November 21, 2004

Congress Passes Wyden-Smith Provisions to Help Provide Eastern Oregon Residents with Access to Oregon Television Channels

Senators' legislation will remove barriers that can prevent cable and satellite providersfrom transmitting in-state stations to customers

Washington, DC - U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) today announced that the fiscal year 2005 omnibus appropriations bill approved by Congress includes a Wyden-Smith provision to remove the legal obstacles that can prevent people in four rural Oregon counties from receiving TV channels from their own home state. Currently, "local stations" serving Grant, Wallowa, Umatilla and Malheur counties can mean stations from across the state border. Additionally, legal restrictions can block cable and satellite providers from offering these subscribers in-state channels in addition to the out-of-state channels that they already receive. The Wyden-Smith legislation would authorize providers to give these customers access to at least two Oregon television channels. "Folks in Eastern Oregon deserve access to channels from the state they live in," said Wyden. "This is a good first step in removing the barriers to allow cable and satellite providers to extend additional choices to rural Oregon residents." "When people turn on their TV's, they should to be able to access news and information that pertains to the state they live in," said Smith. "This provision will help ensure that east Oregonians will be able to receive the channels that provide them with the programming appropriate to where they live." The legislation containing the Wyden-Smith provision is expected to move to the White House shortly for signature into law.