Blanco vetoes Louisiana cable franchise reform

Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco has vetoed a bill that would have created a statewide franchising structure for cable and video service providers, turning back legislation that had passed 27-10 and 73-26 in both houses of the state legislature. There appears no opportunity for an override, as the legislature has adjourned. Blanco, a Democrat, becomes the first governor to veto video franchise reform, which so far has passed in the seven states, including Louisiana, where it has reached a full legistative vote. While Republicans in a number of states initiated the push for state franchising, bipartisan support has been growing, especially since rates immediately dropped when Verizon and SBC rolled out video service in Texas shortly after franchise reform passed there last year. Louisiana was no different. Democrats in the legislature who were behind the reform push and were disappointed at the veto. “The fact that Cox Cable just raised its rates $3.43 a month in Baton Rouge without any regulation shows they need some competition,” said state Rep. Billy Montgomery, (D-Haughton) in the Lafayette Daily Advertiser. “The consumer was left out of the process. Helping the consumer was the main part of the bill.”