Senate Commerce Committee Tees Up FCC Bills

The Senate Commerce Committee has scheduled a mark-up April 27 on a pair of FCC-related bills, including the first FCC reauthorization in a quarter century.

Mark-ups are committee business meetings during which bills are debated, amended and usually voted.

S. 2644, the FCC Reauthorization Act of 2016, essentially re-establishes the agency. Among other things, it sets salaries, expenditures on the FCC's move to a new building, commissioners' terms of service, and calls for a study of the FCC's regulatory fee structure.

The second bill is Nevada Republican Sen. Dean Heller's Federal Communications Commission Process Reform Act of 2015 (S. 421). Among many other things, that bill would require the FCC to conduct economic impact studies of regulations, set minimum comment periods as a general rule, provide for sufficient note and comment on ex parte communications, publish the status of open rulemakings, publish the language of a rule before it is voted, give commissioners "adequate" time to review items before they are asked to vote on them, and set deadlines for acting on license applications.

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.