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Commerce Sets March 2 Indecency Vote

The House Commerce Committee plans to pass Rep. Fred Upton’s (R-Mich.) anti-indecency bill March 2. A hearing on the bill will be held Feb. 26.

Upton is predicting passage out of the committee, but the trick for him will be keeping the legislation from getting so loaded down with additional restrictions on the media that it attracts too many enemies to pass the full House.

Right now, the bill simply increases FCC fines for broadcast indecency violations, but other lawmakers want to strengthen the FCC’s power to revoke station licenses, limit violent programs, and make it easier for affiliates to reject network programs. If sufficiently loaded down, "It could die of its own weight," said one Hill source.

Upton convinced colleagues to withdraw some extra amendments when the Telecommunications Subcommittee approved the bill two weeks ago, but acknowledged he will have to allow votes on them when the Commerce Committee votes.