May 11, 2005

Telecom legislation sleight of hand

Rep. Phil King is so intent on the passage of his consumer-hostile telecom legislation that he's hacked the legislative process to ensure its passage without debate in the Senate, where cooler heads might've prevailed and removed gotchas like the municipal broadband prohibition. King managed to attach his telecom bills (HB 789 and 3179) as an amendment to legisllation already approved in the Senate, a bill to extend the Public Utilities Commission, which is sure to pass on the final vote. The author of the PUC bill, Jane Nelson (R-Lewisville), will fight the attempt; she says "it is my preference that sunset legislation remain clean of major policy shifts."

What's interesting is that when Jake Posey, special legal counsel to the Regulated Industries, appeared in King's place at the recent Community Internet Summit in Austin, he told frustrated and angry representatives of municipal Internet projects that they should look to the Senate to address their problems with the bill, since it had already passed the house. This amendment is an attempt to preclude that possibility. [Link]

Posted by jonl at May 11, 2005 10:28 AM

I strongly support removing all the King (& Sylvester Turner) committee amendments, and leaving a clean SB 408 on sunset review of the PUC.

Let's do whatever is appropriate to get a House floor amendment for that purpose.

If it means asking for a veto of SB 408 and addition of a clean sunset bill in a Special Session, so be it.

It seems there are a large number of issues where the public has attempted to contact Legislators this Session, where we have been treated inappropriately.

Posted by: at May 14, 2005 02:34 AM