Governor Jay Nixon of Missouri signed the Uniform Wireless Communications Infrastructure Deployment Act (HB331), which will limit the authority that local cities and counties have on the placement of cell towers. A statement from the Governor’s office explained that, “House Bill 331 and House Bill 345, which relate to telecommunications, will provide the opportunity for expanded access and improved broadband and wireless service through more rapid deployment of broadband and wireless network infrastructure.”
HB 331 stipulates that cities and counties will have less say regarding the location of the cell tower as well as limited authority over how the new cell phone towers are being erected. With the FCC increasing the reach of their Emergency Alert System, many states feel the need to improve their wireless infrastructure. The EAS has been put in place as a public warning system so the President and government have the capability to address the public during times of emergency. The state and local authorities also utilize this system to share information regarding AMBER alerts or weather information to specific areas.
Mark Schlinkmann reported for the St. Louis Post that, “Cities and counties also will have to act within 120 days on tower applications - a requirement that some local officials say will limit the ability to do a detailed review.”
While 120 days may limit the ability to conduct a detailed review, more time may be mutually agreed upon between the applicant and the authority. The goal of HB 331 is to encourage and expand the broadband facilities that are available throughout Missouri. While the Municpal League and the Missouri Association of Counties opposed the passing of this bill, the Missouri Telecommunications Industry Association believes that the bill will improve service more quickly.