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Texas broadcasters have many to thank in 2015

In a year that marked the most successful legislative session in TAB’s history, Texas broadcasters have a lot to say grace over, what with stronger newsroom protections and new tax exemptions in place and AM revitalization on the horizon.

These issues top the list of public policy advancements in 2015 that strengthen radio and TV stations’ ability to better serve local communities. Each success was hard-fought by TAB and ultimately due to the leadership of individual policymakers who value greatly the work that local radio and television stations do.

It’s never too late to thank, nor can you thank too often, those who were key to these successes, so click on the links below and remind them, or in some cases their staff, that you appreciate their leadership!  (Note: Rep. Todd Hunter and Congressman Gene Green are due thanks on two subjects.)

Sales Tax Exemption for Digital Radio Transmission EquipmentRep. Kyle Kacal, R-College Station, and Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, co-authored the measure that could save a radio station as much as $10,000 in sales taxes and brings consistency to the tax treatment of digital broadcast transmission equipment.

Legal Protections for Reporting Third-Party AllegationsRep. Todd Hunter, R-Corpus Christi, and Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houston, co-authored the bill that reverses a state Supreme Court ruling and ensures journalists can report on third party allegations involving matters of public concern.

Franchise Tax Exemption for Out of State RevenuesRep. Tan Parker, R-Flower Mound, and Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, co-authored a much-needed clarification on how large TV groups account for revenues generated out of state when calculating their state franchise tax liability.

Access to Motor Vehicle Accident Reports – Reps. Ana Hernandez, D-Houston, Todd Hunter, R-Corpus Christi, and Travis Clardy, R-Nacogdoches, ensured that journalists will have access to complete motor vehicle accident reports under new legislation that initially would have stripped access altogether. Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin, was the linchpin to that success in the Senate.

TPIA Application to Private University Police DepartmentsSen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, and Rep. Garnet Coleman, D-Houston, filled a long-overlooked exclusion of private university police departments from the Texas Public Information Act.

AM Revitalization – FCC Commissioners Ajit Pai and Mignon Clyburn led the successful bipartisan effort to help AM radio stations improve their signals and expand their service to local communities. Cong. Pete Olson, R-Sugar Land, and Gene Green, D-Houston, co-authored a letter imploring FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to advance the measure after months of delay.

Performance Tax Resolution – Cong. Mike Conaway, R-Midland, and Gene Green, D-Houston, once again co-authored HConRes 17, The Local Radio Freedom Act, which opposes the effort by the RIAA to have Congress enact a Performance Tax on local radio stations. The measure garnered majority support in the House in record time, and Texas leads the country in the number of co-sponsors.

Questions? Contact TAB's Oscar Rodriguez or call (512) 322-9944.

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