Monday, March 13, 2006

Repeal!! Complete, Total, and Absolute

Good man Joel Robideaux, the state representative from House District 45 in Lafayette has prefiled three bills in the House that bear on the "Fair" Competition Act that BellSouth has been using to delay and drive up costs on the fiber optic utility project citizens voted in last July 16th. One of those bills, House Bill 245, is a straightforward repeal of the notorious Local Government Fair Competition Act.

Under the heading "TELECOMMUNICATIONS: Repeals the Local Government Fair Competition Act" we find the following meat:
Be it enacted by the Legislature of Louisiana:
Section 1. Chapter 8-K of Title 45 of the Louisiana Revised Statutes of 1950, comprised of R.S. 45:844.40 through 844.56, is hereby repealed in its entirety.
YES! This is what the communities of Louisiana need. Repeal. Complete, Total, and Absolute.

The "Fair Competition Act" is in fact massively unfair to local communities and serves only the interests of large, out-of-state monopolies. It is a deliberate attempt to cripple any municipal project by imposing special disabilities on local governments that no private provider would ever have to tolerate. Its clauses regulate local governments (and only local governments) by forcing them to charge customers for expenses they do not incur. (Example: the nonsense of pretending to tax itself or pretending to pay rent for the use of property they already own--in neither case do they actually give themselves money; they are only required by this law to jack up the price they charge their customers as if they did. They actually have to collect the extra money they could otherwise leave in their citizen/owners: pockets. Honest. Read the law. Such craziness deserves repeal.)

This is also the same law that is preventing New Orleans from using the city-owned WiFi network to help out its citizens by allowing the to use the network the citizens own without resorting to the silly subterfuge that the city is still in an active state of emergency. The minute that emergency goes away this law would require that New Orleans turn off the WiFi network that is serving a city which still has significant parts of the telephone system unrepaired. (That's crazy too.)

It is a poorly conceived law that has had dramatic and negative unintended consequences for two of Lousisiana's major cities. Robideaux's repeal bill is the right response.

You can write him and tell him you think so at: larep045@legis.state.la.us

(Those other two bills? More complicated. More as I find out more myself.)

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