April 17, 2009
Gresham and Dennis present Television Network Freedom
Act to Senate Committee
Provides choice for network television
(NASHVILLE, TN), April 17, 2009 — State Senator Dolores Gresham (R-Somerville) and State Representative Vance Dennis (R-Savannah) presented legislation on Wednesday they are sponsoring to the Senate Finance Committee’s Tax Subcommittee to increase the choices available to network television viewers in Tennessee. The legislation, known as the “Tennessee Network Choice Act,” arose out of recent actions of a television cable company which terminated its services to several counties in West Tennessee without notice to customers.
“Overnight thousands of Tennesseans were unable to receive services they had received for years,” said Sen. Gresham. “The company, which provided local Nashville television to these counties, is now in bankruptcy. There are many reasons that our local citizens want this service, not the least which includes access to severe weather information coming from Nashville.”
The legislation, SB 1152, provides a tax credit for network broadcasters that grant the waivers required for viewers to receive network stations via satellite outside their local areas. Local networks have routinely denied these waivers in the past. Television network broadcasters currently have the right by federal law to be the only network provider in their geographical area but can grant customers a waiver to receive network broadcast from outside areas.
Dennis and Gresham said they are hopeful that the legislation will create a tax incentive for networks to allow people in Tennessee to receive network programming from other major cities or localities in the state.
“This bill would establish a tax incentive that will encourage network broadcasters to grant the waiver needed to receive network broadcasts from different areas, added Dennis. “Many of our citizens want to continue to receive programming they previously enjoyed from Nashville, and this bill makes that opportunity much more likely that the network broadcasters would grant a waiver.”
The Committee will continue deliberations on the bill next Wednesday.