House, Senate Agreement On Satellite Bill Language

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There is House and Senate agreement about language on a satellite reauthorization bill, according to House Communications & Internet chairman Rick Boucher (D-Va.).

At the Congressional Internet Caucuses State of the Net conference in Washington, Boucher, who is one of the founders of the caucus, said that now the issue was finding the right legislative vehicle, but that he expected the legislation to pass and be signed by the president "well before" the Feb. 28 deadline.

"We now have an agreed-upon version of the [bill], House and Senate. We have been working with the leadership to identify an appropriate vehicle to which this renewal legislation can be attached. We are down to one or two candidates at this point."

The license was supposed to expire at the end of last year unless the bill to reauthorize it passed, but instead an extension was passed Dec. 19 as an amendment to the defense appropriations bill, which became a vehicle for several bills with deadlines.

The blanket license, which allows satellite companies to import distant network signals to viewers who can't receive a viewable version of their local affiliate, would have expired on Dec. 31.

Boucher also said he would be circulating "soon" a discussion draft of privacy legislation. He told Multichannel News early in his tenure as chairman that the online privacy bill was chief priority. He says what the bill will do is "replicate and reflect the current best business practices with regard to targeted advertising.

He says the goal is not to "disrupt" targeted advertising, but to inform consumers what information is being collected about them and how it is used, and then give them control via a "combination of opt-in and opt out opportunities."

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