Thursday, August 18, 2005

Second Special Session Is A Success, For The Telecom Bill, That Is

Have you seen this, Texas' No.1 Special Interest, SBC, Completes A Very Special Session. It starts with this interesting paragraph:
After Texas’ leading special interest suffered a rare defeat in this year’s regular legislative session, Governor Rick Perry called lawmakers back into a special session that accomplished little more than passing the telecommunications overhaul that SBC demanded (Senate Bill 5 or ‘SBC5’).
Then check out this:
Lobby records filed by the end of this year’s regular session tag SBC as Austin’s leading lobby force by far. Its army of 123 lobbyists—who reported up to $6.8 million in SBC fees—gave this giant well over twice the lobby clout of runner-up TXU. Verizon, the next-largest beneficiary of the new telecommunications bill, paid 38 lobbyists another $1.8 million. As such, SBC and Verizon lobbyists outnumbered the 150-member Texas House.
When I read this the first thing that popped into my head was, is it possible that the second special session was called for telecom and that school finance/property tax relief was just a smoke screen? That's a bunch of money and influence to wield and not get what you want.

[UPDATE]: I Think this says it better than I did, SBC lobbying fruitful in Austin:
Andrew Wheat, a policy analyst for the watchdog group, said that it's not surprising that one of the few things accomplished during the recent special legislative session was what he called a "big-donor giveaway" for phone companies.

"What does seem to be beyond the pale ... is that we have a special session convened ostensibly for the benefit of school kids, and the legislature does nothing for kids -- instead it gives this handout to SBC, the biggest lobby force in the state," Wheat said.


At 8/19/2005 3:10 PM, Blogger Amerloc said...

Hehe... To top it off, SBC is on my short list of least favorites right now:

We moved to Taylor recently from an SBC-serviced community in a redstate farther west. Representatives there kindly transfered me to a TX-SBC rep in my attempt to transfer my DSL and phone service.

Imagine my chagrin when that TX rep informed me that my address in Taylor could not get DSL! "Oh, well," I said, "just give me the basic phone service - I'll set up a dial-up account when I get there."

So I did. And spent two days talking to half a dozen SBC reps in the phone and dial-up departments figuring out that in order to dial the ISP in Hutto, I'd have to add the "metro" package to my local service.

Local package = $10
Metro package = +$20
Dial-up = $10

In effect, I'd have to pay more than I had been paying for DSL before I moved, just to get dial-up.

Of course, the ultimate irony (to me) is that the entire city of Hutto (according to the Taylor Daily Press) is wireless.....


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