The Texas State Legislature failed to act this weekend on a bill allowing phone companies to seek statewide - as opposed to local - approval to offer TV programming [WAMN: 17-May-05].

As it currently stands, Texas law requires any company offering cable TV service to gain individual approval from thousands of municipalities, a costly procedure both in terms of cash and time.

America's two largest telephone companies, SBC Communications and Verizon Communications, had hoped to buck this chore by shoehorning a special bill through the legislature. But the lawmakers of the Lone Star State get kinda cussed when out-of-staters try to hassle them into unwanted action.

So the good ol' boys reacted to the telcos' relentless lobbying by jest a-sittin' on their rocking chairs and doin' sweet nuthin' while the weekend ticked away and the Texas Legislature ran out of time until it next meets in January 2007.

But the corporate cable guys aren't taking this Texan standoff lying down. There's more ways than one of skinning a cat, as National Cable & Telecommunications Association ceo Kyle McSlarrow points out.

"It may be appropriate that Congress affirm that these kinds of services be dealt with a very light economic regulatory touch," he fumed.

On Capitol Hill the lobbyists are licking their lips.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff