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The 190th General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 158: Massachusetts educational communications commission

Section 158. There shall be a Massachusetts educational communications commission, consisting of fourteen members to be appointed by the governor, of whom one shall be a member of the board of education, one shall be a member of the board of higher education, one shall be a member of the Lowell Broadcasting Council, one shall be a member of the board of trustees of the University of Massachusetts; one shall be a professional representative active in the field of public health, one shall be a professional representative active in the field of mental health, and one shall be a representative of private elementary and secondary education.

In making his original appointments to said commission, the governor shall appoint four members for terms of one year; five members for terms of two years; and five members for terms of three years. Upon the expiration of the term of any member, his successor shall be appointed for a term of three years.

The commission shall provide leadership, determine general policy and review standards regarding educational communications, provide coordination on matters relating to educational communications between the various agencies of the commonwealth and all facets of education, coordinate and supervise the distribution of federal capital equipment funds under the provisions of the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, establish equipment compatibility policies, establish, operate and schedule an educational television network for the commonwealth, determine the method of interconnection to be employed, hold title to all future broadcast licenses and 2500 mc or other licenses and equipment on behalf of the commonwealth forming a part of its basic educational television system, review the television budgets of all state agencies annually and make recommendations to the general court regarding them, study the need and feasibility of expanding the television network so as to service the other communications needs of the various state agencies, by connecting computers, data processing equipment, and other related matters, and to formulate a long-term program to enable all appropriate buildings within the commonwealth to be ultimately equipped for use of the communications network.

The commission shall have the following powers: On behalf of the commonwealth it may apply for and receive broadcast and other licenses from the federal communications commission, receive gifts and grants, enter into contracts, lease as well as purchase, receive, distribute and expend state and federal funds subject to appropriations, approve all commonwealth expenditures regarding educational communications equipment and facilities to insure compatibility, originate programming of its own in addition to that of the member agencies, when deemed appropriate by the commission in the larger public interest, lease network facilities to private educational institutions which may wish to interconnect for privately-originated programming, and to erect and maintain the transmissions and interconnections facilities if the system is to be state built and operated, or to lease from a private source.

The commission may appoint an executive director and such other professional and nonprofessional personnel as it deems necessary.

The commission shall operate television studios in the Health, Education and Welfare building or in any other available facilities, producing programs for authorized state agencies at the cost only of equipment time. Said studios shall be designed and equipped with particular reference to the anticipated programming of the state agencies. Each agency of state government shall operate as its own program agency, employing the network's television facilities to meet its individual purposes. Prospective programming agencies shall apply to the commission for authorization as duly designated bodies qualified to make use of network facilities.

Each user of the network shall have the option of having its programs produced by any production facility, even those not a part of the network, with which it wishes to contract.