The House is scheduled to vote Wednesday on a bill that includes maximum fines of $500,000 per offense for the broadcast of indecent programming.
The bill (H.R. 310) does not apply to cable, satellite TV, or satellite radio.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), breezed through the House Energy and Commerce Committee last Wednesday as part of an ongoing crackdown on radio and TV stations that began last February after singer Janet Jackson’s breast exposure during the Super Bowl halftime show.
The current maximum fine for an indecency violation is $32,500. Lawmakers are hoping that a 15-fold increase in fines will deter broadcasters from airing content inappropriate for children.
Under Federal Communications Commission rules, it is illegal for a broadcaster to transmit indecent content (generally sex, nudity and foul language) between 6 a.m.-10 p.m., when children are expected to make up a large percentage of the audience.