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Calif. Franchise Bill Advances

A California Assembly committee voted 9-0 last week to advance a bill that would create statewide cable franchises, but it still must get a thumbs-up from the full Assembly. Committee members told Speaker Fabian Nunez (D-Los Angeles) that they were concerned about plans to give franchise authority to the state Department of Corporations rather than the PUC.

“I’m working hard for passage … but I’m not ramming this bill through,” Nunez said.

At least one committee member suggested that the bill allow incumbent cable operators to dump their current local agreements if competitors are allowed to operate under state authority.