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Eshoo Reintroduces FCC Collaboration Bill

Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) is reviving a bill that would allow more than two FCC commissioners to get together in nonpublic settings.

Currently under the Government in the Sunshine Act, three commissioners can't meet outside of public forums, which has led to dealing by proxy through staffers when negotiating on items and issues.

Eshoo, ranking member of the Communications Subcommittee, was joined by Reps. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) and Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) Wednesday in reintroducing the FCC Collaboration Act of 2015.

The bill would allow private meetings, but only under a four-part test:

1. "Bipartisan;

2. No official action is taken;

3. No outside parties are present; and

4. An attorney from the FCC’s Office of General Counsel is present to monitor the deliberations and disclose a summary of those discussions within two business days of such a meeting."

“The FCC has huge issues to tackle, representing some of the nation’s most pressing communications challenges, yet the current ‘Sunshine’ rule restricts commissioners from collaborating freely and effectively,” said Eshoo in taking another shot at the legislation. “Simple collaboration, discussion of issues, and shared expertise outside an official setting are essential in order for the Commission to keep up with the rapidly changing telecommunications landscape.”

A Senate version was also introduced.