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Autonomous Vehicle Bill Drives Out of Committee; House and Senate Committees Consider Different Wireless Structure (Small Cell) Bills

2018-01-19T15:29:16+00:00January 19th, 2018|

Autonomous Vehicle Bill Drives Out of Committee

Bill # and Title: HB 1341 – Autonomous Vehicles
Author: Rep. Ed Soliday (R-Valparaiso)
Summary: Preempts local government from enacting laws that prohibits the authorized use of an automated vehicle. Allows a person with a driver’s license to operate an automated vehicle on a public highway. Requires automated vehicles to comply with all applicable federal and state laws pertaining to the type of motor vehicle being operated. Prohibits the use of an automated driving system or an automated vehicle that does not comply with federal and state laws concerning the functions operated by the automated driving system or the type of motor vehicle being operated. Requires all automated vehicles to be registered with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and any person who operates an automated vehicle to maintain proof of financial responsibility with the bureau. Requires a person who operates, platoons or tests an automated vehicle to have at least $5 million worth of financial responsibility per entity. …
Chamber Position: Support
Status: Amended and passed from the House Roads and Transportation Committee 12-0.

Update/Chamber Action: Over the past six months, the Chamber has been involved on the planning committee to establish the first autonomous vehicle (AV) bill the Indiana General Assembly has considered. This is a priority of the Chamber’s Tech Policy Council and is off to a good start.

Working with Rep. Soliday, related state agencies, as well as auto and other transportation companies, this bill works to strike a balance between innovation of this evolving technology and public safety. There are six levels of AV’s (from Level 0 to Level 5). This bill addresses mostly levels 3, 4 and 5 (fully autonomous). Presently, there is an absence of defined federal regulations on AV’s, so states have been writing their own regulations. Certain parts of this bill will become null when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration promulgates federal regulations.

Also in the bill are provisions that address and allow truck platooning. This is technology that uses GPS and WiFi to allow one truck to follow closely with another for increased fuel efficiency.

The Chamber testified in support of this bill in committee and will work to encourage passage in the full House when the bill is considered there.


House and Senate Committees Consider Different Wireless Structure (Small Cell) Bills

Bills # and Titles: HB – 1050 Small Cell Wireless Structures; SB – 258 Wireless Communications Support Structures
Authors: Rep. David Ober (R-Albion); Sen. Mark Messmer (R-Jasper)
Summary: HB 1050 Provides that the definition of “wireless support structure” does not include a utility pole owned or operated by: (1) a public utility; (2) a municipality; (3) an electric membership corporation; or (4) a rural electric cooperative. Does include wireless carriers. Provides that with respect to the construction, placement or use of small cell facilities and associated supporting structures, a permit authority may prohibit the placement of a new wireless support structure in a right-of-way within an area that is designated before May 1, 2017, strictly for underground or buried utilities, if the area was zoned for residential use before May 1, 2017. Removes a requirement that a permit authority’s prohibition on placement of utility poles and wireless support structures be applied in a non-discriminatory manner. SB258 Provides that, for purposes of the statute concerning the local permitting of support structures for wireless communications services, with respect to the construction, placement or use of a small cell facility and the associated supporting structure, a permit authority may prohibit the placement of a new utility pole or new wireless support structure in a right-of-way within an area that is designated strictly for underground or buried utilities, if the designation is made before April 15, 2017, and if certain other conditions are met. (Current law provides that the designation concerning underground or buried utilities must be made before May 1, 2017.) Provides that with respect to the construction, placement or use of a small cell facility and the associated supporting structure in a right-of-way within an area that is: (1) zoned exclusively for residential land use; and (2) designated strictly for underground or buried utilities after April 14, 2017, and before May 1, 2017; a permit authority may not prohibit the placement of a new utility pole or new wireless support structure in a right-of-way within the area. Provides that if a permit authority receives an application for the placement of a new utility pole or a new wireless support structure in a right-of-way within such an area, a group of residents residing within the area and satisfying the statutory standing requirements for filing a complaint with the utility regulatory commission (IURC) may, not later than 30 days after the permit authority’s receipt of the application, submit objections to the IURC for an informal determination of whether the placement is in the public interest. Requires the IURC to make its determination not later than 45 days after receipt of the submission. Provides that if the IURC does not make a determination within the prescribed 45-day period, the placement is considered to be in the public interest.
Chamber Position: HB 1050 – Support in Part/Oppose in Part; SB 258 – Support
Status: Discussed in the House Utilities, Energy and Telecommunications Committee, and Senate Utilities Committee; both held for vote next week.

Update/Chamber Action: The Chamber testified on both bills, fully supporting SB 258 and opposing parts of HB 1050. Both bills work to fix unintended consequences from a language drafting error on a conference committee report for the small cell legislation (SB 213) during the 2017 session.

The drafting error allowed a two-week window where 59 municipalities passed either a resolution or ordinance to allow for more local control of utility right of ways and permitting, especially with underground utilities. These local actions made it more difficult for carriers to implement 5G wireless networks. Senate Bill 258 allows resolutions or ordinances made before April 15, 2017 to remain, but disallowed municipal actions made between April 15 and May 1, 2017. Meanwhile, HB 1050 exempted all utilities except wireless carriers with an underground utilities fix; SB 258 exempted all utilities, including wireless carriers.

In the House committee, Rep. David Ober (R-Albion) said his bill is a work-in-progress; so, we hope it gets amended to more closely align with SB 258.

Resource: R. Mark Lawrance at (317) 264-7547 or email: mlawrance@indianachamber.com