Mission – Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed Substitute for Senate Bill 72 today after touring an AT&T facility in Mission, KS. Lt. Governor Jeff Colyer, M.D, local lawmakers and area business leaders joined him at the signing.
Governor Brownback said SB 72 modernizes communications policies in Kansas and increases the opportunity for investment in broadband and wireless, at no cost to taxpayers.
“The top priority for Dr. Colyer and I is to grow the state’s economy and get the more than 100-thousand unemployed Kansans back to work. This new law is a step in the right direction because it sets policy that improves the state's business climate, encourages investment and job creation, and protects people, not products,” Brownback said.
Under the new law, an electing carrier would be able to tie its rates in non-competitive markets with rates in competitive markets. Currently, only AT&T of Kansas qualifies to become an electing carrier.
“This will give private business greater ability to invest in 3G and 4G networks in Kansas. These investments will be infrastructure, which gives people jobs up front, and the long-term benefits of the infrastructure will have far reaching benefits for consumers in both urban and rural areas. This will make more of our state more competitive and create an environment for high-tech growth,” Brownback said.
The Kansas Corporation Commission will continue to regulate what the electing carrier can charge for Lifeline, a low cost telephone service available to those that are at 150% of federal poverty guidelines or qualify by participation in food stamps, free lunch programs, etc. Currently, that service costs $4.43 a month plus taxes.
“Our state needs to do all it can to attract private investment and create private sector jobs,” Dr. Colyer said. “Economic growth and more jobs mean more tax revenue to support our state’s core responsibilities and priorities that are important to all of us.”
SB 72 will become law after it is published in the Kansas Statute Book.
What Kansas business leaders are saying about SB 72:
Tim Holverson, Executive VP, Leavenworth-Lansing Area Chamber of Commerce - "SB 72 is good for jobs, good for consumers and good for the long term economic health of Kansas. We need to do whatever we can to attract jobs and investment - and this bill is a great start."
Steve Hahn, President, AT&T Kansas - "This legislation is an important step forward for Kansas. It sends a strong signal and makes our state more attractive for the massive investment required to build an advanced communications network that will increase the velocity of business, the efficiency of healthcare delivery and access to educational opportunities."
Abel Perez, Executive Director, Wichita Hispanic Chamber of Commerce - "Updating outdated regulation is a critical step in getting Kansas on the right economic track. Jobs follow investment and this bill will help Kansas compete for capital. Best of all, it costs taxpayers nothing."