Posted: Friday, July 11th 2014 at 4:00pm
Collins will pursue legislation to correct market coverage for "orphan counties"
By B.J. Williams Administrator
WASHINGTON - Georgia's Ninth District Congressman said he's ready to pursue legislation that will help so-called "orphan counties" gain access to local television programming.
Republican Doug Collins of Gainesville spoke on Capitol Hill this week, saying that some rural constituents can't get the programming they need because they border other states.
"Consumers deserve choice," said Collins. "They deserve affordable options, they deserve access to the programming they believe reflects their local community."
In Collins' district in north Georgia, four counties are considered "orphans." Elbert, Franklin, Hart and Stephens counties are part of the Greenville, SC DMA - or designated market area. As a result, those counties only have access to television stations in the Greenville market, when news and weather out of the Atlanta market would better serve those counties.
"Localism is important, and the current DMA setup leaves my constituents feeling isolated and removed from their local communities," said Collins.
Collins spoke Thursday during the markup for H.R. 5026, which amends provisions of the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act of 2010. He had hoped the amendments would correct the "orphan county" situation, but since they do not, he plans to pursue his own legislative action.
Collins said he met with industry representatives to find a private solution to the problem, but the meetings were fruitless. Plus, he said the federal government doesn't appear to want to address the issue.
"We're at the point of protecting business models and it's at the expense of constituents," said Collins.
Collins said that any legislation he introduces would benefit rural areas across the country.
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