Heller Gets Industry Plaudits for FCC Reform Act

Seeks Cost-Benefit Analysis, Pre-Publication of Orders

Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) was hearing some applause from the industry for his introduction of a Federal Communications Commission process reform bill that would require the agency to publish the text of items before they are voted on and would require the commission to do cost-benefit analysis on new regs.

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler's decision not to diverge from normal process and publish the net neutrality order before the planned Feb. 26 vote—after being asked to do so by congressional Republicans—has become a side issue in the debate over the proposed new rules.

"NAB supports the introduction of the FCC Process Reform Act of 2015 and the efforts by Senator Heller to help ensure that Commission procedures don't impede the ability of broadcasters to serve the public interest," said NAB spokesman Dennis Wharton. "The agency has a critically important mission, and it is imperative that it execute that mission expeditiously, fairly and in a data-driven manner."

USTelecom president Walter McCormick said: “We appreciate Senator Heller’s effort to bring FCC processes and procedures into the 21st century. The legislation introduced today will enhance transparency, increase regulatory certainty, and streamline rulemakings and other commission proceedings. We hope that this bill will secure broad support as it seeks to advance best practices.”

CTIA VP of government affairs Jot Carpenter said: “CTIA welcomes introduction of Senator Heller’s bill. The FCC Process Reform Act and the FCC Consolidated Reporting Act are each much-needed improvements to the FCC’s processes and on their own or as part of a package would represent useful steps toward modernizing an agency that hasn’t been reauthorized in a quarter of a century.”

Heller's bill would also loosen restrictions on nonpublic meetings among FCC members, allowing three members to meet in nonpublic settings so long as there is at least one commissioner from each party and there are transparency protections in place.