Judiciary Delays STELAR Bill Markup Until Thursday

The House Judiciary Committee has recessed a marathon markup without taking up its version of a STELAR reauthorization bill.

STELAR includes the compulsory satellite distant signal license and the mandate that broadcasters and cable operators negotiate retransmission consent in good faith.

Committee chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said that the bill (actually HIS bill) would be taken up bright and early--9 a.m.--Thursday morning (Nov. 21).

Nadler authored the Satellite Television Community Protection and Promotion Act (STCPP) of 2019, which will now have to be reconciled with a House bill that passed Wednesday (Nov. 20) out of the House Energy & Commerce Committee after its own, two-day, marathon markup (E&C and Judiciary divide up jurisdiction over STELAR).

But the House version does not renew the satellite license, so Judiciary will have to handle that part.

Nadler's bill is relatively clean, but comes with a catch: The distant-signal license for RVs, truckers and tailgaters would be permanently renewed--currently the license renewal is for five years--but only if AT&T agreed, within 120 days, to deliver local signals in 12 local markets where it has chosen not to. Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) has offered a similar amendment to the Senate bill.

The National Association of Broadcasters would prefer that the distant-signal compulsory license go away altogether, but it says alternately it would take the Nadler option. 

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.