Good news from the federal level. Senator Markey (Massachusetts) intends to introduce legislation in the Senate and Representative Anna Eshoo (California) intends to be the House champion for a bill that would clarify the definition of franchise fees as monetary, so that in-kind franchise contributions are protected from the 2019 FCC order. The text of the bill is extremely brief:
- Title: Protecting Community Television Act to amend the Communications Act of 1934 to modify the definition of franchise fee, and for other purposes.
- Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. MODIFYING THE DEFINITION OF FRANCHISE FEE. Section 622(g)(1) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 542(g)(1)) is amended by inserting “other monetary” before “assessment”.”
They intend to introduce the bill late this week and are looking for endorsements from local elected officials and organizations. The National League of Cities will be endorsing this bill and we will be working with them to push this legislation. We ask that you please reach out to Senator Peters and Senator Stabenow, or Representative, and encourage them to support this legislation. We also ask that you share your support with Bennett Butler in Senator Markey’s office at Bennett_Butler@markey.senate.gov or Asad Ramzanali, Asad.Ramzanali@mail.house.gov with Representative Eshoo’s office.
We understand that this has been a pressing issue for our communities. Preserving and protecting our rights-of-way is a top priority for the League and we will continue to offer our support for this legislation and directly advocate for its passage when we attend the NLC Congressional Cities Conference in DC in March.
John LaMacchia is the Assistant Director of State and Federal Affairs for the League handling transportation, infrastructure, energy and environment issues. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 517-908-0303.