Hutchison Unveils Video Franchise Bill


Texas Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) has introduced a video franchise reform bill, one of several making the rounds on the Hill.

Filed late Tuesday, S. 2989 is "modeled" on the Texas statewide franchising law pushed by Verizon. It appears to require all states to come up with a statewide franchise. The bill, which has been referred to the Commerce Committee, differs from that committee's video franchising bill, which leaves more control in the hands of local franchising authorities.

It also differs from the House version of video franchise reform, which creates a national video franchise and puts more control in the hands of the FCC.

Hutchison said she would "continue to work with" Commerce Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), who is holding a second hearing on his committee's version of franchise reform Thursday (May 25).

Not surprisingly, Verizon lauded the bill. "We commend Senator Hutchison," said Verizon federal government relations senior VP, Peter Davidson, "for recognizing the need to streamline the cable franchising process so that all Americans can experience what many Texans enjoy today -- more choices in the video marketplace."