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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

Key: (1) language to be deleted (2) new language

  
    Laws of Minnesota 1993 

                        CHAPTER 268-S.F.No. 512 
           An act relating to telecommunications; providing for 
          regulation of telecommunications carriers; limiting 
          discriminatory practices, services, rates, and 
          pricing; providing for investigation, hearings, and 
          appeals regarding telecommunications services; 
          delineating telecommunications practices allowed; 
          mandating availability of custom local area signaling 
          service in metropolitan area; providing penalties and 
          remedies; amending Minnesota Statutes 1992, sections 
          237.01, subdivision 2, and by adding a subdivision; 
          proposing coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, 
          chapter 237; repealing Minnesota Statutes 1992, 
          section 237.59, subdivision 7. 
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA: 
     Section 1.  Minnesota Statutes 1992, section 237.01, 
subdivision 2, is amended to read: 
    Subd. 2.  [TELEPHONE COMPANY.] "Telephone company," means 
and applies to any person, firm, association or any corporation, 
private or municipal, owning or operating any telephone line or 
telephone exchange for hire, wholly or partly within this state, 
or furnishing any telephone service to the public. 
    A "telephone company" does not include a radio common 
carrier as defined in subdivision 4.  A telephone company which 
also conforms with the definition of a radio common carrier is 
subject to regulation as a telephone company.  However, none of 
chapter 237 applies to telephone company activities which 
conform to the definition of a radio common carrier. 
    A "telephone company" does not include a telecommunications 
carrier as defined in subdivision 6, except that a 
telecommunications carrier is a telephone company for the 
purposes of section 222.36.  A telephone company is not subject 
to section 237.74. 
    Sec. 2.  Minnesota Statutes 1992, section 237.01, is 
amended by adding a subdivision to read: 
    Subd. 6.  [TELECOMMUNICATIONS CARRIER.] "Telecommunications 
carrier" means a person, firm, association, or corporation 
authorized to furnish telephone service to the public but not 
authorized to furnish local exchange service.  
Telecommunications carrier does not include entities that derive 
more than 50 percent of their revenues from operator services 
provided to transient locations such as hotels, motels, and 
hospitals.  In addition, telecommunications carrier does not 
include entities that provide centralized equal access services. 
    Sec. 3.  [237.035] [TELECOMMUNICATIONS CARRIER EXEMPTION.] 
    Telecommunications carriers are not subject to regulation 
under this chapter, except that telecommunications carriers 
shall comply with the requirements of section 237.74. 
    Sec. 4.  [237.74] [REGULATION OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS 
CARRIERS.] 
    Subdivision 1.  [FILING REQUIREMENTS.] Every 
telecommunications carrier shall elect and keep on file with the 
department either a tariff or a price list for each service on 
or before the effective date of the tariff or price, containing 
the rules, rates, and classifications used by it in the conduct 
of the telephone business, including limitations on liability.  
The filings are governed by chapter 13.  The department shall 
require each telecommunications carrier to keep open for public 
inspection at designated offices so much of these rates, tariffs 
or price lists, and rules as the department considers necessary 
for public information. 
    Subd. 2.  [DISCRIMINATION PROHIBITED; PRACTICES, SERVICES, 
RATES.] No telecommunications carrier shall offer 
telecommunications service within the state upon terms or rates 
that are unreasonably discriminatory.  No telecommunications 
carrier shall unreasonably limit its service offerings to 
particular geographic areas unless facilities necessary for the 
service are not available and cannot be made available at 
reasonable costs.  The rates of a telecommunications carrier 
must be the same in all geographic locations of the state unless 
for good cause the commission approves different rates.  A 
company that offers long-distance services shall charge uniform 
rates and charges on all long-distance routes and in all 
geographic areas in the state where it offers the services.  
However, a carrier may offer or provide volume or term discounts 
or may offer or provide unique pricing to certain customers or 
to certain geographic locations for special promotions, and may 
pass through any state, municipal, or local taxes in the 
specific geographic areas from which the taxes originate. 
    Notwithstanding any other provision of this subdivision, a 
telecommunications carrier may furnish service free or at 
reduced rates to its officers, agents, or employees in 
furtherance of their employment. 
    Subd. 3.  [SPECIAL PRICING.] Except as prohibited by this 
section, prices unique to a particular customer or group of 
customers may be allowed for services when differences in the 
cost of providing a service or a service element justify a 
different price for a particular customer or group of 
customers.  Individual pricing for services may be allowed when 
a uniform price should not be required because of market 
conditions.  Unique or individual prices for services or service 
elements in effect before the effective date of this section are 
deemed to be lawful under this section. 
