Utility easements; location of broadband and other communications facilities. (SB794)

Introduced By

Sen. Lynwood Lewis (D-Accomac) with support from co-patrons Sen. Mark Peake (R-Lynchburg), and Sen. Bill Stanley (R-Moneta)

Progress

Introduced
Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law

Description

Utility easements; location of broadband facilities. Declares that it is the policy of the Commonwealth that (i) easements for the location and use of electric and communications facilities may be used to provide or expand broadband or other communications services; (ii) the use of easements to provide or expand broadband or other communications services is in the public interest; (iii) the installation, replacement, or use of public utility conduit, including the costs of installation, replacement, or use of conduit of a sufficient size to accommodate the installation of infrastructure to provide or expand broadband or other communications services, is in the public interest; (iv) the use of easements to provide or expand broadband or other communications services (a) does not constitute a change in the physical use of the easement; (b) does not interfere with, impair, or take any vested or other rights of the owner or occupant of the servient estate; (c) does not place any additional burden on the servient estate other than a de minimis burden, if any; and (d) has value to the owner or occupant of the servient estate greater that any de minimum impact; and (v) the installation and operation of broadband or other communications services within easements, appurtenant or gross, are merely changes in the manner, purpose, or degree of the granted use as appropriate to accommodate a new technology. The measure further provides that (1) absent any express prohibition on the installation and operation of broadband or other communications services in an easement that is contained in a deed or other instrument by which the easement was granted, the installation and operation of broadband or other communications services within any easement shall be deemed, as a matter of law, to be a permitted use within the scope of every easement for the location and use of electric and communications facilities and (2) subject to compliance with any express prohibitions in a written easement, any incumbent utility or communications provider may use an easement to install, construct, provide, maintain, modify, lease, operate, repair, replace, or remove its communications equipment, system, or facilities, and provide communications services through the same, without such incumbent utility or communications provider paying additional compensation to the owner or occupant of the servient estate or to the incumbent utility, provided that no additional utility poles are installed. The measure provides that any incumbent utility or communications provider may use a prescriptive easement to install, construct, provide, maintain, modify, lease, operate, repair, replace, or remove its communications equipment, system, or facilities, and provide communications services through the same, without such incumbent utility or communications provider paying additional compensation to the owner or occupant of the servient estate or to the incumbent utility, provided that no additional utility poles are installed. This bill is identical to HB 831. Read the Bill »

Outcome

Bill Has Passed

History

DateAction
01/08/2020Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/08/20 20104980D
01/08/2020Referred to Committee on Commerce and Labor
01/15/2020Impact statement from SCC (SB794)
01/17/2020Assigned C&L sub: Energy
02/03/2020Reported from Commerce and Labor with substitute (13-Y 1-N)
02/03/2020Reported from Commerce and Labor with substitute (14-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/03/2020Incorporates SB302 (Stanley)
02/03/2020Incorporates SB539 (Peake)
02/03/2020Committee substitute printed 20106150D-S1
02/05/2020Constitutional reading dispensed (40-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/06/2020Read second time
02/06/2020Reading of substitute waived
02/06/2020Committee substitute agreed to 20106150D-S1
02/06/2020Engrossed by Senate - committee substitute SB794S1
02/06/2020Constitutional reading dispensed (40-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/06/2020Read third time and passed Senate (40-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/11/2020Impact statement from SCC (SB794S1)
02/13/2020Placed on Calendar
02/13/2020Read first time
02/13/2020Referred to Committee on Labor and Commerce
02/18/2020House committee, floor amendments and substitutes offered
02/18/2020Reported from Labor and Commerce with substitute (21-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/18/2020Committee substitute printed 20108506D-H1
02/20/2020Read second time
02/21/2020Impact statement from SCC (SB794H1)
02/21/2020Passed by for the day
02/24/2020Passed by for the day
02/25/2020Read third time
02/25/2020Committee substitute agreed to 20108506D-H1
02/25/2020Engrossed by House - committee substitute SB794H1
02/25/2020Passed House with substitute (92-Y 7-N 1-A)
02/25/2020VOTE: Passage (92-Y 7-N 1-A) (see vote tally)
02/27/2020House substitute agreed to by Senate (35-Y 3-N 1-A) (see vote tally)
02/27/2020Title replaced 20108506D-H1
03/04/2020Enrolled
03/04/2020Bill text as passed Senate and House (SB794ER)
03/05/2020Impact statement from SCC (SB794ER)
03/05/2020Signed by President
03/05/2020Signed by Speaker
03/12/2020Enrolled Bill Communicated to Governor on March 12, 2020
03/12/2020G Governor's Action Deadline 11:59 p.m., April 11, 2020
04/10/2020G Approved by Governor-Chapter 1131 (effective 7/1/20)
04/10/2020G Acts of Assembly Chapter text (CHAP1131)

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