Governor Blanco has vetoed HB 699, BellSouth's state-wide video franchising bill.
John Hill, writing for the Gannett papers confirms what an anonymous commenter at this site said this morning: Governor Blanco vetoed the bill late last night. Apparently this took place at at 11:35 last night. From the article:
House Speaker Joe Salter, D-Florien, said following a telephone conversation with the governor at mid-morning that she mentioned scratching four special appropriations and the cable competition bill that proponents said would lead to cheaper television services.The house sponsor, Montgomery, says he was informed around 11:00 this morning (so our anonymous informant had the news before he did).
This is very good thing--as regular readers will no doubt recall Lafayette Pro Fiber has taken a hard stand against this bill and encouraged others to do the same. It was a bad bill that gave away local options to corporations that had demonstrated that they did not have the best interests of Lousiana communities at heart. The Governor's veto means that the state will have avoided embarrassing itself by making red-lining state policy. Local governments, the ones that actually maintain and own the property that BellSouth wanted free reign to use as they please can still make any sorts of bargains with BellSouth (soon to be AT&T) that are in the best interests of their citizens. And they may decide to enter into contracts that resembles the clauses of the late HB 699--but that will be their choice and not a one-size-fits-all choice dictated by the state that clearly served only the interests of a monolithic phone monopoly.
It's a good day for Louisiana. Congratulations go out to all who worked on this issue! It was a long shot from the beginning and what turned it around was that the people who saw how unjust the law would be refused to back down or give up.