Bill Text

PDF |Add To My Favorites |Track Bill | print page

AB-2537 Telecommunications universal service programs: Lifeline Oversight Board. (2017-2018)

SHARE THIS:share this bill in Facebookshare this bill in Twitter
Date Published: 05/01/2018 10:00 AM
AB2537:v98#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  April 30, 2018

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 2537


Introduced by Assembly Member Carrillo

February 14, 2018


An act to amend Section 277 of, and to add Section 871.9 to, the Public Utilities Code, relating to communications.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 2537, as amended, Carrillo. Telecommunications universal service programs: Lifeline Oversight Board.

Existing law, the federal Telecommunications Act of 1996, establishes a program of cooperative federalism for the regulation of telecommunications to attain the goal of local competition, while implementing specific, predictable, and sufficient federal and state mechanisms to preserve and advance universal service, consistent with certain universal service principles. Under the act, universal service is an evolving level of telecommunications services that the Federal Communications Commission is required to establish periodically, taking into account advances in telecommunications and information technologies and services. The universal service principles include the principle that consumers in all regions of the nation, including low-income consumers and those in rural, insular, and high-cost areas, should have access to telecommunications and information services, including interexchange services and advanced telecommunications and information services, that are reasonably comparable to those services provided in urban areas and that are available at rates that are reasonably comparable to rates charged for similar services in urban areas. The act authorizes each state to adopt regulations to provide for additional definitions and standards to preserve and advance universal service within the state, only to the extent that they adopt additional specific, predictable, and sufficient mechanisms that do not rely on or burden federal universal service support mechanisms.

Under existing law, the Public Utilities Commission has regulatory authority over public utilities, including telephone corporations. The Moore Universal Telephone Service Act established the Universal Lifeline Telephone Service (ULTS) program. In carrying out the ULTS program, the commission is required to annually designate a class of lifeline service necessary to meet minimum residential communications needs, including the ability to originate and receive calls and the ability to access electronic information service, to set the rates and charges for that service, to develop eligibility criteria for that service, and to assess the degree of achievement of universal service, including telephone penetration rates by income, ethnicity, and geography. service. Funding for the ULTS program is provided through a surcharge established by the commission on specified communications services that are deposited into the Universal Lifeline Telephone Service Trust Administrative Committee Fund and are made available to the commission, upon appropriation, exclusively for the ULTS program. Existing law establishes the Universal Lifeline Telephone Service Trust Administrative Committee, which is an advisory board to advise the commission regarding the development, implementation, and administration of the ULTS program, and to carry out the ULTS program pursuant to the commission’s direction, control, and approval.
This bill would repeal language creating the Universal Lifeline Telephone Service Trust Administrative Committee and instead establish the Lifeline and Broadband Oversight Board both to advise the commission on the effective development, implementation, and administration of the lifeline program, and to perform specified duties, including program to ensure lifeline service is available to the people of the state state, and to serve as a liaison between the commission and low-income subscribers and their representatives to carry out the program pursuant to the commission’s direction, control, and approval. The board would be composed of 13 11 members, selected by the commission as specified, and the bill would require that board meetings alternate locations between northern, central, and southern California to maximize participation from consumers in those regions. The bill would require the commission to (1) establish a 90% lifeline participation goal for all eligible California households, (2) assign staff and provide technical support to the board, and work with the board and other specified entities to increase participation in the lifeline program, (3) ensure the needs of low-income lifeline subscribers are met, and (4) provide formal notice of board meetings in the commission’s daily calendar.
Under existing law, a violation of the Public Utilities Act or any order, decision, rule, direction, demand, or requirement of the commission is a crime.
Because certain of the provisions of this bill would be a part of the act and because a violation of an order or decision of the commission implementing its requirements would be a crime, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program by creating a new crime. program.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that no reimbursement is required by this act for a specified reason.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 Section 277 of the Public Utilities Code is amended to read:

