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California Small Cell SB 649 Bill Passed the Assembly Yesterday September 14, 2017

Sep 14, 2017


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 14, 2017

Contact: Ellen Marks, California Brain Tumor Association (925) 285-5437

(Sacramento) – SB 649, a bill that the League of Cities says, “is Bad for Your Community: Corporate Interests vs. Good Governance” passed the Assembly yesterday with a final vote count of 46 Ayes, 16 Noes and 17 Abstained, including Speaker of the Assembly, Rendon

300 California cities have expressed strong opposition to SB 649, a bill designed to “fast track” the permitting of wireless and small cell telecommunications facilities at the expense of usurping local authority of all affected communities.  Mayors of six of California’s largest cities have sent the AT&T-initiated bill’s sponsor, Senator Hueso, a letter opposing the measure.

The bill is expected to go to the Senate for a concurrence vote by the end of the week.

In spite of the telecom industry and SB 649’s sponsors selling this bill to underserved communities as a way to provide them the needed access to better wireless capabilities, The Greenlining Institute has come out in opposition stating, “Under SB 649, it is likely that providers will focus any service improvements on high-income areas. SB 649 in no way guarantees that low-income communities and communities of color will gain increased access to advanced communications services.”

In August, a new study was published documenting DNA damage in people living close to a cell tower – Electromagn Biol Med. 2017 Aug 4:1-11:

“Impact of radiofrequency radiation on DNA damage and antioxidants in peripheral blood lymphocytes of humans residing in the vicinity of mobile phone base stations.”

Zothansiama, Zosangzuali M, Lalramdinpuii M, Jagetia GC.:   Department of Zoology, Cancer and Radiation Biology Laboratory , Mizoram University, India.

“All of the recorded radiofrequency radiation (RFR) power density values in this study were well below the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) maximum permissible exposure limits in the U.S. for the general population.”  Joel Moskowitz, PhD – UC Berkeley School of Public Health

This study follows on the heels of the major $25 million study recently released by the U.S. National Toxicology Program of the National Institutes of Health that found increased incidences of brain cancer, malignant tumors of the heart and DNA damage in laboratory animals from exposure levels the FCC considers “safe”.

The American Cancer Society’s statement on the significance of this new study: “The NTP report linking radiofrequency radiation (RFR) to two types of cancer marks aparadigm shift in our understanding of radiation and cancer risk. The findings are unexpected; we wouldn’t reasonably expect non-ionizing radiation to cause these tumors.”

Firefighters received an exemption in SB 649 based upon health grounds.  

Through an exemption in the bill, California legislators accept the need to protect the health of firefighters, some of whom have measurable brain abnormalities following years of exposure to cell towers near their stations.  SB 649 is in effect admitting that the devices that will be located in close proximity to homes and schools are likely dangerous.

Concerned citizens who are lobbying hard to defeat this bill are asking, “What about everyone else?  Don’t we deserve the same protection?”

The California State Department of Finance has publicly declared opposition to the bill stating:

While the extent of the potential mandate is unknown, Finance believes it can easily approach $1 million per year.

Finance opposes this bill. While statewide uniform rules can help the expansion of new technologies, this bill goes too far by usurping city and county zoning authority for infrastructure development, and it potentially imposes reimbursable, state-mandated costs on cities and counties.”

Those lobbying in opposition to SB 649 are urging Governor Brown to veto the bill when it likely comes to his desk as early as next week.