Virginia Beach gets their hands on it. I bet they’ll get to make money off of it while the rest of us pay for it. Can you say PPP? Just Sayn!
The window for an opportunist, hum I mean opportunity will be wide open.
The original bill has been gutted and replaced by a substitute – HB 2108 Substitute Jan 25
The substitute bill was on the agenda for the House Commerce & Labor Committee twice and passed by for the day both times. Here’s the info on the C&L Committee.
The substitute bill now only applies to localities who are providing internet service.
We have been opposed to both the original version of HB2108 as well as the substitute bill for the reasons shown below – although you might not like our objection of the FOIA exemption (but, have you ever heard that trade secrets were required to be disclosed???). The second point is also critical.
1. FOIA protections removed.
a. The removal of the FOIA exemptions for trade secrets, confidential, and proprietary information will make negotiations with private providers or contractors for public-private partnerships extremely difficult. Private companies will not partner with and provide services to localities if their proprietary information will be made public (and available to competitors).
b. Similarly, the proposed legislation will not allow locality boards and councils to discuss these matters in closed meetings, which again disadvantages the locality.
c. Also, communications technology and plans should be protected as these lines of communications would then be more vulnerable to cyber or other attacks.
2. Nondiscriminatory access remains problematic.
a. Specifically, the proposed legislation would require localities to provide “nondiscriminatory access” to its infrastructure (poles, conduits, rights-of-way, dark fiber, and towers or other structures) without compensation and contrary to constitutional principles regarding the taking of property.
i. The citizens of each locality invested in these improvements, infrastructure, etc. to benefit their community, not to lay the groundwork for private companies to use for free.
b. It is not clear how access is to be provided—first come, first served? There is no provision to enable the locality to prioritize requests to locate on locality-owned infrastructure, etc. to those organizations that would provide the best or most comprehensive services to its citizens.
i. This will not ensure service is provided to citizens of the locality providing the infrastructure.
c. Loophole. The proposed legislation only requires that private providers only have some services in the locality (somewhere)—there is no requirement that the infrastructure to be used (taken) be utilized for services to the citizens who are providing the infrastructure.
i. Again, this provision does not ensure the citizens (who have provided the infrastructure) will receive any services from these private companies.