|Recognizing the benefits to senior citizens, the Missouri Silver Haired Legislature (SHL) is encouraging state and federal lawmakers to pass legislation that would increase competition among cable television companies. Vesta Grindstaff, Mary Ellen Greer and Charlene Robertson were local members who joined the group overwhelmingly in favor of such a bill.
Unfortunately, Missouri legislators this session considered but dropped a bill that would have allowed cable companies to get state-issued franchises instead of having to negotiate separate agreements with individual cities, thus, greatly speeding up the process of providing cable competition. Congress, however, still is considering a similar bill to set up nationally issued franchises.
"Consumers would see greater choice, better products and better prices if the video market is driven by competition by different providers and technologies," said Grindstaff, SHL speaker pro tem. "Missouri seniors especially would benefit....."
Texas, Kansas, and Indiana are among the states that already have enacted video competition legislation. Joplin entered into an agreement with Cable One giving the company exclusive cable rights with the understanding that the company would provide service for every resident requesting it. Other local governments have encouraged the same monopolies.
"Members of the Missouri Silver Haired Legislator board are hopeful cable competition legislation is approved at the federal level this year," added Greer, the SHL Minority Leader. But it is more likely the issue will need to be decided during the 2007 Missouri General Assembly in Jefferson City."
The local SHL members encourage Joplin-area legislators to support legislation that makes it easier for telephone companies to enter the cable TV market here and across the state. It will be interesting to note which lobbyists have the greater sway.