(BOSTON) – On Friday morning, State Representative Joan Meschino (D-Hull) gave the first in a series of three keynote presentations to attendees of MassAccess’ Fall Meet and Greet series. The presentation highlighted her advocacy for investment in community media centers, offered an explanation of the legislative process and the path of H.130, An Act relative to a streaming entertainment operator’s use of the public rights-of-way, and shared a preview of the Representative’s future plans for the bill.

H.130, An Act relative to a streaming entertainment operator’s use of the public rights-of-way, seeks to align the successful franchise fee system with the current era of digital streaming, modernizing the obligations to entertainment providers who are using public rights of way (telephone poles, conduits, sidewalks, etc.) to deliver their product. Following the model of cable franchises, the bill would impose a 5% fee on digital streaming providers which are using public rights of way in order to sell their services to Massachusetts residents.  Monies would be collected at the state level twice a year and then distributed to the community media centers, to the municipalities, and to the state general fund.  

The bill was referred to the Committee on Advanced Information Technology, the Internet, and Cybersecurity in March of 2021, and a hearing for the bill was held in October of last year. After receiving an extension order, giving the committee more time to examine the legislation, the bill was ultimately sent to study in September of 2022.

Looking ahead to the 193rd legislative session, the Representative plans to work with co-filers in the legislature to tweak the bill based on feedback from the 192nd legislative session. She will also continue working with MassAccess to galvanize support for the bill, and she hopes to secure an early hearing for the legislation.

“My work to advance H.130 has impressed upon me the importance of preserving our community media centers, and I am eager to continue my advocacy in the next legislative session,” said State Representative Joan Meschino (D-Hull). “In the meantime, I look forward to the next two MassAccess meet and greet sessions and to hearing attendees’ valuable perspectives.”

Representative Meschino will also be the featured keynote speaker at the final two meet and greet sessions, coming up in Hingham on October 18th and in Athol on October 26th. The session in Athol has space for additional attendees. Visit this link for more information and to register.