(a)(1) There shall be established, pursuant to the requirements of this chapter and in accordance with Chapters 1, 2, and 4 of Title 29, a nonprofit Public Access Corporation (“Corporation”) in the District for the purpose of facilitating and governing nondiscriminatory use by the public of those specifically designated and reserved noncommercial public access channels of a cable system.
(2) The Corporation shall have jurisdiction over the use of all public access channels and all matters related to the governance, management, time, equipment, facilities, and other services related to the public access channels.
(3) The Corporation shall be responsible for all resources and assets dedicated to the Corporation under this chapter, and any franchise agreement, or open video system agreement.
(b)(1) The Corporation shall have no less than 3 categories of members, including:
(A) A 13-member Board of Directors;
(B) A 15-member Board of Advisors; and
(C) Associate members.
(2) The names of the members of the Corporation shall be public information.
(c) The Board of Directors shall be the governing body of the Corporation. The bylaws of the Corporation shall provide that 2 members of the Board shall always be persons nominated by the Mayor and confirmed by the Council and that 2 members of the Board shall always be persons nominated by the chairperson of the Council committee having jurisdiction over cable television and confirmed by the Council. The chairperson and the remaining members of the Board shall be elected in accordance with the bylaws of the Corporation.
(d) The Board of Advisors shall advise the Board of Directors and shall have the authority or responsibilities that the bylaws of the Corporation confer and as the Board of Directors may from time to time determine. Each member of the Board of Advisors shall be a resident of the District of Columbia. To the extent possible, the membership of the Board of Advisors shall include representatives of public interest organizations, civil rights groups, the health and arts communities, labor organizations, business groups, consumers, educators, religious leaders, minorities, women, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning persons, persons with disabilities, and child advocates.
(e) Any person nominated by the Mayor or the Council to the Board of Directors or the Board of Advisors shall be a District resident and shall not be an employee of the District, an employee or owner of a cable operator or any of its contractors.
(f) Any person nominated by the Mayor or the Council to the Board of Director or the Board of Advisors shall, to the extent possible, have knowledge of areas that include telecommunications law, television programming, corporate or foundation management, public relations, fund raising, and career development training.
(g) Neither members of the Board of Directors nor members of the Board of Advisors shall be compensated for the performance of their duties as members of these boards, except that they may be reimbursed for expenses incurred in the performance of their duties as the Corporation shall determine.
(h) The articles of incorporation or the bylaws of the Public Access Corporation shall reflect and ensure that the statutory mandates and legislative intent of the Council shall be protected and promoted by the Corporation in the issuance of regulations guaranteeing nondiscriminatory use of the public access channels; in the development of opportunities within the community-at-large for training and experience in the field of telecommunications; and in permitting any resident of the District qualified to use the public access facilities to become a member of the Public Access Corporation, with voting rights equal to those of other members. The articles shall also provide for these members to elect members of the Board.
(i) The bylaws of the Corporation shall include a requirement that an annual report of all the Corporation’s activities, including a financial audit, be submitted to the Council for its information within 120 days of the end of each fiscal year of the Corporation.
(j) The bylaws of the Corporation shall include rules for procurement and personnel policies.
(k) The bylaws of the Corporation shall include a requirement that the Corporation submit to the Mayor the budget of the Corporation for its next fiscal year, approved by the Board, for inclusion in the annual budget that the Mayor is required to submit to the Council pursuant to § 1-204.42. The Corporation shall submit to the Mayor annually the budget of the Public Access Corporation for its next fiscal year, approved by the Board, for inclusion in the annual budget that the Mayor is required to submit to the Council pursuant to § 1-204.42.
(l) The Corporation shall establish its bank account in a financial institution located in the District.
(m) The Corporation’s management and use of public access channels shall not duplicate programming or services that the District may provide on government channels.
(n) The Corporation may solicit any monies, equipment, and services provided under and in accordance with the terms of an agreement ratified by the District as a part of a grant of franchise for a cable system; and may receive monies, equipment, and services from other sources, including grants from the District, the federal government, private foundations, businesses, organizations, individuals, membership dues, and donations. Any monies, equipment, and services received pursuant to this subsection shall be utilized in accordance with the bylaws of the Corporation, and in a manner consistent with the purposes and limitations of this chapter.
(o) All assets of the Corporation, including all facilities and monies dedicated to public access use by the District and the franchise agreement or open video system agreement, shall be deemed assets held by the Corporation in trust for the benefit of the citizens of the District for the purpose of developing and implementing the use and programming of public access channels. In the event of voluntary or involuntary dissolution of the Corporation, all assets of the Corporation shall revert to the District. In addition to all other lawful grounds, the Corporation may be dissolved involuntarily by a decree of the court in an action instituted by the Mayor, on the Mayor’s own initiative or at the request of the Council, in the name of the District when it is proven by a preponderance of the evidence that the Corporation has continued to exceed, abuse, or fail to fulfill the powers or purposes set forth in this chapter and the Corporation’s articles, has continued to exceed or abuse its bylaws, or has breached and continues to breach its fiduciary obligations to the citizens of the District. Any involuntary dissolution shall be undertaken pursuant to the notice and remedy provisions of § 29-301.53.
(Aug. 21, 1982, D.C. Law 4-142, § 302; as added Oct. 9, 2002, D.C. Law 14-193, § 2(b), 49 DCR 7334; Apr. 24, 2007, D.C. Law 16-305, § 49, 53 DCR 6198; July 2, 2011, D.C. Law 18-378, § 3(z), 58 DCR 1720; Oct. 22, 2015, D.C. Law 21-36, § 1026, 62 DCR 10905.)
Effect of Amendments
D.C. Law 16-305, in subsec. (d), substituted “persons with disabilities” for “handicapped persons”.
The 2015 amendment by D.C. Law 21-36 substituted “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning persons” for “gays and lesbians” in (d).
For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 1026 of the Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Support Emergency Act of 2015 (D.C. Act 21-127, July 27, 2015, 62 DCR 10201).