    Subd. 4.  [INVESTIGATIONS.] (a) When the commission or the 
department believes that an investigation of any matter relating 
to any telephone service should for any reason be made, it may 
on its own motion investigate the service or matter upon notice 
to the carrier.  However, telecommunications carriers are not 
subject to rate or rate of return regulation and neither the 
commission nor the department may investigate any matter 
relating to a telecommunications carrier's costs, rates, or rate 
of return, except the commission and the department may 
investigate whether a rate is unreasonably discriminatory under 
subdivision 2. 
    (b) Upon a complaint made against a telecommunications 
carrier by a telephone company, by another telecommunications 
carrier, by the governing body of a political subdivision, or by 
no fewer than five percent or 100, whichever is the lesser 
number, of the subscribers or spouses of subscribers of the 
particular telecommunications carrier, that any of the rates, 
tolls, tariffs or price lists, charges, or schedules is in any 
respect unjustly discriminatory, or that any service is 
inadequate or cannot be obtained, the commission, after notice 
to the telecommunications carrier, shall investigate the matters 
raised by the complaint. 
    (c) If, after making an investigation under paragraph (a) 
or (b), the commission finds that a significant factual issue 
raised has not been resolved to its satisfaction, the commission 
may order that a contested case hearing be conducted under 
chapter 14 unless the complainant, the telecommunications 
carrier, and the commission agree that an expedited hearing 
under section 237.61 is appropriate. 
    (d) In any complaint proceeding authorized under this 
section, telecommunications carriers shall bear the burden of 
proof consistent with the allocation of the burden of proof to 
telephone companies in sections 237.01 to 237.73. 
    (e) A full and complete record must be kept by the 
commission of all proceedings before it upon any formal 
investigation or hearing and all testimony received or offered 
must be taken down by the stenographer appointed by the 
commission and a transcribed copy of the record furnished to any 
party to the investigation upon the payment of the expense of 
furnishing the transcribed copy. 
    If the commission finds by a preponderance of the evidence 
presented during the complaint proceeding that existing rates, 
tolls, tariffs or price lists, charges, or schedules are 
unjustly discriminatory, or that any service is inadequate or 
cannot be obtained, the commission may issue its order requiring 
termination of the discrimination or making the service adequate 
or obtainable. 
    (f) A copy of an order issued under this section must be 
served upon the person against whom it runs or the person's 
attorney, and notice of the order must be given to the other 
parties to the proceedings or their attorneys. 
    (g) Any party to a proceeding before the commission or the 
attorney general may make and perfect an appeal from the order 
in accordance with chapter 14. 
    If the court finds from an examination of the record that 
the commission erroneously rejected evidence that should have 
been admitted, it shall remand the proceedings to the commission 
with instructions to receive the evidence rejected and any 
rebutting evidence and to make new findings and return them to 
the court for further review.  Then the commission, after notice 
to the parties in interest, shall proceed to rehear the matter 
in controversy and receive the wrongfully rejected evidence and 
any rebutting evidence offered and make new findings, as upon 
the original hearing, and transmit it and the new record 
properly certified to the court of appeals, when the matter 
shall be again considered by the court in the same manner as in 
an original appeal. 
    (h) When an appeal is taken from any order of the 
commission under this chapter, the commission shall, without 
delay, have a certified transcript made of all proceedings, 
pleadings and files, and testimony taken or offered before it 
upon which the order was based, showing particularly what, if 
any, evidence offered was excluded.  The transcript must be made 
and filed with the court administrator of the district court 
where the appeal is pending. 
    Subd. 5.  [EXTENSION OF FACILITIES.] A telecommunications 
carrier may extend its facilities into or through a statutory or 
home rule charter city or town of this state for furnishing its 
services, subject to the regulation of the governing body of the 
city or town relative to the location of poles and wires and the 
preservation of the safe and convenient use of streets and 
alleys by the public.  Nothing in this subdivision shall be 
construed to allow or prohibit facilities bypass of the local 
exchange telephone company, nor shall it be construed to 
prohibit the commission from issuing orders concerning 
facilities bypass of the local exchange telephone company. 
    Subd. 6.  [TARIFF OR PRICE LIST CHANGES.] (a) 
Telecommunications carriers may: 
    (1) decrease the rate for a service, or make any change in 
a tariff or price list that results in a decrease in rates, 
effective without notice to its customers or the commission; and 
    (2) offer a new service, increase the rate for a service, 
or change the terms, conditions, rules, and regulations of its 
service offering effective upon notice to its customers.  
Subject to subdivisions 2 and 9, a telecommunications carrier 
may discontinue a service, except that a telecommunications 
carrier must first obtain prior commission approval before 
discontinuing service to another telecommunications carrier if 
end users would be deprived of service because of the 
discontinuance. 
    (b) A telecommunications carrier may give notice to its 
customers by bill inserts, by publication in newspapers of 
general circulation, or by any other reasonable means. 
