Bill No. 28-14
Concerning: Cable Communications – Community Media Organizations
Revised: 4/16/14 Draft No. 2
Introduced: May 6, 2014
Enacted: July 15, 2014
Executive: July 23, 2014
Effective: October 22, 2014
Sunset Date: None
Ch. 23 , Laws of Mont. Co. 2014
For Montgomery County, Maryland
AN ACT to:
(1) expand the scope of the County’s community media contracting authority; and
(2) generally amend County law concerning cable communications.
Montgomery County Code
Chapter 8A, Cable Communications
Sections 8A-3 and 8A-32
Boldface Heading or defined term. Underlining Added to existing law by original bill. [Single boldface
from existing law by original bill. Double
by amendment. [[Double boldface
from existing law or the bill by amendment. *
* * Existing law unaffected by bill.
Boldface Heading or defined term.
Underlining Added to existing law by original bill.
[Single boldface brackets] Deleted from existing law by original bill.
Double underlining Added by amendment.
[[Double boldface brackets]] Deleted from existing law or the bill by amendment.
* * * Existing law unaffected by bill.
Sec. 1. Sections 8A-3 and 8A-32 are amended as follows:
* * *
Community [access] media organization means a nonprofit corporation that provides services to:
(1) support the production of local programming or the operation of local access channels, or both;
(2) serve viewers as well as program producers; and
(3) promote high quality productions, responsible and diverse points of view, and balance in subject matters.
* * *
8A-32. Community [access] media organizations.
(a) The County may contract with one or more community [access] media organizations using funds from the Cable TV Special Revenue Fund or any other funds the County designates for community [access] media in the approved County budget and under the County cable communications plan. Unless prohibited or otherwise limited under its contract with the County, the cable communications plan, or any executive regulation, a community [access] media organization may also receive revenues from other sources.
(b) The purpose of a community media organization is to provide community media training, equipment, facilities, centers, and community media engagement platforms to enable residents, businesses and community organizations to engage with, connect to, and inform other residents, businesses, community organizations, governments and agencies by using community media. Supporting community engagement, communication, and education through community media and use of community media engagement platforms builds better understanding among a diverse population, increases opportunities for participation in and awareness of local culture and government, and promotes quality of life and economic development.
[(b)] (c) The County may require a community [access] media organization to perform one or more of the following functions as specified in the contract between the County and the community [access] media organization:
(1) manage the community media engagement platforms, including public access channels assigned to it by the County, [[and]] community media websites[[,]] and social media, and manage community media centers, facilities, and equipment;
(2) establish policies and procedures for the [form, content, and scheduling of public access channels] use of any community media engagement platform and any community media center, facility, or equipment;
(3) train members of the community in the production of [cable programs] community media and use of any community media engagement platform;
(4) maintain [facilities and] any community media engagement platform and community media center, facility, or equipment for community use, including use by the general public, any community organization, and the business community;
(5) provide technical [access channel] community media engagement platform and community media center, facility and equipment assistance and support to the County, any participating [municipalities] municipality, and any educational [institutions] institution;
(6) promote the use and benefits of [the public, educational and government access channels] community media and any community media engagement platform;
(7) produce and [transmit] distribute local community media, including community news, [and other] programs and other media content; and
(8) undertake any other [cable] community media-related activity specified by the County as being in the public interest.
[(c)] (d) A community [[access]] media organization must:
(1) determine independently in the public interest and without government interference the content and scheduling of programming for [the public access channels assigned to it] any community media engagement platform;
(2) develop and implement policies to ensure fair, non-partisan and unbiased coverage of issues on [the public access channels assigned to it] any community media engagement platform and may not promote the candidacy of any candidate for public office by extending opportunities for use not extended to other candidates for the same office;
(3) [require that each officer, director, and executive director file a confidential financial disclosure statement in accordance with Chapter 19A with respect to all communications-related activities and interests] develop and implement policies and programs that promote organizational sustainability and viability;
[(4) have on its board of directors one voting member selected by each of the following:
(A) the Montgomery County Chapter of the Maryland Municipal League;
(B) the City of Rockville
(C) the City of Takoma Park; and
(D) each franchise except for limited franchisees;]
[(5) develop and implement fair and reasonable procedures to allow members of the community access organization to nominate and elect 8 residents of the County to serve on its board of directors. Member means any individual who resides in the County and, at least 15 days before the deadline for voting for directors;
(A) is certified by the organization to use the organization’s equipment or facilities; or
(B) request the organization’s program guide;]
[(6)](4) promote and encourage [programming] creation of community media content representing a diversity of community interests and needs; and
[(7)](5) make a good faith effort to meet the affirmative action and minority, female, and disabled procurement goals that apply to County government.
(e) Any officer, director, or executive director of a community media organization must file a confidential financial disclosure statement under Chapter 19A with respect to any communications-related activity or interest.
[(d)] (f) A community [access] media organization must provide a copy of its current articles of incorporation and bylaws to the County Executive and the County Council before the organization contracts with the County. Any proposed amendments must be submitted to the County Executive and County Council for review and comment at least 60 days before the organization takes final action on the amendment. The organization must submit a copy of all adopted amendments to the Executive and the Council within 5 working days of adoption. The organization's articles of incorporation and bylaws are subject to all County laws, including those enacted after the County contracts with the organization.
[(e)] (g) A community [[access]] media organization must provide the County with regular and complete financial reports as well as all other reports required under its contract with the County. In addition, it must provide the County with an annual independent audit, including a copy of any accompanying management letter.