Legislative Alert: Bill to cut public/government access television gets stealth hearing
February 26th, 2012
This alert arrived via Henry Curtis of Life of the Land. Henry calls attention to hearing scheduled for tomorrow.
HB2874 originally had a triple referral, but missed the deadline when neither the committee on economic development and business, or consumer protection and commerce, set it for a public hearing. But on February 16, it was re-referred as a single referral to the House Finance committee, and on Friday night it was scheduled for a hearing tomorrow.
This means the bill has not been vetted by any substantive committee, so its issues and problems have not been aired. It deserves to be killed on that basis alone.
Here’s Henry’s alert:
"We again must ask for your support.
"Late Friday night, a hearing was scheduled for 10am this Monday morning for HB2874. This is a House bill that seeks to permanently cap funding for all community access centers at current levels. Again, ‘Olelo and our PEG Access sister organizations are united in strong opposition to this bill since it will make it impossible for any of Hawaii’s PEG Access centers to maintain current service levels after this year.
"On the surface, the bill will create a broadband special fund to support public school broadband and laptop initiatives. However, in order to implement this initiative, the bill will take funding intended to support the community’s voice via PEG Access by freezing appropriations of PEG funds derived from cable fees at 2011 levels and divert them to the State’s “Broadband Special Fund”. In 2017, any PEG Access funds remaining will revert to the General Fund.
"‘Olelo is supportive of broadband initiatives for public schools. In fact, ‘Olelo has had a long and fruitful partnership with the educational sector promoting innovative media. However, ‘Olelo’s purpose is to serve and protect Access for all sectors and all voices. Capping PEG funding at 2011 levels will effectively take future funds that are meant to support all PEG Access sectors and community free speech to support a State initiative.
"We understand this is very late notice, but we would appreciate your testimony and attendance at the Hearing on Monday. It is very important that our legislators hear your perspective on this issue. If you are unable to attend, information and links on submitting testimony and telephoning is below."
Hearing on HB 2874: Monday, February 27; 10 AM. Conference Room 308
[ To submit testimony, see instructions on iLind's original blog post ]