Smart Answers to Complicated Questions
Client: Bluegrass Cellular
Running a telecommunications company responsible for everything from tablets to cell towers means Bluegrass Cellular President and CEO Ron Smith often needs correct answers to complicated questions. And for 20 years, Dinsmore has been answering Smith’s questions on topics ranging from labor and employment to government regulations to OSHA.
“Certainly over the years we’ve had top-notch services from Dinsmore and have really enjoyed the relationship,” Smith said. “I don’t know how we could do our business without them.”
Bluegrass’ services include mobile devices and accessories, talk and text plans, data plans, mobile apps, wireless Internet, and mobile Internet. Staying in business means keeping up with ever-changing government standards that affect everything from human resource issues to cell tower placement and function.
Smith said Dinsmore helps navigate these and other issues by explaining all sides of the matter and then detailing the logic of their counsel. Dinsmore’s attorneys never provide Smith an answer without an adequate explanation.
“It’s more about our education and our being able to make a good business decision,” Smith said.
Smith also appreciates that Dinsmore has multiple attorneys working to ensure the success of his business.
“You develop a really good comfort that you’re not dealing with just one individual, but you’re dealing with a firm that’s pretty deep,” Smith said.
Advice and Assistance Related to Kentucky Consumer Protection Laws
Dinsmore represented an out of state company that was unable to justify conducting business in the Commonwealth due to overly broad restrictions placed upon that type of business under Kentucky's consumer protection laws. We were successful in explaining to the implementing agency that amendments to the law were necessary and would not harm consumer protection efforts. We were further able to pass amendments to existing laws that opened the door for the company to conduct its business in Kentucky.
Advice and Assistance Related to Statutorily-Imposed Fee
Dinsmore represented a client that was concerned that a fee imposed upon its activities by the Commonwealth of Kentucky served to reduce the Kentucky facility's competitiveness with others in the market, as well as its competitiveness for expansion possibilities within the company. We were able to draft and pass legislation that substantially reduced the statutorily-imposed fee and allowed the facility to enhance its competitiveness, while not significantly depriving the state agency of funding.
Implementation of the Kentucky Health Care Exchange
We are currently representing a national trade organization on the legislative and policy issues impacting implementation of the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange, a program under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Lobbying For Legislation Regarding Brownfield Redevelopment and Property Revitalization
In an effort to redevelop and revitalize properties under the Brownfield Redevelopment Program across the state of Kentucky, we were enlisted by our clients to expedite the passage of multiple bills to address issues that have delayed cleanup initiatives. We worked on behalf of our clients to draft incentives within the legislation to address, and in some cases remove, liability for those who clean up brownfield sites and prepare them for redevelopment. Our role included working with state legislators, securing bill sponsors, conducting extensive research, testifying before committee hearings and interfacing with various government offices, boards and commissions. The passage of these bills has served to help the state’s economy through redevelopment of unnecessarily underused properties.
Promoting Legislation Addressing Blighted Property Enforcement Strategies
When a municipal client sought legislation to help them address foreclosed and blighted properties, they turned to our professionals. With our assistance, multiple bills have passed that expedite the foreclosure process and provide more authority for cities to address or maintain properties that have gone into foreclosure. Our role included coordinating the efforts and missions of the client, as well as promoting the passage of the bills through testifying at committee hearings, lobbying legislators and providing research and analysis regarding the impact of the bills.
Promoting Legislations Addressing the Appropriate Siting Of Merchant Power Plants
When the Kentucky Public Service Commission looked to promote legislation that addressed the siting of merchant power plants in the state, we were called upon to conduct research, prepare testimony and work with sponsors on a bill that enabled the Commission to oversee the siting strategy and process. Property boundaries, access control, noise levels, utilities, traffic impact and compatibility with surroundings were key factors. Our efforts ensured that the plants are properly regulated, but not in an over-burdensome manner.
Regulated Utilities and Alternative Fuels
Having represented regulated utilities before approximately 20 state utility regulatory commissions, Mr. Depp has experience across the spectrum of the telecommunications, electricity, water, natural gas, and sewage industries. In addition to his utility work, Mr. Depp also has experience advising clients with respect to matters involving alternative fuels such as biodiesel and ethanol. Representative examples of Mr. Depp’s utility and alternative fuels experience include the following.
- Representing a large aluminum smelter in its efforts to move from the certified service territory of an electric cooperative to that of a large electric utility.
- Representing twelve rural ILECs in the negotiation and arbitration of interconnection agreements with CMRS carriers.
- Representing an ILEC in its efforts to obtain a rate increase under traditional rate of return regulation.
