Hello Members & Supporters –
After last week’s exciting news, we wanted to follow up as best we can to keep you apprised on what’s happening. As of this afternoon, not a lot has changed – The bill which would require cable companies to offer HD channels and electronic programming guides to Massachusetts community stations has been voted upon favorably with both the House and Senate. The next step is that the bill will go in front of a Joint Committee of the House and Senate in order to work out any potential conflicts before the bill goes before the Governor for ratification.
We expressed last week that we feel the best course of action right now is to wait and see what kind of communication we get from this particular committee and if the section we are hoping to keep in there (section 92) is in any danger of being removed. We ask that you not contact any of your representatives at this point, even if you know someone on the Joint Committee. We feel that calling too much attention to the section may put it in jeopardy.
Then there’s the question about the amendment (amendment 60) which, as written now, would force all of us to wait until our next contract to get HD and EPG. We are not convinced that the cable companies will hold everyone to these limitations and we’re working on language that may ease some of those restrictions. We need to remain patient. We’re close. No representative of any community media station should reach out to any representation at this point, regardless of contract status. Simply stated, if amendment 60 goes away at this point, there’s a good chance that section 92 may be viewed as unconstitutional and removed entirely, because it attempts to alter existing contracts.
We hope that everyone will understand and respect this strategy. We will keep you updated as needed. Thanks, as always, for your support.
The MassAccess Board of Directors
Bill Nay, Chair
Melinda Garfield, Vice Chair
Stephen M. Kessinger, Treasurer
Erich Archer, Clerk