Take Action to Oppose CA Senate Bill 649 (SB.649)

SB.649 This Week

On 7/15/15, SB.649 was referred to two Assembly Committees: Local Government and Communications and Conveyancewithout proper public notice.

As originally intended by the Rules Committee Chair, Ken Cooley, SB.649 should still be referred to the Natural Resources Committee. The original intention to do so is still fully-documented in the only agenda-of-record for the 7/15/17 Rules Committee Hearing on the official CA Assembly Web Site.

Clearly, the 7/15/17 Rules Committee Agenda-of-record still documents that Chairman Cooley and Senior Consultant for Rules, Michael Erke, recommended that SB.649 be referred to the Natural Resources Committee. What happened? This is what we have been asking every day since 7/15/17 from Chairman Cooley, Cooley’s Chief of Staff, Jillena Hernandez and Cooley’s Senior Committee Consultant, Michael Erke — with no adequate explanation provided as of 6/26/17.

The Committee assignment changed at the Rules committee on 7/15/17 for no apparent reason. The Rules Committee deviated from well-established procedures, as evidenced by the Assembly Rules Committee agendas listed here and the rather short Assembly Rules Committee Hearings, videos, which are listed here. Public access to the rationale for this last-minute, darkroom deal and change have, unfortunately, been systematically hidden from the public, despite great effort to shine some light on this signficant and unwarranted last minute change:

  1. 6/15/17: item here
  2. 6/16/17: item here
  3. 6/18/17: item here
  • 10:05: Start of Rules Committee
  • 10:47: Chairman Cooley to Secretary: "Do I need to do any more beyond announcing that?"
  • 10:49: Rules Committee Secretary: "Just mention the change".
  • 10:52: Chairman Cooley: "With respect to SB.649 — Hueso, the recommendation has been changed to Local Government and Communications & Conveyance. So we will take that up today." [No discussion among any Assembly members.]
  • 11:17: "So, with those changes note, we have a consent agenda. Is there a motion? A second? Madame Secretary please call the votes."
    65- 11:45: Chairman Cooley: "The motion is passed and Rules Committee is adjourned." [the meeting lasted all of 2 minutes, 40 seconds]


You don’t need to be an expert or even be the smartest person in the room to make a large impact in opposing SB.649. You just need to show up. Support or opposition to any Bill is measured by how many people make the effort to tell their story succinctly and with calm and measured conviction to Assembly staffers who will then decide to either filter out or take your information to their boss. What drives that decision? The number of people that show up and whether or not you are polite enough or likeable enough.

Showing up at the Capitol in Sacramento is the one thing you can do to ensure that your message will be heard by someone. Calls are reduced to tick marks on a sheet, emails are routinely ignored, letters and handouts are often filed in the circular filing cabinet (and taken out with the recycling). This is politics. What is important is measured by how many people show up — and how often. Your one chance to be memorable is to show up in Sacramento. The good news is that it is very easy to do.

  • The Capitol is open Mon through Friday from 7:30 am to 6:00 pm, but most legislative staffers prefer to see people from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm.
  • There is discounted early bird parking (in by 9:00 am) at the lot on 12th and L Streets, just behind the Hyatt Regency and Starbucks.
  • Legislative staffers’ jobs are to welcome you. You can just drop into an office — without an appointment — and ask to speak to someone who handles SB.649 for the Assembly Member or Senator. Sometimes you leave with a card, but other times they may have ten minutes for you on the spot. Always ask for a short meeting.
  • Legislative staffers have a lot of other work to do; taking time to talk to you makes their days longer — so please be succinct and to the point.
  • If you are a Constituent of an Assembly Member or Senator, you have a better chance of calling/emailing ahead to get an actual appointment with your elected official, but there is no guarantee. Often, you will have better luck studying their photos and introducing yourself when they are walking to meetings in the hallway.
  • A couple of hundred people showing up for just one day each in June and July to say that you will not stand for a cell tower being as close as 10 to 15 feet to your home will change some votes. The forced 24/7 exposure to Radio-Frequency Microwave Radiation (RF/MW radiation) closer than 2500 feet is hazardous, as proven by many substantial scientific studies.

What We Are Up Against

In the case of SB.649, to date, we have been seriously outmanned and outgunned by the highly-paid team of lobbyists from AT&T, Verizon and the Cellular Telephone and Internet Association (CTIA) – the sponsors and actual author of this Bill. That’s right SB.649 is just one of many similar state bills that originated at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), was edited by the CTIA, approved by AT&T and Verizon and then handed to Senator Ben Hueso and Assembly Member Bill Quirk, along with their marching orders. The votes from our legislators are not just purchased with generous campaign contributions form the Wireless Industry, but purchased with the generous community grants to the Districts of the so-called Bill-authors of SB.649: at least $25,000 for Senator Ben Hueso’s District and $500,000 for Assembly Member Bill Quirk’s District, as detailed here.

