As you know, MassAccess has been pursuing state legislation that would assess a fee to video streaming companies for their use of public rights-of-way. Part of the fees collected would go to benefit the ongoing efforts of community media stations across the Commonwealth. As we face an uncertain financial future, we feel the legislation is not only timely, but also vital to our very survival.

I could fill this letter with the cord-cutting data and give you some doomsday financial figures. I could recap all the terrific work you continue to do for your communities now, and during the height of a national emergency or even stress the number of qualified professionals we’ve lost over the last two years due to the proverbial writing on the wall. I’d rather just get to the point – we need your help and your voice to get this bill passed.

Attached you’ll find two template letters – one for each of the Joint Committees where our bill is currently being considered. As of right now, we have not been notified as to when the hearings will take place, but I’m told we should get started on the written testimony. Please fill out the letters, or write your own, and send them in as soon as you can. Please ask your local governments to send one in. Please ask the school systems, organizations and vendors you work with to send one in. Please share the templates with other community media professionals and follow up with them. Please treat this as a priority and don’t delay. Send one straight to the Joint Committees, send a copy to your State Representative and State Senator and please email a copy to legislative@massaccess.org

I know it seems like busy work, but it really does make a difference to legislators when they hear from their constituents. When we were collecting resolutions from municipalities to accompany the bill back in March, we collected letters from 10 municipalities. 10 out of 351 – not exactly a groundswell. A strong, unified statement can make a real impression on the legislature, but so can a half-hearted one. If it’s not of vital importance to us, how can we expect it to be a priority for the legislature? Self-advocacy doesn’t always come easy for those who give a lot of themselves but here in Massachusetts, our strength is our numbers and we need to employ that influence.

None of us got into this business to get rich. None of us stayed in it for the power and the fame. We do what we do because the core value of it still has meaning. Technology, communication and life itself has changed so much over the years, but the need for human self-expression and alliance has not. Your attention to this vital task is much appreciated and I’m available for any questions you may have.

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