Gov. Brown Vetoes SB.649

From the League of California Cities:

While over 300 cities opposed SB 649 (Hueso), the telecom bill, the Governor’s decision was uncertain until midnight on Sunday, Oct. 15. City officials were relieved to discover the Governor vetoed the measure stating: “I believe that the interest which localities have in managing rights of way requires a more balanced solution than the one achieved in this bill.” The League thanks the Governor for recognizing the value of local authority in this important policy area. We also thank the many legislators who abstained or voted against the bill.

From the San Jose Mercury News:

California: Gov. Jerry Brown Vetoes Bill Easing Permits on Cell Phone Towers

By TRACY SEIPEL | | Bay Area News Group
PUBLISHED: October 16, 2017 at 12:25 am | UPDATED: October 16, 2017 at 10:50 am


Gov. Jerry Brown late Sunday vetoed Senate Bill 649, which proposed to scale back local government permit processes for antennas and equipment for wireless services . . . that would have made it easier to install microwave radiation antennas.

Senate Bill 649, authored by Sen. Ben Hueso, D-San Diego, and co-authored by Assemblyman Bill Quirk, D-Hayward, proposed to scale back the permitting process for antennas and other equipment in an effort to meet demand for wireless services.

In a veto message, Brown wrote that while he saw the value in “extending this ​innovative technology rapidly and efficiently,” the bill took too much control away from cities and counties.

The bill was primarily supported by the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association, the main trade group for the U.S. wireless telecommunications industry. The group said SB 649 would help boost the economy.

Yet the bill had alarmed many local government officials around the state. They worried if SB 649 became law, it would cap how much they could charge phone companies for leases to $250 a year. Others raised concerns about the risk to public health from cell towers.

Not risks, but proven hazards. Return for details, later today . . .


Grass-roots activists and scientists said that if SB 649 became law, a projected 50,000 new
cellular antennas would be installed on public buildings and utility poles in California neighborhoods, creating a risk to public health because of the dangers of radiation and electromagnetic frequencies emitted by cell towers.

Not 50,000 towers but two to three million towers. Return for details, later today . . .


“I am thrilled that Governor Brown showed strength and stood up to this powerful wireless industry and said no — you are not going to do this in my state!” Ellen Marks, a San Francisco-based leader of the California Alliance for Safer Technology, wrote in an email after Brown’s decision was posted online. “This is a tremendous victory for democracy,” said Marks, whose group is trying to keep cellular antennas away from homes, schools, offices and parks.

An industry spokeswoman said the bill maintained local authority for “small cell” antennas, particularly in historical or coastal areas, and that governments could recover capital and administrative costs.

This is industry misinformation. Return for details, later today . . .


San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo was among several Bay Area leaders who voiced their opposition to the bill.

Quirk and Hueso called the health concerns overblown, saying the cell towers are safe.

This is more industry misinformation. Return for details, later today . . .


Joel Moskowitz, director of the Center for Family and Community Health at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health, was heartened by Brown’s veto, coming on the heels of a federal appeals court ruling last week that supports Berkeley’s landmark cell phone “right to know” ordinance. The city law, which took effect in 2016, requires retailers to warn cellphone customers that wearing their device next to the body could result in exposure to radio frequency radiation exceeding federal guidelines. Cellphone retailers must either post the message or provide a paper copy to anyone who buys or leases phones.

“The Governor’s veto of SB 649 protects Californians from exposure to millimeter radiation from as many as 50,000 new cell towers,” Moskowitz wrote in an email Sunday night. He noted that more than 180 scientists and doctors have signed a declaration calling for a moratorium on the increase of cell antennas required for 5G deployment, “as we are concerned about the health effects including neurological impacts, infertility, and cancer.”

The science concludes substantial harm from exposures to pulsed, data-modulated Wireless Radiofrequency Microwave Radiation (‘RF microwave radiation’). Return for details, later today . . .