House Energy & Commerce Aiming for Satellite Markup This Week: Sources

According to sources, the House Energy & Commerce Committee is looking to mark up the Satellite Home Viewer Extension and Reauthorization Act this week, though under a new name.

According to sources, the hope was to mark it up on Thursday. If so, said one source, it would need to schedule it ASAP--Thursday at 10 a.m. was said to be one target--so it would have the requisite 36 hours notice, though the House is also in session on Friday.

Committees have different rules about public notice, but Energy & Commerce requires 36 hours for markups.

The Communications Subcommittee in June marked up a bill essentially free of entangling amendments, which was the goal of Subcommittee Chairman Rick Boucher (D-Va.), since the bill, which reauthorizes satellite broadcasters license to carry distant network TV signals, expires at the end of the year unless Congress reauthorizes it.

There are four versions of the bill -- the Judiciary and communications-related committees in both the House and Senate share jurisdiction -- that must eventually be reconciled.

The House Judiciary version of the bill, which passed last month, would get local TV stations to all satellite subscribers, at least subscribers to Dish Network. That will almost certainly be part of the final House bill.

A version of the reauthorization bill has also passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and the Senate Communications Subcommittee held a hearing on reauthorization last week.

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.