Legislation Builds on Bennet's and Udall's Work to Give All Coloradans Access to News, Weather, Emergency Information They Need
U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and Mark Udall introduced legislation today to give the residents of Durango, Cortez and the Four Corners region meaningful access to the news, weather, sports and emergency information most relevant to them. Bennet's and Udall's Colorado News, Emergency, Weather and Sports (NEWS) Act of 2014 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.
"When you live in Colorado, you want to know what's going on in your state - whether it is news, weather, sports, or politics. Unfortunately, the current system that determines where your local news comes from doesn't make a lot of sense for Southwest Colorado," Bennet said. "This bill takes a substantial step forward to ensure these residents have access to Colorado news."
"For too long, TV market lines have orphaned Coloradans living in the Four Corners region from the news, weather, sports and emergency information they need," Udall said. "With wildfire season upon us, the time for government studies is over. The residents of Durango, Cortez and the Four Corners region deserve a permanent solution that gives them access to Colorado TV — either from Denver or Grand Junction. The Colorado NEWS Act offers a clear path forward that addresses this problem."
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 been longtime proponents of improving communications infrastructure and connectivity throughout Colorado. Udall recently brought FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel to Durango to discuss possible ways to bring Colorado TV to the residents of La Plata and Montezuma counties. Udall also brokered an agreement with a New Mexico TV station last year to ensure residents of Durango, Cortez and the Four Corners region would not miss any of the Denver Broncos' games.
Bennet and Udall have introduced similar bipartisan legislation during previous sessions of Congress aimed at bringing Colorado TV to the Four Corners region.
Bennet and Udall also supported provisions in the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act of 2010 that commissioned a study of the number of Coloradans — and other Americans — who do not receive in-state TV programming. The results of that study, which included comments from Coloradans and was issued in 2011, discussed possible ways to expand access to in-state programming for "orphaned" areas, including through legislation.