House Lawmakers Have Opportunity to Include Bennet's, Udall's Colorado NEWS Act in Bipartisan Telecommunications Bill
With the U.S. House of Representatives voting this week on the STELA Reauthorization Act of 2014 — a five-year renewal of various telecommunication and copyright laws — U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and Mark Udall urged the House to act on behalf of the people of Durango, Cortez and the Four Corners region to ensure residents have access to the news, weather, sports and emergency information most relevant to them.
Bennet and Udall said the House has an opportunity to show real leadership and to include their Colorado News, Emergency, Weather and Sports (NEWS) Act of 2014 in the STELA Reauthorization Act. The Colorado NEWS Act would amend the Communications Act of 1934 and copyright laws to allow residents of La Plata and Montezuma counties to receive Colorado broadcast stations by satellite or cable.
"Common sense tells you that if you live in Colorado, you should have access to Colorado news, sports, and emergency information. Unfortunately, Southwest Colorado has been unfairly disconnected from the rest of the state because of the antiquated way TV markets are created," Bennet said. "The Colorado NEWS Act Senator Udall and I introduced would fix this problem once and for all. The House should pass it as part of its satellite television bill to give all Coloradans access to Colorado news."
"The people of Durango, Cortez and surrounding communities deserve access to the Colorado TV news, weather and emergency information they need. With wildfire season underway, the people of La Plata and Montezuma counties deserve leadership — not more studies," Udall said. "The House has an opportunity and responsibility to join me in solving this longstanding problem through the Colorado NEWS Act."
The Colorado NEWS Act would:
- Allow TV providers to transmit TV signals from Colorado-based broadcast stations to viewers in La Plata and Montezuma counties.
- Resolve copyright concerns regarding the ability of these providers to transmit both Colorado and New Mexico TV signals.
- Enable broadcasters and TV providers to determine a fair way to ensure all Coloradans have 24-hour access to the news, emergency information, weather and sports most relevant to them.
Bennet and Udall have championed rural Coloradans' access to local news, weather, sports and emergency information. They have introduced similar bipartisan legislation during previous sessions of Congress aimed at bringing Colorado TV to the Four Corners region.