Senate approves telephone deregulation legislation

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - The Senate has approved a telephone deregulation bill despite widespread opposition that makes it unlikely to fare so well in the House.

Critics of the measure contend that Kentucky's poor could lose basic landline service if the measure is passed into law.

The GOP-controlled Senate voted 24-13 on Thursday, largely along partisan lines with most Republicans supporting the measure.

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

Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo, who represents several rural communities in eastern Kentucky, is one of the leading critics of the bill.

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