Sen. Ray Lesniak, (D-20), who has been fighting in support of a bill that would deregulate portions of the telecommunications industry, said a competing bill introduced today will do more harm than good.
Lesniak is the sponsor of a deregulation bill that in April was tabled by the Senate.
Monday, Sen. Bob Smith introduced legislation that would continue many of the requirements Lesniak’s bill sought to eliminate. Smith’s bill has the backing of several opponents of the original measure, including the New Jersey League of Municipalities and the AARP.
Monday, Lesniak signaled he would conitnue to fight for his version, which is supported by Verizon.
“At the beginning of the year, I introduced legislation (S2664) to modernize how New Jersey regulates telecommunications and cable providers in the state. For far too long, communications companies have been governed by obsolete rules that were written decades ago – long before the I-Phone or smart phone became a thing of the norm.
“As I do with all legislative matters, I gave thoughtful consideration to how this bill would impact my constituents and believe whole heartedly that all New Jerseyans will be better served under a modernized regulatory framework. Moving this legislation forward was and still is the right thing to do – especially since I have proposed amendments that address the concerns raised by senior groups. This bill leaves intact important consumer protections while allowing telecommunications and cable companies more freedom to hire more workers or bring more products and services to market at prices people can afford.
As we work to finish our business over the next several weeks, I hope the Leadership in the Senate will bring S2664 to a vote. I understand another telecom reform bill has been introduced by my colleague, Senator Bob Smith. With all due respect, Senator Smith’s bill will do more to harm New Jersey than help it. Senator Smith’s bill proposes to expand the outdated regulations that my bill will eliminate.”
A similar bill was passed in the Assembly earlier this year, but stalled in the Senate after legislators balked at passing the measure without an assurance of support from the governor. Lesniak attempted to amend the bill in June, but tabled the amendments when sufficient support did not materialize.