www.CableAdvisoryCouncil.com

For Charter Communications NW CT Area 19

PO BOX 87, Newtown CT 06470

Email Chairman@CableAdvisoryCouncil.com

 

Chairman’s Report – 33rd Annual CT Lobbying Conference

Produced by Gallo & Robinson LLC, Government Relations

 

16 October 2014:  Lyceum Building 227 Lawrence Street Hartford CT 06106

 

Key Learning and Conference Benefits:

 

1.  The opportunity to pitch each and every one of the Senators, Representatives, and Legislative Staff with my self introduction; state that “I am a volunteer, and on a Mission to Save Community Access Television”.  Their responses were unanimous:  “We Love Community Access! How can we help”?

 

2.  Learn that preparation of the following key documents is required for this initiative:

1.  ORAL TESTIMONY:  3 MINUTES MAX  (approx 500 words, 1 page)

2.  WRITTEN TESTIMONY:  the oral part + supporting facts, 2 pages max.

3.  FACT SHEET:  One Page:  All the Facts about the Bill

4.  LEGISLATIVE BRIEF:  3 –5 pages for the legislative staff, with all the above +.

 

Conference Proceedings and Participants:

 

9:15 – 10:25 am  How To Be an Effective Lobbyist – Panel Presentation

            HR058 Rep. David Alexander, CT House of Representatives

HR114 Rep. Themis Klarides:  Deputy Republican Leader, CT House of Representatives

            S34 Rep. Leonard Fasano:  Minority Leader Pro Tempore, CT State Senate

            S05 Sen. Beth Bye:  Chair, Appropriations Committee, CT State Senate

            HR093 Rep. Toni Walker:  Chair, Appropriations Committee, CT House of Representatives

            HR030 Rep. Joe Aresimowicz:  Majority Leader, CT House of Representatives

 

10:35 -11:35 am Workshop:  Legislative Process 101

            H030 Rep. Joe Aresimowicz:  Majority Leader, CT House of Representatives

            Paul Alderucci:  Project Manager, Information Technology, CT General Assembly

            Joe Grabarz:  Lobbyist, Gallo & Robinson Government Relations LLC

 

11:45 am – 12:45 pm Workshop:  Working with Legislative Staff

            Mary Finnegan:  Senior Administrator, Finance, Revenu and Bonding Committee

            Susan Keane:  Senior Administrator, Appropriations Committee

 

1:30 – 2:30 pm  Workshop: lobbying One on One

            HR001 Rep. Matt Ritter:  Vice Chair, Judiciary Committee, CT House of Representatives

            Kate Robinson:  Partner, Gallow & Robinson LLC, Government Relations

 

2:40- 3:40 pm  Workshop Testifying At Public Hearings

            H083 Rep.Catherine Abercrombie: Chair, Human Services Committee, CT House of Representatives, Daniela Giordano:  CT Public Policy Directory, National Alliance on Mental Illness

 

www.CableAdvisoryCouncil.com

For Charter Communications NW CT Area 19

PO BOX 87, Newtown CT 06470

Email Chairman@CableAdvisoryCouncil.com

 

 

A Conference Inspired Response for our legislative initiative:

 

This is What We NEED TO DO Right Now in order to Save Community Access TV:

 

The Proposed Initiative:  Draft bill:  (still a draft, no CT Legislator support yet)

 

We the citizens request that our legislators act to stabilize the funding for the CT Institution of Community Access Television by language clarification to CGS 16-331a(k).

CGS 16-331a  (PROPOSED REVSION INITIATIVE)

(k) The department shall establish the amount that the company or organization responsible for community access operations shall receive for such operations from subscribers to any services of multichannel video programming distributors holding a valid license as issued by the PURA.

 

Short story:   A license is required any private enterprise wishing to conduct business by providing wired connections traversing the public way to businesses and homes of citizens for the purpose of distributing video and data signals for a profit.

There are three possible license categories in CT to operate as a Multiple Video Program Distributor (MVPD:

The Certificate of Video Franchise Authority (CVFA) – with statewide coverage

The Certificate of Cable Franchise Authority (CCFA) – with franchise territories

The Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) – currently unactive.

 

This is WHY REVISED LEGISLATION IS NEEDED: 

 

The original law 16-331a, which created the institution of community access, dates back to the 1970’s.  It was then inconceivable that a customer would pay for cable service, and not receive “cable TV” programming.  Fast forward four decades, and the “Cable Providers” have scrubbed raw, the language of the law.  The MVPD’s  are now interpretating the “Cable TV Package” as a subset of multiple services on the same wire, but the only service upon which a subscriber fee for the support of the designated community access subscribers will be collected.  

 

While this argument is weak and unconscionable, dollars are involved and therefore significant to the MVPD license holders… CCFA and CVFA license holders are not collecting subscriber fees from customers who “CUT THE CORD” from the bundled pay TV package…. Even though Over the TOP video distribution is rapidly gaining significant market share.  The erosion of the funding to the institution of community access is a direct and devastating consequence this action by the MVPD’s.

 

COMCAST, CHARTER, CABLEVISION, COX, & FRONTIER are NOT collecting community access support fees from subscribers who “CUT THE CORD”, and only and only subscribe to internet and/or telephone service.

 

This scenario is rapidly escalating in financial consequence, and the PURA have issued their preliminary view as “lacking authority” to enforce existing law with regulation to require Community Access Provider Fee collection from ALL subscribers to ANY MVPD services for the following reason:  “PURA does not regulate the internet”.  All of this could have been prevented by regulatory order to clarify the existing language, but PURA has not done so.

 

This proposed language revision to save Community Access Television is in NOT a Tax on the internet.   This language change is simply an enforcement of the existing fee collection from subscribers to any services of companies holding a MVPD license to conduct business in the State of CT, for the support of the Designated Community Access Providers. The Community Access Subscriber fee is in principle, no different from the "Gross Profits Taxes" and all the other fees levied on MVPD companies as defined by the terms of these licenses under this very same section of CT Law.

 

(And yes, the designated community access providers of Connecticut are delivering programming via the internet too.)

 

  ggdavis