Senator Mark Norris
9A Legislative Plaza,
Nashville, Tennessee 37243-0232
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By Andy Sher, KnoxNews.com
February 25, 2013
NASHVILLE — An estimated 93,000 low-income Tennessee households would lose a $3.50 monthly subsidy on their landline telephones under an AT&T-backed bill moving in the General Assembly.
The legislation seeks to eliminate the state’s Lifeline program, but would not affect an identically named federal program.
“It’s a bill that AT&T brought to me,” said House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga, the bill’s House sponsor. “It will keep them from forcing them to [fund] that. Poor people don’t want landlines any more with copper wires on it. They all have cellphones now.”
The Senate bill is sponsored by Majority Leader Mark Norris, R-Collierville. Both bills are moving even while the state’s telecommunications regulator, the Tennessee Regulatory Authority, continues to ponder similar changes requested last year by an AT&T-led coalition of telecommunications companies.