SENATE JOINT MEMORIAL 8031
State of Washington 55th Legislature 1998 Regular Session
By Senators Finkbeiner, Bauer, Wood and West
Read first time 02/06/98. Referred to Committee on Ways & Means.
TO THE HONORABLE WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, AND TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE AND THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, AND TO THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED STATES, IN CONGRESS ASSEMBLED, AND TO THE MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE AND TRANSPORTATION OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE, AND TO MEMBERS OF THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON TELECOMMUNICATIONS, TRADE AND CONSUMER PROTECTION, COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:
We, your Memorialists, the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Washington, in legislative session assembled, respectfully represent and petition as follows:
WHEREAS, Washington state has sought to leverage the state's purchasing power in its procurements of telecommunications and information services; obtain the lowest prices for telecommunications services for state agencies, local governments, and schools and libraries, and avoid unnecessary duplication of resources; and
WHEREAS, The Legislature created the Department of Information Services and directed it to aggregate the demand for telecommunications services purchased from the private sector, add value, and make such services available to public entities at significantly reduced costs; and
WHEREAS, Through such efforts the Department of Information Services has saved the taxpayers of Washington millions of dollars each year; and
WHEREAS, The Washington Legislature in 1996 authorized and funded the development of the K-20 Educational Telecommunications Network, a fifty-four and one-half million dollar state-wide backbone network linking K-12 school districts, educational service districts, baccalaureate institutions, public libraries, and community and technical colleges; and
WHEREAS, This network will provide schools and libraries with enhanced function and increased efficiencies in their use of telecommunications services; and
WHEREAS, The Federal Communications Commission, pursuant to the Telecommunications Act of 1996, has begun implementation of a two and one-quarter billion dollar universal service fund program to discount the cost of telecommunications and information services to schools and libraries; and
WHEREAS, On December 30, 1997, the Federal Communications Commission ruled that state networks, such as the K-20 educational network, may not recover directly from the fund for telecommunications services, other than Internet services and internal connections, provided and billed to schools and libraries; and
WHEREAS, By its order, the Commission also determined that schools and libraries served by state telecommunications networks will not be able to obtain discounts on the value added by the state to these telecommunications services procured from the private sector; and
WHEREAS, This ruling potentially creates incentives for Washington schools and libraries to forego the less costly state-provided services, and instead buy more expensive services directly from private providers in order to be assured of federal subsidies; and
WHEREAS, This ruling creates a severe administrative burden on Washington state government, and will contravene longstanding Legislative policy; and
WHEREAS, This ruling could increase the costs to the universal service fund since discounts will be based on higher costs negotiated one-by-one between individual schools and libraries and private telecommunications companies;
NOW, THEREFORE, Your Memorialists respectfully pray that the members of the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation of the United States Senate; and members of the Subcommittee on Telecommunications, Trade and Consumer Protection, Committee on Commerce, United States House of Representatives urge the Federal Communications Commission to review and amend its ruling barring direct reimbursement to state agencies that provide telecommunications services.
BE IT RESOLVED, That copies of this Memorial be transmitted immediately to the Honorable William J. Clinton, President of the United States, the members of the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation of the United States Senate, the members of the Subcommittee on Telecommunications, Trade and Consumer Protection, Committee on Commerce, United States House of Representatives, the President of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, each member of Congress from the State of Washington, and the members of the Federal Communications Commission.
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