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Senate cable bill resurrected for floor action next week.

Called "dead" by some of its detractos, S.12, the Senate cable bill, has been revived and now is expected to see floor action the week of January 27.

The NLC-supported legislation has now been made the first order of business by Majority Leader George Mitchell (D-Me.) and is espected to be voted on shortly after Congress reconvenes.

The "Cable Television Consumer Protection Act of 1991" was scheduled for floor debate in the weeks just prior to the holiday adjourment, when it was bumped by the debate on major banking legislation. Prior to last week's change of events, the last status report received on S.12 at that time was: "delayed indefinitely."

Although S.12 does not address all of the problems local governments face when delaing with their cable services and franchisees, NLC continues to support the legislation as a "step in the right direction" by Congress on this issue.

There have been reports that an alternate cable bill is in the works, which may be stripped of the more controversial or regulatory provisions included in S.12, such as rate regulation.

The National League of Cities, along with the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM), the National Association of Counties (NACo) and the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA), sent a joint letter to every member of the Senate strongly opposing any substitute bill or amendments that woul weaken the current provisions of S.12.

In its current form, the bill allows local governments to regulate where there is no effective competition, requires the FCC to develop stronger customer service standards, and seeks to prevent anticompetitive practices by the industry.

Municipal officials grappling with poor cable service and escalating rates should contact their Senate representatives to remind them of the importance of this legislation. Call Anna Ferrera in the Center for Policy and Federal Relations at NLC for more information (202) 626-3020.
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Title Annotation:Cable Television Consumer Protection Act of 1991
Author:Ferrera, Anna Pulido
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Jan 20, 1992
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