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Blackburn Bill Would Block FCC Preemption

July 18, 2014

Broadcasting &

By: John Eggerton

A bill that would block any funding to an FCC effort to preempt state laws limiting municipal broadband was offered on the House floor late Tuesday as an amendment to H.R. 5016, the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act.

A roll call vote on the amendment, introduced by Communications Subcommittee member Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) was postponed, but it initially appeared to have enough votes for passage.

Blackburn said unelected bureaucrats at the FCC should not be allowed to trump states rights and tell them how to spend their money. She said it was deeply troubling that FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler had repeatedly signaled he wanted to preempt state laws that hampered the rollout of municipal broadband. Wheeler has argued that those laws were the result of incumbent broadband providers using their lobbying muscle–he used to be one of those himself as president of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association–to try to block competition.

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