Update on Access Television and Austin Music Network

Access television and municipal wireless have escaped to live another day, but all that could change (previous post here). Though State Rep. Phil King’s effort to attach his telecom bill (3179) to CSSB 408, the PUC bill, was defeated on a point of order, King doggedly continues to flog his bill in whatever committee he can get it going in. I like Pink Dome’s comments on the situation (“Some folks claim that Phil is bought and paid fer by the SBC lobby.”). If you had any doubts about that contention, read this article:

A government watchdog group is crying foul over the decision by a House committee chairman to hold an end-of-session dinner for his committee at the $4 million home of one of the state’s most powerful lobbyists.

The seven members of the House Regulated Industries Committee, headed by Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford, are to have their dinner at the home of Austin lobbyist Neal “Buddy” Jones.

The committee tackles issues related to telephone, cable and electric utilities. Among Jones’ clients are AT&T and FPL Energy, which both have business before King’s committee.

Telecommunication companies SBC and Grande Communications are providing catering for the Monday dinner. Both companies have business before the committee.

King said he sees nothing wrong with the arrangement.

“It’s just the custom around here, every committee that meets, and usually some lobby covers the cost,” King told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Rationalization is fun, i’n’it? Coincidentally, a Pink Dome commenter says that “this bill just came back to life this morning in a regulated industries meeting. it’s baaaaaaaaack!” Regulated industries…sounds familiar. And all SBC and Grande had to do was buy them dinner. Well, he also “received $5,100 from the SBC Employees PAC, as well as $9,000 from Grande Communications PAC, $5,000 from AT&T, $5,000 from Texas Friends of Time Warner Cable, $5,000 from the Verizon Good Government Club and an additional $6,500 from various telecommunications industry companies.”

In Austin Music Network news, XL reports that AMN director Louis Meyers is now leaving the network on June 1st to take a position at the Folk Alliance in Memphis. “I accomplished my main goal at the Music Network, by making it self-sufficient,” said Meyers. “But you just can’t run it month to month.”

That should clear the way for Austin Music Partners to take over this summer.

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