>Kristin Harty Barkley
The Cumberland Times-News Sat Jan 29, 2011, 08:01 AM EST
OAKLAND — Two new voices have joined a virtual choir in Garrett County that is entreating federal officials to add Maryland television stations to the local channel lineup.
Sen. George Edwards and Delegate Wendell Beitzel introduced joint resolutions to the Maryland Senate and House on Friday, adding momentum to an issue that has vexed some residents for years.
The resolutions urge the Maryland Delegation to Congress to lobby the Federal Communications Commission — introducing legislation, if necessary — to amend its rules and allow Garrett County residents to receive broadcasts from stations in the Baltimore and Washington television market areas.
Currently, Garrett County is included in the Pittsburgh television market area, and most residents don’t have access to any Maryland-based television stations.
“This is not just a mild inconvenience for the people who may be Baltimore Ravens or Washington Redskins fans,” Beitzel wrote in a recent letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.
“There is a more troubling byproduct. The citizens of Garrett County are inundated with the political landscape of Pennsylvania. As a result, the average Garrett County resident may know more about the goings on of Harrisburg than they do of their own elected representatives in Annapolis.”
A group of concerned residents approached Beitzel and Edwards in early December during a prelegislative breakfast, asking the local delegation to put its weight behind the issue. The Garrett County Commission has also pledged support.
The resolution sponsored by Beitzel has been assigned to the House Rules and Executive Nominations Committee, according to a press release from his office. Senate Joint Resolution 2, sponsored by Edwards, has been assigned to the Senate Finance Committee. Hearings on the matters have not been scheduled yet.
“Garrett County is the only county in the state not included in either the Baltimore or Washington media markets,” Edwards said in a prepared statement. “We’re supposed to be ‘One Maryland,’ so we are only asking that our constituents be given the opportunity to join the rest of the state.”
Contact Kristin Harty Barkley at firstname.lastname@example.org