The interest in preventing wireless companies from haphazardly placing cell phone towers within communities is on the minds of the Osage Beach Board of Aldermen as the Missouri Legislature begins its 2014 session.
The board renewed the discussion at the end of Thursday night's regular board meeting, laying out some strategy for continuing to focus on legislation that would give wireless companies virtual free reign in locating wireless towers in Missouri communities. The city thought legislation proposed last year by Rep. Rocky Miller (R-124) would solve the problem, but the bill eventually approved by the legislature and signed by the governor was drastically different than what Miller proposed.
Only a legal challenge to the bill's title kept the legislation from becoming law.
"This is a political issue, not a legal issue," City Attorney Ed Rucker told the board of aldermen last week. "If we get state representatives alerted, this juggernaut can be slowed down."
The cause to prevent a similar bill from reaching the governor's desk has been taken up by several lake-area communities including Lake Ozark, Laurie and Sunrise Beach. The Lake of the Ozarks Council of Governments is expected to discuss the issue at its regular meeting at 10 a.m. Monday at the Osage Beach City Hall.
While the legal challenge to the bill's title moves forward, the legislative action begins anew, according to Rucker.
The Cole County District Court struck down the act within House Bill 331/345 as unconstitutional with an injunction against its enaction. The ruling has been appealed to the Missouri Supreme Court.
The key to stopping wireless legislation that is detrimental to communities "lies not only with talking to area reps, but also other aldermen and representatives," Rucker said.
Alderman John Olivarri said it's important to show a unified effort at the LOCOG meeting and to establish countermeasures.
City Attorney Rucker said the most effective way is face-to-face with legislators. While emails and letters can be effective, the best approach is to visit with legislators personally. He noted that lobbyists who managed to derail Representative Miller's bill have constant personal contact with legislators.
Four senate bills already have been introduced relative to wireless towers.
"We need to stay on top of this," Olivarri said.
•The board and Mayor Penny Lyons applauded the city's public works department for quickly clearing the city's streets after the recent snowstorm. Alderman Kevin Rucker also applauded the city's work with MoDOT in development documents outlining the city's and MoDOT's responsibilities in clearing snow from Osage Beach Parkway and the Expressway.
•Mayor Penny Lyons acknowledged the donation by the Kahrs' family of land to the Osage Beach Elementary School building project for use as an outdoor classroom.