The state-wide franchise bill backed by BellSouth moved through the bowels of the House today. (You may correctly assume I think this bill s__t. Insert appropriate scatological jokes here.)
This is the same bill that strips localities of their property rights in regards to Telecom (and only telecom) companies. Local governments ability to make contracts that serve the interests of local citizens based on their ownership of local rights of way would be usurped by and handed over to corporations. The most immediate effect will be to exempt AT&T/BellSouth from the current rules that require that cable service be offered to all in a community by any corporation that leases their property. AT&T has been insisting that it won't pay a dime in franchise fees, and doesn't have to pay attention to local desires about how its land is used and what is placed on that land. In some places it has sued to forbid local governments from exerting their property rights and in others it has been sued for ignoring them. In all cases it is clear that AT&T believes it has no obligation to pay franchise fees. This will have a huge impact on local income. Lafayette gets $900,000 a year and New Orleans got $5,000,000. That's based on cable income. Every dollar BS takes from Cox will mean another dollar in taxes that someone in those cities has to pay.
There has seldom been so raw an example of our state representatives selling out the interests of localities to boost the profit margin of one of the world's largest corporations. Their mothers would be ashamed.
The bill passed 73 to 26. If you like to see a list of the heels and heroes visit the page detailing the final vote. If your representative is a heel you really ought to let him or her know.
Here's how Lafayette's reps did.
|Ernest J. Alexander||Hero||Republican|
|Clara Guilbeau Baudoin||Hero||Democrat|
|Wilfred T. Pierre||Heel||Democrat|
|Gillis J. Pinac||Heel||Democrat|
|Joel C. Robideaux||Heel ||Independent|
|Donald Mark "Don" Trahan||Republican|
Pinac, who represents the sliver of Lafayette that includes Duson was particulary embarrasing though. As the chair of the committee he has used his leadership role to pretty consistently help the telecos out on several bills. Maybe the mayor of Duson should give him a call. though. As the chair of the committee he has used his leadership role to pretty consistently help the telecos out on several bills. Maybe the mayor of Duson should give him a call.