- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 14, 2009

NASHVILLE, TENN. (AP) - A proposal to deregulate the price of basic landline phone service in Tennessee has passed the Senate.

The measure sponsored by Republican Sen. Paul Stanley was approved 22-7 Monday evening. The companion bill is scheduled for a vote in the House Commerce Committee on Tuesday.

When lawmakers rewrote the state’s telecommunications law in 1995, they retained regulations on existing phone providers.

Since then, however, new companies have emerged using technologies that did not exist when the law was written and that are not under the same regulations as traditional phone companies.

Opponents of the measure are concerned it could lead to higher prices.

Alabama, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Nevada have passed similar legislation. Besides Tennessee, it’s pending in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

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