29Jun Governor signs Rep. Lauwers’ bills to expedite tax refunds for farmers Categories: Lauwers News Gov. Rick Snyder recently signed into law legislation sponsored by Rep. Dan Lauwers to eliminate delays in the processing of tax credit payments for farmers who participate in Michigan’s Farmland and Open Space Preservation Program.The program, often referred to as Public Act 116, offers a partial property tax refund to people who commit to using their land for agricultural production for a number of years.“This is a beneficial program that protects our farmland and helps sustain Michigan’s food and agriculture industry,” said Rep. Lauwers, R-Brockway Township. “However, in recent years PA 116 applications and renewals have not been processed in a timely manner, which has hindered the Department of Treasury’s ability to process income tax refunds for farmers with PA 116 agreements. Some farmers have reported waiting more than a year for their tax refunds.”House Bill 5189, now Public Act 265 of 2016, streamlines the process for registering a PA 116 agreement with the state. HB 5191, now PA 267, holds the Department of Treasury accountable by applying a 3-percent annual interest rate on refunds not issued within 45 days.“This is a simple fix that will help farmers by eliminating red tape,” Rep. Lauwers said. “PA 116 applications will be processed more efficiently, which will ultimately lead to faster tax returns for farmers and greater participation in the program.”#####
Russian broadcast infrastructure provider RTRS has started test broadcasting digital-terrestrial TV services in the Irkutsk region in Siberia.According to RTRS, digital broadcasting currently covers 43.8% of the population of the region, with full transition to digital planned for 2013.
Vodafone Spain and Orange have struck a deal with Catalan broadcaster Mediapro that secures for them the rights to provide coverage of La Liga football and the Copa del Rey for the next three seasons.Vodafone and Mediapro have struck a deal whereby Vodafone will distribute Mediapro’s beIN Sports La Liga channel, including coverage of Spanish first division matches as well as the Copa del Rey for the 2016-19 seasons.The agreement means that Vodafone will be able to provide eight matches a day to its subscribers via the channel, including a minimum of 18 each featuring Real Madrid and Barcelona. The channel will be made available via the Ono fibre network and xDSL TV as well as via the Vodafone TV Online OTT service.Vodafone also has a deal to distribute the beIN Sports channel, which includes coverage of European football competitions, for the next two seasons.A similar deal for Orange means that both telcos now have guarantees that they will be able to compete with Telefónica’s Movistar, which is January struck a €2.4 billion deal with Mediapro to offer its customers all competitions to which Mediapro held the rights for the next three seasons, including La Liga, the Copa del Rey and the European Champions League and Europa League competitions.The deals do not include the major game of each day – El Partidazo – to which Telefónica holds the rights. Vodafone and Orange have however reportedly indicated that they will provide a complete offering, either by striking a deal with Telefónica or by filing a complaint with the competition regulator if this is not possible.
The IBC 2009 conference features a number of sessions that touch on IPTV – from the need for standardisation to the business case for distribution to multiple devices.This year’s IBC conference will include a number of sessions that touch on IPTV directly, or focus on areas closely tangential to it, such as online TV and the distribution of video to multiple devices.To start with, this year’s IBC keynote address will be delivered by Erik Huggers, director of future media and technology at the BBC, a public broadcaster that has been at the forefront of delivering on-demand TV over the internet with the BBC iPlayer, and is now attempting to push the use of broadband to deliver on-demand services to the TV via the proposed Canvas platform.Specifically IPTV-focused sessions at this year’s conference include two sessions on standards (Is standardisation the key for IPTV? The questions and Is standardisation the key for IPTV? The answers) on Thursday September 10, at 12.15-13.15 and 14.15-15.15 respectively. Chaired by William Cooper of Informitv, the former includes contributions from Mitchell Berman, currently CEO and co-founder of Zillion TV, Monika Gadhammar, chair of the Open IPTV Forum marketing group, and Peter MacAvock, programme manager at the EBU. Gadhammar will go on to chair the second session. Speakers include Paul Berriman, chief technology officer of PCCW in Hong Kong, Yun Chao, chairman of the Open IPTV Forum, Klaus Illgner, managing director of the Institut Für Rundfunktechnik, the EBU’s MacAvock, Paul Szucs, the Open IPTV Forum Solution working group chair, and Miguel Alvarez, head of strategic planning and evolving IPTV technology for Telefónica.Friday September 11 sees a session on The newest developments in IPTV from 09.00-10.30. Chaired by Dietrich Westerkamp, director of standards coordination at Thomson in Germany, the session will comprise an eclectic mix of presentations that address the latest applications and other new developments in IPTV.Over-the-top delivery of online TV is seen as an important topic in its own right, and the place within that of user-generated content is the subject of much debate. IBC will include a session on Harnessing UGC from 15.30-17.00 chaired by journalist Gary Smith with contributions from Gilles Babinet, CEO of Eyeka in France, Hugh Garry, senior interactive producer for creative projects, BBC Audio & Music, and Martin Rogard, content director of user-generated video portal DailyMotion.MPEG IF masterclassVarious IPTV issues will be discussed in two MPEG Industry Forum masterclass streams on September 14, produced with the University of St Petersburg. Co-chaired by Sebastian Moeritz, president of the MPEG IF and David Price, vice-president of marketing at Harmonic, the sessions will cover topics including the evolution of digital media standards, success factors for hybrid services and the repurposing of content for viewing on multiple devices. The first session, from 13.30-14.55, will feature Kevin Baughan, director of technical strategy at Virgin Media, Dieter Engel, product development media services at Deutsche Telekom, Manuel Gutierrez, CEO and president of TDVision Systems, Matthew Huntingdon of Open TV and Jeff McSchooler, vice-president of engineering at EchoStar. The second session, from 15.15-17.30, will feature Ross Biggam, director general of the Association of Commercial Television in Europe, Stuart Collingwood, vice-president EMEA of Sling Media, Konstantin Glasman, head of the video systems department at St Petersburg State University of Film and Television, Casey Harwood, senior vice-president, Turner Europe, Mark Krivosheev, chief scientist at the State Radio Research and Developmenet Institute of Russia, Kaliu Kukk, deputy general director of Russian group Telecom, Robert Luff, executive vice-president and chief engineering officer of Nielsen, Alexander Umbitaliev, director of Russia’s Television Research Institute and Robin Wilson, vice-president of business development at Nagravision in the US.