Smullen Urges for The Passage of Assembly Bill A.8134, Which Establishes The New York State Rural Mobile Communications Fund

Assemblyman Robert Smullen (R,C-Mohawk Valley and the Adirondacks) is urging his Assembly colleagues to vote ‘yes’ on Assembly Bill A.8134, which establishes the New York State Rural Mobile Communications Fund to provide grants for the purpose of increasing cellular service in low- to no-coverage areas. Smullen wants to see this proposal discharged from the Assembly Ways & Means Committee so it can make it to the Assembly Chamber Floor for debate and vote. However, the Assembly Majority has voted against the motion to discharge Smullen’s proposal, preventing it from moving forward.

“There are stark differences in resources provided to urban areas versus rural areas throughout Upstate New York, and my Assembly Minority Conference colleagues and I have highlighted these differences for many years,” said Smullen. “Throughout Assembly District 118 and other areas upstate, there are notable pockets of low- to no-coverage for cellular devices. This is not only inconvenient but can actually create dangerous situations for New Yorkers traveling or living in these areas where cellular coverage is spotty.”

To support the reasoning behind this proposal, Smullen pointed out how the current lack of cellular coverage in many areas of Upstate New York contributed to the death of a 20-year-old woman who was tragically shot. The woman was traveling with her friends when they unfortunately turned down the wrong driveway thinking they had arrived at the correct address. They had no cellular connection to double-check where they were. When the group began to pull out of the driveway, the 20-year-old woman in the passenger seat was shot to death by a man who later claimed they were ‘trespassing’ on his property.

“This tragedy could have been avoided if the group of friends had the cellular coverage necessary to check their location and make sure they were at the right address. The lack of cellular coverage in rural areas throughout our state contributed to this dangerous situation and will undoubtedly contribute to others. The Adirondacks are a popular hiking spot—if a hiker is injured or gets lost, they should have enough cellular connection to call for help or find their way out of the woods. Many students today carry cellphones on their person to communicate with their parents and families throughout the day—if a student needs to call home or misses the bus, or a parent needs to pick up their child early from school, they should be able to communicate with each other no matter what.”

“I encourage my colleagues to vote ‘yes’ on Assembly Bill A.8134 to establish the Rural Mobile Communications Fund. This is a common-sense proposal that will provide grants to generate the funding needed to increase cellular coverage and make life easier and safer for New Yorkers living in rural areas of the state. Opposing this proposal is turning our backs on the safety and well-being of New York citizens—something I refuse to do,” concluded Smullen.

Editor’s Note: To read more about Assembly Bill A.8134, please click here.