- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 15, 2014

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A legislative panel has backed a plan meant to extend broadband access to rural Iowans, though an agreement hasn’t been reached on language about the placement of new cell towers.

The House Ways and Means Committee voted 16-to-9 Tuesday to advance the measure, but differences remain about language in the bill that gives cellular companies more uniform standards for tower placement. Local officials have argued those new rules could limit their control over tower placement decisions.

Rep. Peter Cownie, a West Des Moines Republican, says his goal is to work with cellular providers while not stripping local governments of their control in cell tower siting. He promises to find common ground before anything is signed into law.

The legislation is now eligible for floor debate.

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