Inside208

Major court decision takes bite out of 2006 cable law

Posted on July 11, 2012 by Dene Westbrook

In the 2006 lame duck session the legislature passed PA 480 of 2006, a law requiring uniform video franchising.  Our members are very familiar with this law and it’s effect to eliminate local control in cable issues.

On July 10 the Federal District Court in Detroit issued a major decision on video franchising that undercuts many of the provisions of the 2006 statute.

PA 480 retained a municipality as the franchising entity; however, municipalities were required to use a uniform agreement created by the state, and effectively a shot clock was created for approval in 30 days. The statute also did not create an apparently ability to a municipality to deny uniform franchise applications.

The July 10 decision preseves provisions of franchise agreements prior to 2007 (when PA 480 went into effect) including those provisions relating to PEG channels and in-kind services.  The decision also allows municipalities to deny uniform franchise applications to negotiate different terms.

You can find a copy of the decision and summary of the issue here: http://www.varnumlaw.com/files/documents/publications/Summary_Judgment_Decision_in_Detroit_vs_Comcast.pdf

Samantha Harkins works for the Michigan Municipal League handling municipal services issues.  She can be reached at 517-908-0306 or email at sharkins@mml.org.

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