Tennessee Legislation

Posted on February 19, 2007 - 7:06pm.

This page last updated 2/18/08
Recent State News via saveaccess: newswire

2/25/08 UPDATE:
Tennessee has competing bills active in 2008, including a "Pro-Peg Bill HB3959.

Active Bills
HB3959/SB4021 Competitive Cable and Video Services Act Read Bill | Status

HB 1421/SB 1933 Competitive Cable and Video Services Act Read Bill | Status

Provides for ongoing PEG funding and channel protections and the continuation of iNets. Establishes the Tennessee Cable and Video Service Authority to provide adequate oversight.

Description:HB 1421/SB 1933
The Competitive Cable and Video Services Act was introduced into the Tennessee Senate by Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) and Doug Jackson (D-Dickson) and in the Assembly by Reps. Charles Curtiss (D-Sparta) and Steve McDaniel (R-Parkers Crossroads) on 2/13/07.

This bill is essentially refiled from last year and seeks to make the state the franchising authority for new video providers. Upon passage, the secretary of state would become the administrator of “certificates of franchise authority.”

No build-out requirements may be required by localities.

PEG programming is clearly put at risk, with the barest requirement for video providers to provide channel capacity; if a town is not sufficiently using their channels, the video provider can reappropriate them. Whether a limit of two or three stations is instituted depends on local population levels. A kicker: if a town loses its PEG channels and somehow creates enough programming to repopulate them, the video provider must restore them, “but shall be under no obligation to carry that channel on a basic or analog tier.”

Franchise fees are effectively cut by this bill and are distributed by the state to individual localities. Past practices of asking for extra revenue to support PEG is rendered a thing of the past, ensuring that if a community didn’t have it before, it will need to convince cash-strapped local governments to support it. Institutional networks are no longer applicable.

The Tennessee Municipal League, the Tennessee Association of County Mayors and the Tennessee Cable Telecommunications Association continue to be vocal opponents of the proposed changes.

Source: Free Press

Organizations to Contact:
Keep it Local Tennessee

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( categories: State Franchises | TENNESSEE )