The House Joint Resolution that I sponsored supporting efforts to make Denver television available to all customers in
Southwest Colorado seemed to have hit a snag in its progress.
Because of the geographic overlap of my district with the districts of Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, and Sen. Bruce
Whitehead, D-Hesperus, I'd asked each to join me on the resolution.
The resolution left the House with unanimous support and headed to the Senate. A resolution typically is viewed as a
statement of sorts and isn't like a bill requiring additional state action once passed. Therefore, resolutions usually
don't involve a lot of discussion or debate and rarely, if ever, are amended in the second chamber.
My goal in passing the resolution in this case was to assist the congressional efforts to get the option of Denver
television programming into all households in our area.
When the resolution went to the Senate, Whitehead amended it to send a copy of the resolution to the Colorado
Broadcasters Association, and that amendment didn't bring out about any opposition.
A second change was made that instructed the CBA to support the federal pieces of legislation on this issue and to
actively lobby for them. That was unacceptable to the CBA because it felt it was inappropriate for the state government
to tell a nonprofit what its agenda must be.
The CBA has a legitimate and important point, so I rejected that amendment and asked that a conference committee be
formed. All but one of the House members voted with me to reject the amendment; the one who didn't said he voted no"
because he couldn't believe a resolution would need to go to a conference committee.
I share that legislator's frustrated view of the unusual path the resolution is taking, but I'm serious about seeking
answers and possible results, so I'm willing to put the extra time and effort into this. I suggested to the CBA that we
have a meeting to discuss its concerns and what help it could provide; again, I invited the two bill co-sponsors to
join us, which they did.
I'm thrilled at last to be dealing directly with the CBA to discuss the situation. While our meeting began with a testy
atmosphere, we worked our way to a mutually agreed upon plan to get more information in seeing our way to possible
change affecting the two counties in my district. My hope was that each customer would be able to make the choice of
which programming to receive, that is, either from Albuquerque or Denver.
In addition to the CBA president, one of the board members and its attorney came to the meeting and provided additional
information about the challenges before us. Without federal change for the entire country, it isn't possible to access
both Denver and Albuquerque programming at the same time. It also appears that what we might be able to change would be
the ability to get Denver news to everyone, like the cable companies provide, but not necessarily full programming from
The CBA has provided me with names and numbers for the company executives in charge of programming for the satellite
companies in our area, and it established a direct connection for me with Nielsen's, the private company that does the
research that is the basis for the boundaries of the designated market areas for television broadcasting.
I'm talking with each of those entities as they look further into our situation and get me answers. I'm organizing
another meeting at the Capitol that will include all of the known players to date, including the cable companies, and I
will report back to you as we peel back what seems to a very complex onion, with one layer always below the one just
Ellen Roberts, R-Durango, represents the 59th District in the state House of Representatives. Reach her by phone at the
Capitol, (303) 866-2914; fax (303) 866-2218; home phone 259-1594; or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.