HB 831

  • Virginia House Bill
  • 2020 Regular Session
  • Introduced in House Jan 07, 2020
  • Passed House Feb 11, 2020
  • Passed Senate Feb 26, 2020
  • Signed by Governor Apr 10, 2020

Utility easements; location of broadband and other communications facilities.

Abstract

Utility easements; location of broadband and other communications facilities. Declares that it is the policy of the Commonwealth that (i) easements for the location and use of electric and communications facilities may be used to provide or expand broadband or other communications services; (ii) the use of easements to provide or expand broadband or other communications services is in the public interest; (iii) the installation, replacement, or use of public utility conduit, including the costs of installation, replacement, or use of conduit of a sufficient size to accommodate the installation of infrastructure to provide or expand broadband or other communications services, is in the public interest; (iv) the use of easements to provide or expand broadband or other communications services (a) does not constitute a change in the physical use of the easement; (b) does not interfere with, impair, or take any vested or other rights of the owner or occupant of the servient estate; (c) does not place any additional burden on the servient estate other than a de minimis burden, if any; and (d) has value to the owner or occupant of the servient estate greater that any de minimum impact; and (v) the installation and operation of broadband or other communications services within easements, appurtenant or gross, are merely changes in the manner, purpose, or degree of the granted use as appropriate to accommodate a new technology. The measure further provides that (1) absent any express prohibition on the installation and operation of broadband or other communications services in an easement that is contained in a deed or other instrument by which the easement was granted, the installation and operation of broadband or other communications services within any easement shall be deemed, as a matter of law, to be a permitted use within the scope of every easement for the location and use of electric and communications facilities and (2) subject to compliance with any express prohibitions in a written easement, any incumbent utility or communications provider may use an easement to install, construct, provide, maintain, modify, lease, operate, repair, replace, or remove its communications equipment, system, or facilities, and provide communications services through the same, without such incumbent utility or communications provider paying additional compensation to the owner or occupant of the servient estate or to the incumbent utility, provided that no additional utility poles are installed. The measure provides that any incumbent utility or communications provider may use a prescriptive easement to install, construct, provide, maintain, modify, lease, operate, repair, replace, or remove its communications equipment, system, or facilities, and provide communications services through the same, without such incumbent utility or communications provider paying additional compensation to the owner or occupant of the servient estate or to the incumbent utility, provided that no additional utility poles are installed. This bill is identical to SB 794.

Utility easements; location of broadband and other communications facilities. Declares that it is the policy of the Commonwealth that (i) easements for the location and use of electric and communications facilities may be used to provide or expand broadband or other communications services; (ii) the use of easements to provide or expand broadband or other communications services is in the public interest; (iii) the installation, replacement, or use of public utility conduit, including the costs of installation, replacement, or use of conduit of a sufficient size to accommodate the installation of infrastructure to provide or expand broadband or other communications services, is in the public interest; (iv) the use of easements to provide or expand broadband or other communications services (a) does not constitute a change in the physical use of the easement, (b) does not interfere with, impair, or take any vested or other rights of the owner or occupant of the servient estate, (c) does not place any additional burden on the servient estate other than a de minimis burden, if any; (iv) has value to the owner or occupant of the servient estate greater than any de minimis impact; and (v) the installation and operation of broadband or other communications services within easements, appurtenant or gross, are merely changes in the manner, purpose, or degree of the granted use as appropriate to accommodate a new technology. The measure further provides that (1) absent any express prohibition on the installation and operation of broadband or other communications services in an easement that is contained in a deed or other instrument by which the easement was granted, the installation and operation of broadband or other communications services within any easement shall be deemed, as a matter of law, to be a permitted use within the scope of every easement for the location and use of electric and communications facilities and (2) subject to compliance with any express prohibitions in a written easement, any incumbent utility or communications provider may use an easement to install, construct, provide, maintain, modify, lease, operate, repair, replace, or remove its communications equipment, system, or facilities, and provide communications services through the same, without such incumbent utility or communications provider paying additional compensation to the owner or occupant of the servient estate or to the incumbent utility, provided that no additional utility poles are installed. The measure provides that, in cases of a prescriptive easement, such easement is deemed to exist and that any incumbent utility or communications provider may use a prescriptive easement to install, construct, provide, maintain, modify, lease, operate, repair, replace, or remove its communications equipment, system, or facilities, and provide communications services through the same, without such incumbent utility or communications provider paying additional compensation to the owner or occupant of the servient estate or to the incumbent utility, provided that no additional utility poles are installed.

