Senate Panel Won’t Vote on Indecency Bill

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A Senate bill that would raise TV and radio indecency fines from $32,500 per violation to $325,000 won’t come up for a vote Thursday before the Senate Commerce Committee.

Aides to Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), sponsor of the bill (S. 193), were all but predicting a committee vote last week, especially in the wake of news that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) was hoping for a full Senate vote on a House indecency bill that would raise the maximum fine to $500,000.

Although the Federal Communications Commission is allowed to fine radio and TV stations for indecent broadcasts aired between 6 a.m.-10 p.m., it is not permitted to police indecent content provided by cable- and satellite-TV operators.

In a press release Tuesday, the Senate Commerce Committee announced a vote Thursday on one bill, the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act of 2006 (S. 2802). The committee’s next opportunity to vote on legislation is June 8.

Senate Commerce Committee chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) is hoping to gain approval at that time for his bill (S. 2686), which would allow new cable companies to obtain local franchises within 30 days.

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