Roane and Loudon Counties can do something about this Nov 8. Our current state representative was the deciding vote to protect internet monopolies. (The Knox News Sentinel calls it a stench emanating from the Capitol)

"Ultimately, Tennessee’s broadband gap is a problem for Tennesseans, and we need a Tennessee solution," EPB President David Wade said in a prepared statement. "We will continue to work with the growing number of state legislators and grassroots citizens interested in removing the barriers that prevent EPB and other municipal providers from serving our neighbors in surrounding areas who have little or no access to broadband."

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Here is the full KNS quote on Calfee

Actually, the stench emanating from the Capitol would indicate something worse than just bad appearances. Tempting lawmakers with free airtime during an election year — even if the commercial technically would not be a campaign ad — is like waving a treat above the snout of an obedient dog.

The Full KNS Editorial

The sheer audacity of Charter Communications' offer of free airtime to legislators following the defeat of a broadband access bill is breathtaking. The spectacle of lawmakers accepting the offer would be revolting.

The House Business and Utilities Subcommittee last Tuesday killed a bill that would allow public utilities to expand broadband services outside their utilities service areas. Presently, municipal utilities cannot provide Internet access to customers beyond their service area boundaries.

Internet service providers lobbied intensely and successfully against the bill. On Wednesday, Charter expressed its appreciation to lawmakers by offering to tape them in "public service announcements" to reach cable television subscribers. PSAs are not campaign ads, but in an election year they might as well be.

Nick Pavlis, Charter's top lobbyist in Tennessee and a member of the Knoxville City Council, sent the invitation to House Speaker Beth Harwell, who forwarded it to House members. The Chattanooga Times Free press obtained a copy of the invitation.

"We hope you will take advantage of this opportunity to speak directly to your constituents," Pavlis wrote. "Taping times are available on a first-come, first-served basis, so we encourage you to schedule yours as soon as possible."

Charter has reserved a little-used office assigned to Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey for this week's taping sessions. According to the Times Free Press, arrangements apparently were made before the subcommittee vote.

The subcommittee voted down a compromise offered by Rep. Kevin Brooks, R-Cleveland, that would have reduced the scope of the bill to a pilot program in which Chattanooga's city-owned Electric Power Board could expand its nationally acclaimed high-speed broadband service outside its Hamilton County service area and into adjoining Bradley County. The Knoxville Utilities Board does not offer Internet service and would not be affected by the legislation one way or the other.

Republican Reps. Kent Calfee of Kingston and Martin Daniel of Knoxville were local lawmakers on the subcommittee voting no on the bill. Rep. Art Swann, R-Maryville, voted yes. Swann, who chairs the subcommittee, said the bill likely would go to summer study and probably will reappear when the next General Assembly convenes in January.

Meanwhile, several lawmakers from the Chattanooga area at the very least seemed suspicious of Charter's motives.

"Right now it would appear to those watching from the outside that big business won and big business is now reciprocating," Brooks said.

Actually, the stench emanating from the Capitol would indicate something worse than just bad appearances. Tempting lawmakers with free airtime during an election year — even if the commercial technically would not be a campaign ad — is like waving a treat above the snout of an obedient dog.

Charter has not commented on the matter, but its offer certainly gives at least the appearance of trading airtime for votes; surely legislators know better than to take him up on the offer. Tennesseans must hold lawmakers accountable if they do

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Thanks

Thanks for the gentle reminders of why Rep Calfee needs to be defeated. We do have some choices this time. Very worthy of our consideration.

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Lost Medicaid Funding

To date, the failure to expand Medicaid / TennCare has cost the State of Tennessee ? in lost federal funding.