The 2018 General Assembly Session kicked off on January 10, and we are currently asking our supporters to weigh in with your legislators regarding two identical bills that strip authority from localities regarding permitting/siting of wireless infrastructure (HB 1258 and SB 405). What concerns us is that these bills harm most those localities that care about visual quality and are working to enhance their appearance for business development and tourism. If these bills pass, localities would not have a say about where this infrastructure is installed. There is an exemption for historic districts, but the impacts on visually significant areas — e.g., entrance corridors/gateways, parks, town squares, cultural sites, Virginia Byways (designated scenic roads), and State Scenic Rivers — would be disastrous. There would also be impacts on residential neighborhoods. Here’s what we need you to do:
Step 1: If you don’t know who represents you, no worries. Click HERE to visit the Who’s My Legislature page on the Virginia General Assembly website. You’ll need to enter your home address, and you’ll get the names of your State Delegate, State Senator, and House of Representatives member.
Step 2: HB 1258 (Patron: Del. Terry Kilgore) sailed out of the House Commerce & Labor Committee on Thursday, February 1 and now goes to the House Floor. It will be on First Reading on Monday, February 5 and debated on Tuesday, February 6. We need you to contact your Delegate ASAP to say, “Vote NO on HB 1258.”
You can send an email or make a call. (If you call, you will likely speak with the Delegate’s legislative aide or administrative assistant.) You don’t need to include a lot of reasons for your opposition. Simply say that you care about visual quality and scenic beauty, and note that localities and residential neighborhoods should have the ability to make sure that significant areas are not marred by this wireless infrastructure.
Step 3: SB 405 (Patron: Sen. Ryan McDougle) will be heard in the Senate Commerce & Labor Committee on Monday, February 5 in the afternoon. If your Senator sits on that Committee, we need you to contact her/him as soon as possible. Here’s the Committee list:
Senators Frank Wagner (Chairman), Richard Saslaw, Tommy Norment, Stephen Newman, Mark Obenshain, Richard Stuart, William Stanley, John Cosgrove, Ben Chafin, Rosalyn Dance, Louis Lucas, Ryan McDougle, Richard Black, Glen Sturtevant, and Lionell Spruill.
What is Scenic Virginia doing?
Scenic Virginia will be at the Committee meeting on Monday, February 5, to speak in opposition. Other opponents include the Virginia League of Conservation Voters [these bills are potential Scorecard votes, by the way], Virginia Conservation Network, Piedmont Environmental Council, Virginia Municipal League, and the Virginia Association of Counties. We’ll let you know what happens with both. For now, please contact your Delegate, as well as your Senator, if she/he is a member of the Senate Commerce & Labor Committee. Thanks in advance for your help.