Senate Fails To Pass Satellite License Bill Extension

The Senate Thursday (Feb. 25) failed to pass by unanimous
consent a package of bill extensions including the 30-day extension for
satellite blanket license bill, which would extend that license another
five years.

If a bill or extension does not pass by Feb. 28, the license
expires and satellite operators will not be allowed to import distant
TV station signals to viewers who cannot receive a viewable version of
local affiliate.

The House passed the package by unanimous consent Thursday,
according to a source, but a single Senator, Republican Jim Bunning of
Kentucky, blocked an
attempted vote in the Senate Thursday night, a spokesperson for the
Judiciary Committee confirmed.

His opposition was not to the satellite bill, but to
provisions related to unemployment insurance extensions in the package.

The license had already gotten a 60-day extension to Feb. 28
after STELA (the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act) failed
to get
a vote in the Senate, reportedly blocked by Republicans unhappy with a
provision to allow DISH network back into the distant-signal business,
which it has been foreclosed by court order.

A call to the office of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
(D-Nev.) went unanswered.

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.