Mayor's Statement re: Video Franchising Bill

November 9, 2007

Madison - Mayor Dave Cieslewicz made the following statement regarding last night's action on Assembly Bill 207:

"The video franchising bill passed last night by the State Senate is bad for Wisconsin consumers, school districts and municipalities. The nine senators who fought the good fight - including the entire Madison delegation of Senators Risser, Miller and Erpenbach - to improve this deeply flawed bill deserve our thanks. This proposal eliminates funding for public access programming, awards perpetual video franchises with minimal review, hampers the ability of local communities to control their rights of way, and provides no meaningful consumer protection or regulatory oversight.

"It is truly a sad commentary on Wisconsin politics that our legislative process compares poorly to that of Illinois. In that state, parties from all sides developed a win-win compromise that paved the way for statewide video franchising, without sacrificing public access programming, consumer protection and other priorities. That was sadly not the case in Wisconsin.

"This bill has been falsely described as opening the door to video competition. In fact, that door was already wide open, as Milwaukee showed earlier this year when it successfully negotiated a local franchise agreement with AT&T. This legislation simply saves video providers from the annoyance of dealing with local governments that might insist upon strong consumer protection, service to the entire community, and other basic pro-consumer principles.

"It is my hope that Governor Doyle will take steps to improve this flawed proposal."

Contact:
  • George Twigg, 266-4611