Councilors discuss opposition to several bills being considered by state legislature
PRESS RELEASE Wednesday April 17, 2019
Contact: Cody Owens
Birmingham, AL — The Birmingham City Council passed a resolution opposing a bill that is currently in the state legislature, and discussed opposition to several more.
One bill that was discussed was HB 346, a piece of legislation that would prohibit municipalities from banning plastic bags, making Alabama the 11th state to pass a law prohibiting local governments from banning single-use plastic bags.
Some councilors expressed concern over this move.
“Some bills that have been presented are preemption bills,” Councilor Darrell O’Quinn said. “They will basically take away cities’ ability to impact important issues. The plastic bag bill and [SB 264] are two that stand out in particular that we’re really concerned about.”
In regards to SB 264, the Council unanimously passed a resolution opposing the bill that could place unfair regulations on municipalities across the state when dealing with the placement of small cell/5G towers.
“The FCC came out with legislation that really deprives states the ability to limit the number of cell towers, especially ‘small cell,’” explained Earl Hilliard Jr., Senior Director of Governmental Affairs with the Mayor’s office. “The problem with ‘small cell,’ they’re billing it as increasing reception — it’s a small box instead of a tower, but they have to be within 500 feet of one another in the line of sight. The problem is the city won’t be able to limit where those are placed.”
“I’m happy to see there will be some pushback on these bills,” Councilor Wardine Alexander said. “The 5G small cell bill also takes away from municipalities’ ability to manage our rights-of-way. And I think it also limits our ability to protect our citizens from the potential liability of having these placed on our public rights-of-way.”
The Council will be meeting next week to discuss the city’s legislative agenda for the current session and beyond.