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San Francisco officials discuss CTIA lawsuit in closed-door meeting

For the second time, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors met in a closed door session to discuss a CTIA lawsuit over the city's Right-to-Know ordinance.

Minutes after they gave preliminary approval to a payroll tax break to keep tech companies like Twitter in San Francisco, the city's Board of Supervisors used a closed-door meeting yesterday to discuss a lawsuit by the CTIA. The board also decided not to disclose what it discussed during the session.

It was the second time in three weeks that the board had met privately with City Attorney Dennis Herrera's office to discuss the CTIA's suit over the city's Right-to-Know ordinance (PDF). Passed last June, the legislation requires cell phone retailers to display the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) of all handsets at the point of sale.

Supervisor Jane Kim, who assumed office this January, wouldn't tell CNET what the board discussed in the meeting. She also declined to state her position on the matter.

In its suit, which is now on hold, the wireless industry's lobbying arm claims that the ordinance interferes with the "FCC's exclusive, congressionally derived authority" of radio frequency emissions from cell phones and other wireless devices. The CTIA also claims that encouraging customers to reply on a phone's SAR is misleading and that the legislation infringes on the First Amendment rights of cell phone retailers by asking them to issue fact sheets to consumers.

City officials have told CNET that the city is considering the CTIA's "reasonable objections" and that the Department of the Environment is reevaluating the materials that retailers will be required to make available to consumers. The city also moved the ordinance implementation date from May 1 to June 15.