Fla. County Rescinds Access Ordinance


Broward County, Fla., Ordinance 1999-41 is no more.

As part of the settlement with Comcast Corp. and Advanced Communications of a
lawsuit challenging open access, the Broward County Board of Commissioners
unanimously approved rescinding its access ordinance Tuesday.

The county was on the losing end of a lawsuit last year, when U.S. District
Court Judge Donald Middlebrooks of Miami found that the county ordinance
violated the First Amendment rights of the operators. It was the only
open-access litigation to turn on the constitutional issue.

Initially, the county intended to appeal the ruling, but it ultimately
decided to settle when attorneys for the cable operators indicated that they
would waive their claim to attorney's fees.

The county resolution states that the open-access law 'is not effective at
this time and should be repealed.' The once-hot issue was subject to no comment
beyond the vote, according to a county spokeswoman.