Cutting The Cord

NJBIZ — Monday, March 28, 2011

By NJBIZ Staff

A bill that opponents had decried as a ram-through came to an abrupt halt last week when the state Senate delayed a vote on S-2664, which would deregulate basic telephone and cable service.

Most in Trenton expected the bill to be voted on in the Senate on March 21. It passed the Assembly with bipartisan support last month.

Opponents of the bill — including AARP New Jersey and New Jersey Citizen Action — mobilized in the week before the vote, but some insiders were frustrated by what seemed to be a lack of receptiveness on the part of many senators.

Democrat Bob Smith was an exception. A source with one of the groups opposing the bill said Smith had misgivings about the bill, and was open to opponents' concerns about provisions that would strip BPU of some of its oversight rights. Smith crafted significant amendments to the bill, which the source said were enough to appease the opposition. But before those amendments could be taken up, the vote was scrapped, as senators opted to postpone the fight to another month.

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