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Senate committee approves telephone deregulation

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Lawmakers are again considering a telephone deregulation bill that drew heavy opposition last year before it was withdrawn.

The Senate Economic Development, Tourism and Labor Committee passed the bill on Monday, sending it to the full Senate for consideration.

Critics of a similar measure last year charged that Kentucky's poor could lose basic landline service if the measure passed. Proponents offered lawmakers assurances Monday that that wouldn't happen.

Sen. Paul Hornback said the measure now specifies that providers would have to ensure telephone service to everyone, including those living in exchanges with fewer than 5,000 customers.

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The legislation is Senate Bill 88.

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