Utility easements; location of broadband andother communications facilities. Declares that it is the policyof the Commonwealth that easements be used to provide communicationsservices, that such use is in the public interest, and that suchuse of the easements where no new poles are erected does not constitutea change in the physical use of the easement or interfere with, impair,or take any vested or other rights of the owner or occupier of theservient estate, or place any additional burden on the servient estate.The measure further provides that the installation and operationof communications services within any such electric easements are merely changes in the manner, purpose, or degree of the granted useas appropriate to accommodate a new technology, and absent any expressprohibition contained in the easement itself, will be deemed, asa matter of law, to be a permitted use within the scope of everyeasement for the location and use of electric utility facilities.The measure limits the damages that may be recovered in any trespassaction arising from such use of an easement to the lesser of actualdamages based on any reduction in the value of the land as a resultof the existence, installation, construction, maintenance, modification, operation, repair, or replacement of communications facilities, or$2,000 per tract of land.

Bill Sponsors (5)

Votes


Actions


Apr 10, 2020

Office of the Governor

Approved by Governor-Chapter 1132 (effective 7/1/20)

Mar 12, 2020

Office of the Governor

Governor's Action Deadline 11:59 p.m., April 11, 2020

House

Enrolled Bill communicated to Governor on March 12, 2020

Mar 06, 2020

House

Signed by Speaker

Senate

Signed by President

Mar 05, 2020

House

Enrolled

House

Impact statement from SCC (HB831ER)

Mar 02, 2020

House

Impact statement from SCC (HB831S2)

Feb 28, 2020

House

Senate substitute agreed to by House 20108365D-S1 (91-Y 6-N)

House

VOTE: Adoption (91-Y 6-N)

House

Placed on Calendar

Feb 26, 2020

Senate

Committee substitute reconsidered (39-Y 0-N)

Senate

Passed Senate with substitute (37-Y 2-N 1-A)

Senate

Engrossed by Senate - committee substitute HB831S1

Senate

Committee substitute agreed to 20108365D-S1 (32-Y 7-N 1-A)

Senate

Read third time

Feb 25, 2020

Senate

Passed by for the day

Senate

Floor substitute printed 20108977D-S2 (Petersen)

Feb 24, 2020

Senate

Reading of substitute waived

House

Impact statement from SCC (HB831S1)

Senate

Passed by for the day

Senate

Committee substitute agreed to 20108365D-S1

Senate

Read third time

Feb 21, 2020

Senate

Passed by for the day

Feb 20, 2020

Senate

Passed by for the day

Feb 19, 2020

Senate

Constitutional reading dispensed (39-Y 0-N)

Feb 17, 2020

Senate

Reported from Commerce and Labor with substitute (11-Y 2-N 2-A)

Senate

Committee substitute printed 20108365D-S1

Feb 12, 2020

Senate

Referred to Committee on Commerce and Labor

Senate

Constitutional reading dispensed

House

Impact statement from SCC (HB831H2)

Feb 11, 2020

House

Read third time and passed House (93-Y 2-N 1-A)

House

VOTE: Passage (93-Y 2-N 1-A)

Feb 10, 2020

House

Read second time

House

Engrossed by House - committee substitute HB831H2

House

Committee Labor and Commerce substitute agreed to 20107797D-H2

House

Committee on Communications, Technology and Innovation substitute rejected 20106174D-H1

Feb 09, 2020

House

Read first time

Feb 06, 2020

House

House committee, floor amendments and substitutes offered

House

Reported from Labor and Commerce with substitute (21-Y 1-N)

House

Committee substitute printed 20107797D-H2

Feb 04, 2020

House

Impact statement from SCC (HB831H1)

Jan 27, 2020

House

Reported from Communications, Technology and Innovation with substitute (18-Y 3-N)

House

Referred to Committee on Labor and Commerce

House

Committee substitute printed 20106174D-H1

Jan 20, 2020

House

House subcommittee amendments and substitutes offered

House

Subcommittee recommends referring to Committee on Labor and Commerce

House

Subcommittee recommends reporting with substitute (6-Y 1-N)

Jan 16, 2020

House

Assigned CT & I sub: Communications

Jan 07, 2020

House

Referred to Committee on Communications, Technology and Innovation

House

Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/08/20 20104845D

Bill Text

Bill Text Versions Format
Impact statement from SCC (HB831H1) HTML
Engrossed by House - committee substitute HB831H2 HTML
Impact statement from SCC (HB831S1) HTML
Impact statement from SCC (HB831S2) HTML
Bill text as passed House and Senate (HB831ER) HTML
Acts of Assembly Chapter text (CHAP1132) HTML

Related Documents

Document Format
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Sources

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