for the week ending February 2, 2018

Tax Fix Makes Progress:  On a 5-0 vote, the Senate Ways & Means Committee Tuesday approved legislation that would reaffirm the manufacturing sales tax exemption granted to telecommunications equipment.  The exemption was called into question by a 2016 Missouri Supreme Court ruling.  The bill, SB 625, will now move to the full Senate for consideration.

A House companion HB 1802 , was heard Tuesday by the House General Laws Committee.  That measure was supported by MTIA, AT&T, the Missouri Small Telephone Group, Verizon, the Missouri Cable Telecommunications Association, and the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The committee is expected to vote on the issue next week.

Property Tax Legislation Heard in Senate, House:  Legislation that would allow telecommunications carriers to use a straight-line depreciation schedule when their business personal property tax valuations are calculated by the Missouri State Tax Commission was reviewed by committees on both side of the Capitol this week.

The House Ways & Means Committee Monday heard HB 1464.  The bill was supported by CenturyLink, AT&T, MTIA and the Small Telephone Company Group.  In a departure from previous years, the Missouri School Administrators Association did not testify against the measure, but did express some concern over one provision.  On Tuesday, the Senate Ways & Means Committee reviewed a Senate companion bill, SB 768. A committee vote on either or both bills could come next week.

Easement Bill Gets First-Round Approval:  On a voice vote, a measure that would legitimize the placement of fiber in easements originally granted for electric lines  received first-round approval in the House Wednesday.  Before the vote on HB 1880, however, specific provisions relating to the easement issue were amended out of the bill.  That move was taken to head off floor debate over the as-yet-to-be-agreed-to language being negotiated between the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives and the Missouri Farm Bureau.  A second vote is expected next week.

TEL Forum Set for March:  MTIA member-company CORE Telecom Systems is hosting a new education event this year that focuses on  the latest in  technology trends, as well as  current  regulatory and legislative issues.  The TEL Forum (Technology, Education, Legislative) will be held March 20 and 21 at the Columbia Holiday Inn Executive Center, and is being presented at no cost to attendees.

Day 1 will feature a number of presentations on FTTH and fixed wireless solutions.  MTIA President Ric Telthorst will be presenting a legislative update on state industry issues on Day 2. That day’s agenda also includes a federal issues briefing by the law firm of Herman & Whiteaker, and a technology trends presentation by Finley Engineering.  For more information, contact Heather Lamm at hlamm@coretelecom.net.

Industry Partner of the Week:  MTIA member-company Calix provides access systems to enable advanced broadband services over legacy and next-gen networks for Missouri’s telecommunications carriers.  For more information, contact Steven Blaskowski, regional sales manager, at 256-200-6867; or visit them online at www.calix.com.

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