The only way we can combat this level of influence is to markedly increase the numbers of people willing to show up and speak out against SB.649. Your reasons may differ from the talking points that we offer, below, but just a little bit of research on your part will uncover many, many reasons to oppose SB.649 and Small Cells in California residential neighborhoods.

Information about CA Senate Bill 649 can be found at the following links:

  • CA SB.649 – Wireless Telecommunications Bill
  • Post for Oppose CA SB.649: Wireless Telecommunications Bill
  • Post for Palo Alto 4G Small Cells: An Extreme Health Hazard
  • Post for CA Senate SB-649 April 4 Testimony
  • Post for CA Senate SB-649 April 26 Testimony
  • Post for CA Senate SB-649 May 15 Testimony
  • Post for Press Advisory: CA SB 649 Passed by Senate
  • Post for June 11 East Bay Times Op-Ed on SB.649

Three Things You Can Do to Oppose SB.649

I. Come to Sacramento for one or more days to talk to the Assembly Member Offices

Visit and Call as Many Assembly Member Offices As You Can. Start with the person who will be writing SB.649’s First Analysis:

Angela Mapp
Deputy Chief Consultant
Assembly Local Government Committee
1020 N Street, Room 157
Sacramento, California 95814
tel 916.319.3958 Ext 4
fax 916.319.3959

Key Dates Confirmed
  • Tue 6/20/17 — @ 11:30 am, Scientists For Wired Technology meeting with Angela Mapp
  • Tue 6/20/17 — meetings with Local Government Committee members’ staffs
  • Wed 6/21/17 — meetings with Local Government Committee members’ staffs
  • Thu 6/22/17 — meetings with Local Government Committee members’ staffs
  • Thu 6/22/17 — @ 5:00 pm, deadline to submit letter to Oppose SB.649 and be listed as Opposition in the Bill Analysis; will only list organizations, not individuals
  • Wed 6/28/17 — @ 1:30 pm, in Room tbd Local Government Committee Hearing on SB.649
Contacts for Members of Assembly Local Government Committee

Each located in CA State Capitol . . .

  1. Room 2003 — Staff for Richard Bloom (D-50), 916-319-2050
  2. Room 2114 — Staff for Lorena S. Gonzalez Fletcher (D-80), 916-319-2080
  3. Room 2174 — Staff for Tom Lackey (R-36), 916-319-2036
  4. Room 2176 — Staff for Sebastian Ridley-Thomas (D-54), 916-319-2054
  5. Room 4130 — Staff for Marie Waldron, Vice Chair (R-75), 916-319-2075
  6. Room 4164 — Staff for Timothy S. Grayson (D-14), 916-319-2014
  7. Room 5144 — Staff for Cecilia M. Aguiar-Curry, Chair, (D-04), 916-319-2004
  8. Room 5158 — Staff for Anna M. Caballero (D-30), 916-319-2030
  9. Room 4009 — Staff for Randy Voepel (R-71), 916-319-2071

Additional Assembly member contact information is here.

II. Enter Your Statements About SB.649 to the Assembly Local Government Committee into the Public Record

Instructions . . .

III. Lobby Assembly Rules Committee members to refer SB.649 to three policy committees

We have a chance to convince the CA Assembly Rules Committee that it will be in the members’ best interests to reduce the liabilities to the State of California by the CA Assembly completing the due diligence for SB.649 that the CA Senate refused to complete from March through May, 2017. Despite substantial scientific evidence entered into the Senate public record on 7/15/15 and on 4/4/17, the Senate refused to consider the serious negative health impacts of RF/MW radiation on living organisms of all kinds: people, trees, bees and other pollinators to name just a few. In an agricultural state, such disregard for human health, and the very plants and pollinators needed to sustain California’s agricultural production is potentially devastating to our State Economy — and for what? The trivial pursuit of watching videos wirelessly? Watching videos using wires (fiber-optic, coaxial and Ethernet cables) is a much better choice and can preserve the health and well-being of our population and our agricultural economy.

A. Don’t repeat the mistakes of the CA Senate
  • In the CA Senate, SB.649 was assigned only to be heard by two policy committees: the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee and the Senate Governance and Finance Committee. Neither committee would even consider the substantial scientific evidence entered into the Senate public record on 7/15/15 and on 4/4/17 because the issue was out of the respective Committee’s jurisdiction.
  • The CA Assembly should not blindly repeat this same mistake. The Assembly Rules Committee can instead refer SB.649 to three policy committees:
    1. The Assembly Communications and Conveyance Committee
    2. The Assembly Local Government Committee Committee
    3. A third Assembly Committee that can consider the health of California residents and the health of the very plants and pollinators needed to sustain California’s agricultural economy.
  • Assembly Rules Committee referring SB.649 to this third committee would enable scientific experts to testify about the inadequacy of current US Federal RF/MW radiation exposure guidelines to protect the health of living organisms, would detail why two-way RF microwave transmitters need to be much further away from people than the distances proposed by SB.649 (in the public right of way in any zone, including residential zones) and would give the State of California the ability to uphold Article I, Section 1 of the CA Constitution which states:

All people are by nature free and independent and have inalienable rights. Among these are enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining safety, happiness, and privacy.

