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Pai Process Reform Draws Praise

FCC chairman Ajit Pai was getting plenty of warm fuzzies from process reform fans for launching a test of publishing the texts of proposals and orders before they are voted on at public meetings.

"I applaud Chairman Pai for beginning the practice of making public the content of items intended to be voted on at FCC Open Meetings,” said Sen. John Thune, chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee. “Commissioner O'Rielly also deserves credit for long advocating for this change. After leading an investigation last year into the FCC’s manipulation of information in advance of open meetings, I believe that a more transparent FCC will be more credible and more accountable. I am pleased that the new leadership is correcting this long-recognized process flaw.”

"Chairman Pai is taking quick and decisive action to make the agency more transparent," said Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), chairman of the Communications Subcommittee. "The American people stand to benefit from this important and long-overdue reform."

“Transparency should be a cornerstone of government, and the FCC is no exception to this,” said Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), who has long backed FCC process reform legislation. “While the previous leadership at the FCC did not embrace this idea, I applaud FCC Chairman Pai for setting an early example in his chairmanship by releasing the text of the rules before the Commission votes and appreciate Commissioner O’Rielly’s commitment to this effort….As the leading advocate for FCC process reform in the Senate, I will continue working to codify this important transparency reform at the FCC.”

“Clear and transparent processes lead to better regulatory results," said AT&T senior VP Joan Marsh. "FCC Chairman Pai made clear his commitment to these goals with the voting process reform he enacted at his first Open Meeting. Today’s announcement underscores that commitment even further. The pilot program of releasing proposed rules to the public, before they are voted on by the FCC, allows for greater public engagement and ultimately better government actions. We applaud Chairman Pai’s and his fellow Commissioners’ efforts to improve the agency’s transparency to produce better results.”

“I certainly commend Chairman Pai for starting a trial regarding the public release of draft agenda items at the time they are circulated for consideration by the commissioners," said Randolph May, president of free market think tank The Free State Foundation. "There is no reason why reform of FCC processes can’t be subject to trials in cases where there are non-frivolous concerns raised about the change in process." 

May's support is no surprise, the former FCC official recommended such an approach in a blog post earlier this month.

“We applaud FCC Chairman Ajit Pai for making good on his promise to advance policies and practices that will make the agency’s operations more transparent and open to the public," Charter said in a statement. "A more open process that affords the public greater opportunity to fully participate from beginning to end is a welcome change.”

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.