Vermont State Senator To Testify Wednesday Before Leahy Panel In Washington

WASHINGTON (Monday, Feb. 23, 2009) – Vermont State Senator Robert M. Hartwell (D-Bennington) will travel to Washington, D.C., Wednesday to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, a panel chaired by Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy.  The hearing, entitled “Ensuring Television Carriage in the Digital Age,” will focus on the Satellite Home Viewer Extension and Reauthorization Act (SHVERA), which is slated to expire this year.

During the Senate’s consideration of the SHVERA in 2004, Leahy secured a provision that, for the first time, allowed satellite carriers to provide access to state television stations in certain state communities determined to be outside local stations’ markets.  In Vermont, local broadcast stations are located primarily in the northern part of the state.  As a result, cities and towns in the southern part of the state, including Bennington and Windham counties, are not considered part of the Burlington market.  Under the Leahy-authored provision, satellite carriers, like DirecTV, can provide access to Vermont’s broadcast stations to residents of the state’s southern counties.

Leahy and others are expected to introduce legislation to reauthorize SHVERA later this year.  The Copyright Office has issued recommendations for the reauthorization.  Representatives from network television, satellite providers, and broadcasters will join Hartwell on the witness panel Wednesday.  Witnesses include:  Charles Ergen, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Dish Network; K. James Yager, the Chief Executive Officer of Barrington Broadcasting Group and the Chair of the National Association of Broadcasters; Martin D. Franks, the Executive Vice President for Policy, Planning and Government Relations for the CBS Corporation; and David Cohen, the Executive Vice President of Comcast Corporation. 

The hearing will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, February 25, in room 226 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building.  It will be webcast live online.  Prepared witness testimony and statements from Committee members will also be made available on the Senate Judiciary Committee’s website.

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Hearing before the
Senate Judiciary Committee


“Ensuring Television Carriage in the Digital Age”

Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Dirksen Senate Office Building Room 226
10:00 a.m.

Charlie Ergen
 Chairman and CEO
DISH Network, L.L.C.
Englewood, CO

K. James Yager
Barrington Broadcasting Group, L.L.C.
NAB Television Board Chair
Hoffman Estates, IL

Martin D. Franks
Executive Vice President
Policy, Planning and Government Relations
CBS Corporation
New York, NY

David L. Cohen
Executive Vice President
Comcast Corporation
Philadelphia, PA

The Honorable Robert M. Hartwell
Vermont State Senator
Bennington District
Manchester Center, VT

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