Eshoo to Oppose Republican-Backed FCC Reform Bills

As expected, Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), ranking member of the House Communications Subcommittee, sayid she can't support the three Republican-backed FCC reform bills being marked up -- and likely voted on -- in the subcommittee Wednesday (May 20).

"Simply put, enhanced transparency should not come at the expense of regulatory certainty or potential legal challenges on every Commission action," Eshoo said of the bills in her opening statement for the markup.

Subcommittee Democrats, including Eshoo and ranking Energy & Commerce Committee member Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) brought up the legal threat issue in a hearing two weeks ago on the Republican bills, subsequently offering up a trio of their own bills as alternatives. Republicans seemed OK with those.

The Republican bills would (1) require the FCC to publish the text of any action it wants to vote on within 24 hours of being circulated, or 21 days before a vote; (2) require that the text of regulations be published online within 24 hours of being adopted; and (3) require "the Commission to identify and describe all items to be adopted by Commission staff on delegated authority to increase the public’s awareness of the FCC’s day-to-day decisions."

Eshoo plans to support the three Democratic FCC reform proposals, as well as a bipartisan reintroduction of an FCC process reform bill from last session that includes one of her key issues, allowing more than two commissioners to get together outside of public meetings. Current sunshine laws prevent that.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.