    Subd. 7.  [OCCASIONAL USE.] A telecommunications carrier 
shall not be deemed to provide local exchange services within 
the meaning of sections 237.01 and 237.035 merely because of 
occasional use of the service by the customer for local exchange 
service related to the provision of interexchange services. 
    Subd. 8.  [UNIFORM RULES.] Telecommunications carriers are 
subject to uniform rules pertaining to the conduct of intrastate 
telephone services by telecommunications carriers that the 
commission has prescribed and may prescribe, to the extent the 
rules are not inconsistent with this section.  Rules, forms, or 
reports required by the commission must conform as nearly as 
practicable to the rules, forms, or reports prescribed by the 
Federal Communications Commission for interstate business. 
    Subd. 9.  [DISCONTINUANCE.] If a physical connection exists 
between a telephone exchange system operated by a telephone 
company and the toll line or lines operated by a 
telecommunications carrier, neither of the companies shall have 
the connection severed or the service between the companies 
discontinued without first obtaining an order from the 
commission upon an application for permission to discontinue the 
physical connection.  Upon the filing of an application for 
discontinuance of the connection, the department shall 
investigate and ascertain whether public convenience requires 
the continuance of the physical connection, and if the 
department so finds, the commission shall fix the compensation, 
terms, and conditions of the continuance of the physical 
connection and service between the telephone company and the 
telecommunications carrier.  Prior commission approval is not 
required for severing connections where multiple local exchange 
companies are authorized to provide service.  However, the 
commission may require the connections if it finds that the 
connections are in the public interest. 
    Subd. 10.  [COST OF EXAMINATION; ASSESSMENT OF EXPENSES; 
LIMITATION; OBJECTIONS.] Section 237.295 applies to 
telecommunications carriers as it does to telephone companies. 
    Subd. 11.  [ENFORCEMENT; PENALTIES AND REMEDIES.] (a) This 
section and rules and orders of the commission adopted or issued 
under this section may be enforced by criminal prosecution, 
action to recover civil penalties, injunction, action to compel 
performance, other appropriate action, or any combination of 
penalties and remedies. 
    (b) A person who knowingly and intentionally violates this 
section or a rule or order of the commission adopted or issued 
under this section shall forfeit and pay to the state a penalty, 
in an amount to be determined by the court, of at least $100 and 
not more than $1,000 for each day of each violation.  The civil 
penalties provided for in this paragraph may be recovered by a 
civil action brought by the attorney general in the name of the 
state.  Amounts recovered under this paragraph must be paid into 
the state treasury. 
    Subd. 12.  [CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENT.] No 
telecommunications carrier shall construct or operate any line, 
plant, or system, or any extension of it, or acquire ownership 
or control of it, either directly or indirectly, without first 
obtaining from the commission a determination that the present 
or future public convenience and necessity require or will 
require the construction, operation, or acquisition, and a new 
certificate of territorial authority.  Nothing in this 
subdivision requires a telecommunications carrier that has been 
certified by the commission to provide telephone service before 
the effective date of this section, to be recertified under this 
subdivision.  Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to 
allow or prohibit facilities bypass of the local exchange 
telephone company, nor shall it be construed to prohibit the 
commission from issuing orders concerning facilities bypass of 
the local exchange telephone company. 
     Sec. 5.  [237.75] [CLASS SERVICE.] 
    Subdivision 1.  [DEFINITION.] For purposes of this section, 
"CLASS" or "custom local area signaling service" means a custom 
calling telephone service that is enabled through the 
installation or use of Signaling System 7 or similar signaling 
system and that includes at least the following features: 
    (1) automatic call back; 
    (2) automatic recall; 
    (3) calling number delivery, commonly known as "caller 
identification"; 
    (4) calling number delivery blocking; 
    (5) customer originated call tracing; 
    (6) distinctive ringing/call waiting; 
    (7) selective call acceptance; 
    (8) selective call forwarding; and 
    (9) selective call rejection. 
    Subd. 2.  [CLASS; TERMS AND CONDITIONS.] By January 1, 
1994, the commission shall determine the terms and conditions 
under which CLASS services may be provided by telephone 
companies in this state. 
    Subd. 3.  [CLASS; CAPABILITY AND OFFERING OF SERVICE.] Each 
telephone company that provides local telephone service to 
persons located in the counties of Anoka, Carver, Dakota, 
Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, and Washington shall obtain the 
capability to offer CLASS services in those counties by January 
1, 1995, unless the commission approves an extension to a date 
certain. 
    Sec. 6.  [REPEALER.] 
    Minnesota Statutes 1992, section 237.59, subdivision 7, is 
repealed. 
    Presented to the governor May 15, 1993 
    Signed by the governor May 19, 1993, 8:30 a.m.