B. To Select A Third Policy Committee, Lobby the Chairs and Vice Chairs of the following committees

On Tue June 13 and Wed June 14, lobby the following Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs to convince them that it is in the Assembly’s and the State’s best interests to reduce the liabilities to the State of California by completing the due diligence for SB.649 that the CA Senate refused to complete from March through May, 2017. The Chairs and Vice Chairs of the following committees can request the Rules Committee Chair to refer SB.649 to their respective committees.

  • Assembly Health Committee: Primary jurisdictions are health care, health insurance, Medi-Cal and other public health care programs, mental health licensing of health and health-related professionals, and long-term health care facilities.
    1. Chair: Jim Wood (D-02), State Capitol Room 6005; 916-319-2002
    2. Vice Chair: Brian Maienschein (R-77), State Capitol 4139; 916-319-2077
    • Current pulsed, Radio Frequency Microwave Radiation (RF/MW radiation) exposures have already created a large disabled population in California. RF/MW radiation disables over 1.1 million Californians and that will grow exponentially with the passage of SB.649, resulting in many tens of millions of dollars in State disability benefits, and increased medical and other state health insurance costs.
    • Electromagnetic Sensitivity (EMS) is recognized by the U.S. Access Board and is a protected disabled characteristic. California’s 1998 survey found 3.2% of respondents were very sensitive to electromagnetic radiation. That was 1.1 million Californians in 1998. That number has soared with the increased RF/MW radiation exposures from the roll out of 3G/4G cell towers across California. The additional antennas from 4G/5G Small cell antennas and their accompanying refigerator-size power supply cabinets will be in addition to the existing 3G/4G towers, therefore RF/MW exposures will grow to increasingly hazardous levels with the passage of SB.649. EMS is not an orphan illness and is growing fast — and can no longer be treated as invisible in California.
    • Over 175 people participated in a conference call on 5/15/17 as the CA Senate Appropriations Committee Hearing and answered the question “Are you electromagnetically sensitive, and have you been harmed physically and financially by RF/microwave radiation from wireless facilities?. Their resounding answer was YES, as evidenced by the many written statements these participants entered into the public record at this Senate Appropriations Committee.
  • Assembly Natural Resources Committee: Primary jurisdiction includes air quality, climate change, energy efficiency, renewable energy, California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), coastal protection, forestry, land conservation, oil spills, solid waste and recycling.
    1. Chair: Cristina Garcia (D-58), State Capitol Room 2013; 916-319-2058
    2. Vice Chair: Dante Acosta (R-38) State Capitol Room 2002; 916-319-2038
    • A 2016 study entitled Radiofrequency radiation injures trees around mobile phone base stations concludes We found a high-level damage in trees within the vicinity of cell phone towers . . . Statistical analyses demonstrated that the electromagnetic radiation from cellphone towers is harmful to trees. Results show that the measurements in the most affected sides of damaged trees (i.e. those that withstand higher radiation levels) are different to all other groups. These results are consistent with the fact that damage inflicted on trees by cellphone towers usually start on one side, extending to the whole tree over time. The occurrence of unilateral damage is the most important fact in our study and an important argument for a causal relationship with RF-EMF, as it supplies evidence for non-thermal RF-EMF effects. This constitutes a danger for trees worldwide. The further deployment of cell phone towers has to be stopped.
    • A 2011 study entitled Mobile phone-induced honeybee worker piping concludes active mobile phone signals have a dramatic impact on the behavior of the bees, namely by inducing the worker piping signal. In natural conditions, worker piping either announces the swarming process of the bee colony or is a signal of a disturbed bee colony.
    • Exempting Small Cell antennas from CEQA studies and NEPA reviews is unwarranted because the levels of RF/MW radiation far below federal guidelines are proven to damage plants, insect and pollinators. Furthermore, the antennas used in these Verizon 4G Small Cells, according to planning documents in the public record, have calculated antenna emissions based on only 6 Watts of input power, yet the antennas can accept input power as high as 300 to 500 Watts and the antennas are paired with power supplies that can produce these high levels of input power. This is quite disturbing because no monitoring of RF/MW radiation exposures for Small Cells is required by SB.649, as currently written.