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Breaking News Analysis: Gov. Purdue Will Not Veto H.129, Even Though She Hints She Wanted To

Purdue

North Carolina Gov. Bev Purdue today announced she will not veto H.129, Time Warner Cable’s special interest corporate welfare bill because there are too many votes available to overturn her veto:

Her statement:

“I believe that every school, household and business in North Carolina – no matter where they are – should have access to efficient and affordable broadband services.

There is a need to establish rules to prevent cities and towns from having an unfair advantage over providers in the private sector. My concern with House Bill 129 is that the restrictions the General Assembly has imposed on cities and towns who want to offer broadband services may have the effect of decreasing the number of choices available to their citizens.

For these reasons, I will neither sign nor veto this bill. Instead, I call on the General Assembly to revisit this issue and adopt rules that not only promote fairness but also allow for the greatest number of high quality and affordable broadband options for consumers.”

While we would have preferred she make the symbolic gesture of vetoing this horrible piece of legislation, by no means does this mean the battle for better broadband in North Carolina is over.

Stop the Cap!, along with other broadband proponents, will immediately begin our efforts to de-elect legislators who best represented the interests of Time Warner Cable and not their constituents.  Most are Republican, but many are Democrats.  They all need to feel the wrath of angry constituents.

It’s our view we had an uphill battle fighting this year’s bill for two reasons:

  1. Big Telecom companies learned from their earlier mistakes;
  2. The historic change of power to the very-corporate-friendly Republican Party in North Carolina.  Elections really do have consequences.

"I wish you'd turn the camera off now because I am going to get up and leave if you don't." -- Rep. Julia Howard

While not all Republicans are bad, and several rural North Carolina representatives expressed grave reservations about their areas going unserved, there are not enough good ones in office to offset the anti-consumer lockstep voting we saw on this bill.  Rep. Marilyn Avila, who we have consistently called the “Republican representing Time Warner Cable” is a case in point.  Time and time again, she demonstrated a complete lack of understanding about the technical nature of “her bill” and its implications on cities and towns across the state.  Indeed, a citizen activist even snapped photos of Avila hobnobbing with her cable lobbyist friends, who mopped up any goofs Avila made along the way.

Another major problem can be found in Rep. Julia Howard (R-Davie, Iredell).  She claimed her word is her bond, right before she broke it.  When the media pressed her on the $7000 in campaign contributions she received from Big Telecom and whether that connected to her support for H.129, she threatened to flee the interview if a Raleigh television station didn’t immediately shut the camera off.

There is a real classy example of standing up for your principles, whatever were that week.  The former realtor and appraiser helped foreclose North Carolina’s broadband future, handing it back to the near-exclusive control of Time Warner Cable and CenturyLink.

Appealing for less broadband competition under the guise of smaller government might be fine for some, but big and bigger cable bills are not, and that is what H.129 will deliver to every resident in the state.  We’ll prove it to you soon enough.

Two can play the legislative game.  We’ll be encouraging new legislation in the state to improve and expand competitive broadband opportunities for consumers and businesses.  Real conservatives should agree: competition is a great antidote to Internet Overcharging.

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