Improved Version of Franchise Bill Passes Louisiana Senate
Louisiana HB 699, which creates a statewide franchising process, has passed the state senate 27-10, and now awaits sign-off by Gov. Kathleen Blanco. Blanco need not sign the bill for it to become law. Louisiana has something of a reverse "pocket veto;" the governor must declare a veto outright and send it back to the legislature. She has until July 11 to do so. Given the strong support in both chambers (HB 699 passed the House 73-26), veto offers a difficult prospect, despite the heavy lobbying Blanco's seeing from local franchise authorities. Veto override, however, is questionable as the legislature has adjourned. In passing the House, the bill was revised to further level the playing field between cable companies and telephone companies–cable companies will now be able to apply for a statewide franchise once a competitor moves in. The earlier House version required them to wait until current local franchises expired.