February 2, 2011
League of Municipalities to Testify on “Market Competition and Consumer Choice Act”
Trenton- Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy is scheduled to testify Thursday February 3 before the Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Gaming committee on the impact of A-3766 (S-2664), a bill that will have unintended consequences for government transparency, municipal costs and citizen access to important information.
Mayor of New Jersey’s second largest city, Mayor Healy serves on the Executive Board of the New Jersey League of Municipalities. He will address the consequences of A-3766 for his nearly quarter-million constituents.
Joining him will be Piscataway Mayor Brian Wahler, Chair of the League Telecommunications Task Force and League Executive Board Member. Additional mayors and governing body members are also expected to address the Committee.
The bill will have sweeping impacts on public, educational and government (PEG) access channels, as well as increase costs for municipal government Internet and video services.
Currently, as part of the franchise agreement to use municipal streets, most cable operators are required to give PEG access channels, equipment and training; and free Internet and video access at municipal buildings and schools. This legislation would remove that requirement leaving municipalities to pick up the costs, as their strained budgets might permit.
PEG channels carry community meetings, and events including meetings of government bodies, emergency management notifications and local events.
Addition, this legislation could potentially reduce the franchise fees for certain municipalities where cable operators might convert from traditional to system-wide type franchises. Municipalities cannot withstand erosion of franchise fees or the elimination of hard won concessions related to the system-wide franchise agreement made just 3 years ago.
For further information contact: Mike Darcy at (609) 695-3481, extension 116 or firstname.lastname@example.org