Committee Passes Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act
March 9, 2004
Washington, DC – The Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation today passed unanimously by roll call vote S. 2056, the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act. The Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act would, as introduced, increase tenfold the cap on fines the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) may assess on television and radio broadcast licensees for obscene, indecent, and profane broadcasts.. Senators Brownback (R-KS), Allen (R-VA) and L. Graham (R-SC) introduced the bill on February 9, 2004. The Committee passed the following amendments to S. 2056: · An amendment sponsored by Senators McCain (R-AZ) and Brownback (R-KS) to permit the FCC to count each utterance or showing of indecent material as an individual violation, require the FCC to consider several factors when assessing a fine and cap the total for all fines assessed on any broadcast licensee in a given 24-hour period at $3 million.
Click here for a PDF version of the McCain-Brownback amendment.
· Three second-degree amendments by Senator Stevens (R-AK) to provide escalating fines for violations so each subsequent violation results in a larger fine, to authorize the FCC to increase fines because of the specifics of an audience, and an amendment co-sponsored by Senator Lautenberg (D-NJ) to direct the FCC to hold a mandatory license revocation hearing after three indecency violations.
Click here for a Microsoft Word version of Stevens' 1st amendment.
Click here for a Microsoft Word version of Stevens' 2nd amendment.
Click here for a Microsoft Word version of Stevens' 4th amendment.
· An amendment by Senators Hollings (D-SC) and Stevens (R-AK) to protect children from violent programming.
Click here for a PDF version of the Hollings/Stevens amendment.
· An amendment by Senator Stevens (R-AK) to authorize broadcast associations or networks to enter into agreements to provide family programming during certain hours in a broadcaster’s prime time schedule.
Click here for a Microsoft Word version of Stevens' 3rd amendment.
· An amendment by Senators Stevens (R-AK) and Allen (R-VA) to authorize fines not to exceed $500,000 for individual non-licensees for any violation.
Click here for a Microsoft Word version of Stevens 5th amendment.
· An amendment by Senators Ensign (R-NV) and Burns (R-MT) to allow the commission to consider the violator’s ability to pay a fine when assessing a fine.
Click here for a PDF version of the Ensign/Burns amendment.
· An amendment by Senators Dorgan (D-ND), Lott (R-MS) and Snowe (R-ME) to require the General Accounting Office to conduct a study on the relationship between the consolidation of media companies and the increasing indecency violations, and instituting a moratorium of the FCC’s June 2, 2003 broadcast media ownership rules until the study is complete.
Click here for a PDF version of the Dorgan/Lott/Snowe amendment.