Policy

CAP Act Introduced in Congress Thursday, May 5th

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Community Access Preservation Act (CAP Act), H.R. 1746 was introduced in May by Congresswoman Baldwin of Wisconsin and Congressman LaTourette of Ohio. The passage of this Act is critical for the survival of local Community Media Centers – and local communities. Unlike public broadcasting which receives a federal appropriation from Congress, community media does not receive federal or state funding but relies on fees paid by cable companies through franchise agreements. Additionally, community media is often the only source of local news and information in many communities.

The CAP Act responds to several immediate threats to public, educational and governmental cable channels around the country:

  • It amends the Communications Act so that public, educational and governmental access funding may be used to support basic operational costs, including employee salaries;
  • It reaffirms the principles of the Communications Act that cable providers should not discriminate, and should treat our members the same as other local broadcast channels;
  • It promotes the preservation of public, educational and governmental channels and ongoing funding from cable providers for local programming, digital literacy training, public security and workforce development.

Community media provides local programming and services not available by broadcasters or cable companies. High school basketball games, Board of education meetings, worship services, workshops for video production, youth programming and local news and information are critical for our citizens. On average, a local community media center produces more than 1,100 hours of original local programming each year, with some centers producing upwards of 15,000 hours per year.

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