The much-dreaded telecom bill appears to be headed for passage on its third try though the Lege.
The wide-ranging telecommunications bills, delayed most of the summer by the battle over public school finance, would allow phone companies to avoid the thousands of local cable TV licenses that cable companies must acquire.
The Senate tentatively passed its version Tuesday night. The House, which debated its nearly identical version for several hours, delayed a vote until Wednesday when it could take up the Senate version. Ultimate approval by the House was expected, which would send the issue to Gov. Rick Perry for his consideration.
Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford, the sponsor of the House bill, said he expects phone companies offering cable-like services will want to reach as many customers as possible.
"I think we're going to be amazed how quickly this takes hold," King said. "The real effect is going to be competition. It's a bill allowing more companies to allow more choices to consumers. That's how competition works."
Cable companies dominate TV service now but phone companies are trying to get into the business by offering video service over fiber-optic networks that could also carry voice and high-speed data transmission.
The bill has had widespread support in both the House and Senate. It failed in the summer's first special session that ended in July when it couldn't break out of the legislative logjam created in the battle over public school finance.
Also via The Rep, eminent domain is back on the agenda. I've said before that I think this is an issue which should be addressed, but also as before I'm afraid we're going to get a rush job that won't give all affected parties a chance to be fully heard. I suppose once Craddick's call to adjourn was ignored, it was inevitable there'd be a push to Do Something before the clock ran out.Posted by Charles Kuffner on August 09, 2005 to That's our Lege | TrackBack