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AIC Legislative Blog

An up-to-date summary of key issues and decisions of importance to Idaho city officials before the Idaho Legislature.

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Feb 02

AIC Letter to House Business Committee on Video Franchise Bill

Posted on February 2, 2012 at 12:00 AM by Ken Harward

AIC submitted the following letter to members of the House Business Committee concerning the proposed state video franchise legislation, House Bill 410.

January 30, 2012

To:         House Business Committee

From:     Ken Harward, Executive Director, Association of Idaho Cities

Re:         Concerns with House Bill 410—State Video Franchising

For several years, the Association of Idaho Cities (AIC) has worked with telecommunication companies and cable television providers interested in enacting state video franchise legislation.

Our association recognizes the importance of broadband deployment to Idaho’s future economic growth and development. We support competition in video service that will benefit communities and consumers.

Our primary concern with House Bill 410 is that the bill as drafted would allow cable companies to unilaterally break franchise contracts that have been negotiated in good faith between a city and cable provider. How fair is that?

There is no sound public policy reason to wipe out valid contracts that have been negotiated in good faith. Public promises deserve to be kept.

House Bill 410 will also have a negative financial impact to those cities which have existing franchise contracts that lawfully include a broader definition of “gross revenue.”

We commit to work proactively with the sponsors of House Bill 410 to make changes to the legislation to ensure that franchise contracts currently in place are respected.

We appreciate your consideration of this important legislation in light of sound principles of responsibility and the sanctity of promises made by contract.