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State capitol2015-2016 Legislative Session PEG BILL


State Sen. Kathleen Vinehout (D – Alma) and Rep. Gary Hebl (D – Sun Prairie) authored a bill for community television (SB 783/AB 1007) called "Restoring Wisconsin PEG Channels."  

What’s in the bill?  There are twelve changes to current law in this bill.  To view a complete list of the changes click here.  In short, the bill restored much of the support Public, Education, and Government (PEG) channels lost when 2007 Act 42 was passed.  The 2007 law made state government the “local” cable franchising authority and in that role, the state ended assistance for local PEG channels. 

Why are PEG Channels important?    As Sen. Vinehout eloquently stated in the sponsorship memo, Public, Education, and Government (PEG) access channels enrich the lives of Wisconsin citizens. These one-of-a-kind community channels televise local meetings, discuss issues, promote the work of area non-profits, and publicize local businesses. They reflect the artistic, cultural, and religious interests of a community. Television is one of the best methods for communicating important news and publicizing events. PEG channels provide that crucial link between a community and its citizens.   In places where local newspapers have scaled back local coverage and no longer publish daily or even weekly, and in rural areas not served by local broadcast stations, access channels are a key source of news and information. High school and college students interested in media careers get work experience.  Residents who want to make a contribution to community life volunteer at PEG centers because PEG access centers always cover what’s going on.  Many people with disabilities and seniors depend on PEG channels to cablecast local church services and cover events they can no longer attend personally.

The bill would:

1)  Require video providers to transmit PEG channels with the same audio and visual quality as (the primary SD signal of) local commercial TV stations.

2)  Require video providers to put PEG access channel program schedules on the electronic program guide.

3) Require video providers to collect from subscribers up to 1% of its gross revenue from its “cable tv” income to support community programming as determined by a municipal ordinance.

For more detail , download this talking points sheet.

WCM would like to thank the following 21 sponsors of the "Restoring Wisconsin PEG Channels bill:"  Senators Vinehout, Mark Miller (D - Monona), Chris Larson (D - Milwaukee), Julie Lassa (D - Stevens Point), Bob Wirch (D - Kenosha), Fred Risser (D - Madison), Representatives Hebl, Robb Kahl (D - Monona), Andy Jorgensen (D - Milton), Dana Wachs (D - Eau Claire), Chris Danou (D - Trempealeau), Katrina Shankland (D - Stevens Point), LaTonya Johnson (D - Milwaukee), Evan Goyke (D - Milwaukee), Chris Sinicki (D - Milwaukee), Terese Berceau (D - Madison), Debra Kolste (D - Janesville) and JoCasta Zamarripa (D - Milwaukee).  To see their pictures, go to this article on our website.

Sen. Vinehout and Rep. Hebl plan to reintroduce PEG legislation next term.  WCM will be working hard to see such a bill pass with the help of bi-partisan support.

Use this link to FIND MY LEGISLATOR.

Questions?  Contact Mary Cardona, 608-215-5594, exec@wisconsincommunitymedia.com