Rewriting Telecommunication Laws Isn't Very Easy

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), March 21, 2001 | Go to article overview

Rewriting Telecommunication Laws Isn't Very Easy


Byline: Mary Lou Cowlishaw

Imagine three rogue IRS agents in separate rooms writing in impenetrable IRS prose the regulations for our telephone service, Internet connections and even our TV reception.

That image may help convey just how difficult, complex and absolutely mind-boggling a task it is to rewrite the state's telecommunications laws and make sense of them.

Yet, that is the task of the General Assembly: It not only must make sense of the regulations, but has to formulate them in understandable terms.

Sen. Steve Rauchenberger of Elgin, who is the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, says he has spent more time on telecommunications issues than any other confronting the General Assembly this session. That is also the situation for several of us in the House - justly so.

The telecommunications rewrite has more long-range financial impact on every citizen and business in this state than any other piece of legislation, although right now the general public is hardly aware of the magnitude of the rewrite.

However, the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce and its executive director, Mike Skarr, recognize what is at stake for everyone.

Last week, the monthly meeting of the chamber's legislative committee featured presentations about the rewrite given by State Rep. Randy Hultgren and me.

Although Hultgren lives in Wheaton, he represents the northeastern area of Naperville.

Because billions upon billions of dollars are involved, the telecommunications industry has pulled out all the stops. An army of high-priced lobbyists has descended upon Springfield and is deluging legislators with reams of briefing papers and persistent arguments.

A retired judge is a staff member of the telecommunications rewrite committee and actually asked questions of lobbyists during a recent legislative hearing.

A staffer never, never asks questions during a hearing.

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