For those who missed our Conference Call on February 9, here are the details on our two bills currently in legislature. Please remember that the best way to keep up to date on these efforts is to join us on the first Friday of every month at 11 am. If you are a current MassAccess member and you are not receiving the invitation via Constant Contact or on the listserv, please contact David Gauthier.

 

S-1857 – An Act Supporting Community Access Television

This bill would require that cable television operators in Massachusetts provide High Definition channels and access to Electronic Programming Guides for PEG centers in the state. We are happy to announce that the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities & Energy passed a favorable recommendation on the Senate side for this bill, while the House bill of identical language was sent for study. The next step is for the bill to go in front of either the Senate Steering Committee or the Ways and Means Committee. A favorable recommendation from the Joint Committee is a big step toward the ultimate goal of seeing this bill ratified into law. Over the next couple of weeks, we should know a lot more about where the bill will go and how you can help us push it across the goal line.

 

S-2267 – An Act Relative to PEG Access and Cable Related Funds

This bill was presented by Senator Joan B. Lovely, the honoree at our recent MassAccess Annual Meeting as the Legislator of the Year. The purpose of the bill is to alter some of the language and get some clarification on MGL Part 1, Title VII, Chapter 44, Section 53F 3/4 – PEG Access & Cable Related Fund, or more commonly known as the Enterprise Fund Law. Our bill asks for two things: the elimination of the word “appropriate” from this section and the continued allowance of the practice of direct funding.

MassAccess & Senator Lovely testified in front of the Joint Committee on Municipalities & Regional Government on February 6. The Joint Committee seems extremely amenable to helping us with this clarification, especially since the bill has no opposition to our knowledge. The Joint Committee is working with MassAccess on some of the language, including adding an additional request of enforcement delay to the Department of Revenue’s Division of Local Services. The Joint Committee will need to make a decision on the fate of this bill by February 21 but we are very hopeful that we will get our extension and that eventually the law will be clearer for all PEG centers going forward.

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