By Bruce Edward Walker

(The following is re-posted by permission from Info Tech and Telecom News. IT&T News is a project of the Heartland Institute.)

A bill to reform the state’s 1991 Telecommunications Act regulating landline providers has moved to the Michigan House Energy and Communications Committee. House Bill 4314 was introduced February 22, 2011, amended, and referred to committee on March 7.

Introduced by Ken Horn (R-Frankenmuth), chairman of the House Energy and Communications Committee, on February 22, 2011, and cosponsored by Roy Schmidt (D-Grand Rapids), the Michigan Telecommunications Modernization Act (MTMA) updates, deletes, or repeals many provisions of the Telecommunications Act last revised in 2006.

“AT&T strongly supports House Bill 4314 and the work being done by Representatives Ken Horn and Roy Schmidt,” said Jim Murray, president, AT&T Michigan. “Their legislation balances many issues: It maintains important consumer protections; it does not change the obligations with respect to our competitors; it maintains the access restructuring reforms adopted in 2009; and it removes unnecessary and costly regulations.”

Limits Regulatory Authority

“HB 4314 will bring much-needed reform to the Michigan Telecommunications Act,” said Representative Ray A. Franz (R-Onekama), who is also a member of the Energy and Communications Committee.  “As people move more and more toward wireless communication, the requirements of the 20-year-old law that regulates decreasing landline connections needs to be brought into the 21st century.”

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Ted Nelson is a retired Michigan State Police officer who trained police departments throughout the state on civil asset forfeiture. He believes the practice has been misused and needs to change.

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