Laissez-Faire Approach to Telecommunications Rate Regulation: State Ex Rel Spire v. Northwestern Bell Telephone Co., The
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O'Kief, W. Greg
INTRODUCTION|In 1986 the Nebraska Legislature passed Nebraska Revised Statutes sections 86-801 to 86-811 ("Act"), an act which reduced governmental rate-setting authority in the telecommunications field. The legislation has been referred to by one commentator as "perhaps the [nation's] broadest deregulation law with respect to telecommunication companies." In State ex rel. Spire v. Northwestern Bell Telephone Co., the Nebraska Supreme Court considered the law in three constitutional challenges by the Nebraska Attorney General. The court held that the deregulation of telephone rates by the Act did not violate a Nebraska constitutional provision granting the Nebraska Public Service Commission ("NPSC") regulatory power over common carriers. A second challenge, that the Act gave inadequate notice and opportunity to be heard and thereby violated the due process clauses of the fifth and fourteenth amendments of the United States Constitution, was also rejected by the court. The court also rejected the Nebraska Attorney General's challenge that the Act would not achieve its stated goals and was therefore an unconstitutional exercise of the police power. This Note first discusses the facts of Northwestern Bell and the holdings of the Nebraska Supreme Court on each of the Attorney General's challenges...
24 Creighton L. Rev. 649 (1990-1991)
Creighton University School of Law