277.
 (a) There is hereby established the Lifeline Oversight Board, which shall advise the commission on the effective development, implementation, and administration of the lifeline program to ensure lifeline service is available to the people of the state, as provided for in Article the Moore Universal Telephone Service Act (Article 8 (commencing with Section 871) of Chapter 4 of Part 1 of Division 1, 4), and which shall serve as a liaison between the commission and low-income subscribers and their representatives to carry out the program pursuant to the commission’s direction, control, and approval.
(b) All revenues collected by telephone corporations in rates authorized by the commission to fund the program specified in subdivision (a) shall be submitted to the commission pursuant to a schedule established by the commission. Commencing on October 1, 2001, and continuing thereafter, the commission shall transfer the moneys received, and all unexpended revenues collected prior to October 1, 2001, to the Controller for deposit in the Universal Lifeline Telephone Service Trust Administrative Committee Fund. All interest earned by moneys in the fund shall be deposited in the fund.
(c) Moneys appropriated from the Universal Lifeline Telephone Service Trust Administrative Committee Fund to the commission shall be utilized exclusively by the commission for the program specified in subdivision (a), including all costs of the board and the commission associated with the administration and oversight of the program and the fund.

SEC. 2.

 Section 871.9 is added to the Public Utilities Code, to read:

871.9.
 (a) The Lifeline Oversight Board, established in Section 277, shall do all of the following:
(1) Monitor and evaluate the implementation of the lifeline program.
(2) Advise and assist in the development and analysis of low-income subscribers’ needs.
(3) Monitor the budget for the lifeline program and provide recommendations to maximize the program’s effectiveness and delivery.
(4) Assist in developing outreach, education, marketing, and communications strategies, independent of participating providers’ marketing efforts, to increase program participation from within the low-income community.
(5) Encourage the use of community-based organization networks in outreach efforts and program implementation to increase program participation.
(6) Encourage collaboration between other state-funded programs and community-based stakeholders to increase participation among low-income individuals.
(7) Provide reports or testimony to the Legislature, as requested, summarizing any needs, audits, and analysis associated with the implementation of the lifeline program.
(8) Assist in streamlining the lifeline program’s application and enrollment process, including options to share enrollment information with other state-funded low-income programs.
(9) Coordinate with the Low-Income Oversight Board, established in Section 382.1, to maximize the effective implementation and delivery of low-income programs administered by the commission by holding one joint meeting per year.
(b) The Lifeline Oversight Board shall be composed of 13 11 members to be selected by the commission as follows:
(1) One member who is a representative of a large or midsized local exchange carrier.
(2) One member who is a representative of a small local exchange carrier.
(3) One member who is a representative of an interexchange carrier or a competitive local exchange carrier.
(4) One member who is a representative of a wireless carrier.
(5) Two members who are representatives of consumer organizations, each of whom represents a different constituency, based on geographic or economic criteria, on language, or on other criteria that reasonably influence lack of access to basic telephone service.
(6) Three members who are representatives of community-based organizations, each of whom represents a different constituency, based on geographic or economic criteria, on language, or on other criteria that reasonably influence lack of access to basic telephone service.
(7) One member who is an individual, or a representative of an organization, representing the interests of either the deaf or disabled users of the lifeline program.
(8) One member who is a representative of the Office of Ratepayer Advocates.

(1)Six members, selected by the commission, who have expertise in, and experience working with, low-income communities and who are not employed by, or by corporate affiliates of, any state agency or telecommunications or communications corporate entity. These members shall be selected in a manner to ensure an equitable geographic and community-of-interest distribution.

(2)One member, selected by the Governor, who is a representative of the Governor’s office.

(3)One member, selected by the Governor, who is a representative of the Department of Technology or a similar state agency.

(4)One member, selected by the commission, who is a commissioner or commissioner designee.

(5)One member, selected by the commission, who is a representative of the Office of Ratepayer Advocates.

(6)One member, selected by the commission, who is a representative of a lifeline wireline telephone service provider.

(7)One member, selected by the commission, who is a representative of a lifeline mobile telephony service provider that is unaffiliated with a wireline telephone corporation that offers lifeline services.

(8)One member, selected by the commission, who is a representative of a wireline telephone service provider that is a small independent telephone corporation subject to Section 275.6.

(c) The board shall alternate meeting locations between northern, central, and southern California to maximize participation from consumers in those regions.
(d) The commission shall do all of the following in conjunction with the board:
(1) Establish a 90-percent lifeline participation goal for all eligible California households.
(2) Assign staff and provide technical support to the board, and work with the board, interested parties, and community-based organizations to increase participation in the lifeline program. The assigned staff shall not be members of the board or have a vote on board decisions.
(3) Ensure the needs of low-income lifeline subscribers are met.
(4) Provide formal notice of board meetings in the commission’s daily calendar.
(e) Members of the board shall be eligible for compensation in accordance with state guidelines for necessary travel.

SEC. 3.

 No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.