Franchise Bill To Get Stronger 'Anti-Red Lining' Language


House Telecommunications Subcommittee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) says that, "as he understands it," Maryland Democrat Rep. Albert Wynn supports the national video franchising bill his committee will mark up next week.

In an interview for C-SPAN's The Communicators series, said that Wynn and Bobby Rush of Illinois, another African American Democrat, are reportedly working on strong language to add to the bill to insure against "red lining"--not providing service to less lucrative customers, often rural or poorer areas.

Upton said he and others on the committee will be able to support the language when the bill is marked up next week.

Upton said he understood Wynn to be a strong supporter of the bill (Wynn's office had not returned a call for confirmation at press time).

That would be a bipartisan addition to the legislation, which was originally supported by ranking Democrats John Dingell and Ed Markey until a couple of cable-unfriendly provisions were dropped from an earlier draft that the two said made the legislation less consumer-friendly.

Following those defections, though Markey says it was the bill that defected from them, Rush was touted as a "superstar" Democrat, but he was the only Democrat cited as a supporter by the Republican leaders, so he was carrying the "bipartisan" load alone.