Community TV Gains Unanimous Support at California Assembly Committee Hearing

Community TV Gains Unanimous Support at California Assembly Committee Hearing

Posted March 25th, 2014 by seanm

March 25, 2014
For Immediate Release

Access Humboldt applauds California State Assembly action in support of community TV
Resolution (AJR 39) urges Congress to give local governments more say in media access

Yesterday (March 24, 2014) the California Assembly's Committee on Utilities and Commerce unanimously passed Assembly Joint Resolution 39 (AJR 39 is attached) which urges Congress to allow local governments to direct cable franchise support for community media and local broadband access efforts. Supporters of the measure include: California League of Cities, Alliance for Community Media, New America Foundation, National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture, National Association of Counties, Center for Media Justice and many others. Opposition was registered only by California Cable & Telecommunications Association.

AJR 39 specifically calls on the U.S. Congress to amend Section 542 of Title 47 of the US Code to:

Allow states and their municipalities to determine the best use of PEG channel support

Restore and protect funding for PEG operations

To allow states and local governments the flexibility to use PEG funding for legitimate expenses other than capitol expenses

Ensure PEG channels are transmitted without charge to local governments

According to Assemblymember Hernandez the measure's author, "in this modern age, residents rely on information to be delivered via public, educational and government channels. These PEG channels offer residents an opportunity to become fully aware of what is taking place in their local communities. Public-access channels allow citizens to become better informed on local decisions by their elected representatives, educational and cultural programming. Currently, PEG funds are restricted to the use of capital expenses, such as equipment, maintenance, upgrades, and sets, but cannot be used for legitimate operational expenses such as labor, administration or research. Assembly Joint Resolution (AJR) 39 urges Congress to allow states and their municipalities to determine the best use of public, educational and government funds."

Access Humboldt's executive director Sean McLaughlin said, "AJR 39 simply asks Congress to give local communities control over local access media resources. As a measure of their arrogance, the cable industry's lobbyist actually testified in sole opposition, effectively arguing that profits for absentee owners are more important than local community voices! Fortunately, in this case elected leaders in the State Assembly were not to be fooled again."

Staff report on AJR 39 and full text of the measure are attached here.

For more information, contact: Sean McLaughlin, e: sean@accesshumboldt.net, c: 707-616-2381

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