Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Congressman Steven LaTourette (R-OH) Introduce the Community Access Preservation Act (CAP Act)

May 5, 2011

Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Congressman Steven LaTourette (R-OH), jointly introduced legislation today that will help preserve Public, Educational and Government (PEG) access television channels across the country.  The introduction of the Community Access Preservation Act (the CAP Act), was hailed by American Community Television (ACT) as critical to saving hundreds of channels as well as jobs in twenty states that passed statewide or state-issued franchising laws since 2005.

“ACT has been working with these offices and many others to create a solution that will reverse the harm done to PEG access television,” said John Rocco, President of American Community Television.  “The CAP Act is critical to the survival of these important local television channels.  We could be losing as many as four hundred PEG channels, starting now and continuing through January 2012, if we don’t solve these problems.”

Wisconsin and Ohio were among those hardest hit by statewide or state-issued cable franchising laws passed since 2005.  Funding for PEG channels in Wisconsin and Ohio is being eliminated now and will completely be eliminated by January 2012.  ACT estimates as many as sixty PEG channels could be eliminated in Ohio and over thirty could be eliminated in Wisconsin.  Additionally, PEG funding will be eliminated in four other states, those states are Missouri, Florida, Iowa and Georgia.  Kansas, Nevada and South Carolina, immediately lost funding when those states passed statewide/state-issued franchising laws.  And cable run PEG channel operations were closed in several states, to include over fifty closures in California.

“Congress, through the cable acts of 1984 and 1992, intended to make sure that local communities could have PEG access channels and funding in return for the cable operators’ use of public rights-of-way,” said Rocco.  “This legislation will restore what Congress intended and helps to secure a local community’s ability to use these channels to communicate.  We want to thank Tammy Baldwin and Steven LaTourette for reaching across the aisle to work together to save these channels.”

For over forty-five years, PEG access television has aired local government meetings, community events, educational and nonprofit programming, as well as individual programming.  It is estimated there are over 5,000 PEG access channels in the United States with over two million hours of locally produced original programming each year.

For more information on the CAP Act or PEG access television, contact John Rocco, President at john@acommunitytv.org or Bunnie Riedel, Executive Director at riedel@acommunitytv.org or by calling 410-992-4976.

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