- Representing an ILEC in its efforts to obtain access to the utility poles of an electric utility under rates, terms, and conditions identical to those available to cable television companies.
- Representing a CMRS carrier in its efforts to obtain numerous certificates of public convenience and necessity from local planning units and utility regulatory commissions.
- Representing a start-up company in its efforts to establish a wind farm for purposes of generating electricity for transport and sale.
- Representing a start-up company in its efforts to use landfill gas to generate electricity for transport and sale.
- Representing a water utility in its efforts to implement efficient solutions to a regional water crisis and discourage another water utility's plans to construct a new water treatment plant.
- Representing a CLEC in the negotiations and arbitration of an interconnection agreement to open effective competition in the 911/E911 services market in Kentucky.
- Reviewing, negotiating, and effectuating wireless license transfers.
- Representing 7 ILECs in a regulatory proceeding to determine whether a transit tariff is lawful.
- Representing a condominium association in an effort to compel appropriate service by a sewage utility.
- Negotiating on behalf of manufacturing operations in securing electricity, gas, steam, and telecommunications services.
- Representing a CLEC before the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit regarding the opt-in provision of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
- Representing wireline and wireless carriers in their efforts to obtain eligible telecommunications carrier status.
- Advising wireline and wireless carriers regarding regulatory compliance issues such as those relating to customer proprietary network information.
- Advising a wireless carrier as it launches new products and services.
- Advising clients with respect to proposed legislation affecting utility operations and regulatory obligations.
- Advising utilities with respect to state and local taxation issues.
- Responding to FCC investigations and informal consumer complaints.
- Negotiating and closing asset purchase agreements between regulated utilities, as well as securing necessary regulatory approvals for the same.
- Obtaining regulatory approvals for regulated utilities seeking to construct new plant and/or take on new financing.
- Responding to numerous state utility regulatory commission investigations and inquiries regarding regulatory obligations and/or customer complaints.
- Reviewing, revising, and filing tariffs.
- Representing an alternative fuel manufacturer in discussions with the Kentucky Dept. of Agriculture and the National Biodiesel Board.
- Advising an ethanol manufacturer with respect to regulatory and utility-related issues associated with a contemplated manufacturing plant.
Removing Legislative Roadblock to Economic Development
When a national home product sales organization wanted to conduct business in Kentucky, it was realized that Kentucky’s laws were overly-restrictive on that type of business. We were called upon to rectify the situation. After conducting extensive research and building solid support for a change in the law, we were able to shepherd legislation through the legislative process to allow the company to conduct operations in Kentucky within six months of passage.
Supported Legislation That Addressed Regional Water Infrastructure Planning
When the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority sought to implement a regional planning strategy to improve the delivery of water to rural areas in Kentucky, we were enlisted by interested clients to guide them through the legislation process. We organized efforts to manage the regional aspect of the planning, working with local legislators to secure their cooperation. We also conducted research into regional planning strategies, offered testimony at committee hearings and worked with both the Authority and state legislators to coordinate efforts. The legislation was eventually passed, and significant efforts have been made on improving and upgrading the state’s water infrastructure to improve the delivery of water to designated areas.
Supporting Anti-Counterfeiting and Consumer Protection Legislation
When a well-respected coalition of businesses wanted to address the practice of selling fraudulently-marketed items, they asked us to lobby for legislation that increased penalties for vendors who market and sell items that are fraudulently presented as popular name-brand items. We worked to secure a sponsor for the bill, presented research and testimony on behalf of the Coalition, and negotiated policy within the legislation. The legislation was passed, providing a victory for our client in their efforts to protect consumers and their products.
Supporting Legislation Addressing Contractor Fraud and Abuse
We represented property and casualty insurance groups in their lobbying efforts toward the passage of a bill that provides consumer protection as it relates to contractor fraud and abuse. The bill addresses contractors who solicit business through questionable tactics following severe weather events, putting in place a number of provisions that contractors must meet before soliciting business and performing a project. We conducted extensive research regarding the matter, and lobbied throughout the bill’s journey to passage to ensure that both our clients’ and the consumers’ interests were protected.
Updating Legislation for Building and Engineering Standards
Dinsmore worked closely with representatives from the Boiler and Pressure Vessel Board, as well as the Department for Housing, Buildings and Construction and labor interests to lobby for updated legislation related to building and engineering standards for the replacement of boilers, pressure vessels and associated piping in Kentucky. We conducted exhaustive research into updated standards, and incorporated modern standards developed by the American Society for Mechanical Engineers into the legislation to update the Code, which had not seen major revisions since being enacted in the 1960s. The new legislation enables Kentucky businesses to operate in accordance with modern standards, and also provides the Department the authority to regulate and